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  2. José Daniel Ortega Saavedra (Spanish pronunciation: [daˈnjel oɾˈteɣa]; born 11 November 1945) is a Nicaraguan politician serving as President of Nicaragua since 2007; previously, he was leader of Nicaragua from 1979 to 1990, first as Coordinator of the Junta of National Reconstruction (1979–1985) and then as President of Nicaragua (1985–1990).

  3. Daniel Ortega Saavedra was born on November 11, 1945, in the mining and ranching town of La Libertad, Nicaragua, in the municipality of Chontales. He was the third son of Daniel Ortega Serda, an accountant for a mining firm. The family later moved to Managua, where his father owned a small export-import business.

  4. Daniel Ortega, in full José Daniel Ortega Saavedra, (born November 11, 1945, La Libertad, Nicaragua), Nicaraguan guerrilla leader, member of the Sandinista junta that took power in 1979, and the elected president of Nicaragua (1984–90, 2007– ). Son of a veteran of the peasant army of César Augusto Sandino, Ortega moved with his family to ...

    • Revolutionary Activity
    • Role in Revolutionary Government
    • Unsuccessful Bid For Reelection
    • Further Reading

    After the 1956 assassination of Anastasio Somoza Garcia, founder of the Somoza dynasty, Luis Somoza Debayle succeeded his father as president and Anastasio Somoza Debayle assumed command of the National Guard. They terrorized suspected opponents of the regime to avenge their father's death. Repression kindled opposition, which surfaced after Fidel Castrooverthrew the Batista regime in 1959. Ortega, still in high school in Managua in 1959, took part in a widespread student struggle against the Somoza regime. The protests of 1959 were organized by the Nicaraguan Patriotic Youth (Juventud Patriótico Nicaragüense—JPN), which Ortega joined in 1960. JPN members later took part in several guerrilla insurgent movements, but only the FSLN survived. In 1960 Ortega was captured and tortured for his role in the protests. Not deterred from his opposition to the Somoza dynasty, he helped establish the Nicaraguan Revolutionary Youth (Juventud Revolucionaria Nicaragüense—JRN), along with the FSLN's...

    Ortega served on the junta of the National Reconstruction Government from 1979 until its dissolution in January 1985 and was the key liaison between the junta and the National Directorate, which set general policy guidelines for the revolution. In 1981 Ortega became coordinator of the junta, consolidating his leadership role. Within the National Directorate he became a leader of a pragmatic majority faction and emerged as the directorate's and junta's major international representative and domestic policy spokesman. When the FSLN had to choose a nominee for president for the November 4, 1984 election, the directorate selected Ortega. He won with 67 percent of the vote, competing against six other candidates. The National Directorate and the junta in 1979 adopted, and have since followed, two pragmatic policies that are unusual for a Marxist regime: the economy would be mixed—40 percent in the public sector, 60 percent private—and political parties other than the FSLN (except those l...

    In February 1990 Ortega's bid for reelection was challenged by Violeta Chamorro. She questioned the Sandinistas' close links with Cuba and the Soviet Unionand reached out to center and conservative parties to help defeat Ortega. A second attempt to regain power in 1996 was again unsuccessful. Twenty-three presidential candidates ran in the October 1996 elections, but Ortega and Arnoldo Alemán emerged as favorites. After several days of vote counting, Alemán was declared the winner with 51 percent of the vote; Ortega came in second with 38 percent. Ortega conceded defeat but continued to question the legitimacy of Alemán's government.

    Literature on Daniel Ortega is limited. Recommended for background on the Nicaraguan revolution are Thomas W. Walker's Nicaragua: The Land of Sandino (1981) and his edited works Nicaragua in Revolution (1982) and Nicaragua: The First Five Years (1985); George Black, Triumph of the People: The Sandinista Revolution in Nicaragua (1981); John A. Booth, The End and the Beginning: The Nicaraguan Revolution (1985); Richard Millett, The Guardians of the Dynasty (1977); and David Nolan, The Ideology of the Sandinistas and the Nicaraguan Revolution (1984). See also Anastasio Somoza with Jack Cox, Nicaragua Betrayed (1980), and Bernard Diederich, Somoza and the Legacy of U.S. Involvement in Central America(1982). □

  5. Daniel Ortega Biography, Life, Interesting Facts. Jose Daniel Ortega Saavedra was born on November 11, 1945, in La Libertad, Chontales, Nicaragua. His parents were active in opposing the regime of Anastasio Somoza Debayle. His mother was even imprisoned for sending “love letters” with encoded political messages.

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