(b. 11 Nov. 1945).
President of Nicaragua 1985–90, 2007– An active member since 1962 of the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN), a guerrilla movement fighting against the Somoza regime, he joined its leadership in 1965 before being arrested in 1967. Released in 1974, he spent some time in Cuba before returning to coordinate the Sandinistas' victory of 1979. He led the Sandinista junta and was elected President in the 1984 elections, which were boycotted by several opposition parties. To general surprise, he lost the 1990 elections to his most prominent critic, Chamorro. Nevertheless, he remained an influential figure in Nicaraguan politics and, as leader of the official Sandinista movement, he ran for the presidency in 1996 and 2001, but was defeated each time by the candidate of the centre‐right Liberal Alliance.
In 2006, he was successful in his bid to win re‐election. However, he vowed not to confront the USA and to encourage trade between the two countries. He did, however, also entertain good relations with Chávez, who sought to enlist Ortega in his anti‐USA alliance.
Subjects: Contemporary History (Post 1945).