Produced on November 11, 1945 in La Libertad, Nicaragua, Daniel Ortega was a guerrilla leader planning to overthrow the regime of dictator Anastasio Somoza . In 2007 he recovered the presidency and was elected again four years later. His dad was a veteran of the peasant military founded by the Nicaraguan revolutionary Cesar Augusto Sandino.
Early in his youth, Ortega moved along with his family to Managua, where he finally attended Central American University. Ortega cut short his studies, nevertheless, as well as in 1963 went underground as an associate of the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN), a group planning to overthrow the nation’s dictator, Anastasio Somoza, who’d ruled Nicaragua since 1937.
In 1967, Ortega and many other FSLN members were detained following a botched bank robbery which they had tried to raise funds for the group. Tortured repeatedly during his time in prison, Ortega was ultimately released in 1974 within a hostage swap system. Within the following five years Ortega helped direct a military campaign that finally compelled Somoza to flee from Managua in 1979 and go into exile.
In the aftermath of Somoza’s departure, a five-member group known as the Junta of National Reconstruction came to rule the nation. 3 years later Nicaraguan voters elected him president of the united states. Beneath the direction of the CIA, the U.S. funded and equipped a group of anti-Sandinista fighters known as the Contras.
As the U.S. hardened its position, Ortega did the same, becoming a hero across the area and attracting praise and support from Cuban president Fidel Castro.
But the scars with this new civil war were difficult to dismiss. In all, more than 30,000 Nicaraguans perished in the fight. In 1990, after six years of power, war-weary voters refused Ortega a second period and handed the presidency to Violeta Barrios de Chamorro.
The ensuing years weren’t kind to Ortega. His political sway significantly declined and he was afterwards accused by his stepdaughter of rape during her youth, allegations he wholeheartedly denied. After petitioning to get a constitutional amendment to permit consecutive reelection, Ortega won the presidency again in 2011 and embarked on his third period.