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'Danielismo': The cult of Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua

August 10, 2010 | 11:57 am

Daniel-ortega-time-coverThe president of Nicaragua, Daniel Ortega, certainly has high self-esteem. Since the former leftist guerrilla was elected back into the Nicaraguan presidency in 2006, Ortega "has built a national homage to himself," writes Tracy Wilkinson in the L.A. Times, from Managua:

"Billboards dot this sprawling, haphazard capital with a larger-than-life picture of him alongside national heroes Ruben Dario and Augusto Sandino. Nicaraguans speak less of Sandinismo and more of Danielismo."

Ortega's government last year opened a Museum of the Sandinista Victory, in which the president "is everywhere." Other crucial revolutionary leaders who helped depose the right-wing regime in 1979 "have been erased," said a former vice president from Ortega's first term in office.

Read Wilkinson's entire story here.

Since resuming the presidency, Ortega has visited Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and he said "the revolutions of Iran and Nicaragua are almost twins." Ortega's government has sought to silence political opponents and journalists, including former allies in the Sandinista Revolution. The left-leaning Washington Office on Latin America has since expressed alarm at "the growing climate of intolerance for those who are perceived as critics of the federal government" in Nicaragua.

Ortega, now a self-described Christian who often invokes Christian themes in his speeches, is making attempts to change the constitution in Nicaragua so that he may seek reelection next year.

-- Daniel Hernandez in Mexico City

Image: A historical Time magazine cover featuring Daniel Ortega. Credit: Google Images