Nicaraguan president accused of nepotism over wife’s VP ticket

guardianNicaragua’s president, Daniel Ortega, has been accused of trying to consolidate his family’s grip on power by choosing his wife to run as his vice-presidential candidate in November’s elections.

Ortega, a guerrilla turned politician, is hoping to win a third consecutive term for the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) by running on a ticket with Rosario Murillo, who currently serves as the government’s communications chief.

The 70-year-old politician ruled the Central American country from 1979-1990 after his Sandinista movement overthrew the US-backed Somoza regime. Since Ortega was returned to office in 2006, the first lady has played an active and high-profile role in his government, leading to accusations that she is already his de facto deputy.

Murillo, 65, who is known for her idiosyncratic blend of socialism, Roman Catholicism and new age beliefs, is credited with overhauling both her husband’s image and that of the movement he leads. The combat fatigues, red-and-black flags and fiery rhetoric have been replaced with civilian attire, pink campaign posters and less confrontational messages. …

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During the last several decades, the United States has invested billions of dollars in trying to help the governments of Latin America and the Caribbean deliver better lives for their citizens. This has meant helping them increase internal security by combating the illicit growing and trafficking in narcotics and the activities of terrorist groups, as well as helping them to shore up their democratic and free market institutions.

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