is the leader of the Nicaraguan
opposition party FSLN
(Sandinista National Liberation Front) or Sandinistas
When the Sandinistas assumed power in 1979 after ousting the Somoza
dictatorship, Ortega became leader of the country. He was elected president of Nicaragua in 1984, but lost the ensuing election to Violeta Chamorro
Ortega's early idols were Jesus Christ and Augusto César Sandino. After the overthrow of the Batista government in Cuba, his role models became Fidel Castro, Che Guevara, and Camilo Cienfuegos. He went to Central American University in Managua before joining the Marxist FSLN in 1963. He spent seven years as a political prisoner before being exiled to Cuba in 1974. He quickly returned to Nicaragua and led the Sandinistas to power.
Ortega's socialist reforms and Marxist ideology did not sit well with the United States. Ronald Reagan as U.S. President led a campaign of economic and military sanctions against the Sandinista-led government. This would eventually lead to the Iran-Contra scandal, Oliver North as a household name, and ultimately to the defeat of Ortega in the 1990 Nicaraguan elections.