José Daniel Ortega Saavedra is a Nicaraguan politician who has been President of Nicaragua since 2007; previously he was leader of Nicaragua from 1979 to 1990, first as Coordinator of the Junta of National Reconstruction and then as President.
Nicaragua, officially the Republic of Nicaragua, is the largest country in the Central American isthmus.
The Junta of National Reconstruction officially ruled Nicaragua from July 1979 to January 1985.
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A leader in the socialist Sandinista National Liberation Front, his policies in government have seen the implementation of leftist reforms across Nicaragua.
Socialism is a range of economic and social systems characterised by social ownership and democratic control of the means of production; as well as the political ideologies, theories, and movements that aim at their establishment.
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Born into a working-class family, from an early age Ortega opposed ruling President Anastasio Somoza Debayle, widely recognized as a dictator, and became involved in the underground movement against his regime.
Anastasio "Tachito" Somoza DeBayle was a Nicaraguan politician and officially the 73rd and 76th President of Nicaragua from 1 May 1967 to 1 May 1972 and from 1 December 1974 to 17 July 1979.
A dictator is a ruler who wields absolute authority.
Joining the Sandinistas, he also travelled to Cuba to receive training in guerilla warfare from Fidel Castro's Marxist-Leninist government.
Guerrilla warfare is a form of irregular warfare in which a small group of combatants such as paramilitary personnel, armed civilians, or irregulars use military tactics including ambushes, sabotage, raids, petty warfare, hit-and-run tactics, and mobility to fight a larger and less-mobile traditional military.
Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz, commonly known as Fidel Castro, is a Cuban politician and revolutionary who governed the Republic of Cuba as Prime Minister from 1959 to 1976 and then as President from 1976 to 2008.
Marxism is a method of socioeconomic analysis that analyzes class relations and societal conflict using a materialist interpretation of historical development and a dialectical view of social transformation.
After the Nicaraguan Revolution resulted in the overthrow and exile of Somoza's government, Ortega became leader of the ruling multipartisan Junta of National Reconstruction.
The Nicaraguan Revolution encompassed the rising opposition to the Somoza dictatorship in the 1960s and 1970s, the campaign led by the Sandinista National Liberation Front to violently oust the dictatorship in 1978-79, the subsequent efforts of the FSLN to govern Nicaragua from 1979 until 1990 and the Contra War which was waged between the FSLN and the Contras from 1981-1990.
A Marxist-Leninist, his first period in office was characterized by a controversial program of nationalization, land reform, wealth redistribution and literacy programs.
Redistribution of income and redistribution of wealth are respectively the transfer of income and of wealth from some individuals to others by means of a social mechanism such as taxation, charity, welfare, public services, land reform, monetary policies, confiscation, divorce or tort law.
Land reform involves the changing of laws, regulations or customs regarding land ownership.
Ortega's relationship with the United States was never very cordial, due to U.S. support for Somoza prior to the revolution.
Although the U.S. supplied post-revolution Nicaragua with tens of millions of dollars in economic aid, relations broke down when the Sandinistas supplied weapons to leftist El Salvadoran rebels.
El Salvador, officially the Republic of El Salvador, is the smallest and the most densely populated country in Central America.
His government was opposed by the Contras in a vicious civil war; the Contras were funded by the Reagan administration of the United States.
The contras is a label given to the various U.S.-backed and funded right-wing rebel groups that were active from 1979 to the early 1990s in opposition to the left-wing, socialist Sandinista Junta of National Reconstruction government in Nicaragua.
The presidency of Ronald Reagan was a Republican administration headed by Ronald Reagan between January 1981 and January 1989.
A joint peace proposal by the Democratic Speaker of the House Jim Wright and Ronald Reagan helped precipitate a peace agreement at a meeting of five Central American chiefs of state in July 1987, which won Costa Rican President Oscar Arias the Nobel Peace Prize.
Costa Rica, officially the Republic of Costa Rica, is a country in Central America, bordered by Nicaragua to the north, Panama to the southeast, the Pacific Ocean to the west, the Caribbean Sea to the east, and Ecuador to the south of Cocos Island.
Central America is the southernmost, isthmian portion of the North American continent, which connects with South America on the southeast.
This led to free elections in which Ortega was defeated by Violeta Chamorro in the 1990 presidential election, but he remained an important figure in Nicaraguan opposition politics, gradually moderating in his political position from Marxism–Leninism to democratic socialism.
Democratic socialism is a political ideology that advocates political democracy alongside social ownership of the means of production, often with an emphasis on democratic management of enterprises within a socialist economic system.
Violeta Barrios Torres de Chamorro is a Nicaraguan politician, former president and publisher, known for ending the Contra War, the final chapter of the Nicaraguan Revolution, and bringing peace to the country.
Ortega was an unsuccessful candidate for president in 1996 and 2001, before winning the 2006 presidential election.
In office, he made alliances with fellow Latin American socialists, such as Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, and under his leadership, Nicaragua joined the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas.
ALBA, formally the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America, is an intergovernmental organization based on the idea of the social, political and economic integration of the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean.
Venezuela, officially the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, is a federal republic located on the northern coast of South America.
Hugo Rafael Chávez Frías was a Venezuelan politician who served as the 64th President of Venezuela from 1999 to 2013.