Skip to main site content.
Nicaraguan President, Daniel Ortega and his wife Rosario Murillo (LEO RAMIREZ/AFP/Getty Images)
Nicaraguan President, Daniel Ortega and his wife Rosario Murillo (LEO RAMIREZ/AFP/Getty Images)

Running mates

First lady of Nicaragua on the ticket to be V.P. in upcoming election

By WITW Staff on October 31, 2016

They’re life mates — have been for decades — and now they’re running mates, too. On Sunday, The New York Times published a fascinating profile of Nicaragua’s first lady, Rosario Murillo, who is also poised to become the country’s next vice president. She’s on the ticket with her husband, Daniel Ortega, whose re-election to a third term is but certain when the country votes on November 6, according to observers. The profile charts Murillo’s improbable rise over the years, revealing a portrait of a tough woman who had humble beginnings and now, most likely, will be a heartbeat away from the presidency.

Murillo, 65, has become something of a sensation in Nicaragua — particularly with women. Florencia del Carmen López, a 48-year-old street vendor, explained the phenomenon surrounding her this way: “It’s not that she has as many followers as her husband — she has more. The men are annoyed by it. The majority of her followers are women.”

Put another way, Murillo is already more powerful than a V.P. “She’s not the vice president — she’s the co-president,” Ortega’s former V.P., Agustín Jarquín, said. According to the Times, Murillo’s ascent came on the strength of her work on behalf of the poor and her ability to charm the electorate as much as through her shrewd political maneuvering and her ability to elbow many of her husband’s closest advisers out of his orbit.

Murillo’s and Ortega’s relationship in the early years has all the makings of an almost cinematic love story. Ortega was a guerrilla fighter who was pivotal in the Sandinista revolution that dethroned Anastasio Somoza Debayle, a dictator whose family ruled the country from the 1930s to 1979. At one point, he was living in Costa Rica, under the radar, amid grave danger and that’s when he became romantically involved with Murillo, who already had two children. For a while, she lived in a secret safe house, raising her two young kids, and when she wanted to telephone Ortega, she had to use a special code name by which to address him.

Read the full story at The New York Times.


Surge in unchecked gang violence is driving women and girls from Central America

Inside the ‘femicide’ epidemic plaguing Mexico and other Latin American nations