First Lady of Nicaragua
Flag of Nicaragua.svg
2017 Rosario Murillo (cropped).jpg
Incumbent
Rosario Murillo

since January 19, 2017
ResidenceCasa Naranja
Inaugural holderMercedes Avilés
FormationApril 30, 1865

The First Lady of Nicaragua (Spanish: Primera dama de Nicaragua) is the title attributed to the wife of the President of Nicaragua, or their chosen designee, such as a daughter or other relative.[1] The current incumbent first lady is Rosario Murillo, wife of President Daniel Ortega, who controversially became Vice President of Nicaragua under Ortega in January 2017.[2]

Recent history

The daughters of several presidents have assumed the role of first lady or acting first lady in recent decades.[1][3] From 1990 until 1997, the government of President Violeta Chamorro, Nicaragua's first female president, designated her daughter, Cristiana Chamorro Barrios, in the role of first lady.[1][3] Violeta Chamorro's husband, Pedro Joaquín Chamorro Cardenal, had been murdered in 1978 before she became president.[4]

Likewise, former President Arnoldo Alemán was a widower and unmarried when he was inaugurated in January 1997. His daughter, María Dolores Alemán Cardinel, served as First Lady of Nicaragua from January 1997 until October 1999 under her father.[1][3] In October 1999, President Alemán married María Fernanda Flores Lanzas, who assumed the role of first lady.[1][3]

The incumbent first lady is Rosario Murillo, wife of President Daniel Ortega, who was held the position since 2007. Murillo had previously served as first lady during the 1980s as Ortega's domestic partner in a common-law marriage.[5][6] The couple later officially married in 2005.[2] During the 2016 Nicaraguan general election, President Ortega controversially selected his wife as his running mate for Vice President of Nicaragua, the second highest political position in Nicaragua.[2][7] Murillo became Vice President in January 2017, simultaneously serving as first lady. She is "widely seen as the power behind the presidency" according to Lucia Newman, a journalist with Al Jazeera English and a veteran journalist on Latin America.[8] In 2021, Ortega, who was seeking a fourth consecutive term, and Murillo were re-elected during an election marred by the arrest and detention of numerous political opponents of the Ortega government, including Cristiana Chamorro Barrios and María Fernanda Flores Lanzas, the former first lady from 1999 to 2002.[4][9] Murillo was sanctioned by the European Union for human rights violations and undermining Nicaraguan democracy during the election, while the Biden administration banned Murillo and other officials from entering the United States.[10][11]

Partial list of first ladies

Portrait Name Term Began Term Ended President of Nicaragua Notes
Salvadora Debayle May 7, 1950 September 29, 1956 Anastasio Somoza García Second tenure as first lady during the Somoza dictatorship. Anastasio Somoza was assassinated on September 29, 1956.
Isabel Urcuyo September 29, 1956 May 1, 1963 Luis Somoza Debayle Urcuyo was a Costa Rican-born diplomat.
Carmen Reñazco May 1, 1963 August 3, 1966 René Schick Reñazco had married Schick on March 16, 1937. President Schick died in office in August 1966.
? August 3, 1966 August 4, 1966 Orlando Montenegro Medrano
Sara Mora de Guerrero August 4, 1966 May 1, 1967 Lorenzo Guerrero
Hope Portocarrero de Somoza & Cardinal Francis Spellman.png
Hope Portocarrero May 1, 1967 May 1, 1972 Anastasio Somoza Debayle Portocarrero, an American, was born in Tampa, Florida, and married Somoza in 1950.[12] First tenure as first lady.
Vacant May 1, 1972 December 1, 1974 Liberal-Conservative Junta Liberal-Conservative Junta, though power rested with the Anastasio Somoza Debayle dictatorship.
Hope Portocarrero de Somoza & Cardinal Francis Spellman.png
Hope Portocarrero December 1, 1974 July 17, 1979 Anastasio Somoza Debayle Second tenure as first lady during the Somoza dictatorship. Portocarrero separated from Somoza during this time, but never divorced. President Anastasio Somoza was overthrown in 1979 during the Nicaraguan Revolution. She remarried after her husband's assassination and died in 1991 as Hope Somoza Baldocchi.[12]
Maria Luisa Muñoz July 17, 1979 July 18, 1979 Francisco Urcuyo Acting president
Position vacant July 18, 1979 January 10, 1985 Junta of National Reconstruction Junta of National Reconstruction led by Daniel Ortega.
2017 Rosario Murillo (cropped).jpg
Rosario Murillo January 10, 1985 April 25, 1990 Daniel Ortega Murillo and Ortega had a common-law marriage, but were not married at the time.[5][6] She became first lady upon Ortega's inauguration.[6] A poet, Murillo was also the director of the Institute of Culture during this time.[13] Ortega and Murillo later married in 2005.[2]
Cristiana Chamorro Barrios May 2021.jpg
Cristiana Chamorro Barrios April 25, 1990 January 10, 1997 Violeta Chamorro Violeta Chamorro, Nicaragua's first female president, was a widow. Her daughter, Cristiana Chamorro Barrios, served in the role of first lady during her presidency.[1][3][4]
María Dolores Alemán Cardinel January 10, 1997 October 23, 1999 Arnoldo Alemán President Alemán was a widower and unmarried from 1997 until 1999. His daughter, María Dolores Alemán Cardinel, served as first lady until his marriage in October 1999.[1][3]
María Fernanda Flores Lanzas October 23, 1999 January 10, 2002 Arnoldo Alemán María Fernanda Flores Lanzas married President Alemán on October 23, 1999 and assumed the role of first lady.[1][3]
Lila T. Abaunza January 10, 2002 January 10, 2007 Enrique Bolaños
2017 Rosario Murillo (cropped).jpg
Rosario Murillo January 10, 2007 Incumbent Daniel Ortega First Lady since 2007, Murillo is a highly influential figure in Nicaraguan politics. In 2016, Daniel Ortega selected his wife as his running mate for Vice President of Nicaragua in a controversial move. She has simultaneously held the Vice Presidency since January 2017.[7][8][14][15]

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h "Ellas son las primeras damas de Nicaragua en los últimos años". La Prensa (Managua). 2019-05-26. Archived from the original on 2022-06-28. Retrieved 2022-06-28.
  2. ^ a b c d Ore, Diego (2021-11-05). "Ortega and Murillo, the presidential couple with an iron grip on Nicaragua". Reuters News. Archived from the original on 2022-03-22. Retrieved 2022-06-28.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g "¿Qué tienen en común estas cuatro Primeras Damas de Nicaragua con Rosario Murillo?". La Mesa Redonda. 2022-02-10. Archived from the original on 2022-02-11. Retrieved 2022-06-28.
  4. ^ a b c Miranda, Wilfredo (2021-06-03). "Cristiana Chamorro, la hija de la expresidenta que plantó cara a Ortega". El País. Archived from the original on 2021-05-03. Retrieved 2022-06-28.
  5. ^ a b "She's a First Lady, a Poet, a Politician, a Mother, but Don't Call Her Mrs. Ortega". Associated Press. Los Angeles Times. 1987-01-18. Archived from the original on 2022-04-18. Retrieved 2022-06-28.
  6. ^ a b c Grove, Lloyd (1985-10-25). "First Lady of the Revolution". Washington Post. Retrieved 2022-06-28.
  7. ^ a b Kahn, Carrie (2016-11-04). "Nicaragua's Ortega Headed For Re-Election — With His Wife As VP". NPR. Archived from the original on 2021-05-06. Retrieved 2022-06-28.
  8. ^ a b Newman, Lucia (2016-11-07). "Nicaragua: President Ortega on course for a third term". Al Jazeera English. Archived from the original on 2021-06-10. Retrieved 2022-06-28.
  9. ^ "Nicaragua places former first lady under house arrest". Associated Press. 2021-06-21. Archived from the original on 2022-04-07. Retrieved 2022-06-28.
  10. ^ "EU sanctions Nicaragua's first lady and vice-president over human rights violations". The Guardian. 2021-08-02. Archived from the original on 2022-05-24. Retrieved 2022-06-28.
  11. ^ Spetalnick, Matt (2021-11-17). "Biden bans Nicaragua officials from entering United States". Reuters News. Archived from the original on 2022-02-25. Retrieved 2022-06-28.
  12. ^ a b "Hope Somoza Baldocchi, wife of former Nicaraguan leader". Tampa Bay Times. 1991-10-09. Archived from the original on 2022-06-28. Retrieved 2022-06-28.
  13. ^ Collier, Robert (1990-01-30). "First Lady Brings Magic to Nicaragua Campaign". Sun-Sentinel. Archived from the original on 2022-04-08. Retrieved 2022-06-28.
  14. ^ Debussman, Bernd (2007-01-28). "Nicaraguans see First Lady as power behind throne". Reuters News. Archived from the original on 2022-04-08. Retrieved 2022-06-28.
  15. ^ "Nicaragua's first lady the face of government". Associated Press. Politico. 2014-07-29. Archived from the original on 2021-02-27. Retrieved 2022-06-28.