Sunday, 12 July 2020

Daniel Ortega bests his record of absences in office: 30 days

Daniel Ortega has broken his own record of absences in office. After 30 days without any public appearance, the President of Nicaragua passing his longest absent period in the last two years.

The absence of Ortega for more than four weeks, while his counterparts in the region hae taken the lead in responding to the coronavirus pandemic, has reached the world news, being reported in the pages of The New York Times and other international media and fueled speculation that he ill, including infected with covid-19, to his death.

The 74-year-old president has a history of long periods of absence without explanation, as evidenced by the record of his meager schedule of 84 official activities in a total period of 729 days (almost two years).

- paying the bills -

Ortega’s record had been 28 days, a record he set in early 2019, appearing last on February 21, for the traditional commemoration of the murder of National Hero, Augusto C. Sandino, and reappearing again on March 21.

Ortega became silent as the coronavirus pandemic appeared in Central America. His last appearance in public was on March 12, the first covid-19 case was confirmed in Nicaragua on March 18, when his wife and vice-president, Rosario Murillo, made the official announcement by telephone.

That Thursday, he appeared in the company of authorities from the Ministry of Health and representatives of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), to participate in a virtual meeting with members of the Central American Integration System (SICA).

Ortega prefers the private compound, that some call bunker, in El Carmen, his private residence, that he also uses as for run his presidency.

Ortega has practically not said a word about the pandemic, and in his short time, one minute and thirteen seconds before the members of SICA he never mentioned “covid-19” or “coronavirus”, although he admitted to Nicaragua being in an “emergency situation”.

Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo with representatives of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), on March 12, during a virtual meeting with the other SICA member countries. That was the last day Ortega has been seen in public, fueling specuation of his health and possible death.  Photo: Government
- paying the bills -

Ortega has been criticized by health experts and citizens for the lack of official measures to prevent contagion, while Murillo — delegated to the public administration and official spokesperson — calls for crowds and invites for marches during Easter.

The “absent ruler”

Ortega’s long absence is seriously affected by the fact that it occurred in the midst of the pandemic, which until the morning of this April 11 has infected more than 1.7 million people worldwide (with more than 109,000 deaths), according to data from the Center for Science and the Johns Hopkins University.

But Ortega’s long absences are so common that he has been called the “absent ruler.” In all of 2020, for example, the president has only been reported in nine official activities, according to his speeches and photographic galleries recorded by the official El 19 Digital, whose publications – which must be reviewed one by one – are the only way to know about his appearances, in the absence of a public agenda or presidential blog.

“Ortega no longer goes to the municipalities to find out what is happening, because, among other reasons, there is a network of top-down relationships, where mayors are at the bottom of the pot, unable to act,” said Silvio Prado, expert in Political Science and municipal issues.

On social networks, Ortega’s absence has not gone unnoticed by Nicaraguans either, and has even been mocked.

Be like Ortega: stay at home,” reads dozens of memes. In the collective imagination, this new absence of Ortega has been the main proof of the need for protection against the pandemic.

- paying the bills --

However, those accustomed to the president’s prolonged absences, comment that the caudillo (president) is preparing a “glorious reappearance”, perhaps today, at Easter.

Article originally appeared on Today Nicaragua and is republished here with permission.

Q24N is an aggregator of news for Latin America. Reports from Mexico to the tip of Chile and Caribbean are sourced for our readers to find all their Latin America news in one place.

Related Articles

The macabre calculations of Daniel Ortega with the COVID-19

(TODAY NICARAGUA) Nicaraguan economist Enrique Sáenz analyzed in his blog the...

It’s Now “Official” Costa Rica’s Pain In The Arse, Eden Pastora, Has Died

(TODAY NICARAGUA) There is really no end as to how far...


‘Post mortem’ test confirms Costa Rica’s victim 27 of covid-19

(QCOSTARICA) The Ministry of Health announced on Friday night that, as a result of a sample taken in the Judicial morgue, the death number...

Death 22 confirmed; Second death today Monday

(QCOSTARICA) The Ministry of Health confirmed this Monday morning death number 22 by COVID-19. This is another post-mortem COVID-19 death, that of a 51-year-old man,...

Cuarterías for ¢1,000 a night: a “time bomb” that strips COVID-19

(QCOSTARICA) About 60 old, unsanitary foams are piled up in a dilapidated building in San José. Sleeping there costs ¢1,000 a night. For many...

COVID-19 Patients over 40 spend up to 11 days in hospital

(QCOSTARICA) COVID-19 patients over 40 years of age spend on average up to 11 days hospitalized in Costa Rica's medical centers. The president of the...

Hypertension and diabetes most frequent risk factors in deaths of COVID-19 patients

(QCOSTARICA) Eight of the 23 deaths of COVID-19 patients suffered from high blood pressure and diabetes, six suffered from high blood pressure, both diseases...

Death 21 by COVID-19 in Costa Rica confirmed

(QCOSTARICA) The Ministry of Health, this Monday morning, July 6, confirmed death number 21 in the country, by COVID-19. The deceased was an 81-year-old man,...

Let's Keep This Going!

To be updated with all the latest news and information about Costa Rica and Latin America.

Article originally appeared on Today Nicaragua and is republished here with permission.