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Rosario Murillo Zambrana (Template:IPA-es; born 22 June 1951) is the vice president and first lady of Nicaragua. She is married to the current president Daniel Ortega. She was also first lady when, in 1985, her husband became president six years after the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) overthrew the Somoza dynasty. Murillo has served as the Nicaraguan government's lead spokesperson,[1] government minister,[2] head of the Sandinista Association of Cultural Workers, and Communications Coordinator of the Council on Communication and Citizenry. She was sworn in as vice president of Nicaragua on 10 January 2017.[3][4]

Life and career[]

Murillo was born in Managua, Nicaragua. She married Daniel Ortega and had eight children. According to Nicaraguan historian Roberto Sánchez, Murillo is maternally related to Nicaragua's national hero, Augusto Sandino.[5]

Murillo attended high school at the Greenway Convent Collegiate School in Tiverton, Great Britain, and studied Art at the Institut Anglo-Suisse Le Manoir at La Neuveville in Switzerland.[5] Murillo possesses certificates in the English and French language, granted respectively by the University of Cambridge in Great Britain, and University of Neuchâtel in Switzerland. She also attended the National Autonomous University of Nicaragua in her hometown, where she later became a language professor at the Instituto de Ciencias Comerciales and the Colegio Teresiano during 1967-1969.[6]


Murillo joined the Sandinista National Liberation Front in 1969. She provided shelter in her house, which was located in the Barrio San José Oriental in Managua, to Sandinista guerrillas, among them Tomás Borge, one of the founders of the FSLN.[5]

During the early 1970s Murillo worked for La Prensa as a secretary to two of Nicaragua's leading political and literary figures, Pedro Joaquin Chamorro and Pablo Antonio Cuadra. Murillo was arrested in Estelí in 1976 for her activities in politics. Soon after, she fled and lived for several months in Panama and Venezuela. She later moved to Costa Rica where she dedicated herself completely to her political work with the FSLN, helped start Radio Sandino, and met her future husband, Daniel Ortega.[7] When the Sandinistas overthrew Somoza in 1979, she returned to Nicaragua. Murillo and Ortega were married in 2005.[7]


Murillo started to gain power politically in 1998 after defending Ortega after he was accused by his stepdaughter, Murillo's daughter, of sexually abusing her for many years.[8] Murillo stated that the accusations were "a total falsehood."[8] The case was thrown out by the Supreme Court in 2001 because the statute of limitations had expired.[7]

Murillo helped re-brand Ortega after three unsuccessful election bids in 1990, 1996, and 2001 as a less extreme candidate. Ortega was elected President in 2006 and re-elected in 2011. In the 2016 general election Murillo ran as Ortega's vice-presidential candidate. She is "widely seen as the power behind the presidency" according to Al Jazeera's Lucia Newman.[9] Murillo appointed herself as "communications chief", a position which she used to address the public regularly before her vice-presidency.

Currently she and her husband control with a tight grip, and their regime is under scrutiny as the police and paramilitary groups linked with the government have killed more than 250 civilians, many of them students and children.[10] Murillo and aide Néstor Moncada Lau were particularly targeted in an executive order issued by U.S. President Donald Trump on November 27, 2018. This executive order is one of several sanctions placed against her and her husband's government by the United States since the unrest began. [11]

Personal life[]

A polyglot, she speaks Spanish, English, Italian and French; she also reads German.[12][13]

Murillo has had a history of struggling with both alcohol and drug abuse. She is known for her new age beliefs and practices.[14]

Murillo defended Ortega when her daughter Zoilamérica accused her stepfather Ortega of sexual abuse in the 1990s, which still affects her reputation with some Nicaraguans. Although Zoilamérica tried to pursue legal action, Ortega had immunity as a member of the National Assembly.[15]

Published works[]

  • Gualtayán (1975)
  • Sube a nacer conmigo (1977)
  • Un deber de cantar (1981)
  • Amar es combatir (antología) (1982)
  • En espléndidas ciudades (1985)
  • Las esperanzas misteriosas (1990)
  • Angel in the deluge (1992) translated from the Spanish by Alejandro Murguía. Template:ISBN

Further reading[]

  • Murillo, Rosario. "Intellectuals and the Sovereignty of the People." Contemporary Marxism, no. 6 (1983): 183–92.
  • Manupelli, George. "Aid to the Arts of Nicaragua." Leonardo 16, no. 2 (1983): 159–159. doi:10.2307/1574841.


  1. "Iran and Nicaragua in barter deal". BBC News. 5 August 2007. Retrieved 5 October 2007. 
  2. "Nicaragua-Venezuela Talk Cooperation". Prensa Latina. Retrieved 15 January 2008. ""... informed Government minister and first lady, Rosario Murillo."" 
  4. "Poetry and Power in Nicaragua". The New York Times. 29 March 1987. Retrieved 5 October 2007. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Laguna, Xiomara. "Etapas más importantes de Rosario Murillo" (in Spanish). Canal 2. Archived from the original on 24 November 2007. Retrieved 5 October 2007. 
  6. Ramos, Helena. "Rosario Murillo: Una cadencia de fervores" (in Spanish). Asociación Nicaragüense de Escritoras. Retrieved 5 October 2007. 
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 "Long silence from Nicaragua's president as first lady keeps press at arm's length - Committee to Protect Journalists". 
  8. 8.0 8.1 cad (1 January 1998). "Nicaragua: Ortega charged with abusing stepdaughter". Off Our Backs 28 (4): 7–7. JSTOR 20836044. 
  9. "Nicaragua: President Ortega on course for third term". 
  10. Diario, El Nuevo. "Cifra de muertos por crisis en Nicaragua asciende a 309" (in es). El Nuevo Diario. 
  11. "President Donald J. Trump is Pressuring the Nicaraguan Regime to Restore Democracy and the Rule of Law". The White House. 
  12. Salinas Maldonado, Carlos. "Su majestad Murillo; Culta y Ambiciosa" (in Spanish). La Prensa. Retrieved 17 February 2008. 
  13. Laguna, Xiomara. "Murillo la voz de Ortega" (in Spanish). Canal 2. Archived from the original on 23 July 2007. Retrieved 17 February 2008. 
  14. "Meet Daniel Ortega, Nicaragua's Rising Dictator". PanAm Post. 16 August 2016. Retrieved 4 November 2017. 
  15. "Nicaragua president's running mate: his wife". 2 November 2016. 

Template:Central America Vice Presidents