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Daniel Ortega Criticizes His Brother Humberto and Calls Him a 'Traitor'

The dictator said his brother, Humberto Ortega, as head of the Army, “gave his soul to the devil” back in 1992

Daniel Ortega Humberto Ortega

Redacción Confidencial

30 de mayo 2024

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Nine days after the “house arrest” order against the former Army Chief Humberto Ortega, his brother, Nicaragua’s dictator Daniel Ortega, unexpectedly appeared on the night of May 28, 2024, to annul a medal granted by the now-retired general back in 1992. During the event, Daniel Ortega used several derogatory terms against his brother in the presence of the high command of the Nicaraguan Army, although he refused to mention his name throughout the event.

The dictator annulled an order given by his younger brother while he was Chief of the Sandinista People’s Army (EPS) to the then US military attaché in Managua, Lieutenant Colonel Dennis F. Quinn, on January 14, 1992. He said that since 32 years ago, “the then Army Chief” had “given his soul to the devil.” The event also included the participation of the Police leadership, authorities from the revived Ministry of the Interior (formerly Governance), hundreds of military personnel, officers, and Ortega supporters.


“How shameful! What a disgrace! A betrayal of the people! A betrayal of the homeland,” exclaimed Ortega before invalidating the decoration by presidential decree. “Even back then, the (then) Army Chief had given his soul to the devil.”

Humberto Ortega has been under “house arrest” since Sunday, May 19, 2024, following the publication of an interview in the Argentine media outlet Infobae.

Through the presidential decree, Ortega ordered the “annulment, invalidation, and withdrawal” of the order he referred to as “that infamy, that decoration to a Yankee officer.”

Daniel Ortega had previously reproached Humberto Ortega

In the past, Daniel had already reproached Humberto Ortega for awarding that medal. However, it is now, 32 years later, with the former military chief under “de facto house arrest” and during in a public act in the presence of the high command of the Nicaraguan Army and the National Police, that Ortega says that “the then Army chief” committed the “sacrilege” of awarding the gold medal for valor 'Camilo Ortega' to the then US military attaché in 1992.

“During the neoliberal government [of Violeta Chamorro], they appointed [Humberto Ortega] as their defense minister, an enemy of the people and the Army itself. But he [the US military attaché] had a very good relationship with the Army Chief at that time, who committed the sacrilege of awarding the gold medal to the US government’s military delegate in Nicaragua. Giving the Camilo Ortega medal to the Yankee. How shameful, a betrayal of the people, of the homeland,” Daniel said at the event, which he justified as the commemoration of the 45th anniversary of the start of the final offensive against the Somoza dictatorship, overthrown on July 19, 1979.

When mentioning the event, Ortega had no hesitation in mentioning the name of Camilo Ortega, also his and Humberto’s brother, who was killed in Masaya in February 1978 during the guerrilla struggle.

“We have had a historical debt, a historical debt with a Sandinista brother whom we once called in the Front (Sandinista National Liberation Front) the Apostle of Unity, because amidst the differences that existed, he fought for unity, and later fell in combat,” he said about Camilo.

“This inconceivable action [by Humberto Ortega] is qualified as a national disgrace. Evidently, it constitutes an act of surrender and betrayal to the homeland,” says the decree read by Ortega, adding: “Annul, invalidate, and withdraw that infamy that offends dignified Nicaraguans.”

Subsequently, Ortega awarded the “Augusto C. Sandino Order,” in its highest degree, to members of the Gaspar Garcia Laviana Light Hunter Battalion, who participated in the downing of a US Central Intelligence Agency plane in October 1986.

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The dictator says Rosario Murillo opposed giving the medal in 1992

Daniel Ortega claimed that the order given to the “Yankee invader” aroused annoyance and rejection among the Sandinistas at the time, mentioning a written statement from his wife, now government spokeswoman and vice president, Rosario Murillo, who has always had clashes with her brother-in-law.

The president, who did not explain why he was only now annulling that order, insisted that awarding a medal to a US military officer is a “national dishonor,” an “act of betrayal,” “an act of surrender and betrayal to the homeland.”

With this decree, he said, “today that humiliating stain is wiped clean,” and the “affront” of his brother, whose cell phones and computers have been seized after questioning the “dictatorial” succession of the president, is erased.

What retired General Humberto Ortega said

On May 21, Nicaraguan authorities reported that they assessed Humberto Ortega’s health status in an attempt to justify his real condition of “house arrest” days after the retired military officer stated to the Argentine media outlet Infobae that the president’s “dictatorial” power has no successors within his family or the Sandinista ranks and that there should be elections after his death.

In the interview with Infobae, published on May 19, Humberto Ortega said that his older brother, who has been in power in Nicaragua since 2007, has no suitable successors, including his wife and children, and that in the event of his absence or death, there would be a significant power vacuum.

The general’s statement “is an offense and a personal challenge” to Murillo, who “has positioned herself for years as the other ruler of Nicaragua and as Daniel Ortega’s successor in power,” assessed the legendary dissident Sandinista guerrilla Dora María Tellez.

Claiming that the president’s “dictatorial” power “has no successors” within his family and Sandinismo and that there should be elections after his death is a “mortal” proposition for Murillo, according to former dissident Sandinista guerrilla Monica Baltodano.

Nicaragua has been experiencing a political and social crisis since April 2018, which worsened after the discredited general elections on November 7, 2021, in which Ortega was reelected for a fifth term, the fourth consecutive, with his main opponents in prison. Later, in 2023, they were expelled from the country, stripped of their nationality and political rights.

Those Ortega has previously accused of betrayal have been imprisoned, denationalized, and even exiled and stripped of their assets.

This article was published in Spanish in Confidencial and translated by Havana Times. To get the most relevant news from our English coverage delivered straight to your inbox, subscribe to The Dispatch.

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Redacción Confidencial

Redacción Confidencial

Confidencial es un diario digital nicaragüense, de formato multimedia, fundado por Carlos F. Chamorro en junio de 1996. Inició como un semanario impreso y hoy es un medio de referencia regional con información, análisis, entrevistas, perfiles, reportajes e investigaciones sobre Nicaragua, informando desde el exilio por la persecución política de la dictadura de Daniel Ortega y Rosario Murillo.

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