Since Saturday rumors and questions have been flying on social media about the whereabouts of Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega, who hasn’t been seen in public in 10 days.
Update: Ortega’s alive. He appeared Monday night at Managua’s international airport to welcome Cardinal Leopoldo Brenes from a trip to the Vatican. Then Ortega boarded a plane for Venezuela. Read the update here.
The original story continues here:
The rumors gained momentum over the weekend following the publication Saturday of a story in the Nicaraguan daily La Prensa that called Ortega’s absence from public view “unusual.” While it is true Ortega often skips public events, he never misses an annual tribute to an indigenous uprising 36 years ago in Monimbó, Masaya, in which his brother Camilo was killed. The commemoration event was supposed to be held Feb. 26 in Managua, but was cancelled without explanation from Sandinista spokeswoman Rosario Murillo, Ortega’s wife.
Ortega also cancelled last Thursday an official visit from Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa, citing “internal factors” in Nicaragua, La Prensa reported.
All weekend long, a stream of tweets on hashtag #DanielOrtega asked “Is he dead?” With Murillo remaining tight-lipped, no one seems to have an official answer.
Será cierta la muerte de Daniel Ortega?
— Haroldo Shetemul (@hshetemul) March 3, 2014
Murillo’s Twitter account wasn’t much help, as the First Lady has sent only one tweet, announcing she is the First Lady:
Rosario Murillo primera dama de Nicaragua, esposa de Daniel Ortega (@DanielOrtega_Ni)
— Rosario Murillo (@RosarioMurillo_) August 19, 2012
She does conduct weekly radio broadcasts, but hasn’t mentioned the whereabouts of her husband.
Among current speculation is that Ortega could be in a Cuban hospital, like his late ideological confrere Hugo Chávez, who died of cancer one year ago this month.
According to news agency DPA, Ortega suffered a serious heart condition in 1994, and could also have lupus, which would explain why he mostly attends public events only at night.
The Tico Times will continue to update this story as new, reliable information becomes available.