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Friday, July 12, 2024

Nicaraguan President’s Brother Hospitalized After Treason Accusation

The dissident brother of Nicaraguan strongman Daniel Ortega, who the president has accused of “treason,” has been hospitalized, according to exiled press. Retired army general Humberto Ortega was taken to a military hospital in Managua “with symptoms of a heart attack,” according to reports by several newspapers operating in exile, mainly from Costa Rica.

Citing hospital sources, the Confidencial weekly said police transferred Ortega from his home to the military facility on Tuesday night. The government has not commented.

Last month, Nicaraguan police said they had set up a “medical care unit” at Humberto Ortega’s home, a move interpreted by the exiled media as house arrest. That came after the 77-year-old gave a media interview in which he said his brother lacked a successor, and that his circle of power would collapse in the event of his death.

A week later, the president accused his brother of having committed an act of treason for decorating a US soldier in 1992. The Ortega brothers became estranged in the 1990s due to political differences.

They were both guerrillas in the Sandinista movement that initially took power in 1979 after toppling the US-backed Somoza family dictatorship. After the movement’s rise to power, Humberto headed up the army, while Daniel headed the junta, and was later elected president from 1985 to 1990.

Daniel Ortega returned to power in 2007, and has since engaged in increasingly authoritarian practices, quashing presidential term limits and seizing control of all branches of the state.

Nicaragua has jailed hundreds of real and perceived opponents since then and shuttered more than 3,500 religious and other non-governmental organizations. Most independent and opposition media now operate from abroad.

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