Artist: Andrés Silva Vignoli
Title: El Jaguar
Material: Watercolour and oil pastel on paper
Dimensions: 120cm x 80cm
Daniel Ortega was a key character in the progressive left wing revolution which in 1979 toppled the Somoza family, who had ruled Nicaragua with an Iron fist for more than forty years. He was the de-facto ruler of Nicaragua in the 1980s. Despite massive international pressure and the US backed contras war, there was a level of improvement in literacy, public health and wealth distribution in the country. He lost the 1990 elections to Violeta Chamorro. From then, Ortega remained in opposition politics while fighting accusations of rape from his daughter in law which failed because of his parliamentary inmunity.
Ortega was elected back into power in 2006, when several countries in Latin America were looking back to the left after decades of systemic inequality. Since then, Ortega has modified Nicaragua´s constitution to allow for indefinite re-election, he has made his wife vice president.
This work is about his latest years in power. Since 2018 civil unrest and government repression has costed the lives of hundreds of Nicaraguans, while more than a thousand are missing. Several journalists and at least five rival presidential candidates have been imprisioned. Ahead of the November elections, it looks like Ortega will become the autocrat that he had fought forty years ago.