(1945-) Nicaraguan socialist politician, head of state 1981–90. He was a member of the Sandinista Liberation Front (FSLN) which overthrew the regime of Anastasio Somoza 1979, later becoming its secretary-general. US-sponsored Contra guerrillas opposed his government from 1982.
A participant in underground activities against the Somoza regime from an early age, Ortega was imprisoned and tortured several times. He became a member of the national directorate of the FSLN and fought in the two-year campaign for the Nicaraguan Revolution. Ortega became a member of the junta of national reconstruction, and its coordinator two years later. The FSLN won the free 1984 elections, but in Feb 1990, Ortega lost the presidency to US-backed Violeta Chamorro.