I’m all in favor of more female participation in politics, but I prefer if it comes in the form of official participation. The Miami Herald had an article about the concentration of power in Nicaragua behind Daniel Ortega and his wife Rosario Murillo. The photo below gives you an idea of why people bring up “flower child” when discussing her. Apparently looks can be deceiving though. After her daughter accused Ortega of molesting her as a child, Murillo sided with him, calling her daughter “mentally unstable” and an “enemy of the state.” It’s rumored that she runs much of the government now, and that this was the quid-pro-quo of turning against her daughter.
So why do people say she has so much influence? Here are some details:
1. “She presides over Cabinet meetings and makes most of the government’s public pronouncements.”
2. “Nearly every weekday, she speaks soothingly on state television, explaining public projects, discussing weather, touting the achievements of her husband’s political party, the Sandinista Front, and even showing her esoteric side, encouraging Nicaraguans to embrace “Mother Earth” and to act kindly to one another.”
3. “Call any government official or any Sandinista Front deputy in the National Assembly, and he or she is unlikely to speak without Murillo’s OK.”
4. “She doesn’t let any Cabinet member talk. If there is a health problem, it is not the health minister who speaks. It is her,” said Oscar-Rene Vargas, a Swiss-trained sociologist who was a supporter of the Sandinista Front when it took power for the first time in 1979.”
5. “Her current list of titles starts with government spokeswoman. But she’s also Cabinet chief on all social issues and presides over the Councils of Citizen Power, ubiquitous neighborhood groups that channel food aid and other assistance.”
The president of the Nicaraguan-American Chamber of Commerce, Diego Vargas Montealegre, summed up the situation by stating “There’s a lot of concentration of power, and this is not good.” Couldn’t agree more.
Some speculate that she is plotting her political future for after Ortega passes. The article notes that Ortega is “said to suffer from debilitating lupus or another illness that prevents him from going outside much during daylight hours.” (Vampire?)
It definitely sounds like she aims to give Evita a run for her money.