The Times podcast: Daniel Ortega’s Nicaragua revolutions

A poster of Nicaragua President Daniel Ortega
A poster of Nicaragua President Daniel Ortega at the Minister of Agriculture building in the capital, Managua.
(Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)

For over 40 years, Daniel Ortega has loomed over Nicaragua like few others. He was part of the Sandinista rebel forces that in 1979 overthrew the Somoza family dynasty that had ruled the Central American nation for decades. Ortega then became part of the transitional government that instituted democratic elections, and served as president from 1985 to 1990, and again since 2007.


Over those 40 years, critics say, Ortega has transformed into the very dictator he once fought against.

Today, we talk to L.A. Times reporter Julia Barajas about a recent crackdown on opponents of Ortega in Nicaragua. We also speak with Pedro X. Molina, a political cartoonist living in exile after having drawn one too many unflattering portraits of the president.

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: L.A. Times reporter Julia Barajas, and Confidencial political cartoonist Pedro X. Molina

More reading:

International pressure mounts against Nicaragua’s crackdown on government critics

Latinx Files: What is happening in Nicaragua?

Pedro X. Molina uses cartoons to comment on the political and social realities of Nicaragua

Listen to more episodes of The Times here

About The Times

“The Times” is made by columnist Gustavo Arellano, producer Shannon Lin, senior producers Steven Cuevas and Denise Guerra, executive producer Abbie Fentress Swanson and editor Julia Turner. Our intern is Ashlea Brown. Our engineer is Mario Diaz and our theme song was composed by Andrew Eapen.