José Daniel Ortega Saavedra (Spanish pronunciation: [daˈnjel oɾˈteɣa]; born November 11, 1945) is a Nicaraguan politician who has been President of Nicaragua since 2007; previously he was leader of Nicaragua from 1979 to 1990, first as Coordinator of the Junta of National Reconstruction (1979–1985) and then as President (1985–1990). A leader in the Sandinista National Liberation Front (Frente Sandinista de Liberación Nacional, FSLN), his policies in government have seen the implementation of leftist reforms across Nicaragua. Born into a working-class family, from an early age Ortega opposed ruling President Anastasio Somoza Debayle, widely recognized as a dictator, and became involved in the underground movement against his regime. Joining the Sandinistas as a student in 1963, Ortega’s urban resistance activities led to his arrest in 1967. After his release in 1974, he also travelled to Cuba to receive training in guerilla warfare from Fidel Castro's Marxist–Leninist government. He played a crucial role in forming the Insurrectionist faction, which united the FSLN and sparked the mass uprisings of 1978-1979. After the Nicaraguan Revolution resulted in the overthrow and exile of Somoza's government, Ortega became leader of the ruling multipartisan Junta of National Reconstruction. In 1984, Ortega, the FSLN candidate, won Nicaragua's free presidential election with over 60 percent of the vote. A Marxist–Leninist, his first period in office was characterized by a controversial program of nationalization, land reform, wealth redistribution and literacy programs. Ortega's relationship with the United States was never very cordial, due to U.S. support for Somoza prior to the revolution.
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