Rosario Murillo: La Heredera (The Heiress)

The "eternally loyal" and "widely seen as the power behind the presidency"


Rosarion Murillo, the “eternally loyal” to her husband and political partner, Daniel Ortega.

In a profile by Confidencial in October 2016, before her election as the Nicaragua’s vice-president, making her roled in government an official one, Rosario Murillo is descried as “a peculario character…her personal history has captured the imagination of Nicaraguans”.


Born on June 22, 1951, Rosario Murillo, is a Nicaraguan poet and revolutionary who fought in the Sandinista revolution in 1979. Married to the current President Daniel Ortega, is the First Lady of Nicaragua, a title she also held in 1985 when her husband became President 6 years after the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) overthrew the Somoza dynasty.

Murillo has served as the Nicaraguan government’s lead spokeswoman, government minister, head of the Sandinista Association of Cultural Workers and Communications Coordinator of the Council on Communication and Citizenry and was sworn in as Vice President of Nicaragua on January 10, 2017.

A polyglot, she speaks Spanish, English, Italian and French.

Murillo and Daniel Ortega have eight children. According to Nicaraguan historian Roberto Sánchez, Murillo is maternally related to Nicaragua’s national hero, Augusto Sandino


Murillo attended high school at the Greenway Convent Collegiate School in Tiverton, Great Britain, and studied Art at the Institut Anglo-Suisse Le Manoir at La Neuveville in Switzerland. Murillo possesses certificates in the English and French language, granted respectively by the University of Cambridge in Great Britain, and University of Neuchâtel in Switzerland. She also attended the National Autonomous University of Nicaragua in her hometown, where she later became a language professor at the Instituto de Ciencias Comerciales and the Colegio Teresiano during 1967-1969.

Murillo started to gain power politically in 1998 after defending Ortega after he was accused by his stepdaughter, Murillo’s daughter, of sexually abusing her for many years. Murillo stated that the accusations were “a total falsehood.”  The case was thrown out by the Supreme Court in 2001 because the statute of limitations had expired.

Murillo helped re-brand Ortega after three unsuccessful election bids in 1990, 1996, and 2001 as a less extreme candidate. Ortega was elected President in 2006 and re-elected in 2011. In the 2016 general election Murillo ran as Ortega’s vice-presidential candidate. She is “widely seen as the power behind the presidency” according to Al Jazeera’s Lucia Newman.

Murillo has had a history of struggling with both alcohol and drug abuse.