Violetta Chamorro – Nicaragua’s First Woman President
They say there is a first for everything, and in Nicaragua, the honor goes
to Violetta Chamorro. She was born on 8 October 1929 and became the wife of a
popular journalist and publisher, Joaquin Chamorro. Her husband served time in
prison for his articles that spoke of corruption and exposed many unsavory
aspects of the Nicaraguan government. Tragically, Joaquin Chamorro was assassinated
on 10 January 1978 and thereafter Violetta Chamorro would become a publisher and
literary foot soldier in the fight against political corruption and for the hope of
a brighter future in Nicaragua.
After the Somoza government was overthrown, Violetta Chamorro supported the new
government by joining the Junta of National Reconstruction. It did not take her long
to see that the man she had helped become president, Daniel Ortega, was amongst those
who were believed to be squandering money for personal gain. Chamorro was unimpressed
with the serious changes that she felt were necessary in Nicaragua to improve the lives
of its citizens. Disgruntled, MS. Chamorro resigned from the Junta to start on her own
political and social journey- one that would write her name in the history books.
In 1990, Violetta Chamorro ran for the position of president of Nicaragua and in
that April she defeated Daniel Ortega to become the 48th President of Nicaragua and
its first woman President. In her term, from 1990 to 1997, Chamorro implemented needed
changes in her country – some of which criticized and others applauded. With the assistance
and backing of the United States, Violetta Chamorra devoted her energies to healing the
divide caused by civil war and strove to improve the economic well-being of the country
and bring peace to the people of Nicaragua.
Violetta Chamorro also turned her attention to preserving the outdoors and nature by
declaring three sections of the Miskito area as natural parks and ‘nature reserves‘.
This event took place on 31 October 1991. The Bosawas Reserve and the Miskito Cays Coastal
Reserve now form part of the 2.5 million hectares of protected land in Nicaragua. The fight
to transform Nicaragua is an ongoing process that started with the strength of a housewife
and the determination of a widow. Violetta Chamorro, or Violeta Barrios de Chamorro, is a
woman that left her mark on the history of Nicaragua and will be remembered by future generations.