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Ortega media enrich his family, entrench his hold on Nicaragua | Nation

In 2018, an Ortega plan to increase social security contributions and lower pension payouts sparked demonstrations.

At first, Murillo told state and allied outlets not to cover the unrest. “The order was to ignore everything,” said Carlos Mikel Espinosa, then an editor at El 19 Digital, a state-controlled online news portal. Espinosa quit when the upheaval intensified and the government response grew violent.

Foreign governments, the United Nations, and human rights groups denounced Ortega and Sandinista allies for reported killings, beatings, detentions and torture of many protesters. Police raided newsrooms of opposition media, seizing equipment and supplies needed for publishing.

They arrested Miguel Mora, founder of 100% Noticias, a Managua television station, and shut its broadcasts. The government, Mora told Reuters, claimed the channel owed unpaid taxes, an assertion he denied. “It was a brutal attack to make us change our editorial line or to make us bankrupt,” said Mora,

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Special Report: Ortega media enrich his family, entrench his hold on Nicaragua

MANAGUA (Reuters) – In early 2010, Nicaragua’s Canal 8, an independent television network, had a new owner.

FILE PHOTO: A demonstrator holds a sign showing Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega and former President Anastasio Somoza during a protest against police violence and the government of President Ortega in Managua, Nicaragua April 23, 2018. To match Special Report NICARAGUA-POLITICS/ORTEGA REUTERS/Stringer

Details of the deal – the identity of the buyer, the purchase price, an exact date for the transaction – remained secret. The seller died of cancer soon after.

But a familiar face soon took charge at Canal 8: the son of Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega. The leftist leader, who rose to prominence in the late Cold War with his Sandinista revolutionaries, had reclaimed the presidency three years before.

Canal 8 was long known for scrutinizing administrations both left and right. But new chief executive Juan Carlos

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Ortega media enrich first family, squeeze rivals across Nicaragua

Source: Reuters reporting.

The International Monetary Fund, in a 2017 report, estimated that Nicaragua received as much as $3.2 billion from Venezuela before the South American country’s economy imploded in recent years. Nicaragua’s own central bank has said the figure reached as much as $5 billion. But neither government has ever given a full accounting of the financing or how Ortega spent the money, which is equivalent to as much as a third of Nicaragua’s annual economic output.

Spokespeople at Venezuela’s information ministry and PDVSA didn’t respond to Reuters requests for comment. 

By 2008, Ortega’s family and close associates had begun building what today is a business empire with assets in energy, security and other sectors. Juan Carlos that year launched Difuso Comunicaciones SA, an advertising agency.

The agency quickly attracted clients eager to do business with those in power. People familiar with the ad agency’s operations say it serves

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