Nicaragua appoints ex-guerrilla as new ambassador to UN

Managua, Dec 17 (EFE).- Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega has appointed an ex-guerrilla, Orlando José Tardencilla Espinoza, as his new ambassador to the United Nations office in Switzerland, less than a month after securing another five years in power.

Tardencilla, a lawyer by profession who was arrested on Jan.31, 1981, in El Salvador during the Salvadoran civil war, was appointed by Ortega as permanent representative of Nicaragua with the rank of extraordinary and plenipotentiary ambassador to the Office of the Organization of the UN and other international organizations, based in Geneva, Switzerland.

Ortega also appointed Tardencilla as the permanent representative of Nicaragua to the Geneva-based World Trade Organization (WTO) with the rank of ambassador.

The ministry of foreign affairs also appointed him to the position of minister counselor with consular functions of the Nicaraguan embassy in Switzerland.

He has been a deputy in the National Assembly for the ruling Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) and in the Central American Parliament.

Tardencilla, who fought against the Somoza dictatorship overthrown in 1979, joined the then Salvadoran guerrilla Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN) in 1980.

He was arrested in 1981 when he was 18.

After a year in Salvadoran prisons, he was sent to the United States to testify that his presence in El Salvador was evidence that the Sandinistas, aided by the Cuban government led by Fidel Castro, were exporting war and communism in the region.

However, when US officials presented him before journalists in a famous press conference on March 14, 1982, Tardencillas said the opposite and recanted earlier assertions about outside interference in El Salvador.

He suggested that he had been in El Salvador as a private individual and had not seen another Nicaraguan or a Cuban there.

He even accused the US of “being determined to attack the Nicaraguan revolution.”

He said his statement in El Salvador had been forced from him by torture and death threats and denounced the US-backed Salvadoran government as “criminal” and “fascist.” EFE


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