Birthday: October 18, 1929
Age: 91 Years, 91 Year Old Females
Sun Sign: Libra
Also Known As: Violeta Barrios de Chamorro, Violeta Barrios Torres de Chamorro
Born in: Rivas, Nicaragua
Famous as: Political leader
Height: 1.63 m
political ideology: President of Nicaragua, Head of a 14-party anti-Sandinista alliance known as the National Opposition Union (Unión Nacional Opositora, UNO)
Spouse/Ex-: Pedro Joaquín Chamorro Alfaro
Violeta Chamorro was born in Nicaragua to a wealthy family with a history of political involvement and controversy. She grew up during a politically charged time, as the two major political parties warred within Nicaragua. She was well-educated and moved to the United States for a portion of her early years to attend school and learn English. When she came back to Nicaragua, a return prompted by the death of her father, she soon met Pedro Joaquín Chamorro, who was leading the politically charged newspaper ‘La Prensa’ at the time, and married him. When her husband was assassinated, she took over ‘La Prensa’ and dedicated her life to politics. She became deeply involved in politics and joined a ‘Sandinista Party’. After a fall-out, she shifted parties and the newspaper shut down. She joined the United States-funded ‘Contras Party’ and later was nominated as a presidential candidate. She was backed by the United States and won office, thus effectively ending civil war in Nicaragua. Though her policies and changes were not always popular, but her work to establish democracy and peace among the divided parties in Nicaragua are the highlights of her political career. She retired from politics at the end of her presidential term
Childhood & Early Life
Violeta Barrios Torres de Chamorro was born on October 18, 1929 in Rivas, Nicaragua into anaffluent family. She was one of seven children.
Early on, her parents enrolled her at private schools in Nicaragua and then, to assure she was receiving the best education and learning English, sent her to the United States where she attended ‘Our Lady of the Lake University’ in San Antonio, Texas, and then ‘Blackstone College for Girls’ in Virginia. Her education in the United States met an abrupt end when her father died and she returned to Nicaragua.
She witnessed a period of civil war and revolution in Nicaragua while growing up, and her family was active in the politics of the time. They were driven into exile in 1957 for a period of time.
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Upon her husband Pedro Joaquín Chamorro's assassination, she took over his leading role at the newspaper ‘La Prensa’ in 1980 which was strongly against the then Nicaraguan leader Anastasio Somoza García.
She became a part of the ‘’Sandinista First Coalition Junta’ but due to conflicting views, left the organization and joined the opposition, ‘Contras’, which was being funded internationally at the time. During this time, ‘La Prensa’ was shut down.
In 1990, she was put up as a presidential candidate for the ‘National Opposition Union’. International support helped propel her to win office over Daniel Ortega.
The United States helped fund her campaign and infused a large amount of money into Nicaragua during her time in office. Her assumption of the presidential office ended 11 years of civil war.
She faced a number of challenges upon assuming office including a staggering inflation rate, widespread unemployment, divided political parties and high debt.
In 1992, funding from the United States was cut off. She tried to make a legal claim for the financial assistance but later withdrew it as Senator Jesse Helms claimed the forces they had fought against were influencing the Nicaraguan government.
Her governing strategy including economic reforms and cuts to spending on social programs was unpopular and did not improve the Nicaraguan economy as much as hoped. She did accomplish privatizing some industries, paring down the army and reducing censorship.
Despite the difficulties, she did improve Nicaragua during her time in office, growing the economy modestly and keeping the peace among the formerly warring factions.
Her term ended in 1997, and she did not run again, removing herself from politics at that time.
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She ran the newspaper ‘La Prensa’ after her husband's assassination which was a major political publication during the Nicaraguan civil war.
She wrote her autobiography 'Dreams of the Heart: The Autobiography of President Violeta Barrios de Chamorro of Nicaragua' which detailed the adversities she faced as she ran for office.
Awards & Achievements
She received the 1986 ‘Louis M. Lyons Award for Conscience and Integrity in Journalism’ for her work on ‘La Prensa’.
In 1991, she received the ‘Democracy Award’ from the ‘National Endowment for Democracy’, for her efforts to establish democracy in Nicaragua.
In 1997, she was awarded the ‘Path to Peace Award’by the ‘Path to Peace Foundation’, for her work in managing the opposing political parties in Nicaragua.
Personal Life & Legacy
She married in 1950 to Pedro Joaquín Chamorro and had five children with him. He was killed twenty eight years later, allegedly by a wealthy business man whom Chamorro had criticized in his newspaper ‘La Prensa’.
Her children have been divided politically, but she has been able to unite them as a family periodically.
She may be best known for helping establish democracy in Nicaragua and her work in steadying the peace between the formerly warring Contras and Sandinistas during her presidency.
She has a park named after her ‘Chamorro's Peace Park’ where a cement-covered tank stands to symbolize the Nicaraguan desire to never experience the violence of civil war again.
This famous politician was unable to campaign full-time as the elections for president of Nicaragua approached due to a broken kneecap