Nicaragua: Ortega Loses a Key Mayor and his Communications Director to Covid-19

Orlando Castillo, director of TELCOR and Orlando Noguera, mayor of Masaya, are dead. Photo: Courtesy

VP Murillo doesn’t specify cause, but medical sources confirm admission to the Military Hospital; FSLN legislator, Rita Fletes, also passed away.

By Confidencial

HAVANA TIMES – The director of the Nicaraguan Institute of Telecommunications and Postal Services (TELCOR), Orlando Castillo, died on Tuesday, June 2, after several weeks as a patient in the Military Hospital, according to medical sources.

The news of Castillo’s death was confirmed by the Vice President, spokesperson and First Lady, Rosario Murillo, who in her daily address recalled the memory of the former director of TELCOR, and of Orlando Noguera, mayor of Masaya, who died this Monday, also affected—according to family sources—by Covid-19.

“In the revolution, we live their legacy,” said Murillo, without detailing the causes of death of both officials.

FSLN National Assembly member Rita Fletes, who participated in the door-to-door visits by the Ministry of Health, also died this Tuesday, due to Covid-19. Murillo did not mention the death of the legislator.

Orlando Castillo, the sanctioned director of TELCOR

Castillo has served as director of TELCOR since 2007. He remained in office, despite the fact that on June 21, 2019, he was sanctioned by the United States Treasury Department, along with the president of the National Assembly, Gustavo Porras, and the ministers of Health (MINSA) and Transportation (MITRAB), Sonia Castro and retired general Oscar Mojica, respectively.

Orlando Castillo, director of TELCOR. Photo: Taken from “La Voz del Sandinismo” (The Voice of Sandinismo)

At the head of TELCOR, Castillo gave the order to censor “100% Noticias” channel during the April 2018 civic rebellion.

At the end of that same year, he coerced Channel 12 end broadcast of the “Esta Noche” and “Esta Semana” programs, directed by Carlos Fernando Chamorro.

Orlando Noguera, Mayor of Masaya

Murillo also confirmed in passing the death of Orlando Noguera, mayor of Masaya. Confidencial had reported the mayor’s disappearance for more than seven days and this Monday family and medical sources confirmed his demise. The Masaya Mayor’s Office also acknowledged his death on its Facebook page.

“We remember Orlando (Noguera), (mayor) of Masaya. We also hold the memory of Orlando Castillo, director of TELCOR. To all of them, with the strength of the Revolution we live their legacy. When one of them makes the passage to another plane of life, their legacy remains,” said Murillo.

Orlando Noguera, Mayor of Masaya, in the 40th anniversary of the Tactical Retreat to Masaya celebration, in July of 2019, together with Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo.   Photo: Government

Murillo said that “when so special brothers make the passage to another plane of life their legacy, their courage and the love with which they served the Nicaraguan people at all times remain.”

Sources linked to the family of the mayor of Masaya, Orlando Noguera, announced his death on Monday, June 1. Noguera had been urgently admitted to the Alejandro Davila Bolanos Military Hospital, in Managua, on May 22, with symptoms of Covid-19.

On Saturday, May 23, relatives of the mayor revealed that he had died at about half past two in the afternoon, but an hour later they indicated that he had managed to overcome the crisis, after suffering a heart attack, and was recovering.

Rita Fletes, alternate deputy of the FSLN

The Sandinista alternate deputy, Rita del Socorro Fletes Zamora, died on Tuesday, June 2, after several days as an inpatient in the Military Hospital, with symptoms of the new coronavirus, according to sources of the National Assembly.

In a 2014 image, the deputy Rita Fletes, with the then Sandinista deputy Amilcar Navarro. Photo: Taken from “19 Digital”

Fletes was also one of the main leaders of the National Workers’ Front (FNT) Union. She represented the self-employed sector.

The death of Fletes was confirmed by the first Vice President of Parliament, Ortega supporter Maritza Espinales, who asked for a one-minute applause for the memory of the Sandinista deputy, at the beginning of the plenary session on Tuesday.

Fletes was the alternate deputy for Carlos Emilio Lopez. She was elected as a regular legislator in 1996, but since the 2007 period she remained an alternate member of parliament.