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Paul Oquist, Key US Born Aide to Daniel Ortega, Dies

Oquist’s death appears related to COVID-19. The prominent Nicaraguan official was sanctioned by the US Treasury Dept. in October 2020.

Paul Oquist Kelley, US born member of the Ortega regime’s inner circle, passed away on April 13th. His death was confirmed by medical sources linked to the “Alejandro Davila Bolaños” Military Hospital in Managua.  Oquist was admitted there a few days earlier, with symptoms commonly associated with COVID-19. He was a long-time close adviser to Daniel Ortega, serving as Minister and Private Secretary to the Presidency on National Policy.

The notice of his death was confirmed by National Assembly president, Gustavo Porras at the opening of the legislative session that same day. Porras didn’t offer any other details.

Previously, social networks tied to Sandinista sympathizers had posted public condolences for the death of the government official. Later, Ortega and Murillo did offer a declaration saying: ““Paul Oquist Kelly served the people, the families, all Nicaraguans with love, faithfulness, commitment and untiring bravery.” 

Paul Oquist Sanctioned by the US Treasury Department

Paul Oquist was sanctioned by the US Treasury Department in October 2020. At that time, the Treasury Department’s press release stated: “Oquist, the Secretary of the Presidency, represents the Government of Nicaragua internationally in a variety of roles and plays a lead role in spreading disinformation to cover up the regime’s crimes and misdeeds of horrific human rights abuses.

“In numerous interviews with international English-language media and in meetings with foreign representatives, Oquist has spread the Ortega regime’s false narratives and propaganda. Additionally, Oquist has pled the Ortegas’ case internationally with an unrelenting flow of lies to conceal or justify the regime’s abuses.”

At the time Attorney General Ana Julia Guido and the Rural National (RL) Savings and Loan Cooperative were sanctioned along with Oquist.

In his position as private secretary to the presidency, Oquist designed the plans that international organizations required from the Ortega regime. As an expert in designing plans, flowcharts and projections, he supplied the bureaucratic rationale for the government’s external image. His role was reported in more detail in an April 17th Confidencial investigation entitled: “The rings of power and Ortega’s and Murillo’s operators”.

Paul Oquist was born in 1943 in Oaks Park, Illinois, in the United States. He graduated from UCLA in Political Science and Public Administration, and later obtained a doctorate there in Political Science. He also studied in Santiago, Chile. He served as executive secretary of Nicaragua’s commission for the “Great Inter-Oceanic Canal”. At one point, he projected that, by 2016, Nicaragua’s gross national product would increase by 11% due to investments in the canal. The project never got off the ground.

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