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Former President Ortega Hospitalized: Radio

July 7, 1991

MANAGUA, Nicaragua (AP) _ A Catholic Church radio station on Saturday reported that former Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega has been hospitalized, but a former member of his administration called the report groundless.

Ortega, leader of the leftist Sandinistas who were ousted last year, entered the Nicaraguan Military Hospital Alejandro Davila Bolanos on Thursday, Radio Catolica said. An army official on duty at the hospital refused to confirm or deny the report, saying he didn’t have the authority to do so.

″It’s a lie,″ Ortega’s former Minister of Information Manuel Espinosa told The Associated Press by telephone. ″All these lies are part of a campaign against Ortega.″

A man who answered the telephone at the 46-year-old former president’s home in Managua also said the report ″isn’t true.″ The man, who spoke on condition of anonymity, refused to give details on Ortega’s whereabouts.

Alberto Carballo, a press spokesman for Radio Catolica, said Saturday that Ortega had been urgently taken into the army’s hospital on Thursday.

″Former President Ortega was taken to the hospital in order to be examined at the Psychologic Department of Davila Bolanos Hospital,″ Carballo said. ″Ortega has been suffering from strong headaches.″

Carballo said he received information on Ortega’s health from both ″high government and Sandinista Front officials.″ He gave no details.

On Thursday, Ortega attended the funeral of a friend’s mother, said a Sandinista source, also speaking on condition of anonymity.

President Violeta Chamorro’s conservative coalition defeated Ortega’s leftist Sandinista party at the Feb. 25, 1990, presidential elections.