Paul Oquist, advisor to President Daniel Ortega, in June 2013 during a conference in Managua on the interoceanic canal that the Government intended to build in Nicaragua.Carlos Herrera
Paul Oquist Kelly, advisor and private minister for National Policies to President Daniel Ortega, died at dawn on April 13 at the Alejandro Dávila Bolaños Military Hospital, in Managua, after spending several days intubated in the Intensive Care Unit.
The government acknowledged the death of one of the president's main operators through a statement issued several hours later, but did not specify the cause of death.
With Oquist, there are already 12 senior Sandinista officials who have died from causes related to the pandemic.
Medical sources consulted by EL PAÍS assured that Oquist died with clear symptoms of covid-19, the disease that the Ortega Administration - even Oquist himself - has minimized.
The cause of death was "pulmonary embolism", a clinical picture "common in all patients who are infected with coronavirus", according to health sources.
"In other words, a ventilatory deterioration caused by covid-19," the doctors detailed.
“We celebrate Paul's life, grateful to the Lord, because he allowed us to count on his special intelligence, with his brotherly vision, with his proposal of justice and rights for our people and for the peoples of the world;
with that insurmountable domain of international relations, of the organizations, which he knew so well, and with which he related us in a profound and extraordinary way, ”says the statement signed by President Ortega and his vice president and wife, Rosario Murillo.
Oquist was born in Illinois, United States, in 1943. At the end of the seventies he began his career in Sandinismo, specifically at the revolutionary dawn that overthrew the Somoza dictatorship, when he worked closely with Commander Ortega as the main strategist of the public administration back then.
Oquist played a decisive role in the negotiations that led to the surrender of the
, financed at that time by Washington.
In the 1990s, after Ortega's defeat at the polls against former President Violeta Barrios de Chamorro, Oquist traveled to various countries as a consultant.
He was one of the leading experts of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in Chile and Ecuador.
In 2007, when Ortega returned to the presidency, Oquist was appointed coordinator of the National Policy Council and became one of the most visible faces of the regime on the international stage.
In 2018, after the repression exerted by the police and parastatal groups related to the Government against the demonstrations that demanded the end of Ortega's mandate, Oquist traveled the world denying the crimes against humanity denounced by national and international human rights organizations.
That is why in October 2020 the US Treasury Department sanctioned him for "playing a leading role in spreading disinformation to cover up the crimes of the regime and the misdeeds of horrible human rights abuses."
“In numerous interviews with international English-speaking media and in meetings with foreign representatives, Oquist has spread the false narratives and propaganda of the Ortega regime.
In addition, he has defended the case of the Ortegas at the international level with an incessant flow of lies to hide or justify the abuses of the regime, ”insisted Washington.
After the sanction, Ortega canceled some positions that Oquist held, including that of a member of the Board of Directors of the Nicaraguan Petroleum Companies (PETRONIC).
In the last two years, the advisor has dedicated himself to promoting
, a book of his authorship on "philosophy and the political economy of existence and extinction."
In May 2020, at the peak of infections and death from the covid-19 pandemic, Oquist used the Twitter account of his book as a platform to minimize the pandemic.
It did so in consequence with the denial tone of the Sandinista government in the face of the coronavirus, which has never declared a quarantine to stop the disease.
“Quarantines are for the sick, those exposed to contagion and the vulnerable at high risk, not for everyone and less for entire societies for long periods.
And they become formulas for individual, collective and economic depressions, ”wrote Oquist.
“Viral fear takes the virus out of context.
It is not the repetition of the Spanish influenza of 1918-1920.
It is not the infectious disease of the century or even of the year ”, the presidential adviser expressed in another trill.
Senior Sandinista officials killed by covid
With Paul Oquist, there are already 12 senior officials of the Ortega Government who have died from causes related to covid-19.
According to an investigation by
, the renowned Sandinista members killed by the pandemic that they have denied so much so far are: Orlando Noguera, mayor of Masaya;
Orlando Castillo Castillo, director of the national telecommunications company, Telcor;
Rita Fletes Zamora, FSLN alternate deputy;
Roberto Moreira, Government advisor and cousin of Deputy Wilfredo Navarro;
Armando Navarrete, director for Nicaragua before the Central American Bank for Economic Integration;
Francisco Abea, director of tax policies;
Óscar Cruz, general manager of the financial Caruna;
and Henry Quintanilla, professor at the National Autonomous University of Nicaragua (UNAN).
Another senior official who died due to the coronavirus was the mythical "Commander Zero", Edén Pastora.
Like Oquist, he died in the Military Hospital on the floor intended solely to treat severe cases of covid.
The Government, however, does not acknowledge his death due to the virus.
After the announcement of the death of Oquist, a publication of the mayor of the Caribbean city of Bluefields circulated on social networks, in whose photos a smiling presidential adviser without a mask is seen with other people during the Easter holidays.
After that, Oquist went to the Military Hospital where he got worse, was intubated and died.
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