Nicaragua President Daniel Ortega in 1984 helped Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar in exchange for money, according to a leaked diplomatic cable from the U.S. embassy in Manuagua, released by WikiLeaks.
In a message sent to the State Department in May 2006, former Ambassador Paul Trivelli wrote that “in 1984 Daniel Ortega negotiated a deal with Colombian drug kingpin Pablo Escobar whereby Escobar received refuge for several months in Nicaragua after he had ordered the killing of the Colombian Minister of Justice. At the same time, Escobar’s drug trafficking operation received Ortega’s approval to land and load airplanes in Nicaragua as they sought to ship cocaine to the United States.”
In return for these favors, “Ortega and the FSLN (Ortega’s political party) received large cash payments from Escobar.”
“Interior Minister Tomas Borge and his subordinates went so far as to assist Escobar with the loading and unloading of drugs onto his airplanes in Nicaragua. The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) managed to place a hidden camera on one of Escobar’s airplanes and obtained film of Escobar and Ministry of the Interior officials loading cocaine onto one of Escobar’s planes at Managua’s international airport,” the cable continued.
According to other cables, Ortega also received money from international drug traffickers to finance 2008 polls.