Arnoldo Alemán

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Arnoldo Alemán was a Nicaraguan lawyer who became the country’s 81st President at the age of 51. He demonstrated an early interest in politics and business, serving as an active member of organizations such as the ‘Asociación de Cafetaleros de Managua’ and the ‘Unión de Productores Agropecuarios de Nicaragua’. Soon after, he was appointed Mayor of his hometown Managua, where he was instrumental in bringing about significant positive change. He took on the task of rebuilding the city, which had been left in ruins following a massive earthquake that struck Managua. He also served as President of the ‘Liberal Alliance,’ and announced his intention to run for President of the country shortly thereafter. He defeated opposition leader Daniel Ortega and took over as President of Nicaragua from Violeta Barrios de Chamorro. During his tenure, numerous positive changes occurred, including the implementation of a completely new transportation and communication system that proved to be quite effective. Additionally, he sought to improve the country’s economic conditions by lowering inflation and promoting foreign investment. However, when Enrique Bolaos, Arnoldo’s Vice-President, succeeded him, the tables were turned and the former President was charged with corruption. Alemán was recently acquitted of all charges following the conclusion of Bolaos’ term.

Childhood & Adolescence

José Arnoldo Alemán Lacayo was born on January 23, 1946, in Managua, Nicaragua’s capital. The Alemán family was prosperous, possessing a sizable coffee estate in the city.
He earned a bachelor’s degree in financial law and regional economic integration from Nicaragua’s ‘National Autonomous University of León’ in 1967.

Career of Arnoldo Alemán

He began his career as a lawyer in the banking sector in 1968. He was later appointed an official during Anastasio Somoza Debayle’s presidency and remained in that position until the Sandinista junta overthrew the government.

In 1980, he was imprisoned for nine months and his family estate was seized by the Sadinista government. Arnoldo was unable to attend his father’s funeral during the same time period. After his release, the young lawyer spent a few years in the United States.

Alemán reintroduced himself to Nicaraguan business and politics upon his return. He was elected President of the ‘Asociación de Cafetaleros de Managua’ in 1983.

He held senior positions in top agricultural organizations such as the ‘Unión de Productores Agropecuarios de Nicaragua’, the ‘Unión de Cafetaleros de Nicaragua’, and the ‘Consejo Superior de la Empresa Privada’ between 1986 and 1990.

He also lectured at ‘Tulane University’ and ‘Florida International University’, both of which are located in the United States.

Arnoldo was appointed Mayor of Managua, Nicaragua’s capital, in the early 1990s. During his tenure as Mayor, he assisted in the reconstruction of areas of the city that had been destroyed by an earthquake more than two decades ago.

He was elected President of the ‘Liberal Alliance,’ which included political parties such as the ‘Constitutionalist Liberal Party,’ the ‘Liberal Nacionalista,’ the ‘Partidos Neoliberal,’ (‘PALI,’), and the ‘Liberal Independiente de Unidad Nacional,’.

Alemán decided to run for President in 1995, and as a result, he was required by law to resign from his position as Mayor. The following year, he ran against democratic-socialist Sandinista Party leader Daniel Ortega and won the elections, despite allegations of vote rigging.

Arnoldo took measures to improve the country’s economic conditions during his presidency. He aided in the reduction of inflation and expansion of the country’s GDP by inviting foreign investors to invest in Nicaragua’s industries.

He oversaw the repair of damaged roads and the construction of new ones throughout the country, reviving Nicaragua’s transportation system. Additionally, the President unveiled workable plans to construct schools in impoverished areas of the country.

In 2002, the President’s term expired, and he was succeeded by Vice President Enrique Bolaos. Arnoldo was accused of engaging in fraudulent behavior, and Bolaos exposed the previous government’s corruption.

These allegations were confirmed, and he was sentenced to twenty years in prison in December 2003 on fraud charges. He was charged with felonies including misappropriation of public funds and dishonest political dealings.

Alemán was acquitted of all charges and released in 2009, during the Sandinista leader Ortega’s presidency. This sparked public outrage, and suspicions of an alliance between the two politicians surfaced.

Significant Works of Arnoldo Alemán

Despite allegations of corruption, this politician was popular during his tenure due to the improvements he made to the country’s educational, economic, and transportation systems.

Awards and Accomplishments

Alemán received the Colombian and Spanish governments’ highest honors, the ‘Orden Nacional al Mérito’ and ‘Orden de Isabel la Católica’, respectively.

Personal History and Legacies

Arnoldo was married to Maria Dolores Cardenal Vargas, who passed away in 1989 due to cancer. Maria’s family includes two sons and two daughters.

He married Maria Fernanda Flores Lanzas on October 23, 1999; the couple has a son and two daughters.

This politician’s net worth was estimated to be $100 million in 2004.

Estimated Net Worth

Arnoldo is a wealthy World Leader who is ranked among the most popular World Leaders. Arnoldo Alemán’s net worth is estimated to be around $1.5 million, based on our analysis of Wikipedia, Forbes, and Business Insider.


This former Nicaraguan President is best known for his slogan, “Obras, no palabras!” (Note the actions, not the words!).