June 4, 2008 / 7:09 PM / 10 years ago

FACTBOX-Facts on new UN assembly head D'Escoto

June 4 (Reuters) - Former Nicaraguan Foreign Minister Miguel D’Escoto Brockmann, a fierce critic of the United States, was elected president of the U.N. General Assembly on Wednesday, a post he will hold for a year from September.

Following are some facts about D’Escoto:

— The son of a Nicaraguan diplomat, D’Escoto, 75, was born in Los Angeles and studied in the United States, where he was ordained as a Roman Catholic priest with the Maryknoll mission and embraced the left-wing liberation theology movement.

— D’Escoto has been a foreign policy adviser to Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega since he returned to power in 2006.

— Ignoring a reprimand by Pope John Paul II for backing Nicaragua’s left-wing Sandinista revolution, he ended up joining revolutionary leader Daniel Ortega’s government as foreign minister for his 1979-1990 rule, which was marked by a decade-long civil war against U.S.-backed "Contra" rebels.

— D’Escoto’s anti-American past includes successfully taking the United States to the International Court of Justice in the Hague for arming Contra rebels and staging a hunger strike against U.S. policy. In 2004 he told a U.S. news program former President Ronald Reagan was "the butcher of my people" and called President George W. Bush Reagan’s "spiritual heir".

— In the 1980s, the Sandinista government accused U.S. CIA agents of trying to murder D’Escoto by sending him a bottle of Benedictine liqueur laced with the tasteless and odorless heavy metal thallium, a favorite poison among crime writers. (Reporting by Ivan Castro; Writing by Catherine Bremer in Mexico City; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)




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