|Vice President of Nicaragua|
10 January 1985 – 25 April 1990
|Preceded by||Alfonso Callejas Deshón |
Francisco Urcuyo (1967)
|Succeeded by||Virgilio Godoy|
Sergio Ramírez Mercado
5 August 1942
|Political party||FSLN, MRS|
|Alma mater||National Autonomous University of Nicaragua|
Sergio Ramírez Mercado (American Spanish: [ˈseɾxjo raˈmiɾes]; born 5 August 1942 in Masatepe, Nicaragua) is a Nicaraguan writer and intellectual who was a key figure in 1979 revolution, served in the leftist Government Junta of National Reconstruction and as Vice President of the country 1985-1990 under the presidency of Daniel Ortega. He has been described as Nicaragua's "best-known living writer".
Life and career
Born in Masatepe in 1942, he published his first book, Cuentos, in 1963. He received his law degree from the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Nicaragua of León in 1964, where he obtained the Gold Medal for being the best student.
In 1977 Ramírez became head of the "Group of Twelve", a group of prominent intellectuals, priests, businesspeople, and members of civil society who publicly stated their support for the Frente Sandinista de Liberación Nacional (FSLN) in its struggle to topple the Presidency of Anastasio Somoza Debayle. The Group were forced into exile in Costa Rica, but their return was one of the key events heralding the end of the Somoza government. With the triumph of the Revolution in 1979, he became part of the Junta of the Government of National Reconstruction, where he presided over the National Council of Education. He was elected vice-president of Nicaragua in 1984 and was sworn in 1985.
Though the FSLN lost power to the UNO coalition headed by Violeta Barrios de Chamorro in 1990, Ramírez continued to serve as the leader of the Sandinista block in the National Assembly until 1995, when he founded the Movimiento de Renovación Sandinista (MRS) because of his differences with other leaders of the FSLN, such as former president Daniel Ortega, on issues of democratic reform. He has since become retrospectively critical of certain Sandinista policies that he views as having turned the country against the FSLN.
He made an unsuccessful bid for president on the MRS ticket in 1996. Since then, Ramírez has retired definitively from politics and his literary work has gained international recognition and his novels have been translated into several languages. He recently won the "Carlos Fuentes" prize, awarded by Mexico, in recognition of his life long work. During this period, he lived in Managua but traveled extensively.
He married his wife, Gertrudis "Tulita" Guerrero Mayorga, in 1964. He has three children: Sergio, María, and Dorel and eight grandchildren.
Ramírez began his literary career as a short story writer. His first story, "The student", was published in 1960 in Ventana, a magazine in León. His first book, published three years later, was a collection of stories, but the following, published in 1970, was a full-length novel. Since then, he has alternated these genres with essays and journalism. His international breakthrough came in 1998 when he won the Alfaguara Prize with his novel Margarita, How Beautiful the Sea.
In 1990, he founded La Quincena, a political journal based in Managua that would be published for ten years. He is presently a columnist for La Prensa as well as several newspapers around the world, including El País, La Jornada, El Nacional, El Tiempo and La Opinión. He is also the Director of Carátula, a Central American cultural e-magazine.
In January 2000, he was awarded the first "José María Arguedas Narrative Prize" from the Casa de las Américas. He has taught at the University of Maryland from 1999 to 2000 and again in 2001, and has been visiting professor at various major universities in the United States and Europe. He is also the President of Centroamérica cuenta, the most important literary festival in the region.
His 2021 novel, Tongolele no sabía bailar (Tongolele Didn’t Know How to Dance) is a detective novel examining the 2018 protests. Copies of the book were seized by Nicaraguan customs officials.
Awards and honors
- Latin American Short Story Award 1971 from Imagen magazine, Caracas, for his short story collection "De tropeles y tropelias".
- Dashiell Hammett International Prize for Novel 1990, for "Divine Punishment"
- Order Carlos Fonseca, the highest honor conferred by the FSLN (1990)
- Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters (France, 1993)
- Alfaguara International Novel Prize 1998 to "Margarita, how beautiful the sea"
- Laure Bataillon Award 1998 for Best Foreign Novel published in France for "Un ballo in maschera" (Le bal des masques, Éditions Rivages, 1997)
- Casa de las Américas Novel Prize 2000 José María Arguedas for Margarita, how beautiful the sea.
- Presidential Honor Medal, Pablo Neruda´s Centennial (Chile, 2004)
- Masatepe´s Favorite Son, awarded by the Municipal Council (2005 Nicaragua)
- Jose Donoso Award (Chile, 2011).
- Officer of France´s Arts and Letters (France, 2013)
- Carlos Fuentes" International Award for Literary Creation in Spanish Language granted by the Government of Mexico, through the National Council for Culture and Arts (Mexico, 2014)
- Miguel de Cervantes Prize (2017)
Novels and short stories
- Cuentos (1963)
- Tiempo de fulgor (1970)
- De Tropeles y Tropelías (1971)
- El Pensamiento vivo de Sandino (1975)
- Charles Atlas también muere (1976)
- ¿Te dio miedo la sangre? (1978)
- Castigo Divino (1988) (Divine Punishment, 2015)
- Clave de Sol (1993)
- Un baile de máscaras (1995)
- Cuentos Completos (1998)
- Margarita, está linda la mar (1998; Premio Alfaguara de Novela)
- Adiós muchachos (1999) 
- Mentiras Verdaderas (2001)
- Catalina y Catalina (2001)
- Sombras nada más (2002)
- Mil y una muertes (2004)
- El Reino Animal (2006)
- Catalina y Catalina, Alfaguara México, 2001. Contiene 11 cuentos:
- La herencia del bohemio, El pibe Cabriola, La partida de caza, Aparición en la fábrica de ladrillos, Perdón y olvido, Gran Hotel, Un bosque oscuro, Ya todo está en calma, La viuda Carlota, Vallejo y Catalina y Catalina
- Ómnibus, antología personal, cuentos, Editorial Universidad de Puerto Rico, San Juan, 2008
- Juego perfecto, Editorial Piedra Santa / Amanuense Editorial, Guatemala, 2008; 11 cuentos
- El cielo llora por mí, novel, Alfaguara, 2009 (The sky weeps for me, McPherson & Company, 2020)
- Perdón y olvido, antología de cuentos: 1960 - 2009 (2009)
- La fugitiva, novel, Alfaguara, 2011
- La girafa embarazada, children's short story (2013)
- Flores oscuras, Alfaguara, 2013. Contiene 12 relatos:
- Adán y Eva, La puerta falsa, La cueva del trono de la calavera, Ya no estás más a mi lado corazón, Las alas de la gloria, La colina 155, No me vayan a haber dejado solo, Ángela, el petimetre y el diablo, El mudo de Truro, Iowa, El autobús amarillo, Abbott y Costello y Flores oscuras
- Lo que sabe el paladar. Diccionario de los alimentos de Nicaragua, compendio en comidas y recetas, 2014
- Juan de Juanes, relatos, Alfaguara México, 2014
- Sara: sus páginas beben del mito bíblico de Abraham y Sara 6
- A la mesa con Rubén Darío, short stoaries, 2016
- Ya nadie llora por mí, crime novel, Alfaguara, 2017
- Tongolele no sabía bailar, Alfaguara, 2021
Ramírez participated in the Stock Exchange of Visions project in 2007.
Essays and testimonies
- Mis días con el rector, Ediciones Ventana, León, Nicaragua, 1965; artículos publicados en el diario La Noticia a raíz del fallecimiento del rector de la Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Nicaragua, Mariano Fiallos Gil
- Hombre del Caribe, Editorial EDUCA, Costa Rica, 1977 (biografía de Abelardo Cuadra)
- El muchacho de Niquinohomo, ensayo biográfico sobre Sandino, Unidad Editorial "Juan de Dios Muñoz", Departamento de Propaganda y Educación Política del FSLN, 1981 (reeditado en 1988 por la editorial Vanguardia, Managua)
- Pensamiento vivo de Sandino, 2 tomos, Editorial Nueva Nicaragua, Managua, 1981
- Balcanes y volcanes, Editorial Nueva América, Buenos Aires, 1983
- El alba de oro. La historia viva de Nicaragua, Editorial Siglo XXI, México, 1983
- Estás en Nicaragua, Munhnik Editores, Barcelona, 1985
- Las armas del futuro, Editorial Nueva Nicaragua, Managua, 1987
- La marca del Zorro, Editorial Nueva Nicaragua, Managua, 1989; 17 horas de conversación con el comandante guerrillero Francisco Rivera
- Quintero en septiembre de 1988
- Confesión de amor, con prólogo de Ernesto Cardenal; Ediciones Nicarao, Managua, 1991
- Oficios compartidos, Editorial Siglo XXI, México, 1994
- Biografía Mariano Fiallos, Editorial Universitaria, León, Nicaragua, 1997
- Adiós muchachos, Alfaguara 1999; una memoria de la revolución sandinista
- Mentiras verdaderas, Alfaguara México, 2001
- El viejo arte de mentir, Fondo de Cultura Económica, México, 2004
- El señor de los tristes, ensayos literarios, Editorial de la Universidad de Puerto Rico, San Juan, 2006
- Tambor olvidado, Aguilar, San José, Costa Rica, 2007
- Cuando todos hablamos, Alfaguara, 2008; contiene más de 200 artículos publicados en su blog en el portal literario El Boomeran(g)
- History of Vicepresidency Archived 2008-10-25 at the Wayback Machine
- Jones, Sam (18 September 2021). "'A feeling of deja vu': author Sergio Ramírez on ex-comrade Ortega and Nicaraguan history repeating". the Guardian. Retrieved 17 November 2021.
- "Nicaragua: Chronicle of an Election Foretold". NACLA. 8 November 2021. Retrieved 17 November 2021.
- Jacobson, Savannah (20 September 2021). "Press freedom, protest, and the Nicaragua election". Columbia Journalism Review. Retrieved 17 November 2021.
- "Sergio Ramirez wins Mexico's Carlos Fuentes Prize". Latino Fox News. 11 November 2014. Archived from the original on 13 November 2014. Retrieved 12 November 2014.
- Memory and Trauma in International Relations: Theories, Cases and Debates edited by Erica Resende, Dovile Budryte p.187
- Maciel, Alejandro (3 September 2021). "'Tongolele no sabía bailar' es la novela más reciente de la trilogía de Sergio Ramírez". Los Angeles Times en Español (in Spanish). Archived from the original on 3 September 2021. Retrieved 11 September 2021.