Holding Accountable Nicaraguan Agents of Repression

In concert with democracies in the international community, the United States will continue to call out the Ortega-Murillo regime’s ongoing abuses and will deploy diplomatic and economic tools to support the restoration of democracy and respect for human rights in Nicaragua. To that end, the Department of State is taking steps to impose visa restrictions on 116 individuals complicit in undermining democracy in Nicaragua, including mayors, prosecutors, university administrators, as well as police, prison, and military officials.

Additionally, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) today sanctioned six members of the Ortega-Murillo regime for currently serving as officials of the Government of Nicaragua or for having served at any time on or after January 10, 2007.  We are undertaking these economic sanctions and visa restrictions to promote accountability for the Ortega-Murillo regime’s escalating authoritarianism and abuses.

The regime continues to hold 170 political prisoners, with many of those detained suffering from a lack of adequate food and proper medical care.  Others remain in solitary confinement.  Ortega’s corrupt security and judicial system arrested these individuals for practicing independent journalism, working for civil society organizations, seeking to compete in elections, and publicly expressing an opinion contrary to government orthodoxy, among other activities considered normal in a free society.

We join the European Union in taking a strong stand against the human rights abuses and disrespect for the Nicaraguan people, demonstrated by the Ortega-Murillo regime.   President Ortega will inaugurate himself for a new presidential term today, but the pre-determined election he staged on November 7 does not provide him with a new democratic mandate; only free and fair elections can do that.  The Nicaraguan people deserve nothing less.