EU & USA Penalize Ortega’s Institutions and Officials

Daniel Ortega met with allies in Havana in December.  Photo: CNN
Among those sanctioned by the EU are two children of the presidential couple, Laureano and Camila Ortega; the Superintendent of Banks and three electoral magistrates

By Confidencial

HAVANA TIMES – On Monday, January 10, the European Union (EU) sanctioned seven senior officials of the Nicaraguan regime, including two children of the presidential couple —Laureano and Camila Ortega Murillo—, as well as three institutions: the National Police, the Supreme Electoral Council (CSE) and the Nicaraguan Institute of Telecommunications and Postal Services (Telcor).

The list is completed by: Luis Angel Montenegro, Superintendent of Banks; Nahima Janett Diaz Flores, director of Telcor; and three magistrates of the Electoral Power, Lumberto Ignacio Campell Hooker, Brenda Isabel Rocha Chacón and Cairo Amador Arrieta, the latter two being president and vice president of the CSE, respectively.

The EU Council, which brings together the member states, indicated in a statement that those sanctioned “are responsible for serious human rights violations, including repression of civil society, support for fraudulent presidential and parliamentary elections, and the undermining of democracy and the rule of law,” in Nicaragua.

In the statement, the Council recalls that, last November, the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell, pointed out that the Nicaraguan elections “had taken place without democratic guarantees and that their results lacked legitimacy.”

“He declared that the Government of Nicaragua has deprived the Nicaraguan people of the civil and political right to vote in credible, inclusive, fair and transparent elections, as well as their freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly,” according to the statement.

Those sanctioned have their assets immobilized and, in addition, EU citizens and companies are prohibited from making funds available to them.

Three rounds of penalties

This is the third round of sanctions by the European Union against the Ortega regime since 2020. With these seven new sanctioned, the figure rises to 21 high-ranking officials punished by the EU.

The first European sanctions occurred in May 2020. On that date, six senior officials were sanctioned, among them the director of the National Police, Francisco Diaz, as well as Luis Alberto Perez Olivas, head of the Directorate of Judicial Assistance (DAJ); Justo Pastor Urbina, head of the Directorate of Special Operations (DOEP), and Ramon Avellan, deputy director of the National Police. The list was completed by the close collaborator of the presidential couple, Nestor Moncada Lau, and the former Minister of Health, Sonia Castro.

The second round of sanctions, in August 2021, covered eight senior officials, including the vice president and first lady, Rosario Murillo, and her son Juan Carlos Ortega Murillo.

The list was completed by Alba Luz Ramos Vanegas, president of the Supreme Court of Justice (CSJ); Bayardo Arce Castaño, presidential advisor for economic affairs; Gustavo Porras Cortes, president of the National Assembly; Ana Julia Guido Ochoa, attorney general; and Fidel Domínguez Alvarez, Chief of Police in León; and Juan Antonio Valle Valle, National Chief of Surveillance and Patrols.

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US Sanctions Six Ortega Officials Before His Reinauguration

The US Treasury Department sanctioned the Defense Minister, the Army Chief of Staff, Telcor and Eniminas officials.

On Monday, January 10, the United States joined the European Union in bringing new sanctions against officials and institutions of the Ortega government. The US Treasury Dept. sanctioned six operators of the Ortega-Murillo regime, including the Minister of Defense, Rosa Adelina Barahona and the Chief of the Army General Staff, Bayardo Ramon Rodriguez Ruiz.

“The Ortega-Murillo regime continues to subjugate democracy through sham elections, silencing peaceful opposition and holding hundreds of people as political prisoners,” said Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, Brian E. Nelson, on the sanctions.

Bayardo De Jesus Pulido Ortiz, Brigadier General and Head of the Personnel and Cadre Department of the Nicaraguan Army and member of the Board of Directors of the Military Institute of Social Welfare (IPSM), is also sanctioned.

The three officials are part of the IPSM. According to the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the United States Department of the Treasury, the Nicaraguan Army “not only refused to order the disarmament and dismantling of paramilitary or para-police forces during and after the political uprisings, but it also provided weapons to irregular forces who committed acts of violence against Nicaraguans.”

Sanctions against Telcor and Eniminas officials

The sanctions affect Telcor’s general director, Nahima Janett Díaz Flores and Celina Delgado Castellon, Telcor’s deputy director and member of the board of directors of the National Electricity Transmission Company (Enatrel) on behalf of Telcor.

The US also sanctions Ramon Humberto Calderon Vindell, retired major general, former chairman of the board of directors of the Nicaraguan state oil company Petroleos de Nicaragua and president of the Board of Directors of Eniminas.

In the statement they recall that on November 1, 2021, Meta (formerly Facebook Inc.) eliminated a troll farm of more than 1,000 social media accounts “managed by the Ortega-Murillo regime, operated mainly by Telctor employees, to influence public opinion in favor of the regime and disseminate false information.”

Regarding the sanction of an Eniminas official, they detail that the creation of that institution by the Nicaraguan Government in 2017, “increased state participation in the mining sector, especially in gold extraction, through joint ventures with private companies.”

“The value of Nicaraguan gold exports has increased dramatically in recent years, boosting the profits of its allies in the private sector and increasing the income of Eniminas, which is managed by important figures of the ruling party,” said OFAC.

About sanctions

The sanctions, carried out in conjunction with the European Union (EU), come just before the presidential couple “are scheduled to take office today (January 10) after fraudulent national elections orchestrated by the regime in November, further consolidating their grip on power to the detriment of the Nicaraguan people.”

“The United States and our partners are sending a clear message to President Ortega, Vice President Murillo, and their inner circle that we continue to support the Nicaraguan people in their calls for the immediate release of these political prisoners and a return to democracy,” said the US Government.

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Read more from Nicaragua here on Havana Times.


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