US Congress Demands More Sanctions on the Ortega Regime in Nicaragua

El Capitolio, en Washington, Estados Unidos.

Bipartisan resolution calls on the international community to restrict financing, until free and fair elections are held in Nicaragua.

By Juan Carlos Bow  (Confidencial)

HAVANA TIMES – The United States Congress passed a resolution urging the Trump administration to increase sanctions against the Nicaraguan regime, which has “violated the human rights of its citizens” and committed “acts of corruption.”

The resolution, supported by congresspeople of the Republican and Democratic parties, demands that the US government “continue to apply pressure on the government of (Daniel) Ortega” and consider “additional sanctions” against corrupt officials who violate the human rights of the country’s citizens.

Nicaragua is one of the few national or international issues where both parties are in harmony, with nearly the entire Congress repudiating the Ortega regime.

The congressional resolution, passed on Monday, comes five days after the US Treasury Department imposed a sanction against the Nicaraguan National Police, the first institution of the state punished.

They also put sanctions on three top Police officials: General Luis Alberto Perez Olivas, head of the Directorate of Judicial Assistance, which controls the infamous El Chipote prison; Justo Pastor Urbina, head of the Police Special Operations; and Juan Alberto Valle Valle, head of the Managua Traffic Brigade Directorate.

Restrict financing

The resolution “recognizes and supports the efforts of the United States government to promote democracy in Nicaragua and hold responsible for their actions corrupt officials and violators of human rights.”

The National Police and the three commissioners joined the list which includes 18 officials punished by the United States – including the first lady and vice president, Rosario Murillo – and six sanctioned institutions, all linked to the businesses of the presidential family.

Congress also urges the “international community to restrict access to foreign financing,” until the Ortega dictatorship allows “free, fair and monitored elections by credible local and international observers.”

Regarding electoral reforms, the document urges the regime to “respect the constitutional rights of Nicaraguans” and implement “electoral reforms”, which include free, multiparty elections open to international observation.”

The bipartisan demand conforms with an agreement reached in March 2019, in the second attempt at national dialogue between the Ortega government and representatives of the Civic Alliance for Justice and Democracy and the Blue and White National Unity.

Freedom for political prisoners

Along the same lines, the Congressional resolution condemns the Nicaraguan Government for its “continuous breach” of the agreements within the Organization of American States (OAS).

The representatives demand the “immediate release of all political prisoners without conditions,” and the cessation of “all acts of violence, repression and intimidation against dissenting voices in Nicaragua.”

At least 61 Nicaraguans remain as political prisoners in the jails of the dictatorship, according to figures from organizations of their parents and relatives.

An initiative of two congressmen

The resolution was presented by two congressmen of the Western Hemisphere, Civil Security and Commerce subcommittee of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Congress. The representatives were Albio Sires, a Democrat for New Jersey and president of the subcommittee, and Francis Rooney, a Republican for Florida.

In a joint statement, Sires said “this resolution condemns the system of repression of Daniel Ortega and expresses solidarity with those who have been persecuted by his regime.”

“(The resolution) makes it clear that until the Ortega government releases all political prisoners and implements electoral reforms that allow for truly free, fair and fully transparent elections, the United States government must work with its allies to increase even more the financial and political pressure on Ortega and his internal circle.”

Rooney said the regime will face more “international pressure and sanctions from the United States,” if it does not respect “human rights and allow free and fair elections.”

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