New sanctions following sham elections in Nicaragua

The facade of the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

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The United States is acting to promote accountability for Nicaraguan officials in the wake of the November sham election in Nicaragua.  The Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control has imposed sanctions against the Nicaraguan Public Ministry and nine Nicaraguan government officials.

The decision was made after, on November 7, the Ortega-Murillo government held an election that denied Nicaraguans their ability to vote in free and fair elections, following months of repression and the imprisonment of 39 individuals, including seven potential presidential candidates, opposition members, journalists, students, and members of civil society.  For years, the Ortega-Murillo government chipped away at Nicaragua’s democratic institutions and allowed corruption and impunity to reign.

As a result, the U.S. Department of the Treasury announced has sanctions against the Nicaraguan Public Ministry and nine Nicaraguan officials.  The Public Ministry played a primary role in the regime’s arrests of potential opposition presidential candidates, other leaders of civil society, the private sector, students, and journalists in advance of the elections. The U.S. Department of the Treasury designated the nine Nicaraguan officials pursuant to E.O. 13851 for being officials of the Government of Nicaragua or having served as officials of the Government of Nicaragua at any time on or after January 10, 2007. 

These nine individuals facilitate the Ortega-Murillo regime’s repression, including its human rights abuses, or manage institutions that finance the undemocratic Ortega-Murillo regime or otherwise sustain it at the expense of the Nicaraguan people. 

With these new sanctions, the United States, joined by our international partners, continues to take concrete actions to respond to the Ortega-Murillo government’s attacks on civil liberties and free and fair elections.  We welcome that Canada and the United Kingdom also imposed targeted measures today.

As the Organization of American States (OAS) General Assembly made clear on November 12, under Ortega and Murillo, the Nicaraguan government moves toward further isolation if it continues to undermine democracy and deny Nicaraguans their human rights.  We stand with the region in calling for a return to democracy in Nicaragua and the immediate and unconditional release of political prisoners.

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