WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States on Wednesday imposed sanctions on four Nicaraguans, including a daughter of President Daniel Ortega, and Washington warned it will continue to use diplomatic and economic tools against members of the left-wing government it accuses of undermining democracy.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken urged Ortega to release the detained presidential candidates, as well as other civil society and opposition leaders arrested over the past week in what he called a “wave of repression.” .
“As these sanctions demonstrate, there are costs for those who support or carry out the repression of the Ortega regime,” Blinken said in a statement.
“The United States will continue to use all the diplomatic and economic tools at our disposal to support Nicaraguans’ calls for greater freedom and responsibility, as well as free and fair elections.”
The U.S. Treasury Department on Wednesday imposed sanctions on Ortega’s daughter, Camila Ortega Murillo, who is also a senior government official, and three other people it accused of supporting the government that Washington says has undermined the democracy, abused human rights and enacted repressive laws.
The Treasury said that Camila Ortega ran the Canal 13 television station, a family media outlet that it accused of broadcasting propaganda, while the president “uses tax and state spending laws to promote family stations and squeeze independent media. rivals “.
Also punished are: Leonardo Ovidio Reyes Ramírez, president of the Central Bank of Nicaragua; Edwin Ramon Castro Rivera, deputy of the National Assembly of Nicaragua; and Julio Modesto Rodríguez Balladares, Brigadier General of the Nicaraguan Army and executive director of the Military Social Welfare Institute.
The Nicaraguan government and military did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the sanctions.
Wednesday’s action freezes blacklisted US assets and generally prohibits Americans from dealing with them.
Nicaraguan police detained https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/nicaraguan-police-arrest-two-more-opposition-contenders-2021-06-09 two possible contenders for the presidency on Tuesday, after two similar arrests of opposition politicians in previous days.
Police statements accused the detained politicians of working with external funding to carry out “acts of terrorism and destabilization,” without giving details.
International organizations, including the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, have accused the Ortega government of fabricating false accusations against opponents.
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres was very concerned about the recent arrests in Nicaragua and the invalidation of the candidacies of opposition leaders, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters on Wednesday.
“These developments can seriously undermine public confidence in the democratic process ahead of the November general elections,” Dujarric said, adding that Guterres called on the authorities to fully respect international human rights obligations and release political leaders.
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