President Donald Trump has imposed sanctions on Rosario Murillo, Vice President of Nicaragua and the wife of President Daniel Ortega, with a US senate committee urging the Ortega regime to seek a negotiated solution to the country’s ongoing crisis instead of using violent measures to suppress anti-government protests.
Nestor Moncada Lau, a close of aide of President Ortega, has also been sanctioned. In a statement, the Treasury Department has accused both of them of human rights violations and corruption.
Nicaragua has been in crisis since April this year when a large number of the country’s citizens began protests against President Ortega’s decision to decrease social security benefits.
More than 550 people have been killed so far in clashes between government forces and protestors, according to the Nicaraguan Association for Human Rights (ANPDH).
“Vice President Murillo and her political operators have systematically sought to dismantle democratic institutions and loot the wealth of Nicaragua to consolidate their grip on power,” US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement.
“This administration is committed to holding the Ortega regime accountable for the violent protests and widespread corruption that have led to the deaths of hundreds of innocent Nicaraguans and destroyed their economy.”
Meanwhile the Senate has approved the Nicaraguan Investment Conditionality Act (NICA Act), restricting international financial institutions from lending to the Nicaraguan government.
“This bipartisan legislation will hold Ortega, Murillo, and their accomplices accountable for their widespread human rights abuses and for plundering state coffers for their own profit,” stated the Senate committee on foreign relations.