sanctions 13 December 2018

US poised to hit Nicaragua with further sanctions

The Nicaraguan government could soon find its access to the international financial markets restricted, following passage of the US’s Nicaraguan Investment Conditionality Act (‘NICA’). NICA has been passed by Congress and is expected to be signed into law by President Trump. It imposes conditions upon US approval of international loans to the Nicaraguan government, which the US holds responsible for serious human rights violations and sustained corruption.

President Ortega’s administration has responded forcefully to widespread mass protests against the regime, which began in April 2018 over social security reforms. Its agents such as the Sandinista National Liberation Front’s (‘SNLF’) youth movement and the Nicaraguan National Police (‘NNP’) have been implicated in serious human rights abuses, including the killing of scores of protestors.

In November, the US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (‘OFAC’) used a new executive order (‘EO’) to target Rosario Murillo, vice-president and wife of President Ortega, and national security adviser Nestor Moncada Lau, for their roles in serious human rights abuses and corruption.

‘I have been proud to work alongside Rep. Ros-Lehtinen and our colleagues in the House and Senate to pursue meaningful democratic reform and combat human rights abuses in Nicaragua,’ said Senator Ted Cruz of his involvement in the bill. ‘For years we fought hard for this meaningful legislation, and today’s vote in support sends a loud message to the Ortega regime that the United States will not allow regimes that commit such atrocities and undermine the rule of law to benefit from international financing.’

For the bill see: