Deputy Assistant Secretary for the State Department’s Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs, Emily Minderala, held a conference call on Tuesday, Jan. 11, noting Daniel Ortega’s leadership transfer, recent sanctions and visas. Restrictions that your country imposes on Ortega officials. Minderala said his country would maintain diplomatic relations with Nicaragua.
“We have an embassy in Managua and we feel that the embassy’s work is very important to the exchange that we have had with the people of Nicaragua and for the services that the embassy provides in Managua, so we will maintain it, and we believe that our presence in Managua and in all countries of the world is important,” Mendrala noted.
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Later, the US State Department official added: “We said that Ortega Murillo’s government did not have a democratic mandate, they did not allow the actors to participate in the situation in the November elections, and they occupied spaces in order to close the democratic spaces, and that is why we say that the elections were neither fair nor democratic.
When asked if the United States is concerned about the restoration of Nicaragua’s diplomatic relations with China, Mendrala noted that this decision undoubtedly “deprives the people of Nicaragua of the possibility of Taiwan being a democratic and reliable partner. Taiwan is a strong and reliable partner. Friends of countries in all across the region and Strengthening relations with the People’s Republic of China pushes Nicaragua to authoritarianism«.
“We are studying options,” said Dr. Al-Kofta and Al-Uqubaat.
When the official was asked about the specific measures that the Joe Biden administration has established in relations with Nicaragua since this fourth consecutive term for Ortega, he stated that they continue to work with their international partners, and as evidence of that, as we mentioned. On January 10, both the US Treasury and the State Department, along with the European Union (EU) imposed sanctions and restrictions on Ortega officials.
“We are working with international partners to speak with one voice in our support for the people of Nicaragua and also our condemnation of the human rights abuses and authoritarian tendencies that we see in Nicaragua, the sanctions that we announced yesterday (Monday) and those of Nicaragua. European Union, there is a lot of will in the Americas and around the world through democracy To support Nicaragua and to promote the re-establishment of democracy in Nicaragua.
Later, on the possibility of suspending Nicaragua from the US-Central American and Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement (DR-Cafta), as one of the scopes of the Law to Strengthen Nicaragua’s Compliance with Electoral Reform Terms or Renacer Law, the official said they were studying the options available to them.
“We are working with members of the US Congress, there is a bipartisan conviction that they have a great commitment to the people of Nicaragua, and they are committed to giving us more tools to catalyze changes and restore democracy in Nicaragua. We are studying the Renacer Act, the tools in Renacer and how we can apply it to the new tools that it has given us. Congress, with regards to Cafta, for which we are examining the options we have,” Mendrala said.
In this sense, I was asked why the United States did not punish Ortega once, and the official emphasized that they had several diplomatic and economic tools: “We have announced some sanctions measures that focus on members of the Nicaraguan government who are involved in human rights violations. We have different tools through the Renacer Act and Executive Orders and other laws that exist and are in place, we will continue to study the diplomatic and economic tools that we have to catalyze changes, and the options that we have to support Nicaragua.”
On the impact of sanctions on Ortega’s officials, Mendrala said that they are “clear and even stronger when coordinating with international partners.” Finally, on whether the United States would support a final dialogue promoted by the Ortega regime in the midst of the crackdown and detention of political prisoners, Mendrala noted that the goal is to re-establish democracy and that “the release of political prisoners is very important and will be a concrete step.
46 officials sanctioned
On Monday, January 10, before Ortega was inaugurated with the presidential sash for the fifth time, the US Treasury announced that it would add six officials to its list. The six people sanctioned are:
- Rosa Adelina Barahona Castro (Minister of Defense and Board Member of the Military Institute of Social Welfare (IPSM),
- Ramon Humberto Calderon Findel (Former Inspector General of the Nicaraguan Army, former Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Nicaraguan Petroleum Corporation (Petronic) and Chairman of the Board of Directors of ENIMINAS),
- Celina Delgado Castellon (Member of the Board of Directors of Enatrel),
- Nhima Diaz Flores (daughter of Police Chief Francisco Diaz and director of Telcor),
- Bayardo de Jesús Pulido Ortiz (Brigadier General in the Nicaraguan Army and IPSM Board Member),
- Bayardo Ramón Rodríguez Ruiz (Chief of the General Staff of the Nicaraguan Army and member of the IPSM Board of Directors).
Since 2017, when he was the first head of the Central Security Council, against whom sanctions were issued for the first time, Roberto Rivas has so far sanctioned 46 officials, including Rosario Murillo, the designated vice president and wife of Ortega. In the same way, the Biden administration began restricting visa to officials and those close to the regime from 2021 to January 10, and there were already 285 officials whose entry to that country was revoked.
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