The Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for the Office of Western Hemisphere Affairs in the State Department, Emily Mendrala, gave a telephone press conference on Tuesday, January 11, in which she referred to Daniel Ortega’s self-transmission of command, the recent sanctions and visa restrictions imposed by your country on Ortega officials. Mendrala said that his country will maintain diplomatic relations with Nicaragua.
«We have an embassy in Managua and we feel that the functioning of the embassy is very important for the exchange we have with the Nicaraguan people and for the services provided by the embassy in Managua, so we are going to maintain them, and we believe that our Presence in Managua and in all the countries in the world is important ”, said Mendrala.
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Later, the US State Department official added that “we have said that the Ortega-Murillo government does not have a democratic mandate, they did not allow the participation of actors of the position in the elections in November, and they have taken up spaces to close democratic spaces, and that is why we say that the elections were neither fair nor democratic.
When asked if the US is concerned about the reestablishment of Nicaraguan diplomatic relations with China, Mendrala pointed out that without a doubt, this decision “deprives the Nicaraguan people of the possibility of having Taiwan as a democratic, reliable partner. Taiwan is firm partner and friends from countries throughout the region and Strengthening relations with the People’s Republic of China further precipitates Nicaragua into authoritarianism«.
Sanctions and DR-Cafta “we are studying the options,” he said.
The official, when asked about the specific actions that the Joe Biden administration has established in relations with Nicaragua from this fourth consecutive term of Ortega, mentioned that they continue to work with their international partners, and as a proof of this, as mentioned. On January 10, both the US Treasury and State Department, together 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 Nicaraguan people and also our condemnation of human rights abuses and the autocratic tendencies that we see in Nicaragua, the sanctions that we announced yesterday (Monday) and those of the European Union, there is a lot of will in the Americas and throughout the world through democracy to support Nicaragua and to promote the restoration of democracy in Nicaragua, “he said.
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Later, on the possibility of Nicaragua being suspended from the Free Trade Agreement between the United States with Central America and the Dominican Republic (DR-Cafta), as one of the scopes of the Law to Strengthen Nicaragua’s Adherence to the Conditions for the Electoral Reform or Renacer Law, the official said that they are studying the options available to them.
“We work with the members of the US Congress, there is a bipartisan conviction that they have a great commitment to the Nicaraguan people, and they are committed to giving us more tools to motivate changes and return democracy in Nicaragua. The Renacer Act we are studying the tools contained in Renacer and how we can apply to the new tools that Congress has given us, with respect to Cafta, that we are studying the options we have, “said Mendrala.
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In that sense, she was asked why the US has not sanctioned Ortega once, the official stressed that they have several diplomatic and economic tools: «we have announced some sanctions actions focused on members of the Nicaraguan government. Those who are involved in human rights abuses, we have various tools through the Renacer act and other executive orders and laws that exist and are in existence, we are going to continue studying the diplomatic and economic tools that we have to motivate changes, and options we have to support Nicaragua ».
Regarding the impact of the sanctions on Ortega officials, Mendrala said that it is “evident and they are even stronger when coordinated with international partners.” Finally, on whether the US will support an eventual dialogue promoted by the Ortega regime in the midst of the repression and incarceration of political prisoners, Mendrala pointed out that the objective is the reestablishment of democracy and that “the release of political prisoners is very important and it would be a concrete step.
46 sanctioned officials
This Monday, January 10, prior to Ortega’s inauguration with the presidential sash for the fifth time, the United States Department of the Treasury announced that it was adding six officials to its list. The six people sanctioned are:
- Rosa Adelina Barahona Castro (Minister of Defense and member of the board of directors of the Military Institute of Social Welfare (IPSM),
- Ramón Humberto Calderón Vindell (former Inspector General of the Nicaraguan Army, former president of the board of directors of the Nicaraguan Petroleum Company (PETRONIC) and president of the board of directors of ENIMINAS),
- Celina Delgado Castellón (member of the Board of Directors of Enatrel),
- Nahima Díaz Flores (daughter of the director of the Police, Francisco Díaz; and director of Telcor),
- Bayardo de Jesús Pulido Ortiz (Brigadier General of the Nicaraguan Army and member of the IPSM board of directors),
- Bayardo Ramón Rodríguez Ruiz (Chief of General Staff of the Nicaraguan Army and member of the IPSM board of directors).
Since 2017 when the first sanctioned was the former president of the CSE, Roberto Rivas to date has sanctioned 46 officials, including Rosario Murillo, designated vice president and Ortega’s wife. In the same way, the Biden Administration began to restrict the visa to officials and those close to the regime from 2021 to January 10, there were already 285 officials who had their entry to that country revoked.