Home Global Elections U.S. Treasury Sanctions Nicaragua’s Public Ministry, Nine Officials Over ‘Pantomime’ Elections

U.S. Treasury Sanctions Nicaragua’s Public Ministry, Nine Officials Over ‘Pantomime’ Elections

U.S. Treasury Sanctions Nicaragua’s Public Ministry, Nine Officials Over ‘Pantomime’ Elections
A man checks his phone while walking by a banner promoting Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega and Vice President Rosario Murillo as presidential election campaigning begins, in Managua, Nicaragua, September 25, 2021. REUTERS/Maynor Valenzuela Courtesy of Reuters.

NEW YORK — The U.S. Department of the Treasury formally designated the Public Ministry of Nicaragua and nine government officials after a “sham national elections” organized by President Daniel Ortega and Vice-President Rosario Murillo, the ministry announced today in a public statement.

“President Daniel Ortega and Vice-President Murillo orchestrated a pantomime election that was neither free nor fair, and most certainly not democratic,” the Treasury said in the statement, echoing critical comments issued by U.S. President Joe Biden on November 7. “The unjust imprisonment of nearly 40 opposition figures since May, including seven potential presidential candidates, and the blocking of political parties from participation rigged the outcome well before election day,” the statement said in reference to the political repression implemented by Ortega’s regime.

Ortega clinched a fourth consecutive term in an election held November 7, after jailing political rivals ahead of the vote. The election prompted threats of sanctions from the United States and international calls for free elections, Reuters reported. On November 12, the Organization of American States adopted a resolution criticizing Nicaragua’s elections, panning Ortega’s victory as unfair.

Between October 2020 and June 2021, the Nicaraguan National Assembly, controlled by Ortega and Murillo, approved six laws that facilitated the government’s repression against the opposition and eliminated its chances in the November 2021 elections, the Treasury said today.

“The Ortega regime is using laws and institutions to detain members of the political opposition and deprive Nicaraguans from the right to vote,” said Andrea M. Gacki, the director of the Office of Foreign Assets Control, known as OFAC.  “The United States is sending an unequivocal message to President Ortega, Vice President Murillo, and their inner circle that we stand with the Nicaraguan people in their calls for reform and a return to democracy.”

The action was taking against Salvador Mansell Castrillo, the Minister of Energy and Mines; Luis Angel Montenegro Espinoza for being an official of the government of Nicaragua or for having served as an official of the government at any time on or after January 10, 2007; Rodolfo Francisco Lopez Gutierrez, the Managing Director of the Electric Distributor of the North (DISNORTE) and Electric Distributor of the South (DISSUR). Jose Antonio Castaneda Mendez, the President of Nicaraguan Institute of Energy, and Mohamed Farrara Lashta, Nicaragua’s Ambassador to Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.

Three current mayors were also designated. Sadrach Zeledon Rocha, the mayor of the Nicaraguan city of Matagalpa; Leonidas Centeno Rivera, the mayor of Jinotega, Francisco Ramon Valenzuela Blandon, the mayor of Esteli.

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