In an effort to target financial operations and government officials that continue to undermine Nicaragua’s democracy, the U.S. government imposed sanctions on Ana Julia Guido Ochoa, Paul Oquist Kelley, and Caja Rural Nacional, or Caruna, pursuant to Executive Order 13851.These individuals and this entity enable and benefit from the corrupt and repressive activities of the Daniel Ortega regime in Nicaragua.
The “designation of Guido and Oquist promotes accountability for the Ortega regime and those who are attempting to further its atrocious activities,” said Secretary Mike Pompeo in a statement. “The designation of the cooperative Caruna closes off another tool of the regime.”
Guido is the Attorney General and reports allege that she helped form a group of prosecutors who worked with the U.S.-sanctioned Nicaraguan National Police to fabricate cases against political prisoners. Additionally, according to the same reports this specialized unit created by Guido has spent the past two years bringing charges against prisoners detained for peaceful protest.
Oquist is the Secretary of the Presidency for President Ortega and “plays a lead role in covering up and justifying the regime’s crimes and human rights abuses,” said Secretary Pompeo.
Caruna is a savings and loan cooperative operating as the Ortega regime’s main tool for funneling proceeds from Nicaragua’s concessionary oil schemes with Venezuela to use as a resource to pay off the Ortega patronage network. Regime officials, including those sanctioned by the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, are taking advantage of Caruna’s lack of regulatory oversight to shelter their ill-gotten gains.
“The Ortega regime continues to abuse government resources for its members’ personal gain and ignore the Nicaraguan people’s calls for reform,” said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. “[The Trump]Administration remains committed to targeting the Ortega regime by seeking out and exposing those who facilitate its blatant corruption.”
The United States will continue to take the necessary steps to support the Nicaraguan people and pressure the Ortega regime to cease repression, respect human rights, and allow the conditions for free and fair elections that would restore democracy to Nicaragua.