The White House issued a statement strongly condemning “the ongoing violence in Nicaragua and human rights abuses committed by the Daniel Ortega regime in response to protests.”
After years of fraudulent elections and the regime’s manipulation of Nicaraguan law – as well as the suppression of civil society, opposition parties, and independent media – the Nicaraguan people have taken to the streets to call for democratic reforms, the statement said.
These demands have been met with indiscriminate violence, with reports of more than 350 dead, thousands injured, and hundreds of citizens labeled “coup-mongers” and “terrorists” who have been arbitrarily detained, tortured, or who have gone missing. The White House noted that President Ortega and Vice President Rosario Murillo are ultimately responsible for the actions of the pro-government parapolice who have brutalized their own people.
The United States stands with the people of Nicaragua, including members of the Sandinista party, who are calling for democratic reforms and an end to the violence. Free, fair, and transparent early elections are the only avenue toward restoring democracy in Nicaragua. The U.S. supports the Catholic Church-led National Dialogue process for good-faith negotiations toward that end.
The U.S. is promoting accountability of Ortega government officials responsible for human rights abuse and corruption. Three Nicaraguan officials – Francisco Diaz, Fidel Moreno, and Francisco Lopez – have been sanctioned under Executive Order 13818, issued by the President of the United States to build upon the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act. These steps, the White House said, are a start, not an end, of potential sanctions in response to continued serious human rights abuses and corruption.
The United States is revoking or restricting visas of Nicaraguan officials and their families when those officials have been responsible for police violence against protesters and municipal authorities, and when they have been complicit in pro-government parapolice violence against peaceful protests, and related abuses.
The U.S. has also cut off further sales and donations of equipment that Ortega’s security forces might misuse.
The United States has announced an additional $1.5 million in aid to continue support for freedom and democracy in Nicaragua, providing a critical lifeline for civil society, human rights organizations, and independent media currently under threat from the Ortega regime.
The White House called on the Ortega regime to immediately end the state-sanctioned violence perpetrated by police and parapolice forces. The United States will continue to closely monitor the situation in Nicaragua and work with the international community to hold those responsible for the violence to account.