The United States announced sanctions this Friday against the head of the Nicaraguan Armed Forces, Julio César Avilés, and against the Minister of Finance, Iván Acosta, for allegedly participating in acts of corruption and for helping to “silence” pro-democratic voices in the Central American country.
In a statement, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo argued that Avilés and Acosta have been sanctioned for their significant support for the Daniel Ortega regime to "repress and dismantle the democratic institutions" of Nicaragua.
"This new action serves to promote US policy to hold those individuals and entities responsible for they played a key role in the bad government of Ortega and that they perpetrated serious human rights abuses and sought to silence pro-democratic voices in Nicaragua ”, Pompeo declared.
As a result of the sanctions this Friday, all assets that Avilés and Acosta may have in the US are frozen.
Further, they are prohibited from making any financial transaction with US citizens or involving any kind of transit through the US, which seeks to make it difficult for the sanctioned to access the international financial system, based on the dollar.
According to the State Department, as head of the Armed Forces, Avilés gave "support" to the paramilitary groups that attacked those who began to demonstrate against Ortega in April 2018.
On the other hand, Washington blames Acosta "for having coordinated the finances of the regime to prioritize repression, avoid democratic reforms and take responsibility for human rights violations", assured the press release.
"The continued violations of the Ortega regime of basic human rights, blatant corruption and widespread violence against the Nicaraguan people are unacceptable," added Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin in another statement. "The United States will target those who support the Ortega regime and perpetuate the oppression of the Nicaraguan people"
The Treasury statement details that Avilés "refused to order the disqualification and dismantling of the paramilitary or parapolice forces during and after the political uprisings that began on April 18, 2018. ” And he points out that “the military provided weapons to the parapolice, which carried out acts of violence against the Nicaraguan people, which resulted in more than 300 deaths, significant acts of violence and abuse of human rights against people associated with the protests. "
Regarding Iván Adolfo Acosta Montalván, the Treasury note recalled that "He personally threatened the banks not to participate in a strike organized by the opposition leaders in March 2019, the objective of which was to promote the release of political prisoners."
In Nicaragua, protests against Social Security reforms broke out on April 18, 2018, which turned into a protest against Ortega, which left 328 dead, according to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR).
Local human rights organizations raise that number to 684, while the Government recognizes only 200 deceased and denounces an alleged attempted coup.
From the beginning, the Donald Trump government has supported the Nicaraguan opposition and has imposed sanctions to weaken and internationally isolate Ortega.
Among others, Washington has sanctioned the country's vice president and first lady, Rosario Murillo, as well as the couple's son, Rafael Antonio Ortega Murillo.
With information from EFE
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