RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Nicaragua has “vigorously” protested the sanctions imposed Wednesday, June 9, by the United States against four advisers to Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega, including his daughter Camila Antonia Ortega Murillo; the sanctions followed the recent controversial arrests by Ortega’s government of opposition leaders and candidates preparing for the elections.
“The Government of Reconciliation and National Unity strongly protests this repeated violation of the international guarantees that govern the sovereign right of states. We do not consider ourselves or recognize ourselves as a colony of any power,” the Nicaraguan chief executive said in a statement.
In the document, the Ortega government branded the U.S. government “imperialist and colonialist” and asserted that with these sanctions, “it has just announced its interference in the internal affairs of our country.”
For the Nicaraguan government, the note said, Washington dictates “illegal, arbitrary, coercive and unilateral measures against Nicaraguan citizens, whose only crime is to represent the dignity and heroism of our people.”
FIVE OF THE ORTEGA MURILLO FAMILY SANCTIONED
The U.S. Treasury Department decided to sanction Camila Antonia, Ortega’s daughter, who runs the fashion event Nicaragua Diseña, the National Commission for Creative Industries, and who, according to the U.S., also runs local television channel 13, a “family-run media” that “broadcasts official propaganda” while the executive branch “stifles rival independent media.”
Also sanctioned were the president of the Central Bank of Nicaragua, Ovidio Reyes; the head of the Sandinista parliamentary group, Edwin Castro; and Brigadier General Julio Modesto Rodríguez Balladares, executive director of the Instituto de Previsión Social Militar (IPSM), the financial arm of the Nicaraguan army.
As a result of the sanctions, any assets that the parties may have in the United States will be frozen.
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In addition, they are prohibited from conducting financial transactions with U.S. citizens or transiting the U.S. in any way. This is intended to make it more difficult for those sanctioned to access the international financial system based on the U.S. dollar.
Washington had already sanctioned the country’s vice president and first lady, Rosario Murillo, as well as three other Ortega offspring: Rafael Antonio, Laureano, and Juan Carlos, all Ortega Murillo.
“PROMOTERS OF COUP TERRORISM”
For the Nicaraguan leader, “this new violation of Nicaraguan sovereignty only confirms what we have seen over and over again about the usurpatory insolence and actions since the 2018 coup attempt, and which are now being accentuated,” the government said.
According to aid agencies, Ortega treats as a coup attempt the popular uprising that erupted in April 2018 over a controversial social security reform, which was brutally put down by the government and left at least 328 people dead.
“We reaffirm our historic patience, especially in these days when the main promoters and actors of this terrorist coup, sponsored by the United States and other imperial powers, are on trial, as the Nicaraguan people have demanded,” the statement said.
Nicaraguan authorities arrested a total of four opposition candidates for the Nicaraguan presidency – Cristiana Chamorro, Arturo Cruz, Félix Maradiaga, and Juan Sebastián Chamorro García – as well as José Adán Aguerri, former president of the Supreme Council of Private Enterprise (Cosep), Nicaragua’s main employers’ organization, and two other opposition politicians.
These opposition figures were arrested on charges of “carrying out acts that undermine independence, sovereignty, and self-determination, inciting foreign interference in internal affairs, calling for military intervention,” and other crimes, according to the National Police, which is headed by Francisco Díaz, Ortega’s father-in-law.