Congressman Sires, Bipartisan Congressional Leaders Stand with Nicaraguans in their Struggle for Democracy
(Washington, DC) – Today, Congressman Albio Sires (D-NJ), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, Civilian Security, and Trade, convened a meeting with Eliot Engel (D-NY), Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Michael McCaul (R-TX), Ranking Member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, and Francis Rooney (R-FL), Ranking Member of the Western Hemisphere Subcommittee, with a delegation of political and social leaders from Nicaragua. Chairman Sires and his colleagues expressed their continued support for Nicaraguans’ efforts to restore democracy in their country and reiterated their calls for President Daniel Ortega to cease his repression against peaceful protesters, social leaders, and the political opposition.
Statement by Chairman Sires: “Ortega’s authoritarian rule has caused needless suffering in Nicaragua, the second poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. Ortega and his thugs killed and tortured hundreds of peaceful protesters last year, and are now carrying out targeted attacks against campesinos and rural land rights activists. We must send a strong, bipartisan message to Ortega and his cronies: cease this repression, allow international human rights monitors to visit the country, and call early elections or face further sanctions. I continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with those brave Nicaraguans who are risking everything in their pursuit of freedom and dignity.”
Statement by Chairman Engel: “Congress will not turn a blind eye to Daniel Ortega’s constant violations of the Nicaraguan people’s human rights. There is no doubt that these are dark days for human rights and democracy in Nicaragua. But, I also believe that there is reason for optimism for the country’s future. Meeting with Nicaragua’s unified opposition leaders today gave me hope that brighter days are ahead. The Nicaraguan people can continue to count on Congress’s bipartisan support for a return to a full democracy in the country.”
Statement by Ranking Member McCaul: “I was proud to meet with the leaders of Nicaragua’s democratic opposition. I commend them for their bravery and leadership in the face of the Ortega regime’s abuse and repression. I will always stand firmly with the freedom-loving people of Nicaragua in their struggle for free and fair elections, and demand justice for the victims of human rights abuses at the hands of this brutal dictatorship.”
Statement by Ranking Member Rooney: “It was a privilege to meet with the leaders of Nicaragua’s opposition and observe their commitment to unity against the Ortega regime and his murderous cronies. The people of Nicaragua deserve freedom, democracy and the right to free and fair elections. I stand with them in their struggle for a peaceful transition to democracy for Nicaragua.”