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Congressman Sires Urges Unified International Response to Nicaragua’s Descent into Dictatorship

Dec 24, 2020
Press Release

Washington, DC – Today, Congressman Albio Sires (D-NJ), Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, Civilian Security, and Trade, released the following statement calling for a unified international response to Daniel Ortega’s increasingly brazen acts of authoritarianism in Nicaragua:

“As the Nicaraguan people are struggling through a deadly pandemic and the aftermath of two devastating hurricanes, President Daniel Ortega has not lifted a finger to help. Instead, he is using these catastrophes as a smokescreen to further tighten his grip on power. His regime’s latest steps include issuing a new law that empowers Ortega to arbitrarily ban opposition politicians from running in the 2021 elections and using the recently passed “foreign agents” law to persecute civil society organizations and human rights activists. Ortega seems to believe the world’s attention is elsewhere, and he is accelerating his march toward consolidating a one-party dictatorship in Nicaragua.

“The international community must join together in drawing a line in the sand. We should do all we can to support the Nicaraguan people in this time of need, but we should also work to prevent funds from getting into the hands of Ortega. This means ensuring that any foreign aid and loans from international financial institutions bypass the criminal Ortega dictatorship altogether. The U.S. Government should work more closely with our European and Latin American allies to ratchet up our sanctions and ensure Ortega and his allies can find no safe haven. Every police officer who beats up a dissident, every mayor who coordinates repression with Ortega’s paramilitaries, and every judge who hands down a ludicrous sentence against a regime critic is an accomplice in Ortega’s crimes and should be held accountable.”