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Sires and Ros-Lehtinen Re-Introduce Bipartisan Nicaragua Bill To Hold The Ortega Regime Accountable for Fraudulent Elections, Corruption, and Human Rights Abuses

Apr 6, 2017
Press Release

(Washington, DC) –Rep. Albio Sires (D-NJ), Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere and Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa, made the following statement after re-introducing the Nicaraguan Investment Conditionality Act (NICA Act) of 2017, H.R. 1918. On September 21, 2016, the U.S. House of Representative approved a similar version of the legislation by unanimous consent. The NICA Act aims to put conditions on Nicaragua similar to what Congress has already enacted into law regarding Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador. On December 18, 2015, Congress enacted the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2016 (P.L. 114-113), providing funds to implement the Central America strategy. The act placed numerous conditions on aid for Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador including certification that the governments were taking effective steps to address 16 conditions, including combating corruption, protecting human rights, combat human smuggling and trafficking, and improving border security.

Statement by Sires: “Daniel Ortega and his family continue to amass a great amount of wealth while Nicaragua remains the second poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. He has spent years repressing the political opposition and has created a de facto monarchy by having his wife take on the role of Vice President. I will continue to fight for the Nicaraguan people until their voices are heard. This important legislation makes it clear that the U.S. will not standby and watch Ortega target human rights defenders and stifle democracy while lining his pockets with cash at the expense of the Nicaraguan people.”

Statement by Ros-Lehtinen: “We must continue to hold all governments within Central America to similar standards when it comes to human rights, corruption, and transparency as we examine where to best use U.S. taxpayer dollars and the Ortega regime in Nicaragua is no exception. This version of the NICA Act goes one step further than the previous version Albio and I introduced last Congress by calling for the Ortega regime to actively combat corruption and take significant steps to protect human rights defenders and activists. These are bipartisan concerns, and as many of us have witnessed for over a decade, Ortega’s power grab has brought Nicaragua into a continuous downward spiral. The time to take action is now – for the people of Nicaragua and for their democratic future – before it is too late. The NICA Act will be a powerful tool that can help end the atrocities occurring in Nicaragua and reverse its current destructive trajectory.”

NOTE: Other original cosponsors of the legislation are: Reps. Albio Sires (D-NJ), Jeff Duncan (R-SC), Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-FL), Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL), Frederica Wilson (D-FL), Carlos Curbelo (R-FL), Ted Deutch (D-FL), Ted Yoho (R-FL), Tony Cardenas (D-CA), Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), Henry Cuellar (D-TX), Chris Smith (R-NJ), Donald Norcross (D-NJ), Ted Poe (R-TX), Alcee Hastings (D-FL), Ron DeSantis (R-FL), Brendan Boyle (D-PA), Michael McCaul (R-TX), Robin Kelly (D-IL), Randy Weber (R-TX), Dan Donovan (R-NY), Steve Chabot (R-OH), Thomas Rooney (R-FL), and Francis Rooney (R-FL).