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Further Financial Sanctions to Address Human Rights Abuses and Corruption in Nicaragua

Michael R. Pompeo, Secretary of State

On November 7, the United States, acting in support of the Nicaraguan people and their calls for a return to democratic governance, again demonstrated its commitment to use all economic and diplomatic tools to hold the Ortega regime accountable for human rights abuses and rampant corruption.

The United States has sanctioned key regime officials Roberto Jose Lopez Gomez, Ramon Antonio Avellan Medal, and Lumberto Ignacio Campbell Hooker pursuant to Executive Order 13851 (“Blocking Property of Certain Persons Contributing to the Situation in Nicaragua”). With this action, their U.S. assets are blocked and U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with Lopez, Avellan, and Campbell.  Avellan was concurrently designated under the Nicaragua Human Rights and Anti-Corruption Act of 2018.

Avellan is Deputy Director General of the Nicaraguan National Police (NNP) and has been instrumental in maintaining Ortega’s control of the police and his parapolice counterparts, essential tools of the regime’s repression. The NNP conducts arbitrary arrests, extrajudicial executions, and disappearances of anti-government protesters. This campaign of repression by the NNP and parapolice under Avellan’s command has led to scores of deaths and hundreds more injured. Campbell is the Acting President of the Supreme Electoral Council and responsible for electoral manipulation in Ortega’s favor, ensuring Ortega and his allies prevail in elections through fraudulent means. Lopez is a retired Army officer and Director of the Nicaraguan Social Security Institute (INSS). He orchestrated President Ortega’s use of public retirement funds to reward loyalists and defraud Nicaraguans, in addition to employing INSS enforcement mechanisms to target political opponents.

The Ortega regime must cease its repression and respond to Nicaraguans’ call for genuinely free and fair elections that are both transparent and early. It is imperative the regime honor the commitments it has already made as part of negotiations with the Civic Alliance and under the Inter-American Democratic Charter. We call on Nicaragua to release – fully and unconditionally – all arbitrarily detained persons and to protect human rights and fundamental freedoms. The United States and the international community will continue to promote accountability for those who blatantly disregard human rights and foment violence in support of the Ortega regime.

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