Antony J. Blinken, Secretary of State
June 9, 2021
The United States calls on President Ortega and the Nicaraguan government to immediately release presidential candidates Cristiana Chamorro, Arturo Cruz, Félix Maradiaga, Juan Sebastian Chamorro and other civil society and opposition leaders arrested in the past week, including in last night’s crackdown, which sent independent journalists and activists into hiding for fear of reprisals. The United States condemns these actions in the most unequivocal terms and holds President Ortega and those complicit in these actions responsible for their safety and well-being.
In response to this wave of oppression and due to Nicaragua’s failure to implement now-overdue electoral reforms called for by the Organization of American States and backed by the UN Human Rights Council, the United States is imposing sanctions on several members of the Ortega regime for their complicity in the Ortega regime’s activities. The U.S. Treasury is sanctioning an advisor and daughter of Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo, Camila Antonia Ortega Murillo, who is also the coordinator of the National Commission for the Creative Economy; Leonardo Ovidio Reyes Ramirez, the President of the Central Bank of Nicaragua; Julio Modesto Rodriguez Balladares, a military general and executive director of the military’s pension and investment fund; and Edwin Ramon Castro Rivera, a National Assembly Deputy. As these sanctions demonstrate, there are costs for those who support or carry out the Ortega regime’s repression. The United States will continue to use all diplomatic and economic tools at our disposal to support Nicaraguans’ calls for greater freedom and accountability as well as free and fair elections.
The region and the international community must stand with the Nicaraguan people in support of their right to freely choose their government and their freedom from repression and human rights abuses. President Ortega is defying the international community, and we will continue to respond.