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United States and Canada Announce Financial Sanctions to Address the Ongoing Repression in Nicaragua
June 21, 2019

Today, the United States further affirms its commitment to use all economic and diplomatic tools to promote accountability for the Ortega regime and to support the Nicaraguan people through the announcement of new targeted sanctions actions against regime figures. Canada’s sanctions actions today illustrate the international commitment to Nicaraguans’ cause, signaling clearly that President Ortega’s insufficient and self-serving measures are not nearly enough to address Nicaraguans’ demands for democracy, basic rights, and freedom from repression.

The United States is sanctioning key regime figures Orlando Castillo, Sonia Castro, Oscar Mojica, and Gustavo Porras pursuant to Executive Order 13851, which President Trump signed on November 27, 2018. Castro and Porras were concurrently designated under the Nicaragua Human Rights and Anti-Corruption Act of 2018. Because of this action, their U.S. assets are blocked and U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with Castillo, Castro, Mojica, and Porras.

Castillo is the General Director of the Nicaraguan Institute of Telecommunications and Postal Service, which has been used to silence and manipulate independent media in the country. Castro is the Nicaraguan Minister of Health and has personally directed the denial of basic health care to wounded protestors, as well as the firing of medical personnel assisting them. Mojica is a retired Major General of the Nicaraguan military and current Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure; he coined and has supported unequivocally the regime’s systematic “exile, jail, or death” campaign against the Nicaraguan people. Porras is President of the Nicaraguan National Assembly and a lead architect of the Nicaraguan government’s punitive legal initiatives that have targeted civil society organizations in an effort to stifle any and all dissent.

We urge the Ortega regime to restore fundamental freedoms and civil rights in Nicaragua and to heed the calls of Nicaraguans clamoring for early free, fair, and transparent elections. The regime should abide by the commitments it has already made as part of ongoing negotiations with the Civic Alliance, as well as its obligations under the Inter-American Democratic Charter. We call on Nicaragua to unconditionally and fully release all arbitrarily detained persons and protect the human rights of its citizens. As highlighted by today’s joint action with Canada, 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.