The U.S. Department of the Treasury and State Department introduced economic sanctions against three Nicaraguan officials for corruption and attacks against Nicaraguan citizens under the Global Magnitsky Act.
The Treasury announced on Thursday that, “all properties and interests in the property of those designated by OFAC [Office of Foreign Assets Control] within U.S. jurisdiction are blocked.”
Additionally, U.S. citizens were prohibited from engaging in transactions with the individuals, “including entities 50 percent or more owned by them.”
The designated include Francisco Javier Diaz Madriz, Fidel Antonio Moreno Briones and Jose Francisco Lopez Centeno.
Madriz, the commissioner of Nicaraguan National Police, is charged with “serious human rights abuse” which include “beatings of journalists, attacks against local TV and radio stations, and assaults on mothers mourning the death of their children.”
Another instance included when “masked gunmen accompanied by individuals identified by locals as Nicaraguan police reportedly set fire to a family home in Managua, killing six, including two young children. When neighbors attempted to help, police reportedly shot at them,” a senior U.S. administration official said in a call with reporters on Thursday.
Briones, another Nicaraguan government official, is personally implicated in ordering attacks on protestors as far back as 2013, while Contento, the Vice President of La Prensa, is accused of corruption for receiving “access to large amounts of funds collected by the government in the forms of taxes and fines.”
“Today’s sanctions announcement, plus earlier and continuing visa revocations, shows the United States will expose and hold accountable those responsible for the Nicaraguan government’s ongoing violence and intimidation campaign against its people,” State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said in a statement.
Authorities say the United States is taking “immediate action” and have accused the Nicaraguan President of similar crimes.
“President Ortega and his inner circle continue to curtail freedom and enrich themselves while ignoring the Nicaraguan peoples’ calls for the democratic reforms they demand including early, free, fair, and transparent elections,” the senior administration official said.
The sanctions on Francisco Javier Diaz Madriz, Fidel Antonio Moreno Briones, and Jose Francisco Lopez Centeno show the United States will expose and hold accountable those responsible for the #Nicaragua government’s ongoing violence and intimidation campaign against its people. pic.twitter.com/NVPRbwXJEw
— Heather Nauert (@statedeptspox) July 5, 2018