On Monday, November 15, the United States Department of the Treasury sanctioned nine operators of the Ortega regime, which includes the Superintendent of Banks, Luis Ángel Montenegro, and the Deputy Minister of Finance and Public Credit, José Adrián Chavarría, who signed the contracts and agreements of this portfolio, after Minister Iván Acosta was sanctioned in May 2020.
In addition, it sanctions the Minister of Energy, Salvador Mansell; the director of the National Energy Institute, José Castañeda; and to the manager of the Cargo Dispatch of the National Electricity Transmission Company, Rodolfo López.
The sanctions also include the advisory minister and presidential delegate for Africa, the Middle East and the Arab countries, Mohamed Farrara Lashtar, the nephew of the late Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi.
Likewise, to the Public Ministry, in charge of mounting alleged crimes against opponents, human rights defenders, journalists, businessmen and Nicaraguan activists, among them seven presidential candidates.
This is the longest list of sanctioned Ortega members issued by the United States Treasury, which also includes three Ortega mayors: Sadrach Zeledón, from Matagalpa; Francisco Valenzuela, from Estelí, and Leonidas Centeno, from Jinotega.
Sanctions on the economic apparatus of the Ortega regime
These US sanctions are the first after the electoral farce of November 7, in which Daniel Ortega was re-elected for the fourth consecutive term. The sanctions target operators accused of human rights violations, and also those in relation to Nicaragua’s banking and economic system.
The superintendent of banks, Luis Ángel Montenegro, is one of the strongest defenders of the dictatorship, who before 2019 was president of the Comptroller General of the Republic. Among the arguments to sanction it, the United States cites that Montenegro ordered the banks to comply with a request from the Public Ministry to deliver and audit financial information of 13 senior executives and businessmen in the framework of Law 1055, which the regime has used to accuse some thirty political leaders, civic leaders, independent professionals and businessmen, including seven presidential candidates whom Ortega annulled from political competition.
On the other hand, the Vice Minister of Finance, José Adrián Chavarría is in charge of signing the contracts and agreements of this portfolio, after Minister Iván Acosta was sanctioned in May 2020. These contracts include those of the Central American Bank for Economic Integration ( CABEI), which has given the Ortega regime more than 2,289 million dollars – an average of more than 450 million dollars a year – despite criticism and demands for it to cease its financing due to the violent Ortega repression and the de facto police state that tramples on human rights.
The sanctions include three officials from the energy sector in the Ortega regime. The first of them: the Minister of Energy and Mines, Salvador Mansell, also in charge of the National Electricity Transmission Company (Enatrel), under whose management the trees of life have been illuminated in Managua, the hallmark of Vice President Rosario Murillo’s power. In addition, the manager of the Cargo Dispatch of the National Electricity Transmission Company, Rodolfo López Gutiérrez, and the President of the Board of Directors of the Nicaraguan Institute of Energy (INE), José Antonio Castañeda.
The nephew of the late Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi, former private secretary of Daniel Ortega, founding partner of Channel 13 (administered by the president’s children) and current adviser minister for Africa, the Middle East and Arab countries, was also sanctioned, to Mohamed Lasthar, who justified the repression of the Nicaraguan regime saying that it had been with “mercy“Some opponents who were prosecuted as” traitors to the homeland. “
Three Sandinista mayors continue to be on the sanctions list: Sadrach Zeledón Rocha (Matagalpa), Francisco Valenzuela (Estelí) and Leónidas Celedón (Jinotega), singled out for committing human rights abuses in 2018. The United States maintains that Zeledón is directly involved in the repression ; that Valenzuela’s office ordered snipers to target the protesters in Estelí, and that Centeno is linked to the organs that participated against the protesters.
Sanctions to the Public Ministry for the attack on candidates
The sanctions also include the Public Ministry at the institutional level, which joins the Police among the institutions sanctioned after the repression unleashed against the population in 2018. In an investigation of CONFIDENTIAL the existence of a whole team dedicated to inventing false charges to support false accusations against political prisoners.
However, in its resolution, the United States recalls that it was the Prosecutor’s Office that brought charges against the imprisoned presidential candidates: Cristiana Chamorro, Arturo Cruz, Félix Maradiaga, Juan Sebastián Chamorro, Miguel Mora, Medardo Mairena and Noel Vidaurre.
“The Public Ministry is also responsible for the detention of almost 40 people since the end of May, including leaders of civil society, the private sector, students and journalists,” says the United States, describing this Ortega apparatus as an instrument to take political actions that undermine the country’s democracy and institutions.
First US sanctions after the electoral farce
The new United States sanctions, made official by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), constitute the first response of the Joe Biden Administration to the fraudulent votes of November 7, in which Daniel Ortega was reelected without political competition for a fourth consecutive period. In addition, it is the longest list of those sanctioned, with which there are already almost 40 operators of the regime sanctioned by the United States.
“The Ortega regime is using laws and institutions to detain members of the political opposition and deprive Nicaraguans of the right to vote,” Held Andrea M. Gacki, director of OFAC, who believes that her country is sending a message to Ortega and his inner circle that it supports the Nicaraguan people in their calls for reform and a return to democracy.