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Tuesday, June 26, 2018

US senators ask Trump to put an eye on Nicaragua

Por Damian

US senators (including Marco Rubio and Bill Nelson form Florida) presented a resolution on Monday condemning the violence perpetrated against the Nicaraguan people and urging President Donald Trump to apply individual sanctions against people of Daniel Ortega's regime linked to corruption and violation of human rights. The document, which highlights that at least 178 people have died and more than 1,000 have been injured during the ferocious repression of the protests in Nicaragua, condemned the "violence perpetrated by the regime of Ortega and affiliated armed groups".

The bipartisan resolution is also signed by Senator Bob Menéndez, Democrat for New Jersey ; Ted Cruz, Republican for Texas; David Perdue, Republican for Georgia; Tim Kaine, Democrat for Virginia; Dick Durbin, Democrat from Illinois, and Mike Lee, Republican from Utah.

In the initiative, the senators urged the government of Nicaragua to put a stop to the violence, in particular to the repressive practices that are being used by the security forces.

But the senators also urged President Trump to act, recommending him to make use of the authority contemplated in the Law of Respect for Human Rights Global Magnitsky, which authorizes the application of individual sanctions against people who "are responsible for extrajudicial executions, torture and other flagrant violations of human rights in Nicaragua or otherwise have directed acts of significant corruption in the country.”

The document highlights that Nicaragua is already one of the most corrupt countries in the hemisphere and that the regime has been accused of embezzling billions of dollars given by the government of Venezuela to the Nicaraguan people.

The resolution also urges the US government to support the attempts of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights of the Organization of American States to conduct an independent investigation into the events in Nicaragua, which have led to the deaths of dozens of protesters and asks the international community denounce the violence of the regime.

Several Nicaraguan cities experienced strong attacks by police and paramilitary forces on Monday, at a time when dialogue was resumed in search of a way out of the violent repression against anti-government protests.

Shooting, burning of premises and barricade cleaning operations, with armed men and mechanical shovels, are registered in the departments of León and Managua, including their capitals. Villagers report injuries, but humanitarian groups have not yet offered an official balance.

"There are very strong detonations. This is truly a mistake, we call on the authorities to stop this. We do not want more dead," parish priest Víctor Morales said by telephone from León, in the north of the country.

Police reported that an agent died Monday in Nagarote, 42 km northwest of Managua when troops "were assaulted by criminal groups with weapons and mortars" while carrying out cleanup work, the agency said in a statement.

The commission of the Catholic Church that mediates the dialogue announced that work tables were set up with delegates from the government and the opposition Civic Association for Justice and Democracy to evaluate the proposal to advance the elections from 2021 to March 2019.

The petition to advance elections was raised by the Nicaraguan Bishops' Conference (CEN) on June 7 at the talks table, but Ortega, whose third consecutive term ends in January 2022, asked for time to reflect and has not yet made a statement on the matter.