Lower House approves law to increase sanctions against Daniel Ortega, president of Nicaragua

Daniel Ortega, President of Nicaragua.

Photo: MAYNOR VALENZUELA / AFP / Getty Images

The United States Lower House approved this Wednesday the one known as “Renacer” law, which will increase sanctions against the Government of Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega, ahead of next Sunday’s elections in the Central American country.

With the backing of 387 legislators and the rejection of 35, the initiative was approved and will now be sent to the White House for US President Joe Biden to sign and become law.

The bill, which received the endorsement of the Senate on Tuesday, seeks force the US Executive to increase its sanctions against key players in the Ortega government and calls for expanding cooperation with Canada and the European Union (EU) on policy towards Nicaragua.

Be reborn

The call Law to Enforce Compliance with Conditions for Electoral Reform in Nicaragua (Renacer) also urges the Biden Government to examine Nicaragua’s participation in the Free Trade Agreement with Central America (CAFTA, in English).

The project also expands the supervision of loans from international financial institutions to Nicaragua.

At the end of 2018, the US Congress already approved a bill known as the Nica Act, which orders US officials from multilateral lending institutions to use their influence to stop funding to Nicaraguan state agencies.

This type of US sanctions. have made it difficult for Nicaragua, one of the poorest in Latin America, to emerge from the economic depression It has been going through since the 2018 protests, which hurt national and foreign investment and caused the collapse of tourism.

International cooperation funds, that is, loans and grants to the public sector, have decreased significantly since 2018.

Support from Democrats and Republicans

The bill that the US Lower House approved this Wednesday. has received support from Democrats and Republicans.

It was presented in March 2021 by legislators from both parties, led by the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations committee, Democrat Bob Menéndez, and by Republican Senator Marco Rubio.

In the current electoral process in Nicaragua, the authorities have arrested and charged more than thirty opposition leaders, among them the presidential candidates Cristiana Chamorro, Arturo Cruz, Félix Maradiaga, Juan Sebastián Chamorro, Miguel Mora, Medardo Mairena and Noel Vidaurre.

In the elections next Sunday, November 7, Ortega, a former Sandinista guerrilla who returned to power in 2007, is seeking re-election for five more years.

The president, about to turn 76 years old and who coordinated a Governing Board from 1979 to 1984 and presided over the country for the first time between 1985 and 1990, has accused opposition leaders of trying to overthrow him with the support of the United States and has branded them “criminals”.

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