HAVANA TIMES – On Wednesday, September 21, the US House of Representatives approved a bill known as the Nicaraguan Investment Conditionality Act (NICA), promoted by Republican Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. The bill requires the United States to oppose any loans to Nicaragua from international organizations which the US belongs to.
Ros-Lehtinen herself announced passage of the bill in her official blog. In the post, she expressed her satisfaction for the step taken by the House.
“Daniel Ortega continues to consolidate power and trample on the rule of law and democratic foundations of Nicaragua which has led to economic and political instability in the country,” the legislator stated, “This bill is aimed at holding Ortega and his regime accountable for violating human rights and manipulating the electoral process for his own political gain,” she added.
Ros-Lehtinen explained that the initiative “directs the Department of State to issue a report on how Nicaraguan regime officials in the Supreme Electoral Council, the National Assembly, or the judicial systems are directly involved in acts of public corruption and human rights violations.”
According to the congresswoman, with this initiative the United States Congress “has taken action to prevent Ortega from accessing international funds” until the leader, whose authoritarian turn has been denounced internationally, endorses reforms that promote democracy, strengthen the rule of law and assure respect for human rights, and “until Nicaragua holds free, fair and transparent elections overseen by electoral observers,” underlined Ros-Lehtinen.
The congresswoman stated: “We will continue to support the people of Nicaragua and assist civil society in democracy and governance programs but we must not allow Ortega to continue down this dangerous path without any serious repercussions.”
The House of Representatives has the power to approve bills introduced by the legislators, but before such bills can become laws they must also be passed by the Senate, where a two thirds vote is required for passage.