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European Union Sanctions Six High Officials of the Ortega Government

The EU sanctions on six key officials of the Nicaraguan government accompany those already imposed by the U.S. and Canada

Today, May 4th, the European Union imposed sanctions on six high government officials of the Ortega regime, among them National Police Chief, Francisco Diaz, General Luis Alberto Perez Olivas, head of Judicial Assistance, which controls the infamous El Chipote interrogation jail, Justo Pastor Urbina, head of police Special Operations, and Ramon Avellan, assistant National Police Chief, were also sanctioned.

Added to the list of the penalized was the presidential couple’s close collaborator Nestor Moncada Lau, and former Minister of Health Sonia Castro. The six functionaries punished by the European Union had also received sanctions from the United States, and three of them – Diaz, Castro and Moncada Lau – from Canada as well.

The sanctions were approved by the European Council, made up of foreign ministers from all the EU countries. “These measures are directed at people responsible for grave human rights violations in Nicaragua and are designed to avoid harming the Nicaraguan people,” the Council indicated in a communique.

The sanctions consist of a travel ban and the freezing of any assets held in any of the EU countries.

The framework for the sanctions had already been approved months earlier by the European community. They arrive at a moment when Ortega has resumed his criticism of the international sanctions, currently appealing to the menace of Covid-19 as a justification for lifting them. However, his government still hasn’t taken the internationally recommended measures for preventing infections.

Daniel Ortega rails against the sanctions

In the morning of Monday, May 4, Daniel Ortega took advantage of the Virtual Summit of the Non-Aligned Nations to insist that the United States government rescind the sanctions imposed against Nicaragua, Cuba and Venezuela. At the same time, he accused the US of “terrorism”, because it “continues attacking the people across different regions of the planet.”

“They should suspend those aggressions that they call sanctions and respect the principles of the United Nations. That would be more than sufficient so that the world could truly begin to change. We’d then be in better conditions to take on the challenges that humanity faces,” stated Ortega from his office and residence in the Managua neighborhood of El Carmen, in reference to the much-criticized response of his government to the Covid-19 pandemic.

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