The US Treasury Department imposed on Friday sanctions on the head of the Nicaraguan Army, Julio Cesar Aviles Castillo, and on the Finance Minister, Ivan Adolfo Acosta Montalvan, “for supporting the corrupt regime” of Daniel Ortega.
“The Ortega regime’s continued violations of basic human rights, blatant corruption, and widespread violence against the Nicaraguan people are unacceptable,” said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.
The two new sanctioned officials are now part of the twenty blacklisted Ortega officials, among them the First Lady and Vice President Rosario Murillo and two sons of the dictatorial couple: Rafael and Laureano Ortega Murillo.
“The United States will target those who support the Ortega regime and perpetuate the oppression of the Nicaraguan people,” added the Treasury Department.
“Since April 2018, the Ortega regime has cracked down on the political opposition, resulting in more than 300 deaths, 2,000 injuries, the imprisonment of hundreds of political and civil society actors, and more than 100,000 refugees fleeing the country.”
Julio Cesar Aviles and Ivan Acosta were designated in accordance with Executive Order (EO) 13851 “Blocking the assests of certain people who contribute to the situation in Nicaragua.”
The reason for the sanctions against Julio Cesar Aviles
The US Treasury Department said General Aviles “is politically aligned with President Ortega and he refused to order the dismantling of the paramilitary forces during and after the political uprisings that began on April 18, 2018.
“The Army provided weapons to the paramilitary that carried out acts of violence against the Nicaraguan people, which resulted in more than 300 deaths, as well as significant acts of violence and abuse of human rights against people associated with the protests,” added the statement.
The arguments to sanction Iván Acosta
On the other hand, they maintain that the current Finance Minister, Iván Acosta, “has continued to organize significant financial support for the Ortega regime.”
Furthermore, they add that “Acosta personally threatened the banks not to participate in a strike organized by opposition leaders in March 2019, the objective of which was to promote the release of political prisoners.”
Immediate consequences of sanctions
“As a result of today’s action, all assets and interests in the property of these people in the United States or in the possession or control of US citizens are blocked and must be reported to OFAC,” said the official communication from the US government.
The sanctions also stipulate that “any entity that said individuals directly or indirectly own 50 percent or more is also blocked.”
OFAC regulations, he recalled, generally prohibit all dealings by persons in the United States or within (or in transit) of the United States that involve any property or interest in the property of blocked or designated persons.