The US Department of the Treasury on Wednesday slapped sanctions on the daughter of Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega and a top army official, a day after the arrests of two more potential opposition candidates for the presidency.
The US said that the sanctions are intended to force the Ortega regime to return to democratic procedures.
Ortega’s daughter Camila Ortega Murillo became the 31st official or relative of the Ortega regime to have their US assets blocked since 2017.
The sanctions also prohibit US citizens from dealing with them.
Also sanctioned were the leader of Ortega’s Sandinista party in the Nicaraguan Congress, the head of the country’s central bank and a high-ranking army general.
Ortega on Tuesday arrested two more potential challengers in the Nov. 7 elections, bringing to four the number of opposition pre-candidates detained in a week.
Ortega is seeking a fourth consecutive term.
US Department of State spokesman Ned Price called on Ortega to release the political prisoners swept up in “an increasing wave of repression.”
“The regime’s repressive actions, including a number of arrests even last night have sent independent journalists, activists and student leaders into hiding for fear of reprisals,” Price said.
“There are costs for those who are complicit in the regime’s repression,” he said.
Nicaraguan Vice President Rosario Murillo, who is Ortega’s wife, called the sanctions an attempt by the “imperialist and colonialist” government of the US to interfere in Nicaragua’s internal affairs.
The targets of the sanctions had only represented “the dignity and heroism of our people,” Murillo said.
UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said that UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called for the release of the political leaders and the restoration of their political rights.
“The secretary-general is very concerned by the recent arrests and detentions, as well as the invalidation of candidacies of opposition leaders in Nicaragua,” Dujarric said. “These developments can seriously undermine the public’s confidence in the democratic process ahead of the November general elections.”
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