May 22 (UPI) — The Trump administration announced Friday it sanctioned on two senior Nicaraguan government officials for their support of the country’s President Daniel Ortega, calling his regime “corrupt.”
The Treasury Department said Julio Cesar Aviles Castillo, commander in chief of the Nicaraguan Army, and Ivan Adolfo Acosta Montalvan, the country’s finance minister, were sanctioned for their actions in the country.
“The Ortega regime’s continued violations of basic human rights, blatant corruption and widespread violence against the Nicaraguan people are unacceptable,” Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin said in a statement. “The United States will target those who prop up the Ortega regime and perpetuate the oppression of the Nicaraguan people.”
The Trump administration said Aviles refused to order the disbarment and dismantling of paramilitary forces during and after the political uprisings that started on April 18, 2018, resulting in more than 300 deaths and human rights abuses.
The administration said Acosta arranged financial support for Ortega’s government and threatened banks not to participate in a strike organized by opposition leaders in March 2019.
“As a result of today’s action, all property and interests in property of these individuals that are in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons are blocked and must be reported to [Office of Foreign Assets Control],” the statement said.
In March, the Trump administration imposed sanctions on the Nicaraguan National Police, accusing them of committing human rights abuses during pro-democracy protests there.
The Ortega government has been accused of violently trying to put down ongoing anti-government protests that started in April 2018 because of high taxes and cuts to pensions.