United States Actions To Promote Democracy in Nicaragua

Press Statement
Robert Palladino
Deputy Spokesperson
Washington, DC
December 21, 2018


Yesterday, the President signed the Nicaragua Human Rights and Anticorruption Act of 2018 (“Nica Act”), signaling his further commitment to promoting democracy, human rights, and rule of law in Nicaragua.

The signing of the Nica Act supplements a series of actions the United States has taken against the Ortega regime. In November, the Administration sanctioned two of Ortega’s closest associates under a new Executive Order issued by President Trump to counter the worst abuses of the Ortega regime in Nicaragua, including its dismantling of democratic institutions and serious human rights violations and abuses. Those sanctions are in addition to the ones imposed previously against other high-ranking Nicaraguan officials under E.O. 13818, implementing the Global Magnistky Human Rights Accountability Act. The State Department imposes visa restrictions against officials responsible or complicit in such abuses in Nicaragua on an ongoing basis.

The United States is taking these actions in Nicaragua because the Ortega regime continues to stifle dissent; harass and repress independent media; and arrest, torture, and intimidate civilians for simply exercising their human rights and fundamental freedoms. The recent cancellation of legal status for nine human rights and civil society organizations, and the expulsion of experts investigating the human rights situation in Nicaragua under the auspices of the Organization of American States’ independent Inter-American Commission on Human Rights are just the latest examples of the Ortega regime’s wanton disregard for fundamental freedoms, democratic processes and institutions, and human rights.

The Nica Act sends another strong message that the United States will continue to press the Ortega regime for a return to democracy and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. We stand with the people of Nicaragua as they demand early, free, fair and transparent elections.