Today, the United States announces new financial sanctions against the Nicaraguan National Police (NNP) and three NNP commissioners, Juan Antonio Valle Valle (Valle Valle), Luis Alberto Perez Olivas (Perez Olivas), and Justo Pastor Urbina (Urbina). This latest action is further proof of the United States’ unwavering commitment to use all economic and diplomatic tools to promote accountability for those who play a role in serious human rights abuses and seek to silence pro-democracy voices in Nicaragua.
Today’s action, pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13851 (“Blocking Property of Certain Persons Contributing to the Situation in Nicaragua”) and the Nicaragua Human Rights and Anticorruption Act of 2018 (NHRAA), imposes asset-blocking sanctions on the NNP and the three NNP commissioners and generally prohibits U.S. persons from conducting transactions with them. Concurrently with this designation, Treasury issued a general license to allow U.S. persons to wind down transactions with the NNP through 12:01 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time, May 6, 2020.
The United States is designating the NNP under E.O. 13851 due to its role in engaging in serious human rights abuses in Nicaragua. The NNP is also being designated pursuant to the NHRAA for being responsible for or complicit in, or responsible for ordering, controlling, or otherwise directing, or having knowingly participated in, directly or indirectly, significant acts of violence or conduct that constitutes a serious abuse or violation of human rights against persons associated with the protests in Nicaragua that began on April 18, 2018. The Ortega regime uses the NNP as its primary tool of violent repression against the Nicaraguan people. The NNP has used live ammunition against protesters, participated in death squads, and carried out extrajudicial executions, disappearances, and arbitrary arrests. The United States has previously sanctioned two NNP officials involved in targeted violence and human rights abuses.
The three NNP commissioners sanctioned today are Nicaraguan government officials and leaders of the NNP. Valle Valle is the chief of the NNP’s Department of Surveillance and Patrolling; in 2019, he directed the harassment of citizens while they were sheltering in Metrocentro shopping center in Managua. Perez Olivas is the chief of the NNP’s Judicial Assistance Directorate and Director of El Chipote prison, an infamous place of abusive practices. Urbina is the commissioner of the NNP’s Special Operations Division, which has played a central role in repression throughout the country.
The United States urges the Ortega regime to immediately stop repressing the Nicaraguan people, respect human rights and fundamental freedoms, and allow the conditions for free and fair elections and the restoration of democracy in Nicaragua.