Today, the United States announces new financial sanctions against Daniel Ortega’s son Rafael Ortega and three Nicaraguan companies. This new action furthers the United States’ unwavering commitment to use all economic and diplomatic tools to hold the government of Daniel Ortega accountable for acts of corruption and unconscionable human rights violations, and to support the Nicaraguan people’s struggle for a return to democracy.
Today’s action, pursuant to Executive Order 13851 (“Blocking Property of Certain Persons Contributing to the Situation in Nicaragua”), freezes their U.S. assets and more generally prohibits U.S. persons from conducting transactions with Rafael Ortega, Inversiones Zanzibar, Servicio De Proteccion Y Vigilancia, and DNP. Rafael Ortega is a key money manager for the Ortega family, working alongside the previously sanctioned Vice President of Nicaragua and First Lady Rosario Murillo. Rafael Ortega uses at least two companies under his control, Inversiones Zanzibar, S.A and Servicio De Proteccion Y Vigilancia, S.A., to generate profits, launder money, and gain preferential access to markets for the Ortega regime. He uses Inversiones Zanzibar to obscure the transfer of profits from Distribuidor Nicaraguense de Petroleo, also designated today, and as a front company to procure fuel stations in an attempt to obscure DNP’s ownership of such fuel stations. Servicio De Proteccion Y Vigilancia is a security firm which has received millions in Nicaraguan government contracts. DNP is a chain of gas stations controlled by the Ortega family. DNP was purchased with public money and then transferred to the Ortega family, and it benefits from non-competitive contracts with government institutions.
The United States urges the Ortega regime to resume dialogue with the opposition and restore democracy in the country, thereby fulfilling its obligations under the Inter-American Democratic Charter. Nicaragua’s painful political crisis can only be resolved through free and fair elections that credibly reflect the will of the Nicaraguan people and with full respect for their human rights and fundamental freedoms.