With the intent of increasing pressure on the regime of Daniel Ortega, the United States announced sanctions against Nicaragua’s military chief and finance minister.
General Julio César Aviles, commander of the Nicaraguan Armed Forces, and Iván Adolfo Acosta, minister of Finance and Public Credit, were placed on the U.S. sanctions blacklist on May 22. The U.S. Treasury Department froze the assets of both men and banned all Americans and U.S. companies from doing business with them.
According to the Treasury Department, the Nicaraguan military under Aviles’ command is alleged to have provided support to the police and paramilitary gangs that carried out crimes against the Nicaraguan people, including attacks on protesters during the unrest that began in April 2018 that lead to the deaths of 300 protesters. The Treasury added that Acosta used his role to arrange financial support for Ortega and threatened banks so that they would not support opposition strikes in 2019.
“The Ortega regime’s continued violations of basic human rights, blatant corruption, and widespread violence against the Nicaraguan people are unacceptable,” U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven 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,” he added.
The U.S. has already slapped sanctions on Ortega, his wife, and two of his sons, with the U.S. Treasury calling Ortega’s son, Rafael, as the “key money manager” for his family. The Nicaraguan National Police as well as its chief and three commissioners have also been blacklisted by the U.S. as well as the European Union.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement that these sanctions aimed to hold the Nicaraguan officials “accountable” for supporting Ortega.