Nicaragua sanctions

On November 7, the United States, acting in support of the Nicaraguan people and their calls for a return to democratic governance, again demonstrated its commitment to use all economic and diplomatic tools to hold the Ortega regime accountable for human rights abuses and rampant corruption.

The United States has sanctioned key regime officials Roberto Jose Lopez Gomez, Ramon Antonio Avellan Medal, and Lumberto Ignacio Campbell Hooker pursuant to Executive Order 13851 (“Blocking Property of Certain Persons Contributing to the Situation in Nicaragua”). With this action, their U.S. assets are blocked and U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with Lopez, Avellan, and Campbell.  Avellan was concurrently designated under the Nicaragua Human Rights and Anti-Corruption Act of 2018.

Avellan is Deputy Director General of the Nicaraguan National Police (NNP) and has been instrumental in maintaining Ortega’s control of the police and his parapolice counterparts, essential tools of the regime’s repression. The NNP conducts arbitrary arrests, extrajudicial executions, and disappearances of anti-government protesters. This campaign of repression by the NNP and parapolice under Avellan’s command has led to scores of deaths and hundreds more injured. Campbell is the Acting President of the Supreme Electoral Council and responsible for electoral manipulation in Ortega’s favor, ensuring Ortega and his allies prevail in elections through fraudulent means. Lopez is a retired Army officer and Director of the Nicaraguan Social Security Institute (INSS). He orchestrated President Ortega’s use of public retirement funds to reward loyalists and defraud Nicaraguans, in addition to employing INSS enforcement mechanisms to target political opponents.

The Ortega regime must cease its repression and respond to Nicaraguans’ call for genuinely free and fair elections that are both transparent and early. It is imperative the regime honor the commitments it has already made as part of negotiations with the Civic Alliance and under the Inter-American Democratic Charter. We call on Nicaragua to release – fully and unconditionally – all arbitrarily detained persons and to protect human rights and fundamental freedoms. The United States and the international community will continue to promote accountability for those who blatantly disregard human rights and foment violence in support of the Ortega regime.

Link:

State Department Press Release

On Friday, OFAC corrected a bunch of mistakes in the following Nicaragua sanctions listing:

LOPEZ GOMEZ, Roberto Jose, Calle Real Xalteva, De La Iglesia De Xalteva 75 VRS Al Este, Granada, Nicaragua; DOB 07 Apr 1971; POB Granada, Nicaragua; nationality Nicaragua; Gender Male; National ID No. 2010704710008K (Nicaragua) (individual) [NICARAGUA]. -to- LOPEZ GOMEZ, Roberto Jose, Col. Pereira, CST 2C. S. 2C. O. Casa No. 1341, Managua, Managua, Nicaragua; DOB 22 Apr 1963; POB Madrid, Spain; Gender Male; National ID No. 8882204630000A (Nicaragua) (individual) [NICARAGUA].  

Link:

OFAC Notice

On Thursday, OFAC added the following persons:

AVELLAN MEDAL, Ramon Antonio, Bello Horizonte 6TA Etapa Nl 4, Managua, Nicaragua; DOB 11 Nov 1954; POB Jinotepe, Nicaragua; nationality Nicaragua; Gender Male; Passport A0008696 (Nicaragua) issued 17 Oct 2011 expires 17 Oct 2021; National ID No. 0411111540000Q (Nicaragua) (individual) [NICARAGUA] [NICARAGUA-NHRAA]. 

 

CAMPBELL HOOKER, Lumberto Ignacio, Entrada Principal Los Robles, 1 Abajo 1 Al Sur Casa 23, Managua, Nicaragua; DOB 03 Feb 1949; POB Raas, Nicaragua; nationality Nicaragua; Gender Male; Passport A00001109 (Nicaragua) issued 13 Nov 2015 expires 13 Nov 2025; National ID No. 6010302490003J (Nicaragua) (individual) [NICARAGUA].

LOPEZ GOMEZ, Roberto Jose, Calle Real Xalteva, De La Iglesia De Xalteva 75 VRS Al Este, Granada, Nicaragua; DOB 07 Apr 1971; POB Granada, Nicaragua; nationality Nicaragua; Gender Male; National ID No. 2010704710008K (Nicaragua) (individual) [NICARAGUA]. 

to their Nicaragua sanctions, and the following person:

KOUFFA, Amadou (a.k.a. KOUFFA, Hamadou; a.k.a. KOUFFA, Hamadoun; a.k.a. “BARRY, Amadou”), Mali; DOB 1958; POB Mali; nationality Mali; Gender Male (individual) [SDGT] (Linked To: JAMA’AT NUSRAT AL-ISLAM WAL-MUSLIMIN).

to the counter terrorism program.

And the State Department issued the following press release about the counter-terror designation:

The Department of State has designated Amadou Kouffa as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) under Executive Order 13224, which imposes sanctions on foreign persons who have committed, or pose a significant risk of committing, acts of terrorism. Today’s designation seeks to deny Kouffa the resources to plan and carry out terrorist attacks. Among other consequences, all of his property and interests that are in the United States, that hereafter come within the United States, or hereafter come within the possession or control of U.S. persons, have been blocked, and U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in any transactions with him.

Amadou Kouffa is a senior member in Jama’at Nusrat al-Islam wal-Muslimin (JNIM), an al-Qa’ida affiliate active in the Sahel region of Africa, which the Department of State designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization and SDGT in September 2018. JNIM was formed in March 2017 and is led by Iyad ag Ghali, a designated SDGT.

JNIM has claimed responsibility for numerous attacks and kidnappings since March 2017, killing more than 500 civilians. These include the June 2017 attack at a resort frequented by Westerners outside of Bamako, Mali; several deadly attacks on Malian troops; and the large-scale coordinated attacks in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, on March 2, 2018. Earlier this year, Kouffa led an attack against the Malian army in which more than 20 soldiers were killed.

Today’s designation notifies the U.S. public and the international community that Amadou Kouffa has committed, or poses a significant risk of committing, acts of terrorism. Designations of terrorist individuals and groups expose and isolate them, and deny them access to the U.S. financial system. Moreover, designations can assist the law enforcement actions of other U.S. agencies and governments.

A list of State Department-designated FTOs and SDGTs is available here: https://www.state.gov/terrorist-designations-and-state-sponsors-of-terrorism/

Links:

OFAC Notice

State Department Press Release

Link:

EU Notice

Publication of Nicaragua Sanctions Regulations

The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) is issuing regulations to implement Executive Order 13851 of November 27, 2018 (“Blocking Property of Certain Persons Contributing to the Situation in Nicaragua”).  These regulations are currently available for public inspection with the Federal Register and will take effect upon publication in the Federal Register on September 4, 2019.  OFAC intends to supplement this part 582 with a more comprehensive set of regulations, which may include additional interpretive and definitional guidance and additional general licenses and statements of licensing policy.

Links:

OFAC Notice

Nicaragua Sanctions Regulations

On Friday, OFAC added the following persons: to its Nicaragua sanctions program. (Note the new program code for the new Nicaragua human rights program under the Nicaragua Human Rights and Anticorruption Act of 2018).

And the Treasury Department issued the following press release:

Treasury Sanctions Members of Nicaraguan President Ortega’s Inner Circle Who Persecute Pro-Democracy Voices 

WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated four Nicaraguan government officials, Gustavo Eduardo Porras Cortes, Orlando Jose Castillo Castillo, Sonia Castro Gonzalez, and Oscar Salvador Mojica Obregon, pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13851.  Additionally, Sonia Castro Gonzalez and Gustavo Eduardo Porras Cortes have been designated pursuant to the Nicaragua Human Rights and Anticorruption Act of 2018 (NHRAA).  Today’s action targets Nicaraguan government officials who persecute Nicaraguan citizens exercising their fundamental freedoms, enact repressive laws, silence news media, and deny medical care to the Nicaraguan people.

“The Government of Nicaragua continues to violate the human rights of the Nicaraguan people, implementing exploitive and violent laws and holding hundreds of people as political prisoners.  The United States is sending an unequivocal message to President Ortega and his inner circle:  we stand with the Nicaraguan people on their calls for reform and a return to democracy,” said Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Sigal Mandelker.  “We will not hesitate to take action against those who perpetuate oppression or prop up the Ortega regime at the expense of the Nicaraguan people.”

As a result of today’s action, all property and interests in property of these individuals, and of any entities that are owned, directly or indirectly, 50 percent or more by such individuals, that are in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons are blocked and must be reported to OFAC.  OFAC’s regulations generally prohibit all dealings by U.S. persons or within (or transiting) the United States that involve any property or interests in property of blocked or designated persons.  Further details on these designations are included below.

GUSTAVO EDUARDO PORRAS CORTES

Gustavo Eduardo Porras Cortes (Porras) is designated for being a current official of the Government of Nicaragua and for being the President of the Nicaraguan National Assembly (NNA), an entity that has enacted significant actions or policies that undermine democratic processes or institutions in Nicaragua, pursuant to E.O. 13851 and NHRAA.  Porras is the senior-most political operator of President Ortega and exerts significant control over the Institute of Social Security and Ministry of Health with the approval of Vice President Rosario Murillo.  On November 27, 2018, OFAC designated Rosario Murillo for being an official of the Government of Nicaragua. 

The NNA enacted an amnesty law in early June 2019 that conditionally pardons individuals who took part in the protests beginning April 18, 2018, but requires protesters to abstain from expressing themselves in a future protest or risk having amnesty revoked.  The law also pardons police officers and parapolice fighters who took part in the Ortega regime’s violent repression against protesters, which included the killing of hundreds of protesters.  In November and December 2018, the NNA also banned nine human rights and pro-democracy organizations from operating in Nicaragua. 

ORLANDO JOSE CASTILLO CASTILLO

Orlando Jose Castillo Castillo (Castillo) is designated for being a current official of the Government of Nicaragua and for being the General Director of the Institute of Telecommunications and Postal Service (TELCOR), an entity that has, or whose members have, engaged in actions that threaten the peace, security, or stability of Nicaragua, pursuant to E.O. 13851.  TELCOR has been used by President Ortega and Castillo to silence independent media, including the news organization 100% Noticias. 

SONIA CASTRO GONZALEZ

Sonia Castro Gonzalez (Castro) is designated for being a current official of the Government of Nicaragua, and for being the Minister of Health.  For her role as Minister of Health, Castro is designated pursuant to E.O. 13851 for leading the Ministry of Health, an entity that has, or whose members have, engaged in significant human rights abuse violations pursuant to E.O. 13851.  Because the Ministry of Health is an entity that has, or whose members have, engaged in 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, Castro is also designated pursuant to NHRAA.

The Ministry of Health refused treatment to victims of violent regime repression, which exacerbated injuries and even led to death, due to the lack of medical care.  Hospital staff were under orders to report admitted protesters to parapolice who removed them from hospitals, resulting in forced disappearances.  The Ministry of Health threatened healthcare workers, firing hundreds of medical personnel who treated protesters.

OSCAR SALVADOR MOJICA OBREGON

Oscar Salvador Mojica Obregon (Mojica) is designated for being a current official of the Government of Nicaragua, pursuant to E.O. 13851.  Mojica is a retired Major General of the Nicaraguan Army and the current Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure.  On national television, Mojica promoted the Ortega regime’s “exile, jail, or death” strategy to silence the opposition, a policy that has left hundreds dead, thousands wounded, and tens of thousands either incarcerated, driven into exile, or internally displaced.  Additionally, Mojica manages a significant portion of President Ortega and Vice President Murillo’s official and personal finances including investments in coffee plantations and hospitality establishments.

Links:

OFAC Notice

Treasury Press Release