Tougher US sanctions on Nicaragua’s government would help strengthen a civic uprising focused on forcing President Daniel Ortega to relinquish power, Foundation for Economic and Social Development (FUNIDES) Executive Director, Juan Sebastian Chamorro said.
“What we are living today is unparalleled in the history of our country,” Sebastian said. “It is a civic insurrection… that unites the clear majority of Nicaraguans under the common goal of freeing ourselves from the dictatorship.”
Additional US sanctions, Sebastian added, would be a great step in the right direction and would send a clear message to the Ortega government that their corruption and human rights abuses will not be tolerated. Sebastian also said that he hopes the United States extends the sanctions to include Ortega himself and his family.
“There is no doubt that all acts of repression and violation of human rights are directly ordered by the presidential couple,” he said.
Despite the positive steps, Sebastian added, selective persecutions, illegal detentions and kidnappings continue.
In terms of other external support, Sebastian underscored that the insurrection rose spontaneously from civil society in response to the murders of university students.
“There was no foreign influence and there was never any need or space for it,” the FUNIDES head said. “There is only one side that has weapons of war, a small minority of fanatical followers of Ortega, police and para-police forces, and gangs recruited by the government.”
Sebastian also called on the UN to help ensure that the Nicaraguan government implements recommendations made by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR).
On Tuesday, the UN called for an end to the violence in Nicaragua that local human rights groups have put the figure at more than 350 since pension protests erupted in mid-April. Earlier in July, the US Treasury sanctioned three Nicaraguan officials in connection with the violence.
Sebastian, a member of the Civil Alliance for Justice and Democracy – the opposition to Daniel Ortega – is currently a private sector representative in the National Dialogue.