The US warns of risks of the Foreign Agents Law in Nicaragua

The US warns of risks of the Foreign Agents Law in Nicaragua

The US State Department expressed its “deep concern” over what it considers to be a growing repression by the government of President Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua.

In a statement, the State Department warned that the approval of the Foreign Agents Law forced the closure of the Nicaragua chapter of the International PEN and the Violeta Barrios de Chamorro Foundation, “two bastions of free expression.”

The PEN Center and the Violeta Barrios de Chamorro Foundation, with several years of work for freedom of the press and expression, announced on February 5 the closure of their operations in the country after refusing to submit to the provisions established in the Foreign Agents Law .

Legislation passed last October establishes tight control over people and institutions that receive funds from international cooperation. It also mandates the presentation of financial reports, private data of board members and donors. It also establishes fines of between US $ 300,000 and US $ 500,000 for serious misconduct, cancellation of legal personality and freezing of assets and funds.

‘Ortega is leading the country to a dictatorship,’ says US on Nicaragua

“These events further stifle Nicaraguan civil society and further move the country away from holding free and fair elections in November. Ortega is leading the country to a dictatorship, which will further isolate his regime from the international community, “says the State Department.

The Government of Nicaragua has not officially reacted to this statement from the State Department. Citizen Free Press has requested a comment through the Council for Communication and Citizenship, but they have yet to respond.

Ortega has pointed out to the United States government of financing – without specifying names – opponents of his government since April 2018, when the protests against his government began.

The president has also condemned the sanctions imposed on more than twenty government officials, including his wife, Rosario Murillo, whom Washington accuses of violating human rights or participating in acts of corruption. The president rejects the sanctions considering them an attack on the country’s sovereignty.

On January 11, in an official ceremony, Ortega sent a message to then-president-elect Joe Biden, asking him to work with respect for the region.

The State Department stressed that the Biden government “is committed to supporting the Nicaraguan people and their demand for democracy.” “We are focused on empowering civil society and improving respect for human rights. We urge President Ortega to change course now, “the statement concluded.

Ben Oakley
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