Two US lawmakers have raised pressure against Daniel Ortega’s regime in Nicaragua. Democratic Senator Robert Menendez and his Republican colleague, Michael McCaul, sent a letter this Friday to the presidents of El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Costa Rica against what they called a “criminal regime.”
Both members of the U.S. Congress are demanding increased scrutiny and transparency on the funds Central American leaders provide to Managua in the form of loans and financing. “We urge your country to take advantage of your leadership as a founding member of CABEI to ensure that the Bank’s loans do not perpetuate the Nicaraguan dictatorship,” the letter, signed by Menendez and McCall, reads. In the letter, the two legislators recalled that the Ortega regime was accused by the United Nations of committing crimes against humanity in the brutal repression that was first unleashed against the protests that erupted in 2018, then by critical voices, opposition leaders, journalists, intellectuals and activists. Ortega’s government has also revoked the citizenship of more than 300 people, including writers Sergio Ramírez, Gioconda Belli, and journalists Carlos Fernando Chamorro and Sofía Montenegro.
Menendez and McCall recalled in their letter that CABEI had become the main financing body for the Managua regime, receiving more than three billion dollars in bank financing. “Such funding provides a lifeline to the Ortega-Murillo regime at a time when global condemnation of human rights abuses in Nicaragua is mounting,” the lawmakers said.
Menéndez and McCaul’s request came a day after the debate organized by the Inter-American Dialogue, a research center that analyzes international relations in the Western Hemisphere, was held in Washington and was co-chaired by CABEI’s president, Dante Mossi. Political scientists Manuel Orozco, director of the Development Programs on Migration, Remittances, and Inter-American Dialogue, and Ryan Berg, director of the Americas Program at the Center for International Strategic Studies. At the meeting, Mosi assured the company he runs that “we are putting politics aside” while freeing up money for the Ortega regime. “Their policies don’t matter,” Mosey said, adding that what matters is that the money reaches the citizens. The multilateral bank president’s statements created waves of criticism at a time when the Ortega regime was accused of gross human rights abuses. In a letter to Central American leaders, Menendez and McCall warn that “unless Ortega and Murillo allow a political opening, their government will be forced to use their voice and vote to stop funding their criminal regime.”
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