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The United States Treasury Department Friday placed sanctions on two high-level officials in the Sandinista government and a large rural cooperative development bank.
The U.S. government ramped up its aggressive measures against the Nicaraguan government Friday by sanctioning Attorney General Ana Julia Guido, Minister for National Policies and Private Secretary to President Daniel Ortega, Paul Oquist Kelley; and Caja Rural Nacional (Caruna), a credit and savings cooperative financial institution.
According to a press release from the Treasury Department, the reason behind the sanctions is that these figures are allegedly "allowing and benefiting from the repressive activities" of the executive branch presided over by Daniel Ortega Saavedra.
The statement further said that the sanctions against Guido and Oquist "promote the accountability of the Ortega regime and of those who are trying to promote its atrocious activities." Simultaneously, the designation of the Caruna cooperative "blocks another tool" of the Nicaraguan government.
The U.S. accused Guido of "helping to create a group of prosecutors who worked with the U.S.-sanctioned Nicaraguan National Police to fabricate cases against political prisoners."
The statement also claims that Guido created a specialized unit "that has spent the last two years filing charges against peaceful protesters."
Today’s targeted sanctions against Ortega's regime & its allies are a clear message: The world expects restoration of democracy for Nicaragua, including free & transparent elections & observance of #humanrights. @USAID stands by Nicaraguans fighting for #democracy & a better life https://t.co/V7VA1r5EYv
As for Oquist, it alleges that he "plays a major role in covering up and justifying the regime's crimes and human rights abuses."
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that Caruna is "a savings and loan cooperative that operates as the main tool of the Ortega regime to channel income from Nicaragua's oil concession schemes with Venezuela to use as a resource to compensate Ortega's sponsoring network."
Pompeo stressed that "the U.S. will continue to take the necessary steps to support the Nicaraguan people and pressure the Ortega regime to cease repression, respect human rights and allow conditions for free and fair elections to restore democracy in Nicaragua."
These designations block all property or assets held by those sanctioned in the U.S. or under U.S. control and prohibit any transactions with U.S. citizens.