(CNN Español) – On Wednesday, Canada announced individual sanctions against 15 senior officials in President Daniel Ortega’s government, including the president’s daughter, Camila Antonia Ortega Murillo, in response to what they see as ongoing human rights abuses in Nicaragua that began in 2018, according to the State Department.
“The government of Nicaragua has refused to implement important reforms to ensure that its people have free and fair elections in November 2021,” said a statement signed by Marc Garneau, Canada’s foreign minister. Instead, the Canadian minister said, the government “has intensified its attacks on civil and political rights and has arbitrarily arrested more than 20 prominent opposition figures and potential presidential candidates since June 2021.”
In the statement, Canada called for “the immediate release of political candidates who are arrested, imprisoned or arbitrarily detained, as well as the release of all political detainees and an end to the detention and harassment of independent media and civil society actors.”
Among those sanctioned by Canada are high-ranking police officers Ramón Antonio Avellan, Luis Alberto Pérez Olivas, Justo Pastor Urbina, Juan Antonio Valle Valle and Fidel de Jesus Dominguez Alvarez; Attorney General of the Republic Anna Julia Guido; SEC judge, Lumberto Ignacio Campbell; Minister of Finance, Ivan Adolfo Acosta Montalvan; Jose Jorge Mojica Mejia; Supreme Court Justice Marvin Ramiro Aguilar Garcia; Sandinista MPs Wálmaro Antonio Gutiérrez Mercado and Edwin Ramón Castro Rivera; Camila Antonia Ortega Murillo, daughter of President Ortega and Vice President Rosario Murillo; President of the Central Bank of Nicaragua, Leonardo Ovidio Reyes Ramirez; Julio Modesto Rodríguez Balladares, Brigadier General and Director of the Military Institute of Social Welfare of the Nicaraguan Army.
Sanctioned persons are prohibited from conducting any transaction in Canada. This includes freezing their assets by preventing persons in Canada and Canadians abroad from engaging in any activity relating to any property owned by such persons or from providing them with financial or similar services. Individuals on the list are not allowed to enter Canada under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.
The Nicaraguan government has not formally responded to these measures announced by Canada. CNN has requested a response from the Council on Communication and Citizenship, but we are still waiting for a response.
Ortega’s position on international sanctions
President Daniel Ortega has viewed the sanctions imposed by the United States, Canada and the European Union on more than 20 Nicaraguan officials as an attack on national sovereignty.
“We are respectful, we do not interfere with any country to criticize, and see if what they are doing is right or wrong. Ah, but they are using it for what? Their knees are demanding sanctions against the Yankee Empire, and begging for what?” President Ortega said on national television on June 23. To impose sanctions on the Yankee Empire, they believe that through sanctions they will subjugate Nicaragua.”
During that work, Ortega said that more than 20 dissidents arrested in June were part of a network of “criminals” who directed money to organize another coup such as the one in 2018. This is how he responded to requests from the Organization of American States. and the United Nations, which has also requested the release of the six presidential candidates who are under investigation for acts against national sovereignty.
Other Canadian sanctions against Nicaragua
On June 21, 2019, Canada sanctioned nine high-ranking officials of the Nicaraguan government.
Among them was Vice President Rosario Murillo Zambrana. Secretary of the Mayor of Managua, Fidel Moreno; President of the Nicaraguan National Assembly, Gustavo Porras; Health Minister Sonia Castro; Nicaragua investment advisor and son of the presidential couple, Laureano Ortega; National Police Chief, Francisco Diaz; CEO of the Nicaraguan Institute of Communication and Postal Services, Orlando Jose Castillo; Transport Minister Oscar Mujica and Presidential Security Adviser Nestor Moncada Lau.