United States imposed new sanctions Thursday on Venezuela and Cuba and promised additional penalties against Nicaragua as the Trump administration laid out a hard-line policy toward countries the White House branded a troika of tyranny.
United States declared Nicaragua’s civil unrest a threat to the region’s security, saying government repression of protests risked creating an overwhelming displacement of people akin to Venezuela or Syria. More than 300 people have been killed and 2,000 injured in crackdowns by Nicaraguan police and armed groups in protests that began in April over an abortive plan by leftist President Daniel Ortega’s government to reduce welfare benefits.
During the conference entitled The democratic challenge to the autocracies of the 21st century in Latin America, organized by the Center for the Opening and Development of Latin America (CADAL) on Tuesday at the Senate of Uruguay, the Government of Venezuela was described as a dictatorship and it was exhorted that the democratic governments of the region, especially the Uruguayan government, not be indifferent or accomplices against today’s Latin America’s autocratic governments.
Nicaragua's veteran leader Daniel Ortega defended brutal action by his forces against anti-government protesters, as the United States warned he and his wife were ultimately responsible for deaths and rights violations.
The United States is revoking visas for Nicaraguan officials responsible for violence against anti-government protesters, saying these are just the start of what could be more sanctions.
Nicaragua's protracted political crisis, which has lasted well over three months, is impairing economic growth, according to the central bank. Central bank chief Ovidio Reyes said the initial 4.9% growth forecast in gross domestic product (GDP) for 2018 could fall as low as 1% if ongoing protests continue to disrupt daily life.
Nicaraguan national police and armed pro-government civilians laid siege to a symbolically important neighborhood that has recently become a center of resistance to President Daniel Ortega's government. Government forces began advancing on the Monimbo neighborhood in the city of Masaya before dawn Tuesday.
United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres on Monday deplored and condemned the ongoing violence against civilians, including against students, in Nicaragua.Speaking on behalf of Mr. Guterres at the UN Headquarters, Deputy Spokesman Farhan Haq told reporters that “the use of lethal force is not only unacceptable but is also in itself an obstacle to obtaining a political solution to the current crisis”.
The Nicaraguan opposition will intensify its pressure against President Daniel Ortega on Thursday, with a demonstration and a general strike, but the government, in counteroffensive, prepares its revolutionary commemoration march towards Masaya, the most rebellious city in the country where at least 14 people died last weekend due a raid between pro-government paramilitary and protesters.
Anti-government protests in Nicaragua have led to a known death toll of 264, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights said Wednesday after four months of unrest, while some 1,800 people have been injured.