The influential Hispanic Senators Bob Menéndez (Democrat) and Ted Cruz (Republican), today called on the Government to impose more sanctions against the President of Nicaragua, Daniel Ortega, and other Nicaraguan officials.

In a letter sent to the Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, Menéndez and Cruz denounced Ortega’s “continuous efforts” for “silencing his critics and promoting impunity for human rights violations.”

“It has been more than a year since Ortega repressed the protests that left more than 320 people dead, and six months since the government’s security forces raided media and civil society organizations, decreasing the their capacity to denounce these abuses”, wrote the senators.

Menéndez and Cruz considered it “critical” that the United States intensify the efforts of the international community to maintain pressure on the Ortega government to “ensure respect for the rights of the Nicaraguan people, the prosecution of those who violate human rights and the restoration of democracy”.

The congressmen also expressed their “deep concern” over the approval in the Nicaraguan Congress of an amnesty law that could strengthen, according to them, the impunity of the police and the paramilitaries that participated in the violent repression last year against peaceful demonstrators.

The letter also requests an update of the State Department’s report detailing the human rights violations and corruption in Nicaragua, which was due to be presented last month as stipulated in the NICA Law.

Menéndez and Cruz cited a report by the organization Human Rights Watch (HRW) that denounces six Nicaraguan officials, including Ortega, and their implications for the current situation in the country.

Other officials mentioned in the report are: the ex-head of the National Police, Aminta Granera; the deputy director of the National Police, Ramón Avellán, the inspector general of the National Police, Jaime Vanegas; the head of the El Chipote prison, Luis Pérez; and the head of the Special Operations Department, Justo Pastor.

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