Washington, June 10
The US Treasury Department has sanctioned four individuals who support President Daniel Ortega's regime that has "undermined democracy, abused human rights, enacted repressive laws with grave economic consequences, and tried to silence the independent news media".
In a statement on Wednesday, the Department said the sanctioned individuals are Camila Antonia Ortega Murillo, the Coordinator of the Creative Economy Commission and daughter of Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega; Leonardo Ovidio Reyes Ramirez, President of the Central Bank of Nicaragua (BCN); Edwin Ramon Castro Rivera, a deputy of the Nicaraguan National Assembly (NNA); and Julio Modesto Rodriguez Balladares, a Brigadier General of the Nicaraguan Army and Executive Director of the Military Social Welfare Institute (IPSM).
All property and interests of the individuals in the US are blocked, and U.S. persons are generally prohibited from dealing with them, said the Treasury.
"President Ortega's actions are harming Nicaraguans and driving the country deeper into tyranny," Andrea M. Gacki, Director of the Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control, was quoted as saying in the statement.
"It's clear the Ortega regime intends to continue its suppression of the Nicaraguan people. The US will continue to expose those officials who continue to ignore the will of its citizens," Gacki added.
The move came a day after four potential challengers to President Ortega -- Felix Maradiaga, Juan Sebastian Chamorro, Jose Adan Aguerri, Violeta Granera -- were arrested in Nicaragua.
Their arrests bring the total of presidential hopefuls in detention to four, the BBC said in a report.
All of those arrested have been accused of plotting against Nicaragua's sovereignty and independence and of organising terrorist acts with financial help from foreign powers.
They have been detained under a controversial treason law passed in December by Nicaragua's National Assembly, which is dominated by government allies.
Ortega, 75, is expected to seek a fourth consecutive term in November's election.