12:22 GMT16 January 2021
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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The United States has sanctioned Nicaragua's Vice President and First Lady Rosario Murillo as well as National Security Advisor Nestor Moncada due to corruption and human rights abuses, the US Treasury Department said in a press release on Monday.

    "OFAC imposed sanctions on two of Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega’s closest associates: the Vice President of Nicaragua and First Lady, Rosario Maria Murillo De Ortega (Murillo), and Nestor Moncada Lau (Moncada), who has acted as a national security advisor to the President and Vice President," the release said.

    The Treasury added that the action was taken against Ortega’s supporters because of their engagement in "rampant corruption, dismantling of democratic institutions, serious human rights abuse, and exploitation of the people and public resources of Nicaragua for private gain."

    Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in the release that the Trump administration is committed to holding Ortega and his government accountable for the violent protests and corruption that has led to the deaths of hundreds of people, and destroyed the country's economy.

    Treasury's actions block Murillo and Moncada from accessing any interests or property they may have in the United States and prevents US citizens from doing business with them.

    READ MORE: US Envoy to UN Says Nicaragua Following Syria's, Venezuela's Footsteps

    Turmoil erupted in Nicaragua on April 18 when people took to the streets to protest unpopular social security reforms announced by Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega. After several days of protests, Ortega cancelled the reforms, but the protests have nevertheless continued.

    Earlier this month the Nicaraguan Foreign Ministry said 198 people were killed, including police officers, and more than 1,200 others were injured due to the protests.


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    human rights abuse, protest, corruption, US Treasury, Daniel Ortega, US, Nicaragua
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