Canada on Wednesday imposed financial sanctions on 15 Nicaraguan officials close to President Daniel Ortega, including his daughter Camila Antonia Ortega Murillo, in response to “ongoing human rights violations” in that country.
These sanctions are in addition to those that the North American country had implemented two years ago against nine other officials and those announced in June by its neighbor, the United States.
“Since 2018, the Government of Nicaragua has been committing gross and systematic human rights violations against its people, including campaigns of repression and state-sponsored violence against public protests and suppression of any political opposition,” said the Canadian Foreign Minister, Marc Garneau, in a statement.
The sanctions include freezing the assets of those affected, as well as the prohibition of transactions in Canada or with Canadian companies.
In addition to the president’s daughter, coordinator of the National Commission for Creative Economy, the list includes the president of the Central Bank, Leonardo Ovidio Reyes Ramírez; the deputy Edwin Ramón Castro Rivera; and General Julio Modesto Rodríguez Balladares, executive director of the Military Social Welfare Institute.
“Canada continues to call for the immediate release of the arbitrarily arrested, imprisoned or detained political candidates, as well as the release of all political prisoners, and an end to the arrest and harassment of the independent media and civil society actors,” the Canadian minister declared.
A total of 26 opponents of the Ortega government, including six presidential candidates, have been detained since the beginning of June, with a few months remaining before the elections.
Ortega, 75, who is expected to run for a fourth consecutive term, says the arrested opponents are neither “candidates” nor “politicians,” but “criminals” seeking to overthrow him with financial support from the United States.
In 2018, Nicaragua was rocked by a wave of protests demanding the resignation of Ortega and his wife, the country’s vice president, accused by their detractors of having established a dictatorship marked by corruption and nepotism.
A violent repression left 328 dead, hundreds of opponents were imprisoned and more than 100,000 Nicaraguans went into exile.