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Lawmakers call for more sanctions on Nicaragua regime

Two senators crossed the aisle Thursday to call on Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to apply new sanctions on the Nicaraguan government and leftist President Daniel Ortega, citing new concerns surrounding torture and human rights abuses by the government in Managua.

“It is critical that the United States reinforce efforts by the international community to maintain pressure on the Ortega regime and ensure it respects the rights of the Nicaraguan people, prosecutes those responsible for human rights violations, and restores democratic processes,” wrote Sens. Robert Menendez, New Jersey Democrat, and Ted Cruz, Texas Republican.

A year ago, during violent anti-government protests, Mr. Ortega ordered many protesters to be imprisoned. Rights groups say hundreds were jailed and over 300 people killed in the clashes between demonstrators and security forces.

Earlier this year, Mr. Ortega released many political prisoners — part of the agreement he made with the political opposition, mediated by the Organization of America States (OAS). But on June 18, the opposition said he violated the agreement by failing to release the rest of the prisoners, 84 in all.

The letter to Mr. Pompeo cited a new law which gives immunity to Nicaraguan police and officials who “participated in last year’s crackdown” against the political uprising. These officials have faced no prosecution even in the face of documented torture and human rights abuses, the senators said.

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