US sanctions three Nicaraguans, threatens additional action

US sanctions three Nicaraguans, threatens additional action
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The Trump administration on Thursday sanctioned three Nicaraguans linked to allegations of government-sanctioned violence and suppression against citizens in Nicaragua.

The sanctioned individuals include a commissioner with Nicaragua’s National Police, a man associated with violence perpetrated by pro-government groups and a governing party official, according to the State Department.

“Today, the United States government sanctioned three individuals from Nicaragua who have been involved in serious human rights abuse or engaged in corruption,” the State Department said in a statement.

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“As a result of today’s actions, any property, or interest in property, of those designated within U.S. jurisdiction is blocked,” the statement said. “Additionally, U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with blocked persons, including entities owned or controlled by designated persons.”

A senior administration official told CNN the U.S. will likely take more actions against Nicaragua as long as violence continues in the region.

Nicaraguan citizens have been protesting since April, when President Daniel Ortega proposed an overhaul of the country’s welfare system. Protestors are accusing Ortega and his administration of corruption and authoritarianism.

The protestors have been met with violent suppression by the police and government-affiliated groups.

The White House in April condemned the Nicaraguan government’s response to the protestors, which has included killings and media censorship.

"The repugnant political violence by police and pro-government thugs against the people of Nicaragua, particularly university students, has shocked the democratic international community," White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement at the time.

"As a nation that supports free speech as a human and civil right, the United States condemns the violence and repression propagated by the Government of Nicaragua and any closing of media,” Sanders added.

Last month, the State Department enacted visa restrictions on individuals responsible for “human rights abuses or undermining democracy,” CNN reported.