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US sanctions target Nicaragua gold mining

#sanctions #target #Nicaragua #gold #mining

The United States imposed sanctions on a Nicaraguan state gold mining operation Monday, saying it finances the regime of President Daniel Ortega and his wife Vice President Rosario Murillo.

The sanctions focused on the Nicaraguan General Directorate of Mines as well as Lenin Cerna, a close advisor and former security chief for Ortega.

The US Treasury said the directorate manages most mining across the country, and that proceeds from gold mining benefit Ortega’s regime directly.

“Ortega and his cronies continue to use proceeds derived from the production and sale of gold to line their own pockets and to pay off those who keep the regime in power,” the Treasury said in a statement.

By placing the directorate on the sanctions blacklist, the United States “aims to cut off the Ortega-Murillo regime from its ability to use gold proceeds to oppress the Nicaraguan people.”

Nicaraguan Minister of Energy and Mines Salvador Mansell Castrillo was placed on the sanctions list last year.

Lenin Cerna, who was head of state security under Ortega’s presidency in the 1970s and 1980s “was reportedly involved in numerous incidents of violence, murder, and torture and admitted to associating with known terrorist groups,” the Treasury said.

“The Ortega-Murillo regime’s continued attacks on democratic actors and members of civil society and unjust detention of political prisoners demonstrate that the regime feels it is not bound by the rule of law,” said Treasury Under Secretary Brian Nelson.

US sanctions aim to freeze any assets those designated have under US jurisdiction and forbid any US individuals or companies — including international banks with US operations — to do business with them, effectively limiting their access to global financial networks.

The Treasury said the sanctions can also be used to block US investment in Nicaragua and block some imports from the country.

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