Friday, July 6, 2018

U.S. sanctions Ortega allies (July 6, 2018)

The U.S. announced sanctions against three high level Nicaraguan officials, for their participation in "grave" human rights violations and corruption. 

The three people targeted were Francisco Díaz, a deputy chief of the national police force who is seen as the force’s de facto head; Fidel Antonio Moreno Briones, the secretary of the Managua mayor’s office; and Francisco López, the treasurer of the country’s ruling party as well as the vice president of the oil company Albanisa. (New York Times)

The three are close to President Daniel Ortega and his wife, Vice President Rosario Murillo. They join the ranks of another ally, Roberto Rivas, who was sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury last year. (Confidencial)

U.S. officials emphasized the role of Díaz -- whose daughter is married to one of the president's sons -- in encouraging abuses, and referenced the case of a family of six, with two infants, killed when their house was set on fire in Managua. (See yesterday's briefs.) 

Moreno is accused of ordering acts of violence carried out by Juventud Sandinista members and "parapolice" groups operating against opposition protesters, reports Confidencial.

U.S. officials said more actions would be likely if violence in Nicaragua continues, and urged the Ortega administration to accept calls for early elections and continue negotiations with opposition activists mediated by the Catholic Church. (CNN)

An attack by police and parapolice aimed at dismantling opposition barricades in León killed at least three people, wounded dozens and has left 20 disappeared, reports Confidencial.

News Briefs

Venezuela
  • Acción Democrática announced it will be withdrawing from Venezuela's main MUD opposition coalition. AD, led by former National Assembly president Henry Ramos Allup is one of the alliance's "big four" parties, and its exit accentuates schisms between the opposition parties since last year's regional elections. (Efecto Cocuyo)
  • National Constituent Assembly chief Diosdado Cabello said Venezuela would become another Vietnam if invaded by the U.S., reports Efecto Cocuyo. (See yesterday's post on how Trump's threat strengthens the regime.)
Honduras
  • The vast majority of cases of torture against detained people in Honduras are carried out by the military, according to a new report. The Centro de Prevención, Tratamiento y Rehabilitación de las Víctimas de la Tortura received 95 reports of torture in 2017, most from penitentiary inmates and 78 from maximum security prisons. (ConexiHon)
Migration
  • The Guardian profiles a Salvadoran father reunited with his six year old daughter after a month of separation after turning themselves into authorities at the U.S. border in May.
  • The Miami Herald profiles an Honduran father deported from the U.S. after being separated at the border from his 11-year-old son, who remains in a shelter in Maryland.
Mexico
  • Twenty-four people were killed and at 49 injured in a series of explosions in fireworks workshops north of Mexico City. (Animal Político) Mexicans were angry at the repeated disasters in Tultepec -- a pyrotechnic industry center -- where 42 people died in 2016 explosions. (Guardian)
  • President-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador proposed Marcelo Ebrad to head foreign relations in his incoming administration, and said the former Mexico City mayor would be in charge of organizing a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo scheduled for next week. (Animal Político)
  • A group of 300 civil society organizations -- #SeguridadSinGuerra -- called on AMLO to repeal the recently passed Ley de Seguridad Interior and back off from a campaign promise to create a National Guard. Both measures work against the demilitarization of the country's internal security, said the group. (Animal Político)
  • A group of the country's strongest business leaders said they support AMLO and want the incoming government to do well. (Animal Político) A video featuring some of the country's most powerful business heads supporting AMLO's anti-corruption crusade and promising to keep investing in Mexico marks a honeymoon phase between AMLO and business interest he frequently clashed with during the campaign, reports El País.
Did I miss something, get something wrong, or do you have a different take? Let me know ... Latin America Daily Briefing

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