Senator Ted Cruz (R-Tex) yesterday re-introduced the Nicaraguan Investment Conditionality Act of 2017 (NICA Act), a companion to the bipartisan measure spearheaded by Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) and Rep. Albio Sires (D-NJ) in the House.
“Corrupt government officials in Nicaragua, as should all political leaders in Latin America, must understand that access to the U.S. market — whether to our financial system or obtaining a visa — is a privilege, not right. This bill goes a long way to helping set the right tone for the rule of law in Nicaragua and helps victims of Nicaraguan political oppression,” Liberty Fund Attorney Jason Poblete said.
The Nica Act would make it harder for corrupt Nicaragua officials to do business in the United States. If it becomes law, it would require United States officials at international financial institutions such as the World Bank or the Inter-American Development Bank to oppose loans for the Government of Nicaragua until President Ortega’s regime is held accountable for oppressive policies and anti-democratic actions. Loan opposition would end when the U.S. Secretary of State certifies to the U.S. Congress that Nicaragua has taken effective steps respect the rule of law, to hold free and fair elections and combat corruption.
“By calling attention to the abuses of fundamental liberties in Nicaragua, including against American citizens and American interests, Liberty Fund clients such as Mr. Roberto Bendaña-McEwan have a fighting chance to secure justice in their cases,” Poblete added.
Mr. Roberto Bendaña McEwan was falsely accused by Nicaragua’s Sandinista government of various crimes because he dared to call for free and transparent elections in Nicaragua including a clean up of the voter rolls in that country.
Warned of the impending politically motivated show trial against him, Mr. Bendaña with the help of friends, and what is left of the free press, as well as honest members of the police who sympathized with his situation, fled Nicaragua and arrived in the United States in December 2013. On or about January 2, 2014, Nicaragua abused the INTERPOL processes by requesting a Red Notice based on false charges. An INTERPOL Red Notice is a device that alerts law enforcement agencies around the world of an outstanding arrest warrant.
His legal team has submitted a great deal of information to clear his name and requested that they permanently remove him from the INTERPOL systems. To this day the government of Nicaragua continues to violate INTERPOL’s Constitution and Regulations by using the INTERPOL lists and systems for political purposes rather than for legitimate law enforcement matters.
Learn more about Roberto’s case here.
Rev. Bravo leads a Christian evangelical church in Camagüey, Cuba. For several years, Rev. Bravo and other Apostolic Movement church members have been targeted by officials with the Office of Religious Affairs, Cuba’s religious police, as well as other Communist Party officials. For many years the Apostolic Movement of Cuba has struggled to worship freely in Communist Cuba, in part, because it refuses to register with Cuba’s Office of Religious Affairs.
In partnership with a U.K.-based NGO, Christian Solidarity Worldwide, the Global Rule of Law Foundation is helping future leaders of a free Cuba find their voice, defend private property rights, and foster a rule of law culture. To learn more about this program, please follow this link.
On April 5, 2017, U.S. Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) re-introduced the Congress a bill which increases sanctions against the Ortega regime for it’s abuses against democracy and human rights. H.R.1918 – the Nicaraguan Investment Conditionality Act (NICA) of 2017 was motivated by the lack of democracy, rule of law and transparency in Nicaragua, and specifically by the Ortega regime.
While the Foundation cannot lobby, it supports the concept of proposals such as the NICA Act because it helps raise awareness of growing problems in Nicaragua where the government has turned the tools of state against political opponents. The Foundation is helping a victim of political persecution in Nicaragua. You can learn more it here.
Nicaragua’s oldest and most widely read newspaper, La Prensa, released the following editorial on the current situation in Nicaragua, and the threats being made towards those that defend human rights in the country. The editorial, in Spanish, can be found here.
human rights abuses in Iran. These designations are pursuant to E.O. 13553, which targets serious human rights abuses by officials of, and persons acting on behalf of, the Government of Iran since the June 2009 Iranian election.”
The following statement was issued on behalf of Mr. Nizar Zakka and his family by Mr. Zakka’s attorney in the United States, Mr. Jason Poblete following this release;
“By imposing economic sanctions on Iran’s State Prison Organization and Sohrab Soleimani, President Trump is reminding Iranian officials that the act of unlawfully holding Americans, U.S. Legal Residents, as well as persons from other nations, hostage comes with consequences. Human rights abusers will be held accountable.”
One of the oldest newspaper in Nicaragua, La Prensa, highlighted the efforts by The Global Rule of Law & Liberty Legal Defense Fund in an editorial on entrepreneur and civil society advocate Roberto Bendaña McEwan.
The article discusses the human rights violations, institutional backsliding in Nicaragua, and the unlawful use of the judicial system and international bodies such as INTERPOL to repress critics of the dictatorial regime.
Jason Poblete, co-founder, the Fund discussed the matter with La Prensa, stating that the abuse of the judicial system and lack of due process in Nicaragua are matters of interest to the United States, because you can’t have successful relations with a country that doesn’t comply with international laws.
The video produced by Global Liberty Defense was shown to U.S. officials in the Congress with the purpose of educating them on the politics in Latin America, focusing on Mr. Bendaña’s story.
Earlier this month, a revised version of the Nicaraguan Investment Conditionality Act of 2017 (“NICA” Act) was re-introduced in the House, which toughens the proposal of conditions on loans from multilateral organizations to the Ortega regime, and holds the regime accountable for fraudulent elections, corruption and human rights abuses.
Representatives Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) and Albio Sires (D-NJ) made the following statements after re-introducing the NICA Act;
Statement by Ros-Lehtinen: “We must continue to hold all governments within Central America to similar standards when it comes to human rights, corruption, and transparency as we examine where to best use U.S. taxpayer dollars and the Ortega regime in Nicaragua is no exception. This version of the NICA Act goes one step further than the previous version Albio and I introduced last Congress by calling for the Ortega regime to actively combat corruption and take significant steps to protect human rights defenders and activists. These are bipartisan concerns, and as many of us have witnessed for over a decade, Ortega’s power grab has brought Nicaragua into a continuous downward spiral. The time to take action is now – for the people of Nicaragua and for their democratic future – before it is too late. The NICA Act will be a powerful tool that can help end the atrocities occurring in Nicaragua and reverse its current destructive trajectory.”
The original article by La Prensa (in Spanish) can be found here.