han pasado desde el robo de nuestras instalaciones. No nos rendimos, seguimos comprometidos con informarte.

Translate to English: The United States Congress. Photo: ARCHIVE

All you need to know about the tough Rubio-Kaine bill on Nicaragua currently in the US Senate

The new framework, if approved, among other things, would prohibit any citizen or resident of the United States from investing in Nicaragua

The new bill currently making its way in the United States Congress, aimed at expanding sanctions against the dictatorship of Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua, consolidates two previous laws into a single legal framework. The purpose is to refine and update all the legal efforts made by the U.S. government over the past six years to punish the excesses of the Ortega regime.

The “Restoration of Sovereignty and Human Rights in Nicaragua Act” – Law 1881 – called the “Rubio – Kaine bill” after the two senators that sponsor it, was approved on April 16 by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee of the United States and is now undergoing approval processes in both the Senate and the House of Representatives of the U.S. Congress.

The law is a bipartisan initiative, spearheaded by Republican Senator from Florida, Marco Rubio, and Democratic Senator from Virginia, Tim Kaine. Kaine was the vice-presidential candidate on Hillary Clinton’s ticket in 2016, while Rubio, is being mentioned in some media outlets as a possible member of a potential Donald Trump cabinet if he were to win the November elections.

The law underscores that “it is U.S. policy to seek a solution to the political crisis in Nicaragua through a commitment by the Nicaraguan government to hold free and fair elections that meet democratic standards and allow credible electoral observation to replace the Ortega government; the cessation of violence perpetrated against civilians by the Nicaraguan National Police and by armed groups supported by the Nicaraguan government; and conducting independent investigations into the killings of protesters in Nicaragua.

Senator Tim Kaine, Democrat from Virginia and Senator Marco Rubio, Republican from Florida.

Prohibition for citizens and residents of the United States to invest in Nicaragua

The law would prohibit new investments in Nicaragua. ‘After the date of enactment of this Act, a United States person (be it citizen or permanent resident), wherever located, may not make any investment in any sector of Nicaragua’s economy.

However, this prohibition would not apply with respect to “any person for engaging in or facilitating a transaction for the sale of agricultural commodities, food, medicines, or medical devices to Nicaragua, or for the provision of humanitarian assistance to the people of Nicaragua.”

The law touches on the Nicaraguan army and relates it to the Russian invasion of Ukraine

The new law adds the establishment of sanctions on those organizations and individuals who materially support, through goods, services, or technology, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Opposition politician Juan Sebastián Chamorro noted that these sanctions related to logistical support for the war in Ukraine target the Nicaraguan Army, under the leadership of the already sanctioned General Julio César Avilés, who has held the position for 16 years.

Another element in the law that is related to the military forces of Nicaragua is the amendment to the Reinforcement of Nicaragua’s Adherence to Conditions for Electoral Reform Act of 2021, better known as the Renacer Act, where the Military Pension Institute of the Army is added as a subject to sanctions.

This is particularly problematic because the Rubio-Kaine initiative would now mention as one of the reasons for sanctioning the act of supplying goods, services, technology, or expressing support for the invasion of Ukraine by the Russian Federation.

It mandates coordinated efforts to influence the BCIE

Something novel is a chapter that amends the Nica Act dedicated to the Central American Bank for Economic Integration (BCIE). Although the United States is not a member of the BCIE, it mandates U.S. authorities to coordinate diplomatic efforts with partner countries of the United States that are members of the regional bank, such as Taiwan, Argentina, Spain, South Korea, and Mexico’s financial institution, to prevent the extension of credits to Nicaragua.

The reform would also establish that in the event of new loans, they are executed externally and independently, so that the dictatorship cannot use these funds at its discretion.

It establishes strong scrutiny over the country in the CAFTA

Among the additional economic measures that the initiative includes to hold the regime accountable for human rights abuses it has committed are: the annual review, at least until 2028, of Nicaragua’s participation in the Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA).

The review should determine if CAFTA benefits the regime and if the dictatorship has violated its precepts.

The new law does not establish that Nicaragua will be expelled from CAFTA; however, it refers to an old trade treaty from 1974, which stipulates that a country may lose its status as most-favored-nation for trade, according to Article 402.

The products of [a country in that category] shall not be entitled to receive nondiscriminatory treatment (normal trade relations), such country shall not participate in any program of the Government of the United States that provides credits or credit guarantees or investment guarantees, directly or indirectly, and the President of the United States shall not enter into any trade agreement with such country,” states the article.

Additionally, the new legal framework would leave open the possibility of sanctioning other sectors of the Nicaraguan economy, such as coffee and livestock, in addition to the gold industry in Nicaragua, which was already sanctioned in 2022.

The bill proposal expands the section of sanctions regarding Nicaragua to not only cover individuals who are or have been members of the government of Nicaragua or who have acted on behalf of the government of Nicaragua and have committed human rights abuses or taken actions to undermine democracy, but also to include individuals who have exhibited such behavior and have participated in any economic sector of the country, but it specifically mentions the sectors of livestock, coffee, and gold.

Sanctions for persecuting the Catholic Church

As it is now more widely known, the new law extends until 2028 the validity of the Conditional Investment Law in Nicaragua of 2018, better known as the Nica Act, which expired in 2023.

Furthermore, it amends the Nica Act to address the context of religious persecution, which will entail sanctions targeted at actors involved in the harassment, persecution, and arrest of members of the Catholic Church.

The reforms are also more detailed in establishing punishments for the persecution of political leaders, opposition members, and the violation of human rights of political prisoners.

Support for the GHREN

“The new legislation includes support for human rights and democracy protection programs and U.S. support for the protection of the human rights of Nicaraguans in the United Nations. In particular, it mentions providing support to the Group of Human Rights Experts on Nicaragua (GHREN).

According to the initiative, the President shall direct U.S. representatives at the United Nations and at the Human Rights Council to support and extend the mandate of the GHREN, including ‘providing technical and research assistance to the Group of Human Rights Experts on Nicaragua as requested and as permitted by United Nations rules and regulations and United States law’.”

According to the proposed law, if approved, all its provisions would remain in effect until the crisis in Nicaragua is resolved peacefully and democratically.

Puede interesarte


El contenido de LA PRENSA es el resultado de mucho esfuerzo. Te invitamos a compartirlo y así contribuís a mantener vivo el periodismo independiente en Nicaragua.

Comparte nuestro enlace:

Si aún no sos suscriptor, te invitamos a suscribirte aquí