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The US has sanctioned state-run Nicaraguan mining company Empresa Nicaraguense de Minas (Eniminas) and its board president for their growing ties to Russia as its military offensive against Ukraine continues.
The Executive Order (EO) 13851 has been designated to the parties by the US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). It bars any dealings by US assets with the designated parties.
In a press statement, the US Treasury Department said: “The Ortega-Murillo regime rigged last November’s Nicaraguan presidential election through the arbitrary imprisonment of the political opposition, the blocking of political parties, the shuttering of independent media, and the bullying of civil society.”
According to the department, gold revenue has been used by Eniminas and the Daniel Ortega government to repress the Nicaraguan people and pose a ‘threat to the security of the hemisphere’.
The US now intends to utilise all the tools to encourage accountability and compliance with international standards from the Ortega-Murillo regime.
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Launched in 2017 by the Nicaraguan Government, Eniminas aims to boost its control over the country’s mining sector while regulating gold mining by issuing land concessions to local and foreign firms.
However, high-ranking members of the Ortega-Murillo regime have benefited from increased gold exports from the country, mainly due to Eniminas’s role in ‘funnelling profits to private sector partners and kickbacks to regime insiders’, the US Treasury Department said.
The treasury also designated Eniminas board of directors’ president Ruy Lopez Delgado.
Last week, Nicaragua’s Congress renewed a decade-long decree allowing the training of Russian forces in the Central American country.
US Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian Nelson said: “As the Ortega-Murillo regime increasingly engages Russia and continues lining its coffers with significant revenue exploited from the Nicaraguan gold sector, the regime has turned its back on the Nicaraguan people, neglecting their livelihoods for regime gains.
“The United States continues to stand with the Nicaraguan people against the unjust imprisonment of political opponents and the sustained assault on Nicaragua’s democracy by the Ortega-Murillo regime.”