The United States Department of Treasury imposed sanctions on the Nicaraguan National Police, as well as three more top officials Luis Alberto Perez Davila, Chief of the Department of Judicial Assistance (DAJ) that controls the “El Chipote” prison; Justo Pastor Urbina, Chief of the Special Operations Division (DOEP) and chief commissioner Juan Alberto Valle Valle.
With these sanctions to the National Police force and the three commissioners they join the list of senior officers sanctioned by the United States: Ramon Avellan, Deputy Director of the Police, and Francisco Diaz, general director of the institution.
The US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, wrote on Twitter that “the sanctions against the Nicaraguan National Police and three commissioners are aimed at one of the main tools used by the Ortega regime to violently repress the people of Nicaragua.”
He adds that “we will continue to promote the accountability of the regime for human rights abuses.”
Sanctions for repression
The sanctions to the National Police have been imposed by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). The Government of the United States accuses the Police of “being responsible or complicit in, or having participated in, directly or indirectly, serious human rights abuses in Nicaragua.”
It also maintains that the institution has been “a tool” of the Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo regime, in its violent repression campaign against the Nicaraguan people.”
The repression by the regime left between April and September of 2018 a total of 325 confirmed murders and more than 2000 wounded, according to data of national and international human rights organizations. In addition, another 100,000 Nicaraguans had to leave the country to protect themselves from political persecution and repression.
“(The Police) is responsible for using live ammunition against peaceful protestors and participating in death squads, as well as carrying out extrajudicial killings, disappearances, and kidnappings,” according to the US Treasury Department.
Who are the three high-level officers sanctioned?
Individual sanctions imply that all assets of those affected in the United States are blocked and neither can do they do business with US citizens, who by maintaining or establishing a commercial relationship with the sanctioned could also be reached by them. At the same time, their visas will be revoked.
Juan Alberto Valle Valle
According to the Treasury Department, chief commissioner Juan Valle Valle was sanctioned for “being or having served as an official of the Government of Nicaragua and for being a leader of the Nicaraguan National Police, an entity that has, or whose members have, engaged in serious human rights abuse in Nicaragua.”
Valle is responsible for the siege of opponents in Managua. As Chief of the Managua Traffic Brigade Division, he personally directs police operations to besiege, intimidate and prevent any attempt at civil protest in the capital.
Luis Alberto Perez Olivas
General commissioner Luis Alberto Perez Olivas was sanctioned for his conduct at the head of “El Chipote” prison, which—according to the United States—is a “prison known for abusive practices where human rights organizations have recorded serious human rights abuses since April 2018.”
It adds that there have been “allegations of torture, rape, electrocution, lacerations with barbed wire, strangulation, and beating with steel tubes.”
Justo Pastor Urbina
The Department of Treasury also explains that during and after the civic protests of 2018, general commissioner Justo Pastor Urbina has been identified—by national human rights organizations—of being “complicit with the massacre” against the protesters.
In addition, he is mentioned as “continuing to play a central role in the repression throughout the country,” as chief of the Special Operations Division of the National Police.