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ALBA slams coercive sanctions on Nicaraguan officials

PROGRESSIVE countries in Latin and South America have slammed the announcement by the United States of further punitive sanctions against Nicaragua targeting two of the country’s top officials.

The Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America – People’s Trade Treaty (Alba-TCP) branded sanctions against the head of the Nicaraguan armed forces Julio Cesar Aviles and Minister of Finance Ivan Acosta “an erratic and desperate measure.”

Founded in 2004 by Venezuela and Cuba, Alba-TCP is an intergovernmental organisation based on the idea of the social, political and economic integration of the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean.

Currently nine countries are members of the alliance: Antigua & Barbuda, Cuba, Dominica, Grenada, Nicaragua, Saint Kitts & Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent & the Grenadines and Venezuela.

The group warned that the coercive sanctions were the latest measure aimed at destabilising progressive governments in the region — Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela have been singled out as a so-called “troika of tyranny” by Washington.

“The alliance repudiates the promotion of this type of action in the midst of a global pandemic, since it shows a serious lack of ethics and humanity of the US government.

“The Alba-TCP countries ratify solidarity and support for the Nicaraguan government and people committed to peace and to the development of national unity policies through dialogue,” a statement said.

The US government has already imposed sanctions on key members of President Daniel Ortega’s inner circle, including his wife and Vice President Rosario Murillo, and the current chief of the national police, Francisco Diaz.

In December 2018 US President Donald Trump signed the Nica Act into law, allowing the assets of individuals and organisations to be frozen and denying Nicaragua loans from the World Bank and other financial institutions.

It followed three months of turmoil as armed US-backed right-wing paramilitaries terrorised the country in a bid to overthrow the democratically elected Sandinista government headed by Mr Ortega.

The US has a long history of intervention in Nicaragua, including funding counter-revolutionary death squads known as the Contras in an illegal clandestine operation, raising funds by breaching an arms embargo with Iran.

In 1986 the International Court of Justice ruled that the US must pay Nicaragua $17 billion in reparations after its actions supporting the Contras and mining the country’s harbours were found to be in breach of international law.

Washington contested the judgement and has refused to pay Nicaragua for the damage caused.

Alba-TCP has called for international support to defend national sovereignty, free self-determination and independence.

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