WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration on Tuesday added the first lady of Nicaragua and one of her senior aides to a sanctions list as part of its effort to increase pressure on President Daniel Ortega’s government for its violent response to a political crisis.
U.S. officials said First Lady and Vice President Rosario Murillo de Ortega and senior aide Nestor Moncada Lau share responsibility for a crackdown on political opponents that has left more than 300 people dead in the Central American country since April.
The designation freezes any assets they may have in the U.S. and blocks their access to the U.S. financial system.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Tuesday the sanctions are intended to prevent senior government officials from using the U.S. to “profit at the expense of the Nicaraguan people.”
President Ortega’s government called the measures ordered against the first lady a “continuation of the historical interference and interventionist policies of the North American imperial power against Nicaragua.”
“We declare as inadmissible, inconsequential, disrespectful, false and illegitimate all the accusations that confirm the imperialist perspectives and practices of the United States of America,” the government said in a statement.