WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), a member of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, joined committee colleagues Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Ranking Member Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), this week in introducing a Senate resolution (S. Res 525), expressing continued support for the people of Nicaragua as they fight to restore democracy.
“The political crisis in Nicaragua will only be resolved when the Ortega government meets with the opposition and strikes an agreement to restore democratic governance and civil liberties. Unfortunately, the Trump administration’s aimless sanctions policy has failed to get us any closer to that solution. It’s up to Congress to defend human rights as a key pillar of U.S. foreign policy,” said Murphy. “We can do this, as this resolution does, by linking sanctions to negotiations that result in free and fair elections.”
“The Ortega regime’s communist policies have resulted in a fundamentally unfree society with a deteriorating economy, governed by repression. The regime continues to violate the basic freedoms of the Nicaraguan people, deny electoral reforms, and reject good-faith efforts for a negotiated solution to the crisis,” said Cruz. “I remain committed to applying pressure on the Ortega regime, through the NICA Act and by working with the Administration on the United States’ broader pressure campaign, until meaningful reforms are advanced and corrupt actors are held accountable.”
“The United States Congress must speak with one voice against the Ortega regime’s dismantling of democratic institutions and unchecked campaign of human rights abuses, which have pushed thousands of Nicaraguans to flee their country in search of safety,” said Menendez. “This bipartisan resolution urges the Trump Administration to fully leverage U.S. diplomacy and sanctions to advance reforms that could lead to free and fair elections in Nicaragua. But as we continue building a bipartisan coalition in Congress, I also urge governments throughout the region – including our own – to lead by example and provide Nicaraguan refugees and asylum seekers with protection from persecution and torture.”
Last year, Murphy, Cruz and Cardin requested a briefing for the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee by the Treasury Department, State Department and USAID. The current political crisis in Nicaragua began in April 2018 with a student-led demonstration against announced social security reforms. After a brutal police crackdown, the protestors shifted their focus on opposing Daniel Ortega’s authoritarianism and violence against protestors worsened. In response to the human rights abuses, Congressed passed the Nicaragua Human Rights and Anticorruption Act which became law December 20, 2018.
Joining Murphy, Cruz, and Menendez in the resolution are U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), David Perdue (R-Ga.), and Ben Cardin (D-Md.).
Full text of the resolution can be found here.