Ready to bow out of Congress after almost 30 years, U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla.. scored a win as her “Nicaraguan Investment and Conditionality Act” (NICA) has been sent to President Donald Trump’s desk.
The bill sanctions the regime leading Nicaragua and will “condition U.S. approval for loans to the Ortega regime from international financial institutions.”
Ros-Lehtinen, the first woman to ever lead the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee, championed the bill in the House. Over in the U.S. Senate, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, introduced the proposal with U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., cosponsoring it.
While the bill cleared the House last month, it was amended to include U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez’s, D-NJ, proposal for additional sanctions on the Nicaraguan regime and Rubio’s amendment “targeting the regime’s enablers."
The House passed the amendment bill on Tuesday and sent it to Trump.
“I thank my colleagues in the House and Senate for passing the NICA Act that will help the Nicaraguan people break free of Ortega’s despotic rule,” Ros-Lehtinen said before tipping her cap to a host of congressional leaders. “I am especially thankful to Bob, Ted, Marco, Patrick, Eliot, Albio and Ed who joined me in this effort from the very beginning, as we witnessed years of Ortega’s increased corruption and repression. With the final passage of the amended NICA Act, Congress took a leap forward in creating further accountability against the heinous abuses committed by Ortega and his puppets. In a desperate effort to cling to power, Ortega and his thugs have continued to clamp down on free speech and peaceful demonstrations. The United States has answered the call of the Nicaraguan people and will continue to do so in support of much needed electoral and human rights reforms.”
“Today’s final passage of the NICA Act shows that the United States Congress will not stand idly by as the Ortega regime continues its dictatorial campaign of extrajudicial killings and repression against the people of Nicaragua,” said Menendez, the top Democrat on the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee. “This bipartisan legislation will hold Ortega, Murillo, and their accomplices accountable for their widespread human rights abuses and for plundering state coffers for their own profit. This bill also ensures that U.S. sanctions will target the Ortega regime without affecting the Nicaraguan people, and offers much-needed support for a negotiated solution to this crisis.”
“I have been proud to work alongside Rep. Ros-Lehtinen and our colleagues in the House and Senate to pursue meaningful democratic reform and combat human rights abuses in Nicaragua,” Cruz said. “For years we fought hard for this meaningful legislation, and today’s vote in support sends a loud message to the Ortega regime that the United States will not allow regimes that commit such atrocities and undermine the rule of law to benefit from international financing.”
“In an important day for the Nicaraguan Community, Congress today overwhelmingly passed the NICA Act after many months of hard work behind the scenes,” Rubio said. “We are one step closer to expanding sanctions and other pressures against the oppressive Ortega regime and sending a clear message that the United States will not tolerate the ongoing human rights violations. I thank Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, who spearheaded these efforts, for her tireless work in support of democracy in the Western Hemisphere.”
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