MANAGUA, Nicaragua (AP) — The United States Treasury sanctioned a son of Nicaragua President Daniel Ortega and Vice President Rosario Murillo Friday, as well as his communications company,for alleged ties to drug trafficking.
The U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control added Juan Carlos Ortega to its list of “Specially Designated Nationals.” The designation means his assets in the U.S. are blocked and “U.S. persons are generally prohibited from dealing with them.”
Juan Carlos Ortega is the third son of the ruling couple to be sanctioned by the United States. Some 22 people close to Ortega and Murillo have been sanctioned, including Murillo herself, since late 2017. A known Nicaragua political operator, José Mojica, was also added to the list.
There was no immediate reaction from the Nicaraguan government.
Juan Carlos Ortega runs several communication businesses, including the advertising firm “Difuso Communications,” which the U.S. sanctioned.
Nicaragua’s political opposition celebrated the announcement. “United States sanctions the dictatorship’s mafia,” Juan Sebastián Chamorro, director of the Civic Alliance said via Twitter.
In May, the United States imposed financial sanctions on Gen. Julio Avilés, head of Nicaragua’s army and Treasury Miniaster Iván Acosta.
The U.S. government has said it wants to pressure Ortega into holding free and fair elections and make the government respect basic rights.