U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., the chairman of the U.S. Senate Western Hemisphere Subcommittee, threw his support behind a former rival’s resolution supporting the Nicaraguan people against the Ortega regime.
Rubio is cosponsoring U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz’s, R-Tex., resolution on the matter. Back in the 2016 election cycle, both Rubio and Cruz ran for the Republican presidential nomination but both came up short against Donald Trump. Other supporters include U.S. Sens. Ben Cardin, D-Mary., Bob Menendez, D-NJ, Chris Murphy, D-Conn., and David Perdue, R-Ga.
The senators also expressed their continued support of the “Nicaraguan Investment Conditionality Act” (NICA) which Trump signed into law at the end of 2018. The NICA sanctioned members of the Ortega regime and reduced international loans to the Nicaraguan government.
On Tuesday, Rubio weighed in on why he was backing Cruz’s resolution.
“As the Ortega regime continues its crackdown against members of Nicaragua’s opposition, civil society, and independent press, the United States Senate is sending a bipartisan message of support to the Nicaraguan people who are bravely voicing their strong desire to restore civil rights, democracy, and the rule of law in their nation,” Rubio said. “The United States and our regional partners, must continue to hold accountable individuals who repress and violate the rights of innocent civilians.”
“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,” Cruz said. “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,” Menendez said. “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.”
“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,” Murphy said. “We can do this, as this resolution does, by linking sanctions to negotiations that result in free and fair elections.”
“The political and humanitarian crises in Nicaragua will only worsen if the Ortega regime continues to manipulate elections and reject good-faith agreements to preserve its people’s constitutional rights,” Perdue said. “The United States will always stand firmly with the people of Nicaragua in their peaceful efforts to restore democracy. We are committed to holding this corrupt regime accountable for its violence, human rights abuses, and assault on the country’s fundamental right to a free and fair democratic process.”
“America’s strength is in our values, including defending human and civil rights in our hemisphere and around the world,” Cardin said. “Nicaragua must end its policies that trample on the rights of its people. The United States will continue to urge a return to democracy and a free and fair election process in Nicaragua, while strongly encouraging international condemnation and accountability for the acts of repression undertaken by the Ortega government.”
The resolution was sent to the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee this week.
Reach Kevin Derby at firstname.lastname@example.org.