Latin America

President of Nicaragua’s Supreme Electoral Council hit with US sanctions

The Trump administration slapped sanctions on the President of Nicaragua’s Supreme Electoral Council, Roberto Jose Rivas Reyes, on Thursday, in a new round of punitive measures targeting "“serious human rights abusers and corrupt actors."

The President of Nicaragua’s Supreme Electoral Council, Roberto José Rivas Reyes was named by the U.S. Treasury department in a new round of sanctions targeting human rights abusers and corrupt actors around the world under the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act passed by Congress last year.

Despite a reported government salary of $60,000 per year, "Rivas has been accused in the press of amassing sizeable personal wealth, including multiple properties, private jets, luxury vehicles, and a yacht," the U.S. Treasury department said in a press release.

It added that corruption investigations into Rivas were blocked by Nicaraguan government officials. "He has also perpetrated electoral fraud undermining Nicaragua’s electoral institutions," it added.

Rivas was targeted along with 12 other individuals from around the world including the former president of Gambia and a Myanmar general. The executive order issued Thursday freezes their assets within U.S. jurisdiction and prohibits Americans from transacting with them.

Steven Mnuchin, the U.S. Treasury Secretary, said in a statement: "Today, the United States is taking a strong stand against human rights abuse and corruption globally by shutting these bad actors out of the U.S. financial system. Treasury is freezing their assets and publicly denouncing the egregious acts they’ve committed, sending a message that there is a steep price to pay for their misdeeds."

He added: "At the direction of President Trump, Treasury and our interagency partners will continue to take decisive and impactful actions to hold accountable those who abuse human rights, perpetrate corruption, and undermine American ideals."

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