Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), and colleagues applauded Senate approval of their Reinforcing Nicaragua’s Adherence to Conditions for Electoral Reform (RENACER) Act, which would dramatically increase U.S. diplomatic engagement on targeted sanctions in order to promote free, fair, and transparent elections in response to the Ortega-Murillo regime’s continued use of repressive tactics to intimidate, inhibit, or arrest every aspiring opposition candidate ahead of the scheduled elections in November.
“I welcome the Senate’s passage of our bipartisan bill, RENACER. With this unanimous vote, the U.S. is sending an unequivocal message of support to the Nicaraguan people. Our nation must use all tools to hold the repressive regime of Daniel Ortega, and his family, accountable. I urge the House of Representatives to swiftly pass this bill,” Rubio said.
Rubio is the Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere, Transnational Crime, Civilian Security, Democracy, Human Rights, and Global Women’s Issues.
The RENACER Act would:
- Expand oversight of international financial institutions’ lending to Nicaragua and reaffirms the existing statutory waiver for humanitarian projects;
- Align U.S. diplomacy and targeted sanctions to ensure free and fair elections;
- Require sanctions coordination with Canada and the European Union;
- Add Nicaragua to the list of Central American countries subject to corruption-related visa restrictions;
- Require classified reporting on corruption perpetrated by President Ortega’s government and family, as well as Russian government activities in Nicaragua; and
- Require reporting on human rights abuses committed by Nicaraguan security forces in rural and indigenous communities.
“This is a day of forceful action, the day when the U.S. Senate is saying Daniel Ortega’s paranoia of losing at the ballot box is no excuse for his systematic dismantling of Nicaragua’s democratic system. Today, we make clear that Ortega’s brazen gambit to shackle anybody that dares challenge him will not pay off, and, in fact, our commitment to deliver hope and opportunity to the people of Nicaragua is only beginning,” Menendez said. “As we shine a spotlight on the spiraling state of affairs in Nicaragua, I will not stop calling for the end of political persecution, including efforts to silence opposition leaders like Arturo Cruz, Cristiana Chamorro, Felix Maradiaga, and Juan Sebastian Chamorro. Governments in our hemisphere and throughout the world must stand in solidarity with the citizens of Nicaragua and against the consolidation of a third tin-pot dictatorship in Latin America.”
“The U.S. must continue to take action against the Ortega regime for its ongoing arrests of political rivals and violence against opposition leaders,” Kaine said. “As Chair of the Western Hemisphere Subcommittee, I’m proud our legislation has passed this crucial milestone to send the people of Nicaragua a strong message that we stand with them in their quest for democracy and freedom.”
“We must continue to press for a return to democracy and support free, fair, and transparent elections in Nicaragua,” Cardin said. “I am proud that we are taking the necessary steps to hold the Ortega government accountable for its many acts of repression and corruption that continue to harm the Nicaragua people. The United States must always stand up for democracy and human rights throughout the Western Hemisphere.”
“The RENACER Act allows us to target Nicaraguan officials who seek to derail the country’s electoral process and protect democracy—a key tenet of U.S. foreign policy. By passing this legislation, the United States Senate sends a clear signal that we stand with the Nicaraguan people, and I look forward to getting this bill signed into law,” Murphy said.
“The Ortega regime’s campaign to dismantle democratic institutions and criminalize opposition has stripped the people of Nicaragua of their fundamental rights,” Cruz said. “The bipartisan support of the RENACER Act shows the United States of America stands unequivocally with the brave Nicaraguans calling for their freedom.”