WASHINGTON — Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated three Nicaraguan judicial officials involved in human rights abuses conducted by the regime of Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega and the broader oppression of Nicaraguan citizens who oppose his government.
The three individuals designated today are judges or presiding magistrates in the Managua District Court of Appeals, the Second District Trial Court in Managua, and the First Criminal Appeals Court of Managua. These courts affirmed decisions that revoked the citizenship of more than 300 Nicaraguan citizens.
The Managua District Court of Appeals declared 222 Nicaraguan citizens traitors of the state and stripped them of their citizenship. An additional 94 individuals had their citizenship revoked and were declared “fugitives of the law.” One of the judges designated today issued a sentencing order imposing penalties on a prominent Nicaraguan Catholic bishop who was given the opportunity to depart Nicaragua along with the 222 departing individuals but refused to go into exile. The bishop was sentenced to over 26 years in prison, stripped of his citizenship, and declared a traitor for being critical of the regime. These actions reflect the regime’s disregard for human rights in Nicaragua.
“The Ortega regime continues to engage in anti-democratic actions that target the most vocal opposition figures in Nicaragua, including through its judicial system,” said Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian E. Nelson. “The United States will continue to support the Nicaraguan people as they strive to restore democratic institutions.”
ERNESTO LEONEL RODRIGUEZ MEJIA
Ernesto Leonel Rodriguez Mejia (Rodriguez) was designated pursuant to E.O. 13851, as amended, for being an official of the Government of Nicaragua or for having served as an official of the Government of Nicaragua at any time on or after January 10, 2007. Rodriguez is a presiding magistrate of the Managua District Court of Appeals.
On February 15, 2023, Rodriguez announced the court’s decision to strip 94 Nicaraguan citizens of their nationality, declaring them traitors. The denationalized individuals were outspoken critics of the Ortega regime and included notable journalists, human rights defenders, and clergy.
NADIA CAMILA TARDENCILLA RODRIGUEZ
Nadia Camila Tardencilla Rodriguez (Tardencilla) was designated pursuant to E.O. 13851, as amended, for being an official of the Government of Nicaragua or for having served as an official of the Government of Nicaragua at any time on or after January 10, 2007. Tardencilla is a judge in the Second District Trial Court of Managua.
On February 10, 2023, Tardencilla issued a judicial order that stripped Catholic Bishop Rolando Jose Alvarez Lagos of his Nicaraguan citizenship and convicted him for treason, undermining national integrity and authority, aggravated obstruction, and spreading false news.
OCTAVIO ERNESTO ROTHSCHUH ANDINO
Octavio Ernesto Rothschuh Andino (Rothschuh) was designated pursuant to E.O. 13851, as amended, for being an official of the Government of Nicaragua or for having served as an official of the Government of Nicaragua at any time on or after January 10, 2007. Since 2021, Rothschuh has held the position of elected president magistrate of the Court of Appeals of Managua.
On February 10, 2023, the president magistrate announced the court’s decision to deport 222 Nicaraguan individuals, declaring them traitors to the nation.
As a result of today’s action, all property and interests in property of these persons that are in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons are blocked and must be reported to OFAC. In addition, any entities that are owned, directly or indirectly, individually or in the aggregate, 50 percent or more by one or more blocked persons are also blocked. Unless authorized by a general or specific license issued by OFAC, or exempt, OFAC’s regulations generally prohibit all dealings by U.S. persons or within (or transiting) the United States that involve any property or interests in property of designated or otherwise blocked persons.
The power and integrity of OFAC sanctions derive not only from its ability to designate and add persons to the SDN List, but also from OFAC’s willingness to remove persons from the SDN List consistent with the law. The ultimate goal of sanctions is not to punish, but to bring about a positive change in behavior. For information concerning the process for seeking removal from an OFAC list, including the SDN List, please refer to OFAC’s Frequently Asked Question 897 here. For detailed information on the process to submit a request for removal from an OFAC sanctions list.