It’s time to recognize and support Nicaragua’s achievements rather than undermine them with sanctions
On June 8, 2023, U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Tim Kaine (D-VA) introduced legislation that would extend the U.S. government’s authority to impose sanctions on Nicaragua through December 31, 2028! The bill is now in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, with no vote taken yet – so there is time for us to take action together!
The new sanctions seek to restrict loans for economic development from the Central American Bank for Economic Integration (CABEI) which funds roads, water and energy projects, and housing in the country. The old sanctions stopped most loans from the IMF, World Bank and the IDB. Now the U.S. wants to stop the CABEI loans as well! All these restrictions should be lifted!
Nicaragua has achieved major progress for its people in healthcare, education, poverty reduction and gender equity. The government has brought electricity and potable water to people throughout the country and Nicaragua now has the best roads in Central America. But sanctions adversely affect the economy, increase unemployment and encourage migration to our borders – and they cause the most harm for the most vulnerable people in the country.
These sanctions would infringe upon the property rights of U.S. citizens and residents investing in Nicaragua by mandating no new investment or even home improvement! This means lost business and income.
Under the new proposed sanctions, people in the U.S. would be deprived of some of the best-tasting coffee in the world and a top source of fair-trade coffee! U.S. Americans would also not be able to eat Nicaraguan grass-fed beef. These restrictions are in addition to sugar and gold exports to the U.S., already banned from Nicaragua.
These proposed U.S. sanctions mandate a search for violations or some other way to suspend Nicaragua from DR-CAFTA, a trade agreement that has benefited both the U.S. and Nicaragua. But such a suspension could only occur by mutual agreement among all the countries that signed it, which is unlikely unless extreme pressure is placed on these countries, thereby disrupting harmony in the entire region.
These measures are cruel and do not reflect the high values to which we should aspire. Sanctions are harming the relationship between the U.S. and Nicaragua. Rather than “promoting democracy,” history shows that such coercive measures can destabilize a country. They send a message to the Nicaraguan people that the U.S. is not being a “good neighbor” and does not have their best interests at heart.
The U.S. should respect the sovereignty of all its global neighbors, including Nicaragua. Instead of imposing coercive measures, the U.S. should engage in constructive dialogue with Nicaragua.
In addition to writing to your senators, please consider calling members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee where this bill has been sent! Here is a list of Committee members: https://www.foreign.senate.gov/about/membership. Enough opposition at the committee level can stop the bill from going to the Senate floor. The Capitol switchboard number is: (202) 224-3121.
Read the letter here, personalize it with your own experiences in Nicaragua, and click to send it to your Senators!
The letter will appear when you click and you will be able to personalize it.
For more background material:
Read the recent edition of our NicaNotes Newsletter, “New Sanctions Could Impoverish and Destabilize Nicaragua’s Economy.”