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Ortega’s silence after sanctioning Nicaraguan gold; Experts fear that it “outwits” Washington’s measures

Ortega's silence after sanctioning Nicaraguan gold; Experts fear that it "outwits" Washington's measures

The government of President Daniel Ortega did not speak out this Monday after the sanctions imposed by the Treasury Department against the General Directorate of Mines (DGM) of Nicaragua, which manages gold, one of the main items in the Central American country.

The VOA made inquiries by telephone to pro-government legislators, however, they declined to comment on the matter, for her part, Vice President Rosario Murillo did not mention anything in her speech at noon on Monday.

Some analysts, such as former opposition deputy Eliseo Núñez, assure that the United States measure was something that the Ortega administration “was expecting” and therefore warns that “they can look for other ways of exporting” to circumvent the measure.

“This measure is a blow to companies that have been partners with the regime for years and the blow is great due to the volume of gold that is exported to the United States, however, the regime expected this and they can look for other ways of exporting” Nunez says.

For his part, the former Nicaraguan ambassador to the OAS, Arturo McFields, wrote on Twitter that “the dictatorship in the face of the new sanctions” could react with “a furious speech in a full square and sterile actions”, the relaxation of the condition in which the political prisoners, or with “the expulsion of the United States Ambassador in Managua,” Kevin Sullivan.

Ortega had tried to evade sanctions

In June of this year, the United States Treasury Department had also sanctioned the Nicaraguan state company, Eniminesas well as its president, Ruy López Delgado.

But Ortega responded by creating other companies to “evade” the sanctions imposed on the state-owned Eniminas by giving powers to the Ministry of Energy and Mines.

Ricardo Zúniga, Assistant Undersecretary of the State Department’s Office of Western Hemisphere Affairs, said Monday that the sanction announced for the gold sector “imposes restrictions on any action that has to do with the National Directorate of Mines, which is the entity attached to to OFAC, and as a consequence “complicates the ability of any entity (in the United States) to have a gold market relationship in Nicaragua.”

Nicaraguan gold moves $1 billion each year, and three-quarters of this involves exports from the United States. That is to say, more than 750 million dollars that transit or that were involved in the gold trade relationship with the United States, assured Zúñiga.

Núñez, for his part, indicates that the direct impact will be reflected in the income of the “regime” and ruled out massive unemployment due to the measure.

“I don’t think it translates into more unemployment, the mines don’t reach 5,000 people and the country’s workforce is 700,000 people.”

Since 2018, when the protests against President Daniel Ortega began, the United States government has sanctioned more than 50 officials, including Vice President Rosario Murillo, who is second in command in Nicaragua, as well as the children by Ortega, Laureano, Rafael, Camila and Juan Carlos.

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