Striking a Balance on Nicaragua Sanctions

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In recent years, the authoritarian Ortega-Murillo regime has consolidated power, systematically dismantled organized opposition, and brutally cracked down on public protests. To push back against the regime, the United States has deployed sanctions, on individuals, entities, and state-owned companies, as well as directed its executive directors at multilateral lending institutions to oppose financing to Managua. These measures remain insufficient to place genuine pressure on the regime, however, and a more muscular sanctions architecture is in order as the Nicaraguan regime continues to run roughshod over human rights and presents a geopolitical threat the United States.

In this episode, Ryan C. Berg sits down with Eric Olson, Director of Policy and Strategic Initiatives for the Seattle International Foundation. Together, they assess the current state of U.S. sanctions against Nicaragua, as well as future directions for bringing pressure against the regime. They also evaluate the risks inherent in a sanctions campaign, and how to balance between denying revenues to the regime and preserving the livelihoods of Nicaraguan citizens, as well as avoiding exacerbating already serious migration flows from Nicaragua.