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The United States adds thirteen pro-Ortega officials and deputies to the “Engel List”

Those sanctioned are accused of undermining “democratic processes or institutions” and “stripping citizenship” from political opponents

Vista del edificio del Congreso de Estados Unidos, en Washington. Foto: Tomada de Flickr

Redacción Confidencial

24 de julio 2023


The United States Government added thirteen officials and deputies of Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo's regime to its list of "corrupt and anti-democratic actors," known as the “Engel List,” on July 19, 2023.

Those sanctioned are:

  • Wendy Carolina Morales Urbina, Nicaragua's attorney general.
  • Arling Patricia Alonso Gómez, first vice-president of the National Assembly.
  • Gladis de los Ángeles Báez, second vice-president of the National Assembly.
  • Loria Raquel Dixon Brautigam, first secretary of the National Assembly.
  • Alejandro Mejía Ferreti, third secretary of the National Assembly.
  • Rosa Argentina Solís Dávila, judge of the Court of Appeals of Managua.
  • Ángela Dávila Navarrete, Judge of the Court of Appeals of Managua.
  • Denis Membreño Rivas, Director of the Financial Analysis Unit (UAF).
  • Aldo Martín Sáenz Ulloa, deputy director of the UAF.
  • Valeria Maritza Halleslevens Centeno, director of the National Directorate of Property Registries (DNR).
  • Eduardo Celestino Ortega Roa, deputy director of the DNR.
  • Marta Mayela Díaz Ortiz, deputy superintendent of banks and other financial institutions (SIBOIF).
  • Sagrario de Fátima Benavides Lanuza, deputy director of the Nicaraguan Social Security Institute (INSS).

The sanctioned individuals are accused of undermining  “democratic processes or institutions by participating in coordinated governmental reprisals to strip Nicaraguan citizenship from political opponents and critics of the Ortega-Murillo regime.”

The individuals named on the list will be denied entry to the U.S. and will not be eligible for visas to travel to the U.S.

Sanctioned for confiscations and stripping of nationality 

Attorney Morales is accused of “facilitating a coordinated campaign to suppress dissent by confiscating the property of political opponents of the Government without a legal basis.”

“Urbina has also seized property from thousands of non-governmental organizations under laws explicitly designed to suppress freedom of association,” according to the State Department.

Magistrates Solís and Dávila are accused of “retaliating against critics” of the regime and “suppressing dissent by stripping political opponents and critics of the Ortega-Murillo regime of Nicaraguan citizenship.”

Membreño and Sáenz were sanctioned for using their positions at the UAF “to facilitate the seizure of assets of 94 political dissidents in exile and 222 former political prisoners, without any legal basis.”

Halleslevens and Ortega Roa are accused of allowing the confiscation of opponents' assets from their “position and influence” within the Property Registry. 

The State Department accuses Diaz Ortiz, deputy superintendent of banks, of providing financial information on political dissidents in exile and former political prisoners to officials of the Nicaraguan judiciary as part of a coordinated government effort to suppress dissent by seizing the assets of political opponents without a legal basis.

INSS Deputy Director Benavides Lanuza was sanctioned for “terminating and confiscating the pensions of political adversaries, without a legal basis.”

The list includes 26 other Central American politicians 

In December 2020, the U.S. Congress passed the Enhanced U.S.-Northern Triangle Engagement Act, popularly known as the “Engel List” because it emerged, in 2019, at the initiative of former New York Democratic Congressman Eliot Engel.

Initially, the legislation only affected officials from Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador. Later, the Law to Strengthen Nicaragua's Adherence to the Conditions for Electoral Reform, called the Renacer Law – in force since November 2021–, established the inclusion of Nicaragua.

State Department spokesman Matthew Miller stated in a release that “this list identifies individuals who have knowingly committed acts that undermine democratic processes or institutions, significant corruption, or have obstructed investigations of such acts of corruption.”

In addition to the thirteen Nicaraguans, the U.S. included 26 other prominent Central American politicians and senior officials, including two former presidents of El Salvador, and numerous judges and senior officials from Guatemala and Honduras.

Among those targeted by the US is Guatemalan prosecutor Cinthia Monterroso, who charged journalist José Rubén Zamora Marroquín with racketeering, racketeering, and money laundering, for which she requested a 40-year prison sentence.

The “Engel List” also includes former presidents of El Salvador Mauricio Funes (2009-2014) and Salvador Sánchez Cerén (2014-2019); Guatemalan judges Fredy Raúl Orellana Letona and Jimi Rodolfo Bremer Ramírez; and Honduran Liberal Party leaders Alexander López Orellana, Samuel García Salgado and Yani Benjamín Rosenthal Hidalgo.

This article was originally published in Spanish in Confidencial and translated by our staff.


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Redacción Confidencial

Redacción Confidencial

Confidencial es un diario digital nicaragüense, de formato multimedia, fundado por Carlos F. Chamorro en junio de 1996. Inició como un semanario impreso y hoy es un medio de referencia regional con información, análisis, entrevistas, perfiles, reportajes e investigaciones sobre Nicaragua, informando desde el exilio por la persecución política de la dictadura de Daniel Ortega y Rosario Murillo.