(Miami, FL) – U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa, made the following statement today in response to Daniel Ortega’s accusation that she is “involved in disinformation and intimidation campaigns in the media against the democratic, pluralistic, and progressive processes.” Statement by Ros-Lehtinen:

“Ortega has accused me of being ‘involved in disinformation and intimidation campaigns,’ but the reality is that he is merely projecting his acts of repression on me and demonstrating his unease that the international community has begun to take notice of the way he has eroded democratic processes in Nicaragua. The NICA Act is solely based on facts – easily verifiable and politically motivated actions that Ortega has undertaken to undermine the democratic process in Nicaragua.

“The facts are clear: Ortega says that he is committed to peace, yet orders the police and military to commit human rights violations and intimidate the Nicaraguan people, including through the use of Russian tanks; Ortega claims he is committed to good governance, but under his regime, the only good governance is where his family, and only his family, controls Nicaragua’s institutions; Ortega professes his commitment to dialogue and consensus, yet he has used his power to unjustly dismiss 28 members of the opposition from their seats in the National Assembly while appointing his wife as his running-mate to cement his family’s hold on power through a dynasty.

“Ortega’s baseless accusations are just his latest attempt to detract attention away from the human rights abuses and the acts of corruption and intimidation he has been perpetrating in Nicaragua, but nobody is being fooled. Ortega likes to pretend that his abusive actions are in accordance with international norms, yet Article 3 of the Inter-American Democratic Charter calls for free and fair elections which do not exist in Nicaragua. There has been a clear disruption of the democratic order in Nicaragua and I urge responsible nations in our Hemisphere and the Organization of American States to invoke Article 20 of the Inter-American Democratic Charter to convene an immediate session of the Permanent Council in order to foster the restoration of democracy in Nicaragua.”