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Congresswoman María Elvira Salazar Condemns Biden Administration for Pathetic Response to Crisis in Nicaragua

September 21, 2021


WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, Congresswoman María Elvira Salazar (FL-27) questioned the Biden Administration's Deputy Assistant Secretary of Western Hemisphere Affairs, Emily Mendrala, regarding the Administration’s response to the Ortega regime's reign of terror in Nicaragua.

Video of Rep. Salazar’s remarks can be found here.  


Rep. Salazar on the political prisoners in Nicaragua: 

"I am very embarrassed. I am very upset. Because the United States is not present in this hemisphere, period.

"You know, I represent Miami, the heart of the Cuban exile community and the heart of the Nicaraguan community. And when you tell me that you have – that you're working through social media to denounce the Ortega Administration, I'm only full of anger, because of the people that I represent. It burns like acid on our skin. And I just want to share that with you.  

"Where is the Biden Administration?  

"I just have three names here that I want to share with you. Maybe people do not recognize who this guy is. This is Arturo Cruz, who was Ambassador for Ortega to Washington. He is in jail. He has lost 30 pounds.  

This guy, Felix Maradiaga, has been tortured – psychologically tortured.  

And here we have Chamorro, who we do not know what's really happening with him."


On the Biden Administration's failure to hold the Ortega Regime accountable:

SALAZAR: In August, the IMF gave $353 million to the repressive apparatus. Did you know about that loan -- $353 million to Ortega last month? Did the State Department know about this? Just yes or no? 

MENDRALA: We have used our voice vote and influence in international financial --  

SALAZAR: No, no, no, I'm asking you. Did you guys know? Did you guys call the United States Representative in the IMF? We give $100 billion to the IMF. Did you guys call the IMF and say no, we cannot do that. Did you do that? Yes or no. 

MENDRALA: We oppose lending through international financial institutions --  

SALAZAR: So that means that the Executive Director did not pay attention to what the State Department was telling them not to give a loan to Ortega for $353 million. 

MENDRALA: Ma'am, I can tell you that in every instance, we have opposed lending. 

SALAZAR: So that means that our own representative is not paying attention to the State Department. 

MENDRALA: No, ma'am, that I can tell you that we have opposed and --  

SALAZAR: But it still happened. We opposed it, but they still received it. And what do you think they're going to give that money to? They’re just going to put these people in jail and torture them even more. And not only that, I just want to share with you something else that's happening. In January of next year, the Commerce Department next year is putting together an event that says that Nicaragua is committed to transparency and the rule of law. Our Commerce Department, did you know about that? 

MENDRALA: We have, uh, through the interagency process spoken with all of our interagency partners -- 

SALAZAR: I’m just asking you if you knew about this event specifically. There is one event from the Commerce Department saying that Nicaragua is committed to transparency. Did the State Department know about that? 

MENDRALA: It has been brought to my attention. Yes ma'am.

SALAZAR: It was. So then what did you say? Yeah, let's promote Nicaragua? 

MENDRALA: No, that's not the case. We are gravely concerned about anti-democratic actions in Nicaragua. And we have made that known throughout --  

SALAZAR: I know you're concerned, but I'm asking you, the State Department can make sure that the Commerce Department does not hold that event in favor of Nicaragua.

MENDRALA: We are absolutely committed to working with the Commerce Department to register our concerns. 

SALAZAR: Register your concerns means that it may happen he may not. 


Rep. Salazar on the importance of passing the RENACER Act: 

"We passed a law called RENACER. The Senate passed this law and Speaker Pelosi is not willing to bring it to the floor.

"You have nothing to do with that. But I am sure that the Biden Administration could help and call on Mrs. Pelosi and say we would like to see RENACER on the floor."