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Sen. Cruz, Rep. Ros-Lehtinen Celebrate Final Passage of NICA Act

December 14, 2018

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) on Thursday sat down in a Facebook Live discussion to talk about the ongoing crisis in Nicaragua and their efforts to shine a light on the human rights abuses by the Ortega regime. During their discussion, they urged President Trump to sign their bipartisan NICA Act into law.

Watch the full Facebook Live discussion here. Excerpts are below.

“We’re here to celebrate the passage of the NICA legislation that Ileana and I worked on together,” Sen. Cruz said. “This is major legislation for the people of Nicaragua and Ileana has been working on this a long, long time. We have been working together, hand in hand, and this is a great victory for human rights. This is a great victory in terms of imposing sanctions, in terms of using the international muscle of the United States, of the international financial institutions to push for human rights in Nicaragua. To stand with the people of Nicaragua against oppression, against torture, against the human rights travesties that we’ve seen. This is a great day for the people of Nicaragua and a great day for human rights across the globe.” 

“You’re so right when you characterize this bill as a bill in favor of international human values that we all treasure--American values,” Rep. Ros-Lehtinen said. “And they should be the values respected in Nicaragua: human rights, democracy, no corruption, the ability to speak one’s mind. Ortega is just as dictatorial as Diaz-Canel and Castro in Cuba, as Maduro in Venezuela--as all of these thugs they have one thing in common: they want to remain in power and they want total repression against human rights activists. So, this says to the Ortega regime no international dollars and human rights violators you can’t come to the United States, we will make sure that we protect the people of Nicaragua. They will have to then decide. These thugs will have to decide. Do they want all the good things that come of being a good international partner or do they want to be treated like the pariahs that they are?” 

During their discussion, Sen. Cruz highlighted the sacrifices and bravery of the Nicaraguan people fighting for freedom. 

“Ileana and I have both met with Nicaraguan protestors who’ve risked their lives,” Sen. Cruz said. “Many young people, so often the voices of freedom are young people. High school kids, college kids, who are risking their whole lives. They’re risking being beaten and bloodied because they want to stand up, they’re filled with hope. And for the people of Nicaragua, I believe we will see a free Nicaragua. I believe that shining this light, speaking the truth, and using the financial muscle of the United States can help vindicate human rights in Nicaragua. That’s what this fight is all about.” 

Sen. Cruz also thanked Rep. Ros-Lehtinen for her leadership battling for freedom and fighting against oppression. 

“She has been a lion, standing up to communist dictators, standing up to oppression, standing up with a ferocity that is unmatched,” Sen. Cruz said. “Now Ileana is stepping down and I’ll tell you, I for one and a lot of us, are mourning. You’re moving on to the next chapter. Now we know you’re going to be a big part of the fight just from a different vantage point. But this bill passing is a wonderful capstone and celebration to three decades of leadership and fighting for freedom. I’m proud to have worked hand in hand with you. Congratulations.” 

The NICA Act imposes targeted sanctions and conditions U.S. approval of international loans to the Government of Nicaragua, ensuring the Ortega regime will be held accountable for its systemic corruption, human rights violations, and assault on democratic order. Sen. Cruz and Rep. Ros-Lehtinen have championed the bill in both the Senate and House of Representatives.

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