Washington, D.C. – In response to the arbitrary detention of Arturo Cruz in Nicaragua, Representatives Gregory W. Meeks and Michael McCaul, Chairman and Ranking Member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, along with Albio Sires and Mark Green, Chairman and Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere, Civilian Security, Migration and International Economic Policy and Maria Elvira Salazar, issued the following statement:

“We strongly condemn the Ortega regime’s illegal arrest of yet another opposition presidential candidate and call for his immediate release. With today’s arrest of Arturo Cruz — which comes mere days after the house arrest and detainment of Cristiana Chamorro —it has become clear that Ortega fears those who dare run against him in November’s scheduled elections.

“With his popular support plummeting, Ortega appears willing to abuse state resources, trample the law, and violate the human rights of his fellow citizens with impunity, all in a desperate effort to maintain power. We echo the call made by governments and international organizations for the regime to immediately cease its persecution of opposition political candidates and civil society organizations. It must release the more than 120 political prisoners being held by the Ortega regime.

“We urge the Biden administration to work with our partners in the international community to move swiftly towards implementing a set of targeted economic measures and diplomatic consequences. Undemocratic and destabilizing behavior must not go unaddressed. We remain committed to helping the Nicaraguan people salvage their institutions and reclaim democracy.”