Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, issued the following statement today supporting the decision by the State Department to maintain the prohibition which bars the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) from providing bilateral economic assistance and international security assistance to governments, such as Nicaragua, which do not meet fiscal transparency standards. Ros-Lehtinen also urged the Obama Administration to ensure Nicaragua's compliance with a separate provision instructing the U.S. to oppose assistance from international financial institutions for governments which confiscate the property of U.S. citizens.
"Given Nicaragua's lack of transparency when it comes to elections, it should come as no surprise that Ortega and his regime do not meet fiscal transparency standards either.
"I am particularly troubled about the hundreds of millions which Nicaragua receives in aid from the Venezuelan and Iranian regimes which is unaccounted for. Where is the money?
"Non-transparent, undemocratic, unconstitutional, and authoritarian governments do not deserve free passes to receive aid from the United States. We cannot allow U.S. taxpayer funds to be squandered away. I am gratified the Obama Administration did not waive the prohibition on aid to countries that don't meet transparency standards.
"Further, I remain deeply concerned about the hundreds of pending property claims in Nicaragua by United States citizens that remain unresolved. I urge the Obama Administration not to issue the confiscated property waiver unless and until the Nicaraguan regime commits to settling these outstanding claims swiftly. Too much time has passed without these families receiving proper compensation or legal recourse."