Nica Act . The Nicaraguan Investment Conditionality Act of 2017, known colloquially as the Nica Act , is a bill against Nicaragua introduced by Republican Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Democrat Albio Sires . The project conditions the loans and financing of international organizations to the Central American nation to force it to make internal changes. The regulations generally require the Nicaraguan government to “restore democracy”, “fight corruption” and “respect human rights.” It had already been presented in September 2016, being approved in the House of Representatives, but it was not discussed in the Senate. HeOf July 27 of 2017 it is introduced again by 25 legislators (fifteen Republicans and ten Democrats) and approved on July 28 unanimously and without any change by the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the United States House of Representatives. In this way, the bill passed to the Plenary of the House of Representatives for discussion. It would only be suspended, according to its promoters, if the Sandinista government holds “free, fair and transparent” elections, thus ignoring the institutions and laws of the country, and above all the will of the majority of Nicaraguans.
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- 1 Background
- 2 Object of the law
- 3 Important points of the initiative
- 4 Sources
The Nicaraguan Investment Conditionality Act (NICA) had already been presented in September 2016, being approved in the House of Representatives but it was not discussed in the Senate. Another similar initiative was introduced in the Senate by Republican Ted Cruz . Each chamber can approve them independently.
In May 2017, the Western Hemisphere subcommittee had already approved the initiative, fulfilling a first step of the initiative. The Western Hemisphere subcommittee is made up of nine members of Congress.
The bill was introduced by Republican Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Democratic Congresswoman Albio Sires and has the support of more than 20 federal legislators.
The 27 of July of 2017 is introduced again by 25 lawmakers (Republicans fifteen and ten Democrats) and approved on July 28 so unanimous and without any change by the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the United States House of Representatives. In this way, the bill passed to the Plenary of the House of Representatives for discussion. For its approval, at least two-thirds of the legislators would need approval.
The bill was approved in the midst of a package of nine bills, including the one condemning the political, economic, social and humanitarian crisis in Venezuela; reauthorizes North Korea’s Human Rights Act 2004; and HR 359, which urges the European Union to designate Hezbollah as a terrorist organization and proposes to increase pressure on that organization.
Object of the law
The law intends that the United States vote against the loans that the Nicaraguan government seeks from multilateral financial entities, forcing the Central American nation to make internal political changes.
It was presented with an amendment that summarizes the alleged violations by the government of President Daniel Ortega, but the objective of legislating for the United States to oppose all loans made by the Nicaraguan government does not change.
If it becomes law, it orders the US Secretary of State to present to Congress a report on the alleged involvement of the Nicaraguan government in alleged “acts of corruption” and “human rights violations.”
Important points of the initiative
These are some of the most important points established by the initiative, registered in the United States Congress under code HR5708:
- If the initiative becomes law, it obliges the United States Government to oppose loans from international financial institutions requested by the Nicaraguan Government -as long as they are not to meet basic human needs or promote democracy-, unless the Government of Nicaragua take effective measures to hold free, fair and transparent elections, and for other purposes.
- The President will instruct the U.S. Executive Director at each international financial institution to use the voice, vote, and influence of the United States to oppose any loan for the benefit of the Government of Nicaragua, unless the Secretary of State certifies and informs the pertinent committees of Congress that the Government of Nicaragua is taking effective measures to: hold free, fair, transparent elections supervised by credible national and international electoral observers; the promotion of democracy, as well as an independent judicial system and electoral council; strengthen the rule of law; and respect the right to freedom of association and expression.
- Regarding the Waiver, the initiative establishes that the President may waive the waiver if he determines that said waiver is in the national interest of the United States.
- The initiative establishes that the foreign policy of the United States in relation to Nicaragua must be based on support for the rule of law and an independent judiciary and electoral power, support for independent pro-democracy organizations in Nicaragua, support for free elections fair and transparent that have international and national observers in Nicaragua in 2016 and 2017.
- The Secretary of the Treasury of the United States will present to the pertinent committees of Congress a written report that will include information on the effectiveness of the international financial institutions in the application of safeguards applicable to Nicaragua.
- The Department of State and the United States Agency for International Development (AID) should give priority to foreign aid for the Nicaraguan people, in order to assist civil society in democracy and governance programs, including documentation respect for human rights.
- No later than 120 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary of State, in consultation with the intelligence community (as defined in section 3 (4) of the National Security Act of 1947 (50 USC 3003 (4)), will present to Congress a report on the participation of senior officials of the Nicaraguan government, including members of the Supreme Electoral Council, the National Assembly and the judicial system, in acts of public corruption or human rights violations. in Nicaragua The required report will be submitted in an unclassified form, but may contain a classified annex.The unclassified portion of the report will be made available to the public.