Text: H.R.1918 — 115th Congress (2017-2018)All Information (Except Text)

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Public Law No: 115-335 (12/20/2018)

 
[115th Congress Public Law 335]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]



[[Page 132 STAT. 5019]]

Public Law 115-335
115th Congress

                                 An Act


 
    To oppose loans at international financial institutions for the 
  Government of Nicaragua unless the Government of Nicaragua is taking 
 effective steps to hold free, fair, and transparent elections, and for 
         other purposes. <<NOTE: Dec. 20, 2018 -  [H.R. 1918]>> 

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled, <<NOTE: Nicaragua Human 
Rights and Anticorruption Act of 2018. 50 USC 1701 note.>> 
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE; TABLE OF CONTENTS.

    (a) Short Title.--This Act may be cited as the ``Nicaragua Human 
Rights and Anticorruption Act of 2018''.
    (b) Table of Contents.--The table of contents for this Act is as 
follows:

Sec. 1. Short title; table of contents.
Sec. 2. Sense of Congress on advancing a negotiated solution to 
           Nicaragua's crisis.
Sec. 3. Statement of policy.
Sec. 4. Restrictions on international financial institutions relating to 
           Nicaragua.
Sec. 5. Imposition of targeted sanctions with respect to Nicaragua.
Sec. 6. Annual certification and waiver.
Sec. 7. Report on human rights violations and corruption in Nicaragua.
Sec. 8. Civil society engagement strategy.
Sec. 9. Reform of Western Hemisphere Drug Policy Commission.
Sec. 10. Termination.
Sec. 11. Definitions.

SEC. 2. SENSE OF CONGRESS ON ADVANCING A NEGOTIATED SOLUTION TO 
                    NICARAGUA'S CRISIS.

    It is the sense of Congress that--
            (1) credible negotiations between the Government of 
        Nicaragua and representatives of Nicaragua's civil society, 
        student movement, private sector, and political opposition, 
        mediated by the Catholic Church in Nicaragua, represent the best 
        opportunity to reach a peaceful solution to the current 
        political crisis that includes--
                    (A) a commitment to hold early elections that meet 
                democratic standards and permit credible international 
                electoral observation;
                    (B) the cessation of the violence perpetrated 
                against civilians by the National Police of Nicaragua 
                and by armed groups supported by the Government of 
                Nicaragua; and
                    (C) independent investigations into the killings of 
                protesters; and
            (2) negotiations between the Government of Nicaragua and 
        representatives of Nicaragua's civil society, student movement, 
        private sector, and political opposition, mediated by the 
        Catholic Church in Nicaragua, have not resulted in an agreement 
        as of the date of the enactment of this Act because the 
        Government of Nicaragua has failed to credibly participate in 
        the process.

[[Page 132 STAT. 5020]]

SEC. 3. STATEMENT OF POLICY.

    It is the policy of the United States to support--
            (1) the rule of law and an independent judiciary and 
        electoral council in Nicaragua;
            (2) democratic governance in Nicaragua;
            (3) free and fair elections overseen by credible domestic 
        and international observers in Nicaragua; and
            (4) anti-corruption and transparency efforts in Nicaragua.
SEC. 4. RESTRICTIONS ON INTERNATIONAL FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS 
                    RELATING TO NICARAGUA.

    (a) Restrictions.--The Secretary of the Treasury shall--
            (1) instruct the United States Executive Director at each 
        international financial institution of the World Bank Group to 
        use the voice, vote, and influence of the United States to 
        oppose the extension by the International Finance Corporation of 
        any loan or financial or technical assistance to the Government 
        of Nicaragua for a project in Nicaragua;
            (2) instruct the United States Executive Director of the 
        Inter-American Development Bank to use the voice, vote, and 
        influence of the United States to oppose the extension by the 
        Bank of any loan or financial or technical assistance to the 
        Government of Nicaragua for a project in Nicaragua; and
            (3) instruct the United States Executive Director of each 
        other international financial institution, including the 
        International Monetary Fund, to work with other key donor 
        countries to develop a coherent policy approach to future 
        engagements with and lending to the Government of Nicaragua, in 
        a manner that will advance human rights, including the full 
        restoration of the rights guaranteed to the people of Nicaragua 
        through the commitments made by the Government of Nicaragua as a 
        signatory of the International Covenant on Civil and Political 
        Rights.

    (b) Exceptions for Basic Human Needs and Democracy Promotion.--The 
restrictions under paragraphs (1) and (2) of subsection (a) shall not 
apply with respect to any loan or financial or technical assistance 
provided to address basic human needs or to promote democracy in 
Nicaragua.
    (c) <<NOTE: Deadline.>>  Briefing by the Secretary of the 
Treasury.--Not later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of 
this Act, and annually thereafter, the Secretary of the Treasury shall 
brief the appropriate congressional committees on the effectiveness of 
international financial institutions in enforcing applicable program 
safeguards in Nicaragua.
SEC. 5. IMPOSITION OF TARGETED SANCTIONS WITH RESPECT TO 
                    NICARAGUA.

    (a) In General <<NOTE: President. Determination.>> .--The President 
shall impose the sanctions described in subsection (c) with respect to 
any foreign person, including any current or former official of the 
Government of Nicaragua or any person acting on behalf of that 
Government, that the President determines--
            (1) to be responsible for or complicit in, or responsible 
        for ordering, controlling, or otherwise directing, or to have 
        knowingly participated in, directly or indirectly, any activity 
        described in subsection (b);
            (2) to be a leader of--

[[Page 132 STAT. 5021]]

                    (A) an entity that has, or whose members have, 
                engaged in any activity described in subsection (b); or
                    (B) an entity whose property and interests in 
                property are blocked under subsection (c)(1)(A) as a 
                result of activities related to the tenure of the 
                leader;
            (3) to have knowingly materially assisted, sponsored, or 
        provided financial, material, or technological support for, or 
        goods or services in support of--
                    (A) an activity described in subsection (b); or
                    (B) a person whose property and interests in 
                property are blocked under subsection (c)(1)(A); or
            (4) to be owned or controlled by, or to have knowingly acted 
        or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, 
        any person whose property and interests in property are blocked 
        under subsection (c)(1)(A).

    (b) Activities Described <<NOTE: Effective date.>> .--An activity 
described in this subsection is any of the following in or in relation 
to Nicaragua on or after April 18, 2018:
            (1) Significant acts of violence or conduct that constitutes 
        a serious abuse or violation of human rights against persons 
        associated with the protests in Nicaragua that began on April 
        18, 2018.
            (2) Significant actions or policies that undermine 
        democratic processes or institutions.
            (3) Acts of significant corruption by or on behalf of the 
        Government of Nicaragua or a current or former official of the 
        Government of Nicaragua, including--
                    (A) the expropriation of private or public assets 
                for personal gain or political purposes;
                    (B) corruption related to government contracts;
                    (C) bribery; or
                    (D) the facilitation or transfer of the proceeds of 
                corruption.
            (4) The arrest or prosecution of a person, including an 
        individual or media outlet disseminating information to the 
        public, primarily because of the legitimate exercise by such 
        person of the freedom of speech, assembly, or the press.

    (c) Sanctions Described.--
            (1) In general.--The sanctions described in this subsection 
        are the following:
                    (A) Asset 
                blocking <<NOTE: Determination. President.>> .--The 
                exercise of all powers granted to the President by the 
                International Emergency Economic Powers Act (50 U.S.C. 
                1701 et seq.) to the extent necessary to block and 
                prohibit all transactions in all property and interests 
                in property of a person determined by the President to 
                be subject to subsection (a) if such property and 
                interests in property are in the United States, come 
                within the United States, or are or come within the 
                possession or control of a United States person.
                    (B) Exclusion from the united states and revocation 
                of visa or other 
                documentation. <<NOTE: Determination. President.>> --In 
                the case of an alien determined by the President to be 
                subject to subsection (a), denial of a visa to, and 
                exclusion from the United States of, the alien, and 
                revocation in accordance with section 221(i) of the 
                Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1201(i)), of 
                any visa or other documentation of the alien.

[[Page 132 STAT. 5022]]

            (2) Penalties.--A person that violates, attempts to violate, 
        conspires to violate, or causes a violation of a measure imposed 
        pursuant to paragraph (1)(A) or any regulation, license, or 
        order issued to carry out paragraph (1)(A) shall be subject to 
        the penalties set forth in subsections (b) and (c) of section 
        206 of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (50 
        U.S.C. 1705) to the same extent as a person that commits an 
        unlawful act described in subsection (a) of that section.
            (3) Exception relating to importation of goods.--The 
        requirement to block and prohibit all transactions in all 
        property and interests in property under paragraph (1)(A) shall 
        not include the authority to impose sanctions on the importation 
        of goods.
            (4) Exception to comply with united nations headquarters 
        agreement.--Sanctions under paragraph (1)(B) shall not apply to 
        an alien if admitting the alien into the United States is 
        necessary to permit the United States to comply with the 
        Agreement regarding the Headquarters of the United Nations, 
        signed at Lake Success June 26, 1947, and entered into force 
        November 21, 1947, between the United Nations and the United 
        States, or other applicable international obligations.

    (d) <<NOTE: President.>>  Implementation; Regulatory Authority.--
            (1) Implementation.--The President may exercise all 
        authorities provided under sections 203 and 205 of the 
        International Emergency Economic Powers Act (50 U.S.C. 1702 and 
        1704) to carry out this section.
            (2) Regulatory authority.--The President shall issue such 
        regulations, licenses, and orders as are necessary to carry out 
        this section.
SEC. 6. ANNUAL CERTIFICATION AND WAIVER.

    (a) <<NOTE: Deadline. Reports.>>  Certification.--Not later than 180 
days after the date of the enactment of this Act, and annually 
thereafter, the Secretary of State shall submit to the appropriate 
congressional committees a report certifying whether the Government of 
Nicaragua is taking effective steps--
            (1) to strengthen the rule of law and democratic governance, 
        including the independence of the judicial system and electoral 
        council;
            (2) to combat corruption, including by investigating and 
        prosecuting cases of public corruption;
            (3) to protect civil and political rights, including the 
        rights of freedom of the press, speech, and association, for all 
        people of Nicaragua, including political opposition parties, 
        journalists, trade unionists, human rights defenders, indigenous 
        peoples, and other civil society activists;
            (4) to investigate and hold accountable officials of the 
        Government of Nicaragua and other persons responsible for the 
        killings of individuals associated with the protests in 
        Nicaragua that began on April 18, 2018; and
            (5) to hold free and fair elections overseen by credible 
        domestic and international observers

    (b) Waiver <<NOTE: President.>> .--
            (1) Temporary general waiver <<NOTE: Time period.>> .--If 
        the Secretary certifies to the appropriate congressional 
        committees under subsection (a) that the Government of Nicaragua 
        is taking effective steps

[[Page 132 STAT. 5023]]

        as described in that subsection, the President may waive the 
        application of the restrictions under section 4 and sanctions 
        under section 5 for a period of not more than one year beginning 
        on the date of the certification.
            (2) National interest waiver.--The President may waive the 
        application of the restrictions under section 4 and sanctions 
        under section 5 if the President--
                    (A) <<NOTE: Determination.>>  determines that such a 
                waiver is in the national interest of the United States; 
                and
                    (B) <<NOTE: Notice.>>  submits to the appropriate 
                congressional committees a notice of and justification 
                for the waiver.
            (3) Sense of congress.--It is the sense of Congress that the 
        President should exercise the waiver authority provided under 
        paragraph (1) if the Secretary of State certifies under 
        subsection (a) that the Government of Nicaragua is taking 
        effective steps as described in that subsection.

    (c) Consultation.--In preparing a certification required by 
subsection (a), the Secretary shall consult with the appropriate 
congressional committees.
    (d) Annual Briefing.--The Secretary shall annually brief the 
appropriate congressional committees on whether the Government of 
Nicaragua is taking effective steps as described in subsection (a).
SEC. 7. REPORT ON HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS AND CORRUPTION IN 
                    NICARAGUA.

    (a) In General <<NOTE: Coordination.>> .--Not later than 180 days 
after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of State, 
acting through the Assistant Secretary of State for Intelligence and 
Research, and in coordination with the Secretary of the Treasury and the 
Director of National Intelligence, shall submit to the appropriate 
congressional committees a report on--
            (1) the involvement of senior officials of the Government of 
        Nicaragua, including members of the Supreme Electoral Council, 
        the National Assembly, and the judicial system, in human rights 
        violations, acts of significant corruption, and money 
        laundering; and
            (2) persons that transfer, or facilitate the transfer of, 
        goods or technologies for use in or with respect to Nicaragua, 
        that are used by the Government of Nicaragua to commit serious 
        human rights violations against the people of Nicaragua.

    (b) Form.--The report required by subsection (a) may be classified.
SEC. 8. CIVIL SOCIETY ENGAGEMENT STRATEGY.

     <<NOTE: Deadline. Briefing.>> Not later than 90 days after the date 
of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of State shall brief the 
appropriate congressional committees on a strategy--
            (1) for engaging relevant elements of civil society in 
        Nicaragua, including independent media, human rights, and anti-
        corruption organizations, to strengthen rule of law and increase 
        accountability for human rights abuses and corruption in 
        Nicaragua; and
            (2) setting forth measures to support the protection of 
        human rights and anti-corruption advocates in Nicaragua.

[[Page 132 STAT. 5024]]

SEC. 9. REFORM OF WESTERN HEMISPHERE DRUG POLICY COMMISSION.

    Section 603(f)(1) of the Department of State Authorities Act, Fiscal 
Year 2017 (Public Law 114-323; 130 Stat. 1938) is amended by striking 
``Not later than 60 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, 
the Commission shall hold an initial meeting to develop and implement'' 
and inserting ``At the initial meeting of the Commission, the Commission 
shall develop and implement''.
SEC. 10. TERMINATION.

    The provisions of this Act (other than section 9) shall terminate on 
December 31, 2023.
SEC. 11. DEFINITIONS.

    In this Act:
            (1) Appropriate congressional committees.--The term 
        ``appropriate congressional committees'' means--
                    (A) the Committee on Foreign Relations, the 
                Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, and 
                the Committee on Appropriations of the Senate; and
                    (B) the Committee on Foreign Affairs, the Committee 
                on Financial Services, and the Committee on 
                Appropriations of the House of Representatives.
            (2) Good.--The term ``good'' means any article, natural or 
        manmade substance, material, supply or manufactured product, 
        including inspection and test equipment, and excluding technical 
        data.
            (3) Person.--The term ``person'' means an individual or 
        entity.
            (4) United states person.--The term ``United States person'' 
        means any United States citizen, permanent resident alien, 
        entity organized under the laws of the United States or any 
        jurisdiction within the United States (including a foreign 
        branch of such an entity), or any person in the United States.

    Approved December 20, 2018.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY--H.R. 1918:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

CONGRESSIONAL RECORD:
                                                        Vol. 163 (2017):
                                    Oct. 3, considered and passed House.
                                                        Vol. 164 (2018):
                                    Nov. 27, considered and passed 
                                        Senate, amended.
                                    Dec. 11, House concurred in Senate 
                                        amendment.
DAILY COMPILATION OF PRESIDENTIAL DOCUMENTS (2018):
            Dec. 20, Presidential statement.

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