United States issues sanctions on Nicaragua over ‘sham’ election

The US has issued sanctions on The Public Ministry of Nicaragua and some Nicaraguan officials after the country’s election was seemingly rigged in favor of the incumbents.

Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo, the president and vice president of Nicaragua, and also husband and wife, held an election on November 7. In recent months, 39 Nicaraguans, ”including seven potential presidential candidates, opposition members, journalists, students, and members of civil society” were arrested.

The Department of State wrote that the Ortega-Murillo administration has “chipped away” at the rights of its citizens for years, resulting in the antithesis of democracy to become the norm.

On Monday, Anthony Blinken, the Secretary of State, released a statement announcing that the US was placing sanctions on The Public Ministry of Nicaragua following the country’s election earlier this month.

“As the OAS General Assembly made clear on November 12, under President Ortega and Vice President Murillo, the Nicaraguan government moves toward further isolation if it continues to undermine democracy and deny Nicaraguans their human rights,” Blinken wrote. “We stand with the region in calling for a return to democracy in Nicaragua and the immediate and unconditional release of political prisoners.”

The Department of the Treasury listed what each sanction was and who it applied to. Nine officials have been issued sanctions, aside from sanctions against the government as a whole.

The Department said that any property or interests in property presented by these individuals which “are in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons are blocked and must be reported to OFAC.” Any entities belonging to one or more of these individuals are blocked. Per OFAC regulations, property or property interest from these individuals leading to dealing with U.S. citizens or within the US are prohibited

“The Ortega regime is using laws and institutions to detain members of the political opposition and deprive Nicaraguans from the right to vote,” said Office of Foreign Assets Control Director Andrea M. Gacki. “The United States is sending an unequivocal message to President Ortega, Vice President Murillo, and their inner circle that we stand with the Nicaraguan people in their calls for reform and a return to democracy.”

Canada and Britain have also issued sanctions against The Public Ministry of Nicaragua in the wake of the election. President Joe Biden also addressed the situation. He has said that Ortega and Murillo “orchestrated a pantomime election” that undermined democracy.

He has suspended entry of immigrants and nonimmigrants who fit into certain categories, namely government officials and those who support them or are related to them. He has also alerted Congress that the “National Emergency with Respect to the Situation in Nicaragua” will continue.




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