President Joe Biden this week announced that Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega and officials in his government are restricted from entering the United States due to “the suppression of human rights and democracy,” in the country.
Ortega, who has been in office since 2007, recently won reelection after having banned most of the opposition parties, jailed opposition leaders, and imposed restrictions on independent media in Nicaragua. His government has also been accused of denying Nicaraguans their civil liberties.
Biden said in a statement on Tuesday that “the repressive and abusive acts of the Ortega government and those who support it compel the United States to act,” adding, “the Ortega government’s undemocratic, authoritarian actions have crippled the electoral process and stripped away the right of Nicaraguan citizens to choose their leaders in free and fair elections.”
The president went on to say that “Municipal officials, acting on direct orders from the Ortega government, have directed violence against pro-democracy protesters in their communities and other local actors opposed to the government … These municipal officials wield enormous political power and discretionary budget authority, conferred upon them from the highest levels of the Ortega government.
“The climate of fear established and perpetuated by these municipal officials has diminished the possibility of free and fair elections and undermined democracy in Nicaragua.”
Because of this, Biden suspended entry into the United States for “members of the government of Nicaragua, including elected officials and their staff members,” as well as any “mayors, vice mayors, or political secretaries who planned, ordered, assisted, aided and abetted, committed, or otherwise participated in, including through command responsibility, serious abuses, or violations of human rights to punish peaceful protesters or deny Nicaraguans fundamental freedoms, or who attempted or conspired to do so.”
Biden also barred officials in the country’s penitentiary administration, senior members of the judiciary, Ministry of the Interior, and Public Prosecutors office personnel, and any “non-government persons who serve as agents of or act at the behest of those” previously mentioned “to facilitate or derive financial benefit from policies or actions, including electoral fraud, human rights abuses, or corruption, that undermine or injure democratic institutions or impede the return to democracy in Nicaragua.”
The spouses and children of the aforementioned individuals are also barred from entering the United States.