Biden bans Nicaragua officials from traveling to U.S. following 'sham' election

Biden criticized President Daniel Ortega, and his wife Vice-President Rosario Murillo, for their crackdown on independent media, and the jailing of opposition leaders in the run-up to the presidential election. 

Updated: November 16, 2021 - 8:45pm

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President Joe Biden on Tuesday placed a travel ban on government officials from Nicaragua from entering the U.S. following Daniel Ortega's victory in what the White House called a "sham" election.

In a presidential proclamation, Biden suspended travel for people who "formulate, implement, or benefit from policies or actions that undermine or injure democratic institutions or impede the return to democracy in Nicaragua."

This ban includes anyone associated with Ortega's government, including local mayors, as well as their spouses and children. 

Biden criticized Ortega and his wife, Vice-President Rosario Murillo, for their crackdown on independent media, and the jailing of opposition leaders in the run-up to the presidential election. 

"The repressive and abusive acts of the Ortega government and those who support it compel the United States to act," Biden said in his proclamation. 

"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," he added.

Both Ortega and Murillo recently were subjected to similar punitive measures by Canada and the U.K.

A 2020 State Department report noted that at least 300 people were killed and hundreds more are missing as a result of pro-democracy demonstrations that were sparked in 2018.

"The widespread impunity for crimes committed against opposition actors; the persistent corruption practiced by Nicaraguan government officials in the performance of public functions that has eroded democratic institutions; and the continued failure of President Daniel Ortega, Vice President Rosario Murillo, Nicaraguan government officials, and others to support the rule of law, human rights, and other principles of high priority to the United States demand a forceful response," Biden concluded. 

 

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