Jul 12, 2021 - World

U.S. restricts visas of 100 Nicaraguans associated with Ortega government

Daniel Ortega

Daniel Ortega in 2019. Photo: Carlos Becerra/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The U.S. State Department imposed visa restrictions Monday on 100 members of Nicaragua's National Assembly and judicial system, accusing them of being involved in human rights abuses, crackdowns on peaceful protest and in passing laws aimed at suppressing free speech.

Why it matters: The restrictions come amid escalating political tension in the Nicaragua. President Daniel Ortega’s government has detained 26 opposition figures in recent weeks, including several presidential candidates, and has also forced some critics to flee the country.

The big picture: The 100 Nicaraguans targeted in Monday's action include judges and prosecutors, as well as some of their family members, who are "responsible for, or complicit in, undermining democracy," per a State Department press release.

  • The action also revokes any outstanding U.S. visas those targeted may hold.

The statement details the alleged human rights abuses by the government, including arresting political opponents and activists, passing repressive laws, silencing independent media, and undermining the democratic process.

What they're saying: "These visa revocations demonstrate that the United States will promote accountability not only for regime leaders but also for officials who enable the regime’s assaults on democracy and human rights," the statement reads.

  • "The United States will continue to use the diplomatic and economic tools at our disposal to push for the release of political prisoners and to support Nicaraguans’ calls for greater freedom, accountability, and free and fair elections."
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