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Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega. Photo: INTI OCON/AFP via Getty Images

The State Department on Wednesday imposed new sanctions on several Nicaraguan officials associated with President Daniel Ortega.

Driving the news: Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced the sanctions in response to the arrests of several presidential candidates and other civil society and opposition leaders over the past week in Nicaragua, as the country prepares for elections in November.

Details: Blinken said four officials were being sanctioned, including Ortega's daughter, who also works as a senior government official, saying they supported a government which "has undermined democracy, abused human rights and enacted repressive laws," Reuters writes.

  • The sanctions will freeze any U.S. assets of those mentioned, and prohibits them from engaging in business dealings with Americans.

What they're saying: "The United States calls on President Ortega and the Nicaraguan government to immediately release presidential candidates Cristiana Chamorro, Arturo Cruz, Félix Maradiaga, Juan Sebastian Chamorro and other civil society and opposition leaders arrested in the past week, including in last night’s crackdown, which sent independent journalists and activists into hiding for fear of reprisals," Blinken said, per a statement.

  • "In response to this wave of oppression and due to Nicaragua’s failure to implement now-overdue electoral reforms called for by the Organization of American States and backed by the UN Human Rights Council, the United States is imposing sanctions on several members of the Ortega regime for their complicity in the Ortega regime’s activities," he added.
  • "The region and the international community must stand with the Nicaraguan people in support of their right to freely choose their government and their freedom from repression and human rights abuses. President Ortega is defying the international community, and we will continue to respond."

Go deeper

Updated Sep 14, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Top Democrat threatens to subpoena Biden officials as Blinken testifies on Afghanistan

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Secretary of State Antony Blinken testified Tuesday before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, facing a second day of interrogation from Republican lawmakers highly critical of the Biden administration's withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Driving the news: The committee's chair, the hawkish New Jersey Democrat Bob Menendez, pulled no punches in his opening statement, threatening to subpoena Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and other Biden officials who decline to voluntarily appear before the committee.

Swastikas found outside Union Station in Washington, D.C.

People walk through Union Station on Jan. 16 in Washington, D.C. Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Drawings of swastikas appeared etched around the entrance to Union Station in Washington, D.C., on Friday morning.

Driving the news: "An investigation is underway with Amtrak Police and the Metropolitan Police Department after swastikas were reported on the exterior of Washington Union Station on Friday," Amtrak spokesperson Kimberly Woods said in a statement to Axios.

Updated 60 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: Contact tracing fizzles across America — New clues emerge on long COVID — Omicron is finally burning out — It's very difficult to get access to antiviral COVID treatments — Axios-Ipsos poll: Omicron's big numbersAnother wave of death — FDA limits use of Regeneron and Lilly antibody treatments.
  2. Vaccines: Pfizer begins clinical trial for Omicron-specific vaccine — The shifting definition of fully vaccinated.
  3. Politics: Virginia AG says public colleges can't mandate COVID vaccines —Alaska governor joins Texas lawsuit over National Guard vaccine mandate — Navy discharges 45 sailors for refusing vaccine — Spotify to remove Neil Young's music after his Joe Rogan ultimatum.
  4. World: U.K. to lift travel testing requirement for fully vaccinated — Beijing Olympic Committee lowers testing threshold ahead of Games.
  5. Variant tracker