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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

Jun 9, 2021 - World

Blinken meets with Palestinian Americans & U.S. Jewish organizations

Blinken in Ramallah. Photo: Issam Rimawi/Anadolu Agency via Getty

A group of Palestinian American activists who met virtually last Friday with Secretary of State Tony Blinken urged him to take more action on human rights abuses by Israel against Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza, two people who attended the meeting told me.

Behind the scenes: Participants in the meeting, which was off the record, told Blinken they were concerned that the Biden administration was not applying its commitment to democratic values, human rights and international law when it came to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Jun 8, 2021 - World

Human rights ombudsman: 58 killed in Colombia's anti-government protests

A protest against the government of the Colombian President Ivan Duque in Medellin, Colombia, on June 5. Photo: Joaquin Sarmiento/AFP via Getty Images

Massive anti-Colombian government protests that erupted five weeks ago have resulted in the deaths of 58 people — and there are reports of 400 human rights violations, the country's human rights ombudsman said Monday, per AP.

What's happening: Representatives of the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights (CIDH) traveled to Colombia Monday for a three-day visit following allegations and video evidence of police violence — including firing guns at unarmed protesters and onlookers.

Jun 9, 2021 - World

Russian court bans Navalny opposition groups, labels them "extremist"

Photo: Sefa Karacan/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

A Russian court on Wednesday outlawed organizations founded by opposition leader Alexei Navalny, labeling the groups "extremist," AP reports.

The state of play: Some of Navalny's allies were seeking to run for parliamentary seats in the country's September elections. But the court ruling — effective immediately — prohibits anyone associated with his Foundation for Fighting Corruption, the Fund for Defending Citizens’ Rights, and Navalny's Headquarters from running for public office.