The move comes after President Daniel Ortega won a questionable fourth consecutive term in November.
Monday’s action is the latest U.S.-coordinated sanctions against Nicaragua aimed at increasing pressure on Ortega and his wife, Vice President Rosario Murillo.
The U.S. Treasury Department said in a statement it imposed sanctions on six Nicaraguan officials state violence, disinformation and attacks against independent media.
“Together with the democracies of the international community, the United States will continue to condemn the Ortega-Murillo regime’s continued abuses and will deploy diplomatic and economic tools to support Nicaragua’s restoration of democracy and respect for human rights,” said U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Burke Lincoln said in a statement.
New sanctions and visa restrictions target those involved in the Ortega-Murillo regime’s repression, including politically motivated arrests and efforts to stifle independent media. We stand with the people of Nicaragua.
— Secretary of State Anthony Blinken (@SecBlinken) January 10, 2022
The move comes after Nicaragua’s November 7 presidential election drew international condemnation.In months leading up to vote, ex-Marxist guerrilla Ortega detained opponents and challengers and criminalized dissent – ensure fourth consecutive term in office.
Election observers from the European Union and the Organization of American States were not allowed to review the process, and journalists were barred from entering Nicaragua.
The U.S. Treasury Department’s actions targeted the secretary of defense as well as military officials, companies in charge of telecommunications and postal services, and state-owned Nicaraguan mining companies.
The State Department also said it would also take steps to impose visa restrictions on 116 people it accused of undermining Nicaragua’s democracy, barring some mayors, prosecutors and police, prison and military officials from entering the United States, among others.
Also on Monday, the European Union issued a travel ban and imposed asset freezes on Ortega and Murillo’s family members, including their daughter and son, as well as the police, the Supreme Electoral Council and companies overseeing telecommunications and postal services.
“These targets are responsible for gross human rights violations, including the repression of civil society, support for fraudulent presidential and parliamentary elections, and the undermining of democracy and the rule of law,” the EU said in a statement.
On Sunday, the nation’s new members of Congress were inaugurated. Of the 90 lawmakers sworn in, 75 belong to Ortega’s Sandinista party, and 15 are from smaller parties expected to work with the regime.
Lawmakers elected Gustavo Porras, a longtime Sandinista and congressman, as leader of the unicameral legislature. Members of Congress are also elected in the November 7 election.