The United States imposed visa restrictions on 50 relatives of Nicaraguan lawmakers, prosecutors, and judges, the State Department announced on Friday.
Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega is seeking a fourth term, and the election is in November. Ortega’s government has been detaining top opposition contenders ahead of the election. Within the past two months, Ortega’s government arrested 32 political opponents.
The State Department specified that the 50 individuals are “all immediate family members of regime-affiliated officials who have directly contributed to measures adopted by the Government of Nicaragua that do not meet the conditions for transparent, free, and fair elections to which all OAS member states have committed under Inter-American Democratic Charter.”
Prior to the visa restrictions announced Friday, the United States and the European Union imposed sanctions against people close to Ortega, including Rosario Murillo, who is the Vice President of Nicaragua and Ortega’s wife. The sanctions were placed because the November election cannot be free if many opponents are jailed.
The State Department asserted, “the United States is committed to promoting broad accountability for anyone responsible for or benefiting from the Ortega-Murillo regime’s attacks on democratic institutions.”
After the State Department announced the new visa restrictions, Ortega’s administration suspended Citizens Alliance for Liberty (ACXL), an opposition party with a presidential candidate and running mate. Following the suspension, ACXL stated, “these actions of the regime show how much they fear the civic electoral path.”