Biden signs act increasing sanctions against Nicaragua and Ortega regime

President Joe Biden signed the RENACER Act on Wednesday, which calls for increased sanctions against the Nicaraguan leader Daniel Ortega. The RENACER Act passed Congress with strong bipartisan support on November 3. The bill was introduced in the Senate on March 25, but activity on the bill accelerated in November during the run-up to Nicaragua’s 2021 presidential election, which concluded on November 7.

Daniel Ortega won 75 percent of the vote in that election, which the European Union, United States, and multiple Latin American journalists called a sham election. The Ortega regime intimidated, detained, and disqualified opposition journalists and politicians in the run-up to the election. President Biden declared the election to be a sham and a pantomime, comparing Ortega to the Somoza family. The Somoza family ran an autocratic Nicaragua for forty years but was supported by the United States.

The Biden administration announced that new sanctions would be implemented quickly pursuant to the RENACER Act. The US sanctions program against Nicaragua is administered by the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control. The RENACER Act also directs US representatives at international financial institutions to advocate against loans and financial or technical assistance for Nicaragua. The act also requires the State Department to report on public corruption, human rights violations, and Russian involvement in Nicaragua.