US House approves Nicaragua sanctions bill ahead of presidential election
© Presidencia El Salvador / Flickr
US House approves Nicaragua sanctions bill ahead of presidential election

The US House of Representatives on Wednesday passed the Reinforcing Nicaragua’s Adherence to Conditions for Electoral Reform (RENACER) Act. Members approved the legislation 387 to 35, just days before the November 7 presidential election in Nicaragua. The Senate approved the RENACER Act earlier this month; the legislation will now proceed to President Joe Biden for approval.

The Act’s key provisions include initiatives “to monitor, report on, and address corruption” by Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega and his administration. The Act also requires new sanctions on Ortega’s government and requests that the executive branch investigate “whether Nicaragua should be allowed continued participation” in the Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA).

The bill’s key sponsor, Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), commented:

As we shine a spotlight on the spiraling state of affairs in Nicaragua, I will not stop calling for the end of political persecution, including efforts to silence opposition leaders like Arturo Cruz, Cristiana Chamorro, Felix Maradiaga, and Juan Sebastian Chamorro. Governments in our hemisphere and throughout the world must stand in solidarity with the citizens of Nicaragua and against the consolidation of a third tin-pot dictatorship in Latin America.

Menendez’s cosponsors in the Senate include members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Marco Rubio (R-FL), Tim Kaine (D-VA) and Ted Cruz (R-TX).

The RENACER Act is the latest in a slew of international action against Nicaragua. The United States imposed visa restrictions on 100 members of the Nicaraguan legislature in July, 2021, and on 50 relatives of Nicaraguan lawmakers in August, 2021. The European Union similarly enacted sanctions on high-ranking Nicaraguan officials in August, 2021.