The United States has imposed visa restrictions on 50 relatives of Nicaraguan lawmakers, prosecutors and judges, the State Department said on Friday.
Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega is running for a fourth term and elections are held in November. The Ortega government detained the main opposition candidates ahead of the elections. In the past two months, the Ortega government has arrested 32 political opponents.
The State Department clarified that the 50 people are “all immediate family members of officials affiliated with the regime who have directly contributed to measures adopted by the government of Nicaragua that do not meet the conditions for transparent, free and equities to which all OAS members and states are committed under the Inter-American Democratic Charter.
Ahead of the visa restrictions announced on Friday, the United States and the European Union imposed sanctions on people close to Ortega, including Rosario Murillo, vice president of Nicaragua and wife of Ortega. The sanctions were imposed because the November elections cannot be free if many opponents are jailed.
The State Department asserted that “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, the Ortega administration suspended the Citizens Alliance for Liberty (ACXL), an opposition party with a presidential candidate and running mate. Following the suspension, ACXL said that “these actions of the regime show how much they fear the civic electoral path”.