President Joe Biden banned members of the Nicaraguan government from entering the United States on Tuesday when he issued a broad proclamation in response to an election Washington denounced as rigged in favor of Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega.
Biden’s travel ban applied to all Nicaraguan “elected officials”, apparently including Ortega and his wife, Vice President Rosario Murillo, as well as members of the security forces, judges, mayors and others who undermine democracy in the Central American nation.
“The repressive and abusive acts of the Ortega government and those who support it are forcing the United States to act,” Biden said in the decree.
Biden’s order came just a day after the United States, Britain and Canada imposed targeted sanctions on Nicaraguan officials in a concerted response to the November 7 elections, which many countries have called bogus.
They took action following Ortega’s re-election for a fourth consecutive term after imprisoning political rivals and cracking down on critical media.
Ortega has ridiculed his US critics as “Yankee imperialists” and accused them of attempting to undermine the electoral process in Nicaragua. Cuba, Venezuela and Russia have offered their support to Ortega.
Previous sanctions and travel bans imposed by Biden and his predecessor Donald Trump on certain Nicaraguan officials have not deterred Ortega, and many analysts are skeptical that new measures will have a major impact.
The Organization of American States (OAS) passed a resolution on Friday stating that the election in Nicaragua lacks “democratic legitimacy”. 25 nations voted in favor and seven abstained, including Mexico, Honduras and Bolivia.