President Joe Biden on Tuesday banned members of the Nicaraguan government from entering the United States as he issued a broad proclamation in response to an election that Washington has denounced as rigged in favor of Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega.
Biden’s travel ban applied to all of Nicaragua’s “elected officials,” apparently including Ortega and his wife, Vice President Rosario Murillo, in addition to security force members, judges, mayors and others seen as undermining democracy in the Central American nation.
“The repressive and abusive acts of the Ortega government and those who support it compel 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 election that many countries have called a sham.
They took the action after Ortega’s re-election to a fourth consecutive term after jailing political rivals and cracking down on critical media.
Ortega has derided his U.S. critics as “Yankee imperialists” and accused them of trying to undermine Nicaragua’s electoral process. Cuba, Venezuela and Russia have offered Ortega their backing.
Previous sanctions and travel bans on certain Nicaraguan officials imposed by Biden and his predecessor, Donald Trump, have failed to deter Ortega, and many analysts are skeptical whether new measures will have much impact.
The Organization of American States (OAS) adopted a resolution on Friday saying Nicaragua’s election lacked “democratic legitimacy.” Twenty-five nations voted in favor and seven abstained, including Mexico, Honduras and Bolivia.