US Imposes Visa Restrictions On 100 Nicaraguans

Washington: The US State Department has imposed visa restrictions on 100 members of the Nicaraguan National Assembly and the country’s judicial system, including prosecutors and judges, as well as some of their family members.

In a statement on Monday, the Department said that it has revoked any US visas held by these individuals.

“The Department’s visa restriction policy applies to Nicaraguans believed to be responsible for, or complicit in, undermining democracy, including those with responsibility for, or complicity in, the suppression of peaceful protests or abuse of human rights, and the immediate family members of such persons,” the statement said.

It added that the targeted persons “helped enable the (President Daniel) Ortega-(Vice President Rosario)Murillo regime’s attacks on democracy and human rights”.

The Department further claimed that the “US will continue to use the diplomatic and economic tools to push for the release of political prisoners and to support Nicaraguans’ calls for greater freedom, accountability, and free and fair elections”.

Monday’s move comes amid growing pressure for President Joe Biden to confront Ortega over the jailing of politicians, journalists and activists, The Hill news website said in a report.

“These visa revocations demonstrate that the US will promote accountability not only for regime leaders but also for officials who enable the regime’s assaults on democracy and human rights,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement.

Last month, the Biden administration imposed sanctions on Ortega’s family members and political allies, including his daughter Camila Ortega Murillo.