U.S. Pres. Joe Biden Signs New Bill Putting Sanctions on Nicaragua After Daniel Ortega Secures Another Term in Elections
U.S. President Joe Biden had signed a new bill putting more sanctions and punitive initiatives against Nicaragua's government after Daniel Ortega had secured a fourth consecutive term in office.
Seven presidential candidates were arrested, and others were forced into exile during Nicaragua's elections, according to an Aljazeera report.
Biden signed Reinforcing Nicaragua's Adherence to Conditions for Electoral Reform Act, imposing sanctions on the government of Ortega. The Act restricts multilateral bank lending, as well as targets regime corruption.
U.S. House of Representatives adopted the bill earlier this month, while the Senate approved the Act in August. The RENACER Act calls for sanctions on Nicaraguans that would be found responsible for unfair elections.
U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, chaired by Democrat Bob Menendez, introduced the bill. He said that the committee is proud to see the U.S. match Ortega's tyrannical strategies with targeted action and uncompromising support for those wanting freedom and basic rights.
The legislation also proposes new efforts aimed at monitoring, reporting on, and addressing Ortega's corruption, corruption from family, and human rights abuses in Nicaragua, according to The Hill report.
Ortega detained the credible challengers who planned to run against him. He also shut down opposition parties and banned large campaign events, according to The New York Times report.
He also jailed some of the elderly Sandinistas who fought with him to throw out the dictator, Anastasio Somoza.
A wife of one of the jailed opposition leaders, Berta Valle, said that it wasn't an election, describing it as a farce. She added that no one will elect anyone else as the only candidate is Ortega.
Analysts said Ortega's fourth consecutive term in office and near-control of Nicaragua has brought in a new era of repression and terror.
José Miguel Vivanco, head of the Americas region for Human Rights Watch, said that it is a turning point toward authoritarianism in the region, calling Ortega's crackdown a "slow-motion horror movie." He added that Ortega is not even trying to preserve some sort of façade of democratic rule.
Biden has called the Nicaragua elections a "sham."
Ortega loyalists have been given the task to monitor elections without any public debates among the five remaining candidates.
Ortega had helped overthrow the anti-communist Somoza in 1979 and first served as president of Nicaragua from 1985 to 1990 before his return to power in 2007, according to another Aljazeera report.
Ortega was arrested in 1967 for his part in a bank robbery and spent the next seven years in jail. He was released in 1974, along with other Sandinista prisoners. He was then exiled to Cuba, where he received several months of guerilla training.
During his first months in the office in 2007, he vowed to implement programs that would eliminate hunger and illiteracy, according to Britannica. However, after his first year in office, many questioned his motives when he started restricting news coverage and denying access to government reports.
He was also associated with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.
This article is owned by Latin Post.
Written by: Mary Webber
WATCH: Nicaragua President Ortega Reelected Despite Worldwide Scrutiny - from NBC News
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