MANAGUA, Nicaragua – Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega confirmed Friday that U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Senator Marco Rubio – both from Florida – are on an official list of foreigners banned from entering the country in retaliation for travel restrictions placed on Nicaraguan officials by the U.S. government.
“Just like they [U.S. officials] have their lists, we can make our own lists in Latin America of those who shouldn’t enter our country,” Ortega said during a meeting with Venezuelan officials in Nicaragua.
Ortega did not say when the ban went into effect. He said it responded to “a list of Nicaraguan officials who cannot enter the United States.”
“La señora Lleana Ros is on there [the list], and she wanted to enter here [last June]. Her story was that she was going to come to foment democracy in our country, but she was on the list of people who can’t enter and she didn’t enter,” Ortega said.
The Republican congresswoman is an outspoken critic of the leftist governments in Nicaragua, Venezuela and Cuba, and she had planned last June to meet in Managua with leaders of the political opposition. However, she had cited health problems as the reason for the trip’s cancellation.
Ortega said Florida Senator Marco Rubio, also a Republican, is banned from Nicaragua for his strong criticisms of the administration of Nicolás Maduro in Venezuela.
Ortega did not say who else is on the list of banned foreigners, or how many.
Ortega’s comments followed the recent announcement by the U.S. of more sanctions on Venezuelan officials accused of committing human rights violations against members of the opposition during recent violent protests in that country.
“We logically condemn the attitudes of the North American Senate,” Ortega said.
Venezuela has provided Nicaragua with more than $3 billion in aid since the Sandinistas returned to power in 2007.