WASHINGTON, DC –The United States on Thursday imposed visa restrictions on Nicaraguan police and other officials linked to violence in the country that has left more than 134 people dead.
“The political violence by police and pro-government thugs against the people of Nicaragua, particularly university students, shows a blatant disregard for human rights and is unacceptable,” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement.
She said Secretary of State Mike Pompeo “decided to impose U.S. visa restrictions on individuals responsible for human rights abuses or undermining democracy in Nicaragua.”
Nauert did not name the individuals but said they include national police and health officials, along with others at the local level – “those directing or overseeing violence against others exercising their rights of peaceful assembly and freedom of expression.”
She said the targeted officials had “operated with impunity across the country.”
Some family members of the officials will also be subject to visa restrictions, Nauert said.
“The United States continues to call for an end to violence and supports peaceful negotiations to end this crisis,” she added.
Protests began in April against the government of President Daniel Ortega, whom they see as autocratic.
Fresh talks are due on Thursday between Ortega and Nicaragua’s Catholic bishops with an aim to ending the political crisis in the central American country.