US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday called on the government of Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega to stop silencing its political opponents in the troubled Central American country.
“The United States urges the Ortega regime in Nicaragua to cease its repression and restore basic civil liberties and support free and fair elections,” Pompeo said in Costa Rica, on the second stop of a Latin American and Caribbean tour.
A small group of Nicaraguans demonstrated against Ortega outside the presidential palace in San José, where Pompeo had talks with Costa Rican President Carlos Alvarado.
Pompeo said the US government had backed up its words with action against the leftist Nicaraguan regime by holding those who violate basic human rights accountable “as we did last year when we sanctioned many of Ortega’s top officials and their family members.”
“We’re also providing humanitarian assistance for Nicaraguans” as well as Venezuelans fleeing “tyranny” in their own country, he said.
Pompeo briefly met with Nicaraguan refugees who had fled a violent crackdown on the opposition following anti-government protests in 2018.
Participants at the meet-and-greet at the presidential mansion included Nicaraguan opposition leaders, former political prisoners and civil society leaders.
Alvarado pointed out that Costa Rica had received tens of thousands of Nicaraguans following the crisis and pleaded for assistance from the international community to help provide for them.