The US State Department on Monday blocked visas for 100 Nicaraguan legislators and judicial system officials and their families Monday, saying they were believed complicit in the government’s campaign against political opponents.
The department said those blacklisted were “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.”
It cited the Daniel Ortega government’s arrests of 26 political opponents and democracy activists.
The department also said those blacklisted had supported new “repressive” laws used to restrict free speech, dissent and participation in the political process.
Last week the regime arrested five people, including a candidate for the presidency and leaders of a peasant movement, for allegedly threatening the country’s “sovereignty” based on a law initiated by Ortega and approved by parliament in December.
Monday’s action included revoking US visas of those who already had them.
“The United States will continue to use the diplomatic and economic tools at our disposal to push for the release of political prisoners and to support Nicaraguans’ calls for greater freedom, accountability, and free and fair elections,” the State Department said.