Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega said Thursday that sanctions imposed by Washington on his country and allied governments such as Cuba and Venezuela have provoked “waves of immigrants” to the United States.
Those who “provoke these waves of immigrants (who) leave in desperation are the U.S. rulers with their terrorist policies, violators of human rights (…) when they close job opportunities, when they sanction, as they have sanctioned Cuba, Venezuela”, said Ortega during an event in Managua.
“Keep putting sanctions and more immigrants will go to the United States no matter how much they want to close the doors,” warned the president, referring to the entry restrictions faced by Venezuelans since mid-October.
Meanwhile, more than 100,000 Nicaraguans have migrated irregularly to the United States between January and August of this year, according to the US Customs and Border Protection Office.
Ortega considered that the immigrants “have the right, the moral right to go and open the door of that (country) that is denying them the right to work in their countries”.
“If it is said that there is work in the United States and if it is said that the United States is respectful of the rights of migrants, then that is where the migrants go,” he added.
Ortega was reacting implicitly to the sanctions that the United States has applied against dozens of officials and close associates of his government for the past four years for corruption and human rights violations.
The most recent was on Monday when the United States sanctioned Nicaragua’s booming gold industry, for being an “important piece” that finances the Ortega government, while restricting the entry of 500 Nicaraguans.
“The message from the Yankees is: either you do what I say or we are going to sanction you, we are going to attack you”, reproached Ortega, in power since 2007.
More than 200 opponents are imprisoned in Nicaragua, while more than 2,000 civil organizations have been cancelled in the wake of the 2018 anti-government protests.
Ortega attributed the protests to a failed coup promoted by Washington.
The United States, for its part, accuses Ortega of repressing his opponents and of reelecting himself for a third time in 2021 in an undemocratic manner.
In his speech, on the occasion of the 43rd anniversary of the Ministry of the Interior, Ortega also lashed out against the European Union (EU), with which he also maintains tense relations due to the application of sanctions.
“If the Yankees press a sanctions button, over there, the Europeans come to press (also) sanctions,” he reproached.