US cancels visas of 100 more Nicaraguan officials for their role in ‘undermining democracy’

Aug 19, 2023, 2:11 PM

FILE - A banner emblazoned with an image of Nicaragua's President Daniel Ortega is waved by a suppo...

FILE - A banner emblazoned with an image of Nicaragua's President Daniel Ortega is waved by a supporter in Managua, Nicaragua, April 30, 2018. The U.S. State Department on Saturday, Aug. 19, 2023, imposed visa restrictions on 100 more Nicaraguan officials for their role in supporting the Ortega regime. (AP Photo/Alfredo Zuniga, File)

(AP Photo/Alfredo Zuniga, File)

MEXICO CITY (AP) — The U.S. State Department on Saturday imposed visa restrictions on 100 more Nicaraguan officials for their role in supporting the regime of President Daniel Ortega.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken wrote in his social media accounts that his office “has taken steps to impose visa restrictions on 100 Nicaraguan officials who restrict Nicaraguans’ human rights and undermine democracy.”

“We call on the regime to unconditionally and immediately release Bishop Álvarez and all those unjustly detained,” Blinken wrote.

Bishop Rolando Álvarez, an outspoken critic of the Nicaraguan government, was jailed by the Ortega regime for supposedly helping anti-government protesters. He was sentenced to 26 years in prison, after he refused to board a plane carrying exiles to the United States in February.

Ortega jailed dozens of opposition figures in order to win a fourth consecutive term in 2021 elections that were broadly criticized as a farce. He has also outlawed dozens of nongovernmental organizations.

Since then, dozens of opponents have been tried or convicted in brief trials on vague charges equivalent to treason.

The State Department had previously pulled the visas of top Nicaraguan officials, as well as judges who convicted the opposition leaders and legislators who had cooperated in banning NGOs and civic groups.

It previously imposed visa restrictions on 116 individuals linked to the Ortega regime, “including mayors, prosecutors, university administrators, as well as police, prison, and military officials.”

This week, the Nicaraguan government confiscated a prestigious Jesuit-run university alleging it was a “center of terrorism,” the latest in a series of actions by authorities against the Catholic Church and opposition figures.

The Treasury Department has frozen the U.S. assets of the defense minister and other officials in the army, telecom and mining sectors. As with dozens of Nicaraguan officials already under sanctions, U.S. citizens were prohibited from having dealings with them.

With all government institutions firmly within Ortega’s grasp and the opposition exiled, jailed or in hiding, the 75-year-old leader eroded what hope remained that the country could soon return to a democratic path.


President Joe Biden arrives on Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., Saturday, July 13, 202...

Associated Press

Biden tries to balance his condemnation of the attack on Trump with the ongoing 2024 campaign

WASHINGTON (AP) — Homeland security and law enforcement officials were briefing President Joe Biden on Sunday about the apparent assassination attempt on his predecessor, Donald Trump, as the White House continued to call for national unity and condemn the stunning act of violence. Vice President Kamala Harris was joining Biden for an update from top […]

7 hours ago

FILE - President Ronald Reagan waves and then looks up before being shoved into the President's lim...

Associated Press

Reagan survived an assassination attempt and his response changed the trajectory of his presidency

WASHINGTON (AP) — The would-be assassin got off six shots in 1.7 seconds, nearly taking the life of a president and changing the trajectory of a presidency. It happened on a dreary March afternoon in 1981. President Ronald Reagan was leaving the Washington Hilton hotel after giving a speech to a union group when John […]

8 hours ago

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump is helped off the stage by U.S. Sec...

Associated Press

What we know about the 20-year-old suspect in the apparent assassination attempt of Donald Trump

WASHINGTON (AP) — The man identified as the shooter in the apparent assassination attempt of former President Donald Trump was a 20-year-old from a Pittsburg suburb not far from the campaign rally where one attendee was killed. Authorities say Thomas Matthew Crooks of Bethel Park, Pennsylvania, opened fire at the rally before being killed by […]

10 hours ago

Associated Press

Trump is injured but ‘fine’ after apparent assassination attempt leaves rally-goer and gunman dead

BUTLER, Pa. (AP) — On the heels of an apparent attempt to kill him, former President Donald Trump called Sunday for unity and resilience as shocked leaders across the political divide recoiled from the shooting that left him injured but “fine” and the gunman and a rally-goer dead. The presumptive Republican presidential nominee said the […]

10 hours ago

Associated Press

Global leaders condemn Donald Trump’s assassination attempt

HONG KONG (AP) — Global leaders have expressed concern Sunday over an assassination attempt targeting former U.S. President Donald Trump at a rally in Pennsylvania that left one attendee dead and critically injured two others, with many condemning the violence that shocked the world. Trump’s campaign said the presumptive Republican nominee was doing “fine” after […]

16 hours ago

FILE - Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, left, and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator ...

Associated Press

Can a Medicaid plan that requires work succeed? First year of Georgia experiment is not promising

ATLANTA (AP) — By now, Georgia officials expected their new Medicaid plan, the only one in the nation with a work requirement, to provide health insurance to 25,000 low-income residents and possibly tens of thousands more. But a year since its launch, Pathways to Coverage has roughly 4,300 members, much lower than what state officials […]

19 hours ago

US cancels visas of 100 more Nicaraguan officials for their role in ‘undermining democracy’