The US on Tuesday imposed an entry ban on Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega, his vice-president wife and his government, after elections that were internationally dismissed as illegitimate.
Before the November 7 vote, Nicaraguan authorities detained nearly 40 opposition figures, including seven would-be presidential challengers, assuring victory for long-time ruler Ortega and his wife Rosario Murillo.
“The repressive and abusive acts of the Ortega government and those who support it compel the US to act,” President Joe Biden said in a proclamation.
“The Ortega government's undemocratic, authoritarian actions have crippled the electoral process and stripped away the right of Nicaraguan citizens to choose their leaders in free and fair elections.”
On Monday, the US announced separate financial sanctions against Nicaraguan officials, describing the recent election as a “sham.”
Britain and Canada also announced new sanctions against prominent Nicaraguans.
“The physical and psychological abuse of political prisoners at the hands of police and prison authorities is intolerable and cannot stand,” Biden said, accusing Ortega of overseeing corrupt courts, police and security services.
A firebrand Marxist in his youth, Ortega ruled Nicaragua from 1979 to 1990, after leading a guerrilla army that ousted US-backed dictator Anastasio Somoza.
Returning to power in 2007, he has won re-election four times, becoming increasingly dictatorial and quashing presidential term limits.