Correspondent in New York
The president of the United States, Joe Biden, harshly attacked this Sunday the electoral process held on that same day in Nicaragua, in which the Sandinista leader Ricardo Noriega sought to secure his fourth consecutive term. When the results of an election classified as fraudulent by the Organization of American States and a good part of Western countries were not yet known, Biden assured that Ortega and his wife -the country’s vice president, Rosario Murillo- «they have orchestrated an election pantomime that it was neither free nor fair, and above all undemocratic.
The US president reviewed in a statement the imprisonment of nearly forty opposition leaders since May – including seven possible presidential candidates – and the veto on the participation of other parties, in addition to the abuse of members. from the press and towards civil society activists. Biden assured that all this “fixed” the result long before the election date and that Ortega and Murillo do not have a “democratic mandate” and govern the country “as autocrats, without difference from the Somoza family” against which Ortega himself and the Sandinistas fought four decades ago.
Biden demanded that the Nicaraguan leader “take steps to restore democracy” and release all those unjustly imprisoned. If it does not do so, he warned, “the US, in coordination with other members of the international community, will use all the diplomatic and economic weapons at its disposal to support the Nicaraguan people.”
This is a warning, this time from the mouth of the US president, that Washington could respond to the abuses of Ortega and Murillo with a new round of sanctions against the Government of Nicaragua. The US, in coordination at times with the European Union, has imposed sanctions from the Ortega regime with both the Trump and Biden administrations, among others, asset freezes and travel bans on dozens of authorities in the country.
The punitive measures also affected Murillo and it will be necessary to see if the next round, of which he already warned last week by the State Department, applies to Ortega himself. Washington has also considered punishing Nicaragua by reviewing the country’s participation in a regional trade agreement that could impact its exports, of which the United States is the largest recipient. These measures, however, could further worsen the country’s poor economic situation and cause new waves of emigrants to the world’s leading power.