The United States extended the sanctions imposed on the government of Nicaragua indefinitely.
The decision adds further pressure to the regime of President Daniel Ortega, accused of persistent human rights abuses and anti-democratic practices.
The initial sanctions, implemented in response to the Ortega government’s violent suppression of pro-democracy protests in 2018, were set to expire on November 27.
The Ortega regime has been widely condemned for its systematic erosion of democratic institutions, its suppression of dissent and its relentless persecution of political opponents.
In the lead-up to the 2021 presidential elections, Ortega employed a campaign of intimidation and imprisonment, effectively silencing any potential challenge to his authority.
“[The] Ortega-Murillo regime’s […] repressive tactics against civilians as well as its corruption […] continue to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States,” the White House stated in a notice published in mid-November.
While the sanctions have had an impact on Nicaragua’s economy, the regime has shown resilience in the face of international pressure. Meanwhile, foreign investors have kept their distance from the country.
The European Union and other international organizations have also imposed sanctions on the regime, and there has been a growing chorus of calls for Ortega to step down and allow free and fair elections.