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US President Joe Biden: the Nicaraguan election was a “pantomime”

The US President says his government will use economic and diplomatic tools to hold Ortega accountable, in conjunction with the international community

La administración de Joe Biden suma con la Ley Renacer una herramienta legislativa más para endurecer las sanciones contra el régimen

Octavio Enríquez

10 de noviembre 2021


US president Joe Biden described the voting this Sunday in Nicaragua as “a pantomime election that was neither free nor fair,” while announcing that, in coordination with other members of the international community, his government will use all economic and diplomatic tools to hold Daniel Ortega's regime accountable for its abuses.

In a statement about “the mock elections” of the Central American country, Biden denounced that Ortega and his wife Rosario Murillo, the current vice president and spokesperson of the regime, are autocrats who rule the country with a style similar to that used by the Somoza family, the one that the same Sandinista ruler helped overthrow 40 years ago, when he was a guerrilla.

The declaration from Biden comes at a time when criticism of the Nicaraguan electoral process is multiplying in the international community, as it is considered a farce by sectors critical of Ortega. Meanwhile, according to US legislative sources, Biden has the Renacer Act awaiting his signature in his office, which toughens sanctions against the Nicaraguan dictatorship.

This legislative norm provides new tools to punish Ortega and his group for refusing to offer free elections to Nicaraguans, but also puts the international loans to which the country has access via multilateral organizations under supervision, and raises the review on Nicaragua's participation in CAFTA-DR, the free trade agreement between the United States, Central America and the Dominican Republic.

Although Biden does not specifically mention the case of the Renacer Act, which completed its path through Congress on November 3rd, he reveals his position on the abuses committed by Ortega.

“The arbitrary imprisonment of nearly 40 opposition figures since May, including seven potential presidential candidates, and the blocking of political parties from participation rigged the outcome well before election day.  They shuttered independent media, locked up journalists and members of the private sector, and bullied civil society organizations into closing their doors,” said Biden.

The US president affirmed that he supports the inalienable right to democratic self-determination of the Nicaraguan people and of any other country in the hemisphere where popular sovereignty is compromised by the erosion of democratic norms, the suffocation of civic space and the violations of fundamental laws.

“The Inter-American Democratic Charter obligates the hemisphere to stand up for the democratic rights of the Nicaraguan people. We call on the Ortega-Murillo regime to take immediate steps to restore democracy in Nicaragua, and to immediately and unconditionally release those unjustly imprisoned for speaking out against abuses and clamoring for the right of Nicaraguans to vote in free and fair elections,” he insisted. 

This article was originally published in Spanish in Confidencial and translated by Havana Times



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Octavio Enríquez

Octavio Enríquez

Periodista nicaragüense, exiliado. Comenzó su carrera en el año 2000, cuando todavía era estudiante. Por sus destacadas investigaciones periodísticas ha ganado el Premio Ortega y Gasset, el Premio Internacional de Periodismo Rey de España, el Premio a la Excelencia de la Sociedad Interamericana de Prensa, y el Premio Latinoamericano de Periodismo de Investigación del Instituto Prensa y Sociedad (IPYS).