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US Restricts Visa of Airline Owner for Aiding Irregular Migration Through Nicaragua

The State Department did not provide details on individual's identity. Flight arrivals from the Middle East to Managua were reported in recent weeks

A citizen crosses the avenue in front of Nicaragua's international airport. Photo: Confidencial

Redacción Confidencial

18 de junio 2024

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The United States announced on Thursday, June 13, that it is taking measures to impose visa restrictions on the executive of a charter flight transportation company that facilitates irregular migration to the U.S. through Nicaragua, according to the State Department.

The statement, which did not offer details about the identity of the affected person, said that this type of company takes advantage of vulnerable migrants and criticized the government of the current president of Nicaragua, Daniel Ortega, for benefiting economically from the exploitation of vulnerable migrants.


In this regard, the State Department declared that as part of its campaign to eliminate exploitative practices, it will continue to take steps to impose visa restrictions on "unscrupulous" transportation companies.

These measures, the statement said, were adopted under a department policy announced last February aimed at senior officials of companies that offer transportation services by land, sea or air, primarily for people seeking to migrate irregularly to the United States.

President Joe Biden's administration has been warning that Cuban and Haitian migrants are using charter flights to Nicaragua to travel overland from these countries to the U.S.-Mexico border.

A Million-dollar Business

Nicaragua's Directorate of Migration and Foreigners (DGME, Dirección de Migración y Extranjería) collected 311 million córdobas in migration fees in the first three months of 2024. The figure is equivalent to 53% of the annual goal of 586 million córdobas, according to the budget execution report for the first quarter of the year, published by the Ministry of Finance and Public Credit and analyzed by CONFIDENCIAL

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The main source of revenue was recorded under the heading "other fees for migration and immigration services", which is related to "fines" for irregular migrants passing through Nicaragua on their way to the United States.

Given the arrival of three charter flights from the Middle East in Nicaragua in recent weeks, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs of the U.S. Department of State, Eric Jacobstein, had stated that the Biden Administration is concerned about the "permissive environment" of the Ortega regime with irregular migration.

The last of these flights, presumably carrying migrants whose final destination was the U.S., arrived at Managua's Augusto C. Sandino International Airport early Tuesday morning, June 4, 2024. All were operated by Ghadames airline but have not been reported by the Airport Administration Company (EAAI) and during their journey to the Nicaraguan capital they turned off their radar and hid their final destination.

According to La Prensa, the first Ghadames Airlines flight arrived in Nicaragua on May 18 from Benghazi, Libya. A week later, on May 23, a second plane of the same airline landed from the same airport.

With information from the EFE

This article was published in Spanish in Confidencial and translated by our staff To get the most relevant news from our English coverage delivered straight to your inbox, subscribe to The Dispatch.

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Redacción Confidencial

Redacción Confidencial

Confidencial es un diario digital nicaragüense, de formato multimedia, fundado por Carlos F. Chamorro en junio de 1996. Inició como un semanario impreso y hoy es un medio de referencia regional con información, análisis, entrevistas, perfiles, reportajes e investigaciones sobre Nicaragua, informando desde el exilio por la persecución política de la dictadura de Daniel Ortega y Rosario Murillo.

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