The Biden administration has imposed entry bans against Nicaraguan government officials over November's election of President Daniel Ortega and his wife, Vice President Rosario Murillo, to a fourth term in office. File Photo by Rodrigo Arangua/EPA
March 10 (UPI) -- The Biden administration designated nine Nicaraguan officials for entry bans on accusations of undermining democracy in the Central American nation for conspiring to aiding the recent re-election of President Daniel Ortega and his wive, Vice President Rosario Murillo, to a fourth consecutive term.
In a statement Wednesday, the State Department spokesman Ned Price said it added the government officials to the United States' Corrupt and Undemocratic Actors list.
Those named include five members of the Nicaraguan National Assembly, a judge, vice president of the Supreme Electoral Council and the council's former and current presidents.
The United States has previously taken punitive actions against those close to Ortega following November's widely condemned election that saw the authorities arrest seven of his challengers and two others going into exile.
At least 43 people remained in prison as of Monday in connection to the election, according to the United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner.
Human Rights Watch said last month that between May and the November election, the authorities committed arbitrary arrests, including at least 40 opposition students businesses people, defense lawyers, journalists and activists.
During the first two weeks of February, at least 14 were convicted of "undermining national integrity," according to the human rights watchdog.
Price said the Biden administration is "deeply concerned" by the injustice and lack of transparency at these trials and is committed to supporting the people of Nicaragua by fighting corruption.
"We will continue to use all tools at our disposal to promote accountability for corruption and other attacks on the security, stability and democratic aspirations of the people of Central America," he said. "We are standing with the people of Nicaragua as they strive to restore democratic institutions, select their leaders in free and fair elections and create the futures they desire for themselves and their families."
The move follows the State Department in January imposing visa restrictions against 116 people accused of undermining democracy in Nicaraguan while the Treasury sanctioned six top government officials. The punitive measures were done in connection with the European Union, who hit six Nicaraguans, including family members of Ortega and Murillo and three entities, with sanctions.