Tags: Marco Rubio | rubio | ros-lehtinen | nicaragua | orgtega | ban

Rubio, Ros-Lehtinen Banned From Nicaragua

By    |   Sunday, 14 Dec 2014 08:37 PM

Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega has banned two American lawmakers from his country after they helped push through legislation last week to ban Venezuelan officials from the United States.

"Just like they [U.S. officials] have their lists, we can make our own lists in Latin America of those who shouldn't enter our country," Ortega told Costa Rica's Tico Times.

Sen. Marco Rubio and Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen laughed off Ortega's ban, The Miami Herald reported.


"It's a badge of honor to be banned by a thug like Ortega. These authoritarian heads of state like Ortega, Maduro and the Castro brothers like to intimidate those who disagree with them and they use their power randomly and ruthlessly," Ros-Lehtinen said in a statement.

"I'm not worried about being banned in Nicaragua. What frightens me is the erosion of fundamental human rights throughout our hemisphere," the South Florida congresswoman said. "I'm proud of the law that Marco, [Sen.] Bob Menendez and I wrote that penalizes human-rights violators in Venezuela and we'll work to place violators on that list, ban or no ban."

President Barack Obama has indicated he will sign the bill into law.

Rubio and Ros-Lehtinen, Republicans from Miami, said the sanctions will keep out members of the Venezuelan government who oppress those in their native country while visiting areas such as South Florida to party.

"This is the first step to address human rights violations in Venezuela, and it will be a blow to the hypocrites in Nicolás Maduro’s regime who talk a lot about socialist sacrifice but who themselves are immune from its failures and live in a fantasy world of gold-plated iPads and fancy cars, even though most Venezuelans can’t even find basic necessities like food and toilet paper," Rubio said.

Though the sanctions don't directly target Nicaragua, Ortega's Sandinista government has received $3 billion in aid from Venezuela since taking power in 2007, the Herald reported. Ortega previously ruled the country in the 1980s when the Reagan administration backed the Contra rebels against them.

Nicauragua also is allied with the Castro government in Cuba, which Rubio and Ros-Lehtinen, both Cuban-Americans, oppose. Rubio, who is thought to be mulling a 2016 presidential run, likely is happy to be seen in the same light as Ronald Reagen vis-à-vis Ortega.

Ortega didn't say how long the ban had been in effect, Tico Times reported, but he said Ros-Lehtinen tried to enter the country last summer and was turned away.

Ortega said other American officials are on his banned list, but did not say who they are.

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Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega has banned two American lawmakers from his country after they helped push through legislation last week to ban Venezuelan officials from the United States.
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2014-37-14
Sunday, 14 Dec 2014 08:37 PM
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