The United States on Monday imposed sanctions on six Nicaraguan officials in coordinated action with the European Union, marking the day of President Daniel Ortega's inauguration following an election Washington has denounced as rigged.
The U.S. Treasury Department in a statement said it imposed sanctions on several Nicaraguan officials over accusations of state acts of violence, disinformation and targeting of independent media, designating the minister of defense, among others.
U.S. President Joe Biden in November ripped into Ortega, calling Nicaragua's presidential election a "pantomime" as the former Marxist guerrilla and Cold War adversary of the United States won election for a fourth consecutive term after jailing political rivals and cracking down on critical media.
"The Ortega-Murillo regime continues its subjugation of democracy through effectuating sham elections, silencing peaceful opposition, and holding hundreds of people as political prisoners," Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian Nelson said in the statement.
"The United States and our partners are sending a clear message to President Ortega, Vice President Murillo, and their inner circle that we continue to stand with the Nicaraguan people in their calls for the immediate release of these political prisoners and a return to democracy."
The Treasury action also targeted officials of the military, the Nicaraguan Institute of Telecommunications and Mail and the state-owned Nicaraguan Mining Company.
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