US Sanctions 93 Nicaraguan Officials For Crackdown

    Photo: AP [via CNN]

    The Facts

    • This comes in addition to previous visa sanctions on 116 individuals linked to the regime. The Treasury Dept. has also frozen the US assets of the defense minister and other officials in key sectors.

    • Ortega was elected for a fourth term in 2021, a victory deemed a "farce" by the West due to accusations of a crackdown on the opposition.

    The Spin

    Establishment-critical narrative

    Ortega's policies have favored the interests of his nation, leading to an improvement in living conditions. US foreign policymakers remain resolute in punishing Nicaragua, which shouldn't come as a surprise as they have a history of trying to impoverish the region in order to make it easier for the US to exploit.

    Pro-establishment narrative

    The regime of Ortega has already shown cracks provoked by the Biden admin sanctions. By punishing businesses, officials, and the Ortega's inner circle, the US is putting pressure on those that can impact Nicaraguan policymaking. It's only a matter of time before the regime starts negotiating with the US for sanctions relief.

    Narrative C

    Sanctions are important but squeezing the economy and officials won't defeat Ortega's regime alone. The same applies to domestic pressure as the 2018 civic insurrection failed to change the status quo due to almost non-existent external support. The international community must stimulate the pro-democracy movement and support it against the Nicaraguan de-facto police state.

    Cynical narrative

    Despite promoting a global framework based on the conflict between democracies and autocracies, Biden follows a double standard that is historically common to US presidents. Indeed, he punishes dictatorships, but only if they are against the US. That's why Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela were excluded from Summit of the Americas but Biden is heading to Saudi Arabia.

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