On Monday, October 24th, 2022, President Joe Biden’s administration increased pressure on the authoritarian regime in Nicaragua. The president sanctioned the nation’s gold and mining industry and imposed visa restrictions on over 500 vital supporters of Nicaragua’s president Daniel Ortega.
The sanctions are the most recent round of the United States moves against President Ortega’s government. His government has dismantled all political opposition, thrown many political enemies, journalists, Roman Catholic priests, and civic leaders into prison, and closed down critical media.
Joe Biden signed an executive order targeting Nicaragua’s gold sector. The White House states that Nicaragua’s government uses its thriving gold sector to fund destabilizing and authoritarian activities. The executive order enables the United States to identify other areas of Nicaragua’s economy that it might sanction.
In July of this year(2022), the United States removed Nicaragua from the list of nations that can sell sugar to the U.S. with minimized import tariffs. Rosario Murillo, Mr. Ortega’s wife, and Nicaragua’s vice president, who also serves as the government’s spokesperson did not comment on the matter.
Eric Farnsworth, the vice president of a Washington-based think tank called the Americas Society, stated that the move seeks to punish the Nicaraguan president without ruining the nation’s overall economy. Farnsworth said that the goal of the sanction was to limit potential U.S. investment in the gold sector by making it unappealing to other investors. Furthermore, he said that it was not likely that the most recent sanctions could influence President Ortega to free political prisoners or reinstate democracy in the country.