Biden slams Nicaragua’s ‘sham elections,’ calls Ortegas autocrats
President Joe Biden issued a statement on Sunday slamming Nicaragua’s “sham elections,” in which President Daniel Ortega and his wife, Vice President Rosario Murillo, are expected to claim victory.
In the statement, Biden accused Ortega’s government of conducting “a pantomime election that was neither free nor fair, and most certainly not democratic.”
Biden said the imprisonment of nearly 40 opposition figures and preventing other parties from competing in the election “rigged the outcome well before election day.” He also noted that independent media has been shuttered, journalists jailed, and civil society groups bullied.
“Long unpopular and now without a democratic mandate, the Ortega and Murillo family now rule Nicaragua as autocrats, no different from the Somoza family that Ortega and the Sandinistas fought four decades ago,” Biden said.
He called on the Ortega regime to release imprisoned dissidents and said the U.S. and others in the international community would “use all diplomatic and economic tools” to hold the government accountable.
Nicaragua was ranked the 22nd most corrupt country in the world in 2020. Last year, the Nicaraguan newspaper Confidencial reported government entities were responsible for the murders of at least 300 opposition activists. The report also said the government had imprisoned over 700 political opponents.
Nicaragua’s Center for Human Rights reports that 20 people were arrested Saturday night ahead of the election, according to CNN.