On Wednesday, President Biden signed a bill into law that calls for more sanctions and pressure on Nicaragua. The move comes after the US has deemed Nicaragua’s presidential election a “sham” and has threatened to take action.
The Reinforcing Nicaragua’s Adherence to Conditions for Electoral Reform Act of 2021, known as the RENACER Act, calls for targeted sanctions against Nicaraguan officials as well as restricting Nicaragua’s access to international financial institutions. Sanctioning Nicaragua has strong bipartisan support in Congress, and the bill easily passed through the House and Senate.
Nicaragua’s election was held Sunday and resulted in President Daniel Ortega securing a fourth term in office. The US had called the election a “sham” before it even happened, the accusation being that Ortega jailed his opposition, but there were other candidates on the ballot.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken released a statement Monday threatening new sanctions and other actions against Ortega. A State Department official told Reuters that sanctions are coming “very soon” and that they would just be the first in a series of steps that will “ramp up over time.”
The US has used claims of election fraud to impose crushing economic sanctions elsewhere in Latin America. In Venezuela, after years of sanctions and a failed US-backed coup attempt, President Nicolas Maduro still holds office in Caracas, and only the civilian population has suffered from the US campaign.