Biden Administration Steps Up Sanctions on Nicaragua

Biden signed an EO giving him authority to target the country's gold industry

The Biden administration on Monday announced a series of steps it’s taking against Nicaragua in the most expansive sanctions on the country since the US rejected the results of last year’s Nicaraguan presidential election.

The State Department announced visa restrictions on over 500 Nicaraguan individuals and their family members. In a statement on the sanctions, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the measures target “members of Nicaraguan security services, such as the Nicaraguan National Police, penitentiary officials, judges, prosecutors, higher education officials, and non-government actors.”

Blinken said the individuals “enable” the alleged corruption of the government of President Daniel Ortega, who secured a fourth term in last year’s election. Blinken added that no member of the Nicaraguan government nor anyone who “facilitates” its alleged abuses should be able to enter the US.

The Treasury Department announced sanctions on the Nicaraguan government’s mining authority and a high-level government official. Also on Monday, President Biden signed an Executive Order that gives him the authority to sanction companies or individuals involved with Nicaragua’s gold industry, one of the country’s largest sources of revenue.

Biden’s order expands an emergency declaration originally issued by the Trump administration and is the first time the US has identified a specific industry in Nicaragua that it will target. The US could also expand the authority to include other industries, and US officials have previously said that Washington is considering banning all imports from Nicaragua.

Such strict measures could put Nicaragua under sanctions that amount to an economic embargo, similar to US policy against Cuba and Venezuela. History has shown that sanctions do little to hurt the government of the targeted nation but have a devastating impact on civilian populations.

Author: Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the news editor of, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.