Influential Democrats ask Biden to Pressure Ortega

They say the demand for free and fair elections and respecting human rights should guide the US agenda for Nicaragua policy.

In a highly polarized US Congress, Nicaragua policy is one of the few issues consistently attracting near unanimous bipartisan support. Influential Democrats are now asking president-elect Biden to keep the pressure on the Ortega regime when he takes office.

The Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) reveals Monday a statement issued on December 3 by Democratic leaders who played crucial roles in opposing Contra aid in the 1980s. The statement is signed by former Representative Mike Barnes, then chair of the House Western Hemisphere subcommittee, and former Representative David Bonior, then-House majority whip. It says:

In the 1980s, Democratic members of the U.S. Congress supported a democratic path to peace in Nicaragua: a negotiated end to the conflict, free and fair elections, respect for human rights, freedom of the press, and non-military solutions. We led these efforts in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Today, Nicaragua is once again at a crossroads. The Ortega government continues to refuse to undertake any steps towards free and fair elections in November 2021. Systematic human rights violations by the regime have been amply documented by respected international organizations, and thousands of Nicaraguans have fled as refugees or gone into exile. On October 21 the OAS General Assembly adopted a resolution calling for free and fair elections in Nicaragua.

We endorse the bipartisan resolutions approved by the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives in support of democracy in Nicaragua. We are confident that the Biden administration will press for internationally monitored, free and fair elections in Nicaragua and respect for human rights.

Nicaragua’s presidential couple, Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo, are hoping that a Biden presidency will ease up on sanctions against their family and top officials. Like Ortega, Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela and the Castro-Diaz Canel government in Cuba, are also hoping for a more relaxed US policy.



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