In a statement Sunday, President Biden blasted what he called “Nicaragua’s sham elections,” calling Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega’s reelection “a pantomime election that was neither free nor fair, and most certainly not democratic.”
Several likely opposition candidates were arrested in the lead up to the election, which has been called a “sham” by several foreign governments and organizations, including Amnesty International.
In addition to Ortega, five other presidential candidates were listed on the final ballot Sunday, but none of them are seen as strong challengers.
“The arbitrary imprisonment of nearly 40 opposition figures since May, including seven potential presidential candidates, and the blocking of political parties from participation rigged the outcome well before election day,” Biden wrote Sunday. “They shuttered independent media, locked up journalists and members of the private sector, and bullied civil society organizations into closing their doors. 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.”
In the statement, Biden calls on the regime “to take immediate steps to restore democracy in Nicaragua.
Until then, the United States, in close coordination with other members of the international community, will use all diplomatic and economic tools at our disposal to support the people of Nicaragua and hold accountable the Ortega-Murillo government and those that facilitate its abuses," the President added.