The Biden administration has been pressing President Daniel Ortega’s authoritarian regime in Nicaragua. The new sanctions target the Central American country’s lucrative mining sector.
Biden’s executive order includes the authority to ban U.S. companies from doing business in Nicaragua’s gold mining operations. The US Treasury Department is imposing sanctions on the country’s mining authority and the Ortega trustee, the ministry said in a statement on Monday.
Gold was Nicaragua’s most important export last year, with exports of the precious metal totaling $867 million. 79 percent of that went to the United States, according to data from the country’s central bank.
In addition to mining, the new set of sanctions could also be used to block new U.S. investment in other sectors in Nicaragua. “The aim is to deny the resources necessary to continue undermining democratic institutions in Nicaragua,” the Americans said in a statement. Previous US sanctions have targeted dictator Ortega, his wife and Vice President Murillo and those close to them.
Ortega is a former guerrilla fighter. He was president from 1985 to 1990 and has been in power in the Central American country since 2007. In 2018, massive social protests erupted against his rule, which he crushed with a heavy hand. After those protests, Ortega took full control of the country. Opposition members, businessmen and journalists are trapped in the country.
There is also tension in the Netherlands
The new round of US sanctions comes amid recent tensions between the Netherlands and Nicaragua. Earlier this month, the country severed diplomatic ties with the Netherlands. It happened after the Netherlands He ended up financing the construction of the hospital. The EU ambassador to Nicaragua was also declared non-persona. Subsequently, Europe expelled the Nicaraguan ambassador from the EU.
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