President Daniel Ortega and Vice President Rosario Murillo’s decision on August 6 to ban the last genuine opposition party from participating in the November elections underscores their desire to remain in power at all costs. This autocratic maneuver follows the detention of seven presidential candidates and 24 other opposition figures, human rights activists, business leaders, students, and NGO workers over the last two months. The United States views the regime’s latest undemocratic, authoritarian actions—driven by Ortega’s fear of an electoral loss—as the final blow against Nicaragua’s prospects for a free and fair election later this year. That electoral process, including its eventual results, has lost all credibility.
The Ortega-Murillo regime has undermined its international commitments, including those under the Inter-American Democratic Charter, as well as the rights of the Nicaraguan people to freely choose their own leaders. We will continue to work closely with other democracies to respond diplomatically and economically to these dire developments, which only further deprive the Nicaraguan people of their desire for a representative government and economic prosperity.