Nicaragua Bans US Congressmen over Venezuela Sanctions
Español In the wake of the sanctions imposed by the US Congress on Venezuelan officials, Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega confirmed on Friday that two US congressmen from Florida — Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Sen. Marco Rubio — have been officially banned from entering Nicaragua.
“Just like they [US officials] have their lists, we can make our own lists in Latin America of those who shouldn’t enter our country,” said Ortega during a meeting with Venezuelan officials in Nicaragua.
Although Ortega did not mention when the ban went into effect, he explained that it is a response to “a list of Nicaraguan officials who cannot enter the United States.”
“Ileana Ros is on there [the list], and she wanted to enter here [last June]. Her story was that she was going to come to foment democracy in our country, but she was on the list of people who can’t enter and she didn’t enter,” said the president.
Oretega’s comments come after the US Congress passed a bill imposing targeted sanctions on Venezuelan officials who have ordered, carried out, or assisted Nicolás Maduro’s regime in “significant acts of violence or serious human rights abuses in Venezuela against persons associated with the anti-government protests in Venezuela that began on February 4, 2014.”
— Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (@RosLehtinen) December 13, 2014
“It’s a badge of honor to be banned by a thug like Ortega. These authoritarian heads of state like Ortega, Maduro, and the Castro brothers like to intimidate those who disagree with them, and they use their power randomly and ruthlessly,” said Ros-Lehtinen in a statement.
“I’m not worried about being banned in Nicaragua. What frightens me is the erosion of fundamental human rights throughout our hemisphere,” she added.
Senator Marco Rubio also mocked Ortega’s decision via Twitter.
Oh no! My summer vacation plans are ruined! http://t.co/ayPF6tkHPk
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) December 13, 2014
Rubio and Ros-Lehtinen, both Cuban-American congressmen, led the efforts to pass sanctions against Venezuelan officials.