The United States is increasing pressure on the government of Daniel Ortega by prohibiting US citizens from doing business with the Central American country’s gold industry, threatening trade restrictions and withdrawing the visas of some 500 close associates of the government, Washington officials revealed.
Along with sanctions to be announced by the Treasury Department, the executive order prohibits Americans from doing business with the Nicaraguan gold industry. It is the first time that the United States has focused on a specific sector of the Nicaraguan economy. It is said that in the future it could be expanded to include other industries considered sources of government financing.
The new actions could prefigure the beginning of a new offensive against the Nicaraguan economy, an action that the Bien administration has not taken so far in order not to aggravate the internal economic hardships and provoke more emigration. So far this year, 134,000 Nicaraguans have arrived at the southern border, almost triple the number of all of 2021.
Biden’s decision to focus on the Nicaraguan gold industry could deprive the Ortega government of one of its main sources of financing. Gold was the country’s main export in 2020. Nicaragua was the largest producer in Central America and seeks to double production in the next five years.
As part of the measures, the State Department will withdraw the visas of more than 500 Nicaraguan citizens and their family members who work for the government. Previously, the United States had frozen the assets of the Defense Minister and other members of the security forces linked to the closure of more than a thousand non-governmental organizations.