U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio joined growing chorus calling for a stronger push against the Nicaraguan government’s “assault on democracy.”
“We are concerned with the systemic actions taken by Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega to circumvent the Constitution and the legislature to rule in favor of his unlawful actions by naming his wife as his running mate,” Rubio said in a joint letter with Ted Cruz, R-Texas, to the State Department.
Leaders in Washington have been growing concerned about Ortega’s push for power. He’s quickly turning his government into a single-party regime.
It’s not Rubio’s first run-in with Ortega. Two years ago, Ortega banned Rubio and U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., from traveling to the Central American country because, Ortega said, he was protesting the Venezuela sanctions the Republican lawmakers helped pass.
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The Senate has failed to move forward on companion legislation introduced by Cruz and co-sponsored by Rubio – which passed in the House – that would restrict the Ortega government’s access to loans from international financial institutions unless it accepts international observers and takes other steps to promote democracy.
Rubio and Cruz want the administration to advocate more for stronger monitoring and observation of the November election when Ortega will run for a third consecutive term. He is expected to win.
In recent months, Ortega announced that he would not allow international observers to monitor the upcoming election. He named his wife, first lady Rosario Murillo, as his running mate. In June, the Nicaraguan Supreme Court stripped two opposition parties of their leaders.
The administration said they’ve done everything they can to pressure the Nicaraguan government to allow international monitors.