December 9, 2022

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Nicaragua blocks new US ambassador from entering its territory

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The Nicaraguan government on Thursday banned new US ambassador Hugo Rodriguez from entering the country, accusing him of “interference” and “disrespect” following his remarks before a US Senate committee.

“The Government of Nicaragua, within the framework of its powers and in the exercise of its national sovereignty, immediately withdraws the recognition granted to Hugo Rodriguez,” Nicaragua’s Foreign Minister Denis Moncada said in a letter to US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken.

Managua justified the move by citing “interference and disrespectful statements of the country” made by Rodriguez on Thursday before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Last May, US President Joe Biden appointed Rodriguez as ambassador to Managua. His appointment is subject to confirmation by the Nicaraguan parliament.

Relations between Nicaragua and the United States have been tense since opposition protests against Daniel Ortega’s government in 2018 left 355 people dead, according to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.

Tensions have risen since President Ortega was re-elected last year to a fourth consecutive term in a vote Washington deemed rigged.

Speaking before a Senate committee on Thursday, Rodriguez said Nicaragua is “increasingly becoming a massive country in the region” and compared the country to the “dictatorship” his family experienced in the Dominican Republic in the 1950s.

“The withdrawal of Nicaragua from the Central American Dominican Republic and the United States Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) is a very powerful tool and something we should seriously consider” to punish Ortega, Rodriguez added.

He criticized Foreign Minister Denis Moncada Rodriguez. The new U.S. ambassador said “we cannot interfere in national issues that only concern the people of Nicaragua.”

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