(Reuters) – The United States on Monday imposed sanctions on six Nicaraguan officials as part of coordinated action with the European Union, marking the inauguration day of President Daniel Ortega following an election that Washington denounced it as rigged.

The US Treasury Department said in a statement it had imposed sanctions on several Nicaraguan officials on charges of state violence, disinformation and targeting of independent media, including naming the defense minister.

In November, US President Joe Biden tore up Ortega, calling Nicaragua’s presidential election a “pantomime” as the former Marxist guerrilla and Cold War opponent of the United States won the election for a fourth consecutive term after imprisoning political rivals and cracking down on critical media.

“The Ortega-Murillo regime continues to subdue democracy by organizing mock elections, silencing the peaceful opposition and holding hundreds of people as political prisoners,” said the undersecretary for terrorism and intelligence financier Brian Nelson in the press release.

“The United States and our partners are sending a clear message to President Ortega, Vice President Murillo and their families: We continue to stand with the Nicaraguan people in their calls for the immediate release of these political prisoners and for a return to democracy. “

Political cartoons about world leaders

The Treasury’s action also targeted officials from the military, the Nicaraguan Institute of Telecommunications and Mail, and the Nicaraguan National Mining Company.

(Reporting by Daphne Psaledakis and Paul Grant; Editing by Doina Chiacu and Alistair Bell)

Copyright 2022 Thomson Reuters.