Posted: Nov 23, 2021 / 7:36 PM CST
Updated November 23, 2021 / 7:36 PM CST
MANAGUA, Nicaragua (AP) – The Nicaraguan government has lifted visas for Cuban citizens, a move that could spark an increase in Cubans traveling there to reach the United States.
The Nicaraguan Ministry of the Interior published a statement on its website on Monday saying the decision was “made with the aim of promoting trade, tourism and humanitarian family relations.”
The ministry said it had received many visa applications from Cubans with relatives in Nicaragua.
Many Cubans travel as far as South America to find an overland route to the US border. A flight to Nicaragua would save a lot of time and distance on such trips.
The move comes after the United States condemned the re-election of President Daniel Ortega on November 7th. Ortega has long been an ally of Cuba.
Ortega won more than 75% of the vote in Sunday’s elections, but the result was never in doubt after his government imprisoned seven of the leading potential opposition candidates.
US President Joe Biden has called the elections in Nicaragua “rigged” and declared that the US will use the instruments at its disposal to hold the Nicaraguan government accountable.