MANAGUA, NICARAGUA (AP) – Nicaragua President Daniel Ortega was sworn in for a fourth consecutive term on Monday following elections considered rigged and on a day marked by sanctions from the United States (US) and European Union (EU) against members of his government.
Alongside him was First Lady Rosario Murillo, sworn in for her second term as his vice president.
“We are going to continue fighting to defend the people so they have health care, education and housing,” the former Sandinista commander said in the capital’s Revolution Plaza filled with the waving flags of his party.
Ortega, 76, and Murillo, 70, oversaw the jailing of opposition leaders, including seven potential challengers for the presidency, months before the November election. They have remained defiant under foreign pressure.
On Monday evening, Ortega called for the lifting of sanctions against Venezuela and Cuba – both of whose leaders attended the event – and said US President “has more than 700 political prisoners” in reference to those jailed in relation to the storming of the US capitol a year ago. Ortega maintains that huge street protests against his government in April 2018 were an attempt to overthrow his government with foreign backing.
Earlier on Monday, the US Treasury Department slapped sanctions on more Nicaraguan officials.