Posted on Tuesday, November 23, 2021 | 6:15 p.m.
Updated 4 hours and 12 minutes ago
MANAGUA, Nicaragua (AP) – The Nicaraguan government has removed visa requirements for Cuban citizens, a move that could trigger an increase in the number of Cubans traveling there in an attempt to reach the United States.
Nicaragua’s interior ministry on Monday released a statement on its webpage saying the decision was taken “with the aim of promoting trade, tourism and humanitarian family relations.”
The ministry said it had received numerous visa applications from Cubans with relatives in Nicaragua.
Many Cubans travel to South America to find a land route to the US border. Flying to Nicaragua would significantly reduce the time and distance required for such trips.
The move comes after the United States condemned the re-election of President Daniel Ortega on November 7. Ortega has long been an ally of Cuba.
Ortega won over 75% of the vote in Sunday’s election, but the result was never in doubt after his government jailed seven of the opposition’s top potential candidates.
US President Joe Biden called the Nicaraguan elections “rigged” and said the United States would use whatever tools it has to hold the Nicaraguan government to account.