U.S. bill would restrict loans to Nicaragua

Ten members of the U.S. Congress for both political parties have introduced a bill to oppose loans to the government of Nicaragua until the country takes steps for free and fair elections.

The measure is called the  Nicaraguan Investment Conditionality Act. The bill, if passed, would direct the administration to oppose loans for Nicaragua from international financial institutions until the secretary of State certifies the government is taking effective steps to hold free and fair elections, promote democracy, strengthen the rule of law and respect the right to freedom of association and expression.

The bill also directs the administration to advocate for an electoral observation mission to be sent to Nicaragua in 2016 and 2017 in accordance with recommendations made by the Organization of American States.

The non-profit Freedom House said that the government of President Daniel Ortega restricts the basic rights of its citizens, and limits the work of media and the political opposition. It said it supported the bill.

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