The United States on Wednesday approved the return to Nicaragua of non-emergency personnel and diplomats’ family members after they were pulled from the country during weeks of deadly anti-government protests.
The US Embassy UU in Managua expects to resume routine visa services, although it maintains that conditions in the country “are not normal.”
“The United States Embassy in Managua will resume routine visa services as soon as staff permit. All visa information services will be published on the Embassy’s website and on the Facebook page, ” the State Department informed Today Nicaragua.
“Though Nicaragua is not back to normal, due to President Daniel Ortega’s campaign of violence and intimidation…the Department of State has lifted” the mandatory evacuation order on non-emergency personnel and relatives, it said in the statement.
The Embassy is expected to increase the number and types of visa appointments for nonimmigrants as consular personnel rejoin. The State Department warned that applicants should expect long waits for appointments, over the next two or three months, especially for business visa and tourism interviews.
On the return of the Embassy staff and their families, the delegation in Managua explained in a statement that “although Nicaragua has not yet returned to normal, due to the campaign of violence and intimidation of Daniel Ortega’s government, The State Department – after establishing protocols to address the growing security problems – has lifted the mandatory exit status effective September 12, which allows the return of US personnel to Nicaragua. ”
Despite the return of its personnel, the Embassy explained that a travel warning remains in place for Nicaragua. The State Department maintains a call for its citizens not to travel to Nicaragua.
“Our travel recommendations to Nicaragua remain in effect at level 3. The State Department continues to strongly recommend American travelers to refrain from traveling to Nicaragua due to social turmoil, arbitrary law enforcement, criminality and the limited availability of health services, “the statement added.
The notice refers to statements made by the US vice president, Mike Pence, who says that in Nicaragua “the government of President Daniel Ortega is virtually waging a war against the Catholic Church and against those who demand democracy and national dialogue.”
Finally, the State Department affirmed that the U.S. remains at the side of the Nicaraguan people, “including the members of the Sandinista Front party, who call for the return of peace and democracy by holding free, fair and transparent elections.”
“We support the process of national dialogue led by the Catholic Church and we call, once again, the Ortega government to resume this process,” it concluded.
In recent months, the United States has raised its voice in the Organization of American States (OAS) in favor of respect for the human rights of Nicaraguans and the return of democracy to the country, through the advancement of elections. This position has also been made clear in the Security Council of the United Nations, which last week addressed the country’s socio-political crisis.