The tit-for-tat action came amid ongoing international criticism of the Nicaraguan government’s human rights record.
The European Union said it would declare the head of the Nicaraguan delegation to the European bloc’s “persona non grata” just weeks after the Central American country ousted its EU ambassador.
In a statement on Monday, the EU said its decision was “a mutual response to the decision by the Nicaraguan government on 28 September to declare the representative of the EU delegation to Nicaragua as persona non grata”.
“The EU considers Nicaragua’s decision to be unjust,” he said.
Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega has faced mounting international criticism for his government’s crackdown on opposition leaders and human rights activists ahead of last year’s elections, which the West denounced as “fake”.
Ortega defended the government’s actions, saying those detained were trying to destabilize Nicaragua and rejected outside criticism that they were trying to interfere in the country’s internal affairs.
On October 2, EU Ambassador Betina Mushait left Nicaragua after being declared a persona non grata by the Ortega government.
Nicaraguan Foreign Minister Denis Moncada has verbally informed Mushait that he should leave the country after an EU delegation addressed the United Nations General Assembly and demanded the freedom of Nicaraguan “political prisoners”.
Earlier this month, Ortega’s government announced it was suspending diplomatic relations with the Netherlands, accusing it of “interventionism” and refused to appoint a new US ambassador to Managua, citing his “intervention” attitude.
Its US envoy, Hugo Rodriguez, branded the Ortega government a “dictatorship.”
In response to the crackdown, US President Joe Biden’s administration has slapped a series of sanctions on Nicaragua in recent months, including US visa restrictions on state officials and their relatives.
The EU has also criticized Ortega and imposed its own sanctions over the past year.
Several Nicaraguan opposition leaders and presidential candidates were arrested ahead of the November elections in which Ortega was re-elected for a fourth consecutive term. Since then, dozens have been sentenced to lengthy prison sentences.
Last week, the Organization of American States (OAS) called on the Nicaraguan government to release political prisoners and protect their human rights.
Nicaragua announced in April that it had completed its withdrawal from the OAS. Declared the country’s presidential election illegal.
In a statement on Monday, the EU called on the Nicaraguan government and opposition parties to resolve “the current political crisis … through genuine dialogue”.
“The EU is open to dialogue with Nicaragua as long as the dialogue is conducted with respect,” he said.