US imposes restrictions as pressure builds on Guyana leaders

WASHINGTON – The United States said Wednesday that it has imposed visa restrictions on people in Guyana who were involved in “undermining democracy“ in the South American nation, which held a disputed election on March 2 and has yet to declare a winner.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who did not name the individuals affected, said Guyana’s leaders have refused to accept the result of a recount of votes that showed a victory for the opposition. He said immediate family members of those “responsible for, or complicit in, undermining democracy“ could also be subject to U.S. restrictions.

“Guyana’s non-democratic trajectory is dangerous for its citizens and for the hemisphere as a whole,“ Pompeo said in a statement. “I hope that Guyana’s leaders understand what is at stake if they continue down this path.”

Efforts to swear in President David Granger after the March 2 vote were blocked by court action as observers said the vote was flawed. Authorities in Guyana have since been under international pressure to certify an opposition victory following the recount in favour of Granger’s opponents.