The Foreign Minister of Costa Rica, Arnoldo André Tinoco, expressed concern on Thursday about the situation of political prisoners in Nicaragua, as well as the violations of press freedom and the cancellation of more than 1,200 non-governmental organizations.
“In multilateral organizations we have supported the resolutions condemning the serious human rights violations that occur there. We are concerned about the 180 political prisoners that remain, we are concerned about the suppression of freedom of the press and of expression, and the cancellation of more than 1,200 non-governmental organizations,” the foreign minister said in an interview with Efe.
The minister affirmed that the effects of the situation in Nicaragua “we are having here directly with the migratory wave” and said that there are around 140,000 pending refugee applications, the majority of Nicaraguans.
The sociopolitical crisis in Nicaragua broke out in April 2018 and has left at least 355 dead, according to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), of which the president of that country, Daniel Ortega, has admitted 200.
The crisis worsened with the general elections last November when Ortega and his wife and Vice President Rosario Murillo were re-elected to their positions, with seven of their potential rivals in prison and two in exile.
More than a hundred exiled journalists
According to the Nicaraguan Independent Journalists and Communicators movement (PCIN), the Nicaraguan Executive has exiled more than 120 journalists, including the editorial staff of the newspaper La Prensa, the disappearance of the written press, and television and radio programs critical of Ortega.
The Foreign Minister of Costa Rica assured that when the current government of President Rodrigo Chaves took office on May 8, “it was considered” to re-establish the presence of an ambassador in Managua, but the possibility was ruled out after the expulsion of the delegation from the Organization of the American States (OAS) in Nicaragua.
“The unexpected expulsion of the OAS and its diplomats made us reverse the situation and maintain the relationship as it is. Nicaragua (recently) withdrew its ambassador Duilio Hernández and has sent a chargé d’affaires, an issue that we interpret as reciprocity given the Costa Rican position,” André said.
The previous Government of Costa Rica (2018-2022), presided over by Carlos Alvarado, did not send an ambassador to Nicaragua and in various international forums denounced human rights violations in that country and advocated a return to democracy.
Despite the current bilateral situation, the Costa Rican foreign minister is confident that relations with Nicaragua on border issues will develop normally.
“We are interested in maintaining excellent border relations where we share phytosanitary, customs and health controls, the fight against drug trafficking and border security,” he said.
The foreign minister said that in Costa Rica, a country of 5.1 million inhabitants, between 750,000 and 1 million Nicaraguans live.