“We met on a social network”: the story of a Nicaraguan who married a Costa Rican

It is noon on Sunday and in the house of the binational couple —made up of the Nicaraguan Víctor Manuel Pérez and the Costa Rican Francisco Agüero— the memories of the way they met are fresh.

The link that united them was a social network where they began conversations without interest in formalizing a stable relationship, but in order to be able to share time and communication.

Pérez, 29, who left Nicaragua in August 2018, just four months after the demonstrations against President Daniel Ortega began, never thought that he would later marry Agüero.

In June, the month of gay pride is celebrated in Latin America, including in Costa Rica and Nicaragua, but the marriage will be celebrated in a march that takes place in San José. In Managua, the LGBTQI+ collective points out that no type of demonstration has been allowed since 2018.

And it is that Nicaragua same-sex marriage is a taboo subject that has not even been put on the table. Unlike, in Costa Rica, the approval of same-sex marriage is legal since May 26, 2020.

Pérez and Agüero finally became a couple after multiple outings and some time later they began to live together.

When equal marriage was approved in Costa Rica, both remember that “there were many activities, parties in the country.” “We stayed talking about that on that historic day,” they say.

  • Could it be that one day we can get married? – Nicaraguan Víctor Manuel asked his partner.
  • And I told him no,” Agüero recalled.

According to the Costa Rican “he did not see it necessary” to take that step in order to demonstrate the love he had for his partner. “I didn’t need him in my life,” he mentioned, but his attitude changed later.

Víctor Manuel Pérez with his husband Francisco Agüero at their home in Costa Rica.  Photo Houston Castillo, VOA

Víctor Manuel Pérez with his husband Francisco Agüero at their home in Costa Rica. Photo Houston Castillo, VOA

The Nicaraguan asked Víctor to marry him just when they completed two years of relationship. “It was on my birthday,” he relates excitedly.

The union of the Nicaraguan LGBTQI+ community in Costa Rica has found an opportunity to get married in the neighboring country, because it is the only nation in Central America where that right has been approved.

Despite the challenges faced by the groups, they recognize President Biden’s efforts to promote the rights of the LGBTQI+ community in the hemisphere.

“The call of countries like Canada and the United States to the rest of Latin America goes hand in hand with a call for progress and full recognition of rights,” the couple said in an interview with the VOA

Is Nicaragua still not ready for the topic?

In Nicaragua, for example, Víctor Manuel points out that she could not even walk hand in hand with her husband for fear of discrimination “or for fear that they might do something to us on the street.”

In fact, the Nicaraguan comments that as a result of the decision to marry, his life and his circle have changed. “I have many friends who even stopped talking to me, even knowing that I was openly gay,” he says.

His partner, Francisco Agüero, says that it may not yet be time to address these issues in Nicaragua “where there is a suppression of other rights.”

“First let’s talk about other suppressed freedoms and rights,” says the Costa Rican.

In Nicaragua, although same-sex marriage has not been approved, since Ortega’s arrival in power an article that criminalized “sodomy” was eliminated, which is what they call relationships between people of the same sex.

But Agüero emphasizes that despite this, he was able to take the step with his Nicaraguan partner.

“At our wedding we had many guests, including Nicaraguans and Costa Ricans. It was beautiful, they even gave us a holy card of the child God to bless us”, Agüero stressed.

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