As a distraction to the current situation in Nicaragua before the international stage, on Friday, the government of Daniel Ortega accused the Costa Rican government of “many dead” during the ongoing strike by public sector workers against the Plan Fiscal (tax reform) and incurring “massive human rights violations” during the protests.
The Nicaraguan ambassador to the Organization of American States (OAS), Luis Alvarado, made the accusation after the Costa Rican delegate, Rita Hernández, delivered a speech condemning the repression of Daniel Ortega’s regime in the face of the protests against him, resulting more than 325 deaths according to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (CIDH).
During the session in Washington, Costa Rica endorsed the report of the OAS mission in which it describes “a climate of fear and intimidation persisting in Nicaragua,” produced by the Ortega government against the civilian demonstrations that are opposed to his mandate. The report also pointed to a deterioration of human rights in Nicaragua.
In an extensive reply, the Nicaraguan envoy to the OAS accused Costa Rica and its Government of denouncing a cover-up of a supposed internal social situation that he painted as chaotic, full of poverty, misery, and intolerance.
The Nicaraguan official characterized the situation in Costa Rica as “institutionalized discrimination, machismo, and xenophobia” by the administration of Carlos Alvarado during the strike against the fiscal plan.
The Nicaraguan ambassador relied on alleged reports from international media that, he said, said that the Costa Rican government arrested 40 human rights defenders during the demonstrations against the tax reform and also said that the protests left “many dead.”
The complaint by Nicaragua comes after the comments by Albino Vargas, leader of one of the largest public sector unions in Costa Rica, the ANEP, that has led the strike that on Monday enters its 7th seek.
Vargas denounced repression of “military bias” and that his right to freedom of transit was violated.
On October 4, Vargas wrote on Twitter: “It seems that a violent eviction from the camp of patriots that was installed in front of the Legislative Assembly is approaching in the next hours of the night. The repression of military bias ordered by Alvarado and the PLN-PAC-PUSC troika is unimaginable for Democracy. But the world will know.”
Parece que se avecina en las próximas horas de la noche un desalojo violento del campamento de patriotas que fue instalado frente a la Asamblea. La represion de sesgo militar ordenada por Alvarado y la troika PLN-PAC-PUSC es inimaginable para la Democracia. Pero el mundo lo sabrá
— Albino Vargas (@AlbinoVargasB) October 5, 2018
On Friday October 19, the Nicaraguan ambassador read: “The police violently stormed peaceful protests until they managed to remove temporary roadblocks and access to public institutions in particular in the province of Limón, in Caldera and the southern border of that country, where a strong police repression was unleashed with the death of many (…). So far neither the American Commission of Human Rights nor the OAS has spoken out against these serious violations of the human rights of the Costa Rican population.”
— Jose Diaz (@jose_diazCR) October 5, 2018
Ortega’s voice at the OAS, in addition, affirmed that Carlos Alvarado and “the voices of the oligarchy” have censored the opponents to the tax reform, because this, in his opinion, “seeks to unload on the shoulders of the Costa Rican workers the effects of the mismanagement of elite groups in that country and the permanent theft by corrupt officials.”
“This explains why now the United Nations (UN) has placed Costa Rica as one of the most unequal nations in the world. Slums and poverty are growing throughout the country, the peasant economy is destroyed, pain is rampant everywhere and the agricultural and commercial monopolies have brutally torn apart the social fabric,” he told the Security Council.
He continued: “Important prominent politicians of that country have affirmed that the ‘entreguismo’ realized by diverse Costa Rican administrations has taken them to become a Yankee semi-colony (in reference to the United States), where the lumpen (sic) and the mafias that have placed under their service to some of the poorest, not to mention that more than one million people are engaged in informal activities and more than half of wage earners earn less than the minimum wage”.
The Nicaraguan ambassador also touched on the protests of August 18 in San Jose against the increase in migration of Nicaraguans fleeing to Costa Rica due to the socio-economic crisis in that country.
The Costa Rican ambassador to the OAS reacted with a warning to the Nicaraguan government that the “fallacies and attacks” will not make Costa Rica lower its voice to what happens in the streets of that nation, such as human rights violations.
“It is true that, in Costa Rica, we have had a strike movement, but the great difference is that, in Costa Rica, we have resolved it through dialogue and negotiation, not through repression and indiscriminate violence, which has caused more than 400 deaths in Nicaragua. Creating smoke screens will not serve the Nicaraguan government to shut us up. We will continue raising our voice in defense of a people that live one of the worst and bloodiest repressions,” said Rita Hernández.
Costa Rica was part of the majority of nations that endorsed the report of the UN Permanent Council on Nicaragua. Only Venezuela and St. Vincent and the Grenadines separated from the majority.