The Costa Rican Congress approved a motion on Tuesday, January 16, condemning last week’s gunshot attack on Nicaraguan exile Joao Maldonado and his wife Nadia Robleto. The Congress demanded authorities clarify the case and determine if criminal groups associated with the Nicaraguan government operate in the country.
In a vote of 35 in favor from various parties and eight against from the ruling Progressive Social Democratic Party faction, the legislature approved the motion that “condemns the cowardly attack perpetrated against Joao Maldonado, political activist and Nicaraguan exile, and his wife Nadia Robleto.”
The motion also requests the competent authorities to “act diligently to clarify the cause of this attack and determine if criminal groups, organized by the Nicaraguan dictatorship, operate in our country, dedicated to persecuting and attacking Nicaraguan refugees on Costa Rican territory.”
Maldonado and Robleto, who are hospitalized, were shot at by two motorcyclists last Wednesday while driving their car in the Montes de Oca locality, east of San Jose, Costa Rica. Maldonado had already been shot in 2021 in Escazu, west of San Jose.
Costa Rica Must “Review Protection Protocols”
The text also mentions statements made by Costa Rican President Rodrigo Chaves in an interview with EFE, where he mentioned maintaining a cordial relationship with Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega despite not having an ambassador in Managua, and that they even consult on certain issues. The deputies demanded the government “review protection protocols for people in the country under refugee status for political reasons.”
Additionally, the legislators demanded that the Costa Rican government express “clear condemnation and strong censure of the Ortega-Murillo regime for violating the most basic political rights in its repression of Nicaraguan society, holding political prisoners, persecuting the independent press, confiscating citizens’ private property, and expelling and stripping opponents of their nationality.”
Liberal Progressive Party deputy Johana Obando, promoter of the motion, stated in the plenary that Nicaragua is “ruled by a family that has turned Nicaragua into a wasteland.” She further noted that the Costa Rican government “should not be friends with those who are massacring a people” and have committed “crimes against humanity.”
“This refuge here is being pursued by the Ortega-Murillo dictatorship, which has come to place groups to continue killing its people in this country,” Obando said, recalling that since the outbreak of protests against Ortega in Nicaragua (in 2018), over 200,000 Nicaraguans fled repression to Costa Rica.
Defending President Chaves
PPSD deputy Daniel Vargas claimed that the motion contains false premises, saying the government will always condemn any attack or terrorist act, and judicial authorities have not established any link between the attack on Maldonado and the Nicaraguan government.
“President Chaves has questioned the human rights situation (in Nicaragua) and has tried to keep channels open for the relationship between the two countries. The relationship with Nicaragua is very broad, and the president has maintained open communication channels,” Vargas pointed out.
This article was published in Spanish in Confidencial and translated by Havana Times. To get the most relevant news from our English coverage delivered straight to your inbox, subscribe to The Dispatch.