Gun Attack on Nicaraguan Exile Joao Maldonado in Costa Rica

Joao Maldonado and his wife were seriously injured. They had been under protection of authorities due to threats and in the process of migrating to US

Joao Maldonado

The vehicle in which Joao Maldonado and his wife, Nadia Robleto, were traveling. Photo: Courtesy

11 de enero 2024


Nicaraguan opposition members Joao Maldonado, originally from Carazo, and his partner, Nadia Robleto, were intercepted by motorcyclists and shot on the morning of January 10th in San Pedro de Montes de Oca, San Jose, Costa Rica.

The victims were attended to by paramedics and urgently taken to Calderón Guardia Hospital. Both Nicaraguans are in serious condition. They are both under the protection of the Judicial Investigation Agency (OIJ), according to friends of the couple as reported by CONFIDENCIAL.

This is the second attack suffered by Maldonado in Costa Rica. The first one occurred in September 2021 in Bello Horizonte, Escazú, a canton of the capital, when two individuals on a motorcycle shot at him four times.

In this new attack, the Costa Rican newspaper La Nación reports that two hitmen, also on a motorcycle, intercepted the couple’s car and fired several times before fleeing the scene.

OIJ has not yet provided information

In September 2023, La Nacion obtained statements from Maldonado, who, referring to the first attack, claimed to have received death threats from a supposed cell linked to the regime of Daniel Ortega operating in Costa Rica.

So far, the OIJ has not provided additional information about the motives or responsible parties for the first attack. The agency only confirmed to La Nación that the case is “under investigation”.

Previously, on February 14, 2023, Roy Ruiz, one of the investigators assigned by the OIJ for the case, stated in a press conference that, until that moment, they had “not been able to determine the exact motive of the incident itself,” despite various efforts.

CONFIDENCIAL contacted the OIJ today regarding this second attack, but at the time of publishing this note, no response has been received.

Maldonado and family in the process of relocation

After the 2021 attack, Maldonado was under the protection of the Costa Rican state to shield him from new death threats. Last August, the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) moved Maldonado and his family to a safe house outside San Jose, according to La Nación.

According to sources close to Maldonado, both he and his family were in the process of leaving Costa Rica at the end of this month heading to the United States, after being selected by the Safe Mobility program coordinated by the UN Refugee Agency (ACNUR) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

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.


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Katherine Estrada Téllez

Periodista nicaragüense exiliada en Costa Rica. Se ha especializado en la cobertura de temas de migración, género y salud sexual y reproductiva. También ha trabajado en Marketing y Ventas y ha sido Ejecutiva de Cuentas.