Migration from Venezuela and Nicaragua strains Costa Rica’s systems: Foreign Minister

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Arnoldo André TinocoCosta Rica’s foreign minister, warned that migration from countries like Nicaragua and Venezuela strains systems, so his country has asked for support from the international community.

In an interview for Voice of America, the Minister explained that two different groups of migrants arrive in Costa Rica with different characteristics. On the one hand, more than 160,000 people are entering through the southern border with Panama, in very vulnerable conditions, with the intention of continuing on their way to the United States. While other migrants arrive in the country to stay.

“We talk about the fact that in recent years we have some 200,000 refugee applications in progress, with little administrative capacity to process them. There is a waiting period of more than eight years from the time the application is filed for the examination of the file,” Tinoco said.

He explained that these migrants sometimes receive temporary work permits. 85% of these people come from Nicaragua and the other percentage is divided between Venezuelans, Colombians, Haitians, and also Cubans

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“The question exceeds the limits of the reasonable, it exhausts the systems. The country must invest large sums in the education, social security, integration and security of these populations. And for this we turn to the international community, appealing for non-reimbursable financial support to solve this problem, because we consider it unfair that the country should go into more debt to pay interest in order to solve a problem that is not caused or originated in Costa Rica,” he added.

Tinoco said it has created a short, medium and long term plan. “We already have a roundtable with the US authorities who have expressed interest in helping us solve this challenge and we have been working on it for a few months,” he said.

He pointed out that during the Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles, held in the middle of the year, they signed the Los Angeles Declaration on Migration Issues, in which they agreed to launch a complementary temporary residence program. However, this is conditional on obtaining international financial support.

violation of human rights

The Costa Rican Foreign Minister said his country joined in expressing its grave concern over the systematic violation of several human rights in Nicaragua. “Among them stand out serious problems concerning political prisoners, where there are more than 180 prisoners of this nature, often prevented even from receiving visits for more than a year and, it seems, in very bad conditions, and there is serious concern there,” he said.

“The other is the suppression of freedom of expression and of the press, because you can no longer operate from Nicaragua. Virtually all Nicaraguan media operates from Costa Rica,” he added.

Tinoco said that in addition to this, the Nicaraguan government’s attack on non-governmental organizations, as well as the presence of the Russian army in this country are other serious problems.

Added to this is the cancellation of the legal status of more than 1,200 non-governmental organizations, NGOs, whose ability to act has been cut off. Many of them have also moved to operate from Costa Rica.

“This is where Costa Rica raises its voice to draw attention, both within the OAS and now in the UN, to what is happening there, because it directly affects the population” , did he declare.

Regarding Venezuela, he assured that there is an equally tragic situation. “We have more than 6 million people who have emigrated from Venezuela, more than the number of any armed conflict. They have been located in neighboring countries: Ecuador has many, Colombia has as many, Peru as well, and as many are migrating north,” he said.

“Costa Rica does not have an embassy or consular relations in Caracas, nor vice versa. This represents a great challenge for Venezuelans on our soil and Costa Ricans on Nicaraguan (Venezuelan) soil. This represents a great challenge for Venezuelans on our soil and Costa Ricans on Nicaraguan (Venezuelan) soil. It’s an equally difficult situation,” he added.

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