Chancellor Epsy Campbell said that Costa Rica will maintain its “humanitarian attitude of welcome” to Venezuelans, understanding that the political situation in that country is “complex”.
The announcement came a day after the government of Carlos Alvarado said it does not recognize the legitimacy of the presidential elections that took place last Sunday in Venezuela, in which President Nicolás Maduro was re-elected for six more years in power.
Campbell said that Costa Rica has had a welcoming position for Venezuelans, although it still does not have information indicating if there is a strong increase in migratory flows.
“(…) Our attitude will be maintained, it is an open one …” said the chancellor.
Venezuelans usually enter Costa Rica with tourist visas and, when they are here, a good number request refuge. Not being a border country, they must travel by through other countries.
Venezuelans typically seek refuge in Costa Rica for lack of medicines in their home country. During 2016, more than 1,200 Venezuelans sought refuge in Costa Rica, citing lack of medication and not just political persecution, at a time when Venezuela suffered a severe shortage of food and medicine, apart from a deep-seated insecurity.
However, many faced problems in the process because refugee status is granted to whoever proves that their life is in danger in the country of origin and that the State does nothing to protect it.
As for Sunday’s elections, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs considers that the electoral process, in which 46% the population participated, “has been flawed since the beginning and did not meet the international standards of a pluralistic, democratic, transparent and free process”.
In addition to not recognizing the results, Epsy Campbell said that, in agreement with the Group of Lima, Costa Rica has joined a group of countries to analyze the crisis in Venezuela.
In that sense, the Alvarado government does not rule out the adoption of measures such as the blocking of funds for the Maduro regime, similar to the decision taken by the U.S. on Monday, but Campbell said that they want to be cautious about it until there are firm decisions.
“Costa Rica expresses its deep concern that election day did not have the participation of all political parties, or independent international observers, which weakens democracy,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Sunday.
According to the consular registry, updated to January of this year, there are 902 Costa Ricans residing in Venezuela.