Taking a page out what appears to be the current U.S. President’s attack on the media, in particular, CNN, Costa Rica’s presidential candidate, Juan Diego Castro, launched a scathing and violent attack against La Nacion on Monday.

Castro, a former Minister of Justice, launched his unexpected presidential campaign presenting himself as a political outsider and with a strong anti-establishment and anti-corruption.

The presidential candidate for the PIN, used the terms like psychopaths, criminals, imbeciles, torturers and diabolical to describe the newspaper’s news editorial staff.

“The psychopaths of the newspaper La Nación, that damn newspaper”, was Castro’s description of the newspaper. “You do not have a political writing table, what you have is an asylum (…) You are reaching unimaginable extremes of madness,” he said.

Also, he spoke of “the five hitmen that La Nación has”, without specifying to whom he referred to. He only said he believed that those “five hitmen” were watching his speech, which was broadcast live on Facebook on Monday night.

In his speech, Juan Diego Castro declared that La Nación will stop circulating before he reaches a year in a possible government, in case he wins the elections.

“This diabolic, who has used my photo on the first page to ask you, Costa Ricans, to buy that printed edition, will not last a year of my government, that printed newspaper will stop circulating,” he said.

“They are crazy. Do they think that this country relies on that newspaper? They are begging people to buy that printed lampoon. They will soon disappear, but not because I close it, not because I do something, simply because it has been so poisonous that they will end up poisoning themselves,” he added.

The candidate’s violent attack on the newspaper garnered criticism from the College of Journalists. It’s president, Allan Trigueros, saying “this institution is going to be a defender of the right to information, the opinion and the right of the media to carry out in an ethical and moral manner all approaches in search of the truth”.

Ignacio Santos, director de Telenoticias, an influential voice in the country, said that he does not see any problem in which journalistic work is questioned with arguments because it is something that happens every day to promote an enlightening and useful discussion on topics of public interest,”however, terms such as psychopaths, criminals, imbeciles, torturers, diabolicals and damn newspaper, exceed the limits of the intense discussion”.

The regional press also criticised Castro’s attack, namely the Grupo de Diario de América (GDA) and El Salvador’s La Prensa Gráfica.

Ernesto Cortés, the editor in chief of the Colombian daily, El Tiempo, maintained that nothing justifies the verbal violence against media and journalists. However, he considered that “this practice seems to have become the favorite weapon of those who do not accept the scrutiny of their public life or the impact of their decisions.”

In the same speech, Castro also referred to the female magistrates of the Supreme court who, on Monday afternoon, rejected what was said by Juan Diego Castro on January 5, in another transmission on Facebook, in which he said that former co-workers of his faculty told him that, about 20 years ago, they had to give oral sex to a president of the Judicial Power in order to be promoted.

Castro launched his unexpected presidential campaign presenting himself as a political outsider and with a strong anti-establishment and anti-corruption, promising to “rule by decree” and with a very loud “hard hand” rhetoric (uncommon in Costa Rican politics as the country is famous for its political centrism).

Castro has been compared with figures like Donald Trump and Rodrigo Duterte, and accused of right-wing populism and far-right positions.

In the latest poll, published on the Q, Castro narrowly lags behind the leading candidate, PLN candidate Antonio Alvarez Desanti, who is favored to win the popular vote on February 4.

In Costa Rica, voters directly cast their ballot for the candidate of choice, with the candidate obtaining the highest number of votes is declared a winner.

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