In Los Chiles, in the northern part of Costa Rica bordering with Nicaragua, parents are pulling children from school in fear that at any moment a Nicaraguan Sandinista military patrol will intercept their children and take them away to force them into military service.

07/26/2018 La Trocha, Los Chiles. The majority of school children in La Trocha school are Nicaraguan. Photo: Rafael Pacheco / La Nacion

The border school of La Trocha de Los Chiles, on Costa Rican soil,  in the past few weeks saw 12 of the 164 students enrolled there pulled, after their families “escaped” with them to the Central Valley (San Jose) and other regions of Costa Rica, far from the border.

The information was confirmed by the school’s principal, Amalia González.

According to Gonzalez, many of the children at the school travel from Monday to Friday from towns such as Santa Rosa and La Ñoca, department of Río San Juan, in Nicaragua, to Costa Rican soil, to receive classes at La Trocha de Los Chiles school.

In La Trocha school 90% of the 164 enrolled were born and live north of the Costa Rica border and all year round cross the dividing line.

There, these children from very poor homes get a lunch every day they are in school.
“We give them free lunch every time they come from very poor homes. It is not good what is happening because it undermines the comprehensive education of young children who were making a great effort to study the Tico (Costa Rican) side,” said Gonzalez.

Gonzalez added that the situation began to present itself in June when the repression of the government of Daniel Ortega worsened. Gonzalez, principal of the school for the last 18 years, said that many parents made the decision to take their children out taking advantage of the mid-year vacation (first two weeks in July).

Fear

The same children told their teachers that for much of the day their parents spend hiding in the mountains to avoid suffering repression.

According to González, the minors say that by hiding, their parents cannot work in peace.

Peasants from Santa Rosa told La Nación on Friday that if the military-political conflict gets complicated, many of their relatives will suffer consequences.

José Dolores Guzmán, 57, was only a teenager when he was persecuted when the contra guerrillas confronted Sandinismo in the 1970s.

“They were months of horror, of much violence, of massacred families and others that were divided by politics. I do not want that tragedy to repeat itself. I hope the violence ends soon,” the small farmer added.

Guzmán said that the decision of many of his countrymen is fully justified. “It’s crazy that Ortega is thinking of enlisting innocent children in the Army to use as cannon fodder,” he added.

Source (in Spanish): La Nacion