The Turrialba volcano last week
The Turrialba volcano last week

QCOSTARICA – The Oct. 30 awakening of Turrialba Volcano is not the only thing that is under pressure and is ready to erupt.

A young vulcanologist, Gino Gonzalez. 27, is resentful that his boss, University of Costa Rica’s geology department Rolando Mora, named only six scientists qualified to talk to the press.

Gonzalez is not one of them and as the volcano quiets down, it is Gonzalez who is spewing and bubbling hot. He calls the move “labor harassment” and has filed a complaint against Mora. That is not the only issue — the university has prohibited employees to use official UCR vehicles in their research.

This is not the first time Mora and his student have locked horns, which was when undergraduate Gonzalez presented his graduate thesis on the lagoon in Poas Volcano. He claims that Mora has a grudge against him and blocked approval of the thesis which cost him money and two years of time, including a trip to Ecuador.

UCR responds that Gonzalez has a bachelor’s degree in geology not vulcanology so he should not be speaking about volcanos. The young scientist began his career in volcanos in 2008 and did research in geology in 2010, graduating in 2013. The university even sent him to Japan.

He actually taught last year but in September UCR did not renew his contract, a move Gonzalez calls “treacherous– “de mala fe” — and resentfully notes that they placed other candidate in his job. But Mora counters with the claim that the firing is according to regulations. Mora also defends naming six spokesmen for the press as simply to guarantee accuracy in their reports.

The UCR employee’s union plans to take the matter up.


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