QCOSTARICA – The anti-vaccination group that was received this Friday by the Defensora de Los Habitantes (Ombudswoman), Carolina Crespo, later invaded the facilities of the Ministry of Health with disinformative posters, crowds and disorder.
The protesters cornered civilians who were there doing paperwork at the institution and used the stands at the main entrance of the center as an amphitheater to shout denialist allegations against the pandemic.
Roberto Castro Córdoba, head of the portfolio’s Epidemiology Unit, confirmed to the press that the protesters entered the Ministry square, located in San José, with “violence and insults” to attack health officials, especially for the minister of Health, Daniel Salas.
“They yelled ‘assassins’ at us and used quite disgusting banners with photos of the minister and the president, which for us violates articles 311 and 316 of the Penal Code, that is, one cannot offend public officials who are carrying out their duties. For this reason, the internal security acted preventively, but many of the people who were doing paperwork had to stay on the inside and unfortunately others had to stay cornered outside,” said the epidemiologist.
Castro indicated that the demonstration became so violent that the leaders of the movement themselves had to use loudspeakers to ask the crowd to calm down.
“We believe that it is strange that this type of demonstration takes place like this with so much aggressiveness towards people that we are only fulfilling our duty. The organizers lost control of the people and did not stay in the street, but went onto to the Ministry property, invaded the front,” said the official.
The head of the Epidemiology Unit, who has worked at the Ministry of Health for the last 36 years, said he had never seen a manifestation of this caliber.
“What the minister has done is fulfill his duty and neither he nor any of the officials here have to be threatened and insulted in that way. It seems to me that an offense of this type is not acceptable, because it is against the figure of the minister and the president, not of the people who occupy the position,”, he pointed out.
He described as very regrettable that an official like Catalina Crespo tries to “negotiate” with these groups because, according to him, health is not negotiated, because it is a right.
“As the Constitutional Court has said, there is no right not to be vaccinated, what is enshrined in the Political Constitution is the right to health and as a result the Ministry has acted in line with that. The Government has made an economic and diplomatic effort to acquire vaccines for all people and that is wonderful,” said Castro.
Among the posters used by the anti-vaccines were several with conspiracy theories, fake news and mockery of health authorities. There was even one with images of Daniel Salas and Carlos Alvarado with two weapons in their hands and next to the phrase “well paid killers.”
The Fuerza Publica (Nation Police) had to intervene to calm the people, who withdrew after an hour.
Catalina Crespo listened to absurd arguments from a group of anti-vaccines
Prior to the invasion of the Ministry of Health, the representatives of the anti-vaccine group met with the Defensora de Los Habitantes, who sat for almost two hours, listening to absurd arguments in opposition to the mandatory vaccination of public officials.
Crespo, who had summoned President Carlos Alvarado to the meeting, heard that the vaccine against covid-19 is made with fetuses from abortions, which will sterilize both men and women and that it is false that children can die from the virus.
After the president refused to attend the convocation, Crespo went out to meet the protesters on the public road, in Barrio México, San José, and later met with representatives of the group calling themselves “Movement for Health and Freedom”, which opposes being classified as anti-vaxxers and requests the term “prociencia”.
One of the representatives took the microphone to say: “If a monster is born, we take that baby, we fillet it (…). These drugs, these vaccines are made with cell lines from aborted babies, that is not false, it is from Science magazine.”
He added that this happens here because abortion is legal, even though these vaccines are not produced in Costa Rica and abortion has not been legalized.
The Reuters news agency and the Spanish projects Newtral.es and Maldita.es have already reported on false news about the use of fetuses in vaccines,
Likewise, Roberto Arroba, coordinator of Immunizations of the Costa Rican Ministry of Health, warned since 2020 that it is false information.