Sunday 2 April 2023

Bukele advisers tried to leave Costa Rica with false covid-19 tests

They are two Costa Ricans who work with the Salvadoran government; both received a fine

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01 April 2023 - At The Banks - BCCR

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QCOSTARICA – Two Costa Ricans who advise the government of Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele were arrested this Tuesday at the Juan Santamaría (San Jose) airport for providing false evidence of covid-19 to justify their departure from the country to El Salvador.

Travelers continue to try to leave the country, through the San Jose airport, with false documents that show negative results of covid-19 tests.

The Air Surveillance Service, an entity attached to the Ministry of Public Security (MSP), confirmed the information.

Both consultants were presented to the Alajuela Fiscalía (Prosecutor’s Office), but were not “detained”, rather received a fine and were released.

Recurring problem

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On April 21, the College of Microbiologists and Clinical Chemists (CMQC) of Costa Rica warned of a large illegal market of false tests for covid-19 in the country.

“In many areas of the country, PCR and antigen samples are being taken illegally in commercial establishments such as pharmacies, doctors’ offices, hotels, rent a car, private ambulance personnel and people outside our profession,” Ana Lucía Aguilar Rivera, auxiliary prosecutor of the organization, denounced in a statement.

The MSP reported on March 5 that, in a period of two weeks, 47 travelers tried to leave the country, through the San Jose airport, with false documents that showed negative results of covid-19 tests.

All of them were detained for using a false document, sanctioned by the Penal Code with a prison term of one to six years.

At that time, the deputy prosecutor of Alajuela, Alejandro Araya, affirmed that in several of the cases quite crude evidence was detected.

For example, there were those who downloaded a template from an Internet page, and then tried to fill it with false information.

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One of the most recent cases was that of Miss Costa Rica 2018, Natalia Carvajal Sánchez, who presented a similar document, which led to her arrest for a few hours. She was released after reaching an agreement in flagrante delicto.

The model was given the opportunity to make a donation to a social welfare institution, which is the agreement reached by most people who try to leave the country if they present a false coronavirus test.

The value of official tests in laboratories are about US$85 for PCR and US$65 for antigen.

Bother the Juan Santamaría and Daniel Oduber airport in Liberia, have onsite testing for travelers.

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