QCOSTARICA – Costa Rica President Carlos Alvarado acted in bad faith and committed espionage, by forming the Unidad Presidencial de Análisis de Datos (UPAD) – Presidential Data Analysis Unit
That was the main conclusion reached by opposition legislators, after a marathon appearance by the president yesterday in the investigative commission, where Alvarado accepted that he did not read the decree that created the UPAD.
Likewise, he acknowledged that an article included in the document was an error, since it allowed access to confidential data of Costa Ricans.
However, he clarified every time that he could that his actions did not have the ultimate purpose of benefiting a third party, misusing public funds, or using the data for electoral purposes. At all times, he categorically denied any charges of political espionage.
“No one who is doing an illegal act is going to announce it through La Gaceta (…). When I signed the decree, I did so fully convinced of its legality and that I had completed the necessary procedures. Looking into your eyes, I can assure you that not a single one of the 5 million Costa Ricans has been spied on or has seen their privacy compromised with the projects that were developed,” added the president.
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For legislators, the president tried to create confusion during the appearance and was not clear in many of the questions that were asked for several hours.
“My first position is that the president, as the highest political authority on this issue, acted in bad faith, it is because he took that sensitive data without legal authorization, instead of having done what was appropriate, which was to entrust the INEC with something,” said Pedro Muñoz, opposition legislator of the Partido Unidad Social Cristiana (PUSC).
The UPAD was a data analysis unit created by the President, with the aim of helping him make decisions, however, it was dismantled when it became known that the organization handled confidential data of Costa Ricans.
For this, the prosecution raided the Casa Presidencial (Government House) and the president himself is investigated for abuse of power and prevarication, among other crimes.
As part of the impeachment trial – as Muñoz called it yesterday – the legislators determined that the UPAD was created in silence by the Alvarado government and operated for a year and a half without publicly revealing its existence.
“President Alvarado says that he signed the UPAD decree because his Minister of the Presidency at the time, Víctor Morales, had already signed his signature. The former minister said at his appearance that he signed it because they took him away. So who is responsible for this decision?” said Ana Lucía Delgado, of Partido Liberacion Nacional (PLN).
Jonathan Prendas of the Nueva Republica said the president was evasive and insisted on not remembering data. Either he wanted us to hesitate, in truth at Casa Presidencial everyone does whatever they want.
“We are extremely concerned about the responses that the president gave to the spying by the government of Costa Ricans. We are alarmed that the president has said that no one was asked for information, but we put eight gangs in front of him where details of each Costa Rican were asked without having leaked the information,” said Prendas.