Thirteen Costa Ricans have been arrested and one was killed in Nicaragua since the April 18, 2018 protests broke out over pension reforms that became a demand for the departure of President Daniel Ortega and his wife and vice-president Rosario Murillo.
The Consul General of Costa Rica in Managua, Óscar Camacho, explained that these are people who were linked to the demonstrations in opposition to the Ortega regime, although they were not necessarily direct participants.
Camacho added that all are rooted in the neighboring country.
The diplomat further explained that ten of the detainees have dual nationality (Costa Rican and Nicaraguan), while the other three have only Costa Rican nationality.
“They are Costa Ricans who in one way or another have been involved in the crisis situation and who have been detained by the police,” Camacho said.
Two of the detained Costa Ricans still remain in prison.
One of them is journalist Lucía Piñeda, who is the director of news at the cable television channel 100% Noticias.
The Tica, along with the station owner Miguel Mora, on December 21, was arrested and later charged with “incitement to hatred and terrorist acts”.
So far, the Consul has not had the endorsement (permission) from the Nicaraguan government to visit her in jail, believed to be confined in the infamous El Chipote prison.
The other detainee is a young man who preferred to follow the judicial process without the accompaniment of the Costa Rican Consulate, according to Camacho.
Two other Costa Ricans, Eduardo Mora Arana, 34, and Eduardo Mora Báez, 64 years old (father and son) with dual nationality, are under house arrest on Nicaraguan soil. The son man was arrested and transferred to El Chipote. The father, upon hearing of what had happened, went to the jail look for him and took him home, after which he was arrested also.
Without giving details, Camacho said that one of the arrests occurred when a Costa Rican truck driver, in July 2018, decided to make a stop to give water to protesters who participated in a tranque (blockade). The Consul said the truck driver was released.
The report by Consul also includes the murder of environmentalist Vicente Rappaccioli Navas, 60, who died with a bullet to the head. The incident occurred on June 26, 2018. Rappacioli’s family had to flee from Nicaragua in 1979. Rappacioli’s father supported the Sandinista revolution that took Anastasio Somoza out of power, but after the triumph, he and his family were persecuted by the incoming Sandinista government.
Another case is the arrest of the Tica, Ana Quirós, a human rights defender who lived in the neighboring country for many years until she was arrested and taken to the Peñas Blancas border with Costa Rica by Nicaragua’s immigration on November 26. The Consul said Quirós was also wounded in the head, back, and hands in one of the first protests against the Ortega regime during the month of April, in Managua.
Of the 13 cases, three remain under investigation and one (Piñeda) is awaiting trial.
The demonstrations in Nicaragua led to harsh repression and a wave of violence that, according to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), has left 325 dead and more than 400 detained.
Other human rights groups, now expelled from Nicaragua by the Ortega regime, put the number of dead to more than 500 and the injured in the thousands.