Thursday, 1 October 2020

Costa Rica’s New Chancellor Will Have A “More Active Role” In The Crisis in Nicaragua and Venezuela

President Carlos Alvarado said on Tuesday his government will give greater impetus to the approach of the crisis in Nicaragua and Venezuela, as part of a new phase in the foreign policy of the country.

President Carlos Alvarado (left) formalized Manuel Ventura as the new Foreign Minister. Photo: Albert Marín.

The president made the statement was made during the official presentation of the new Foreign Minister, Manuel Ventura Robles, who takes over the position from Epsy Campbell who resigned last month over questioned appointments,.

In the Tuesday ceremony, President Carlos also presented the new minister of Communication, Nancy Martin and the new president of the Instituto Mixto de Ayuda Social (IMAS).

- paying the bills -

Alvarado justified that, during the first eight months, his government was focused on overcoming domestic issues such as reducing spending and approving the tax reform.

But, he added, that in foreign policy Costa Rica will now prioritize the regional agenda, mainly due to the crisis in Nicaragua and Venezuela.

“We know that the regional situation is taking on a nuance that requires much more participation from the chancellor, the vice chancellor and even from me. We will be taking a more active role both for the issues mainly in Nicaragua and the positions in relation in Venezuela,” said Alvarado.

However, neither Alvarado nor Ventura detailed concrete actions that Costa Rica has reiterated in different forums, in favor of democracy and against the violation of human rights by the regimes of those two countries.

Alvarado defended the political decision of only supporting, and not sign, the denunciation against Nicolás Maduro before the International Criminal Court (ICC), as seven other States have done.

On Nicaragua

- paying the bills -

Responding to questions related to the Nicaraguan crisis, Ventura ruled out any possibility of the country launching a complaint against Daniel Ortega before the International Criminal Court, as have seven other states against Maduro.

“Nicaragua has neither signed nor ratified the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. It is not a state party,” said the foreign minister, explaining that for Daniel Ortega to be accused in the International Criminal Court, Nicaragua must be a subscriber of that international treaty.

On Venezuela

With respect to the agreement of the Lima Group last Friday, to prevent the entry into their territories and limit financial actions of officials questioned by the Maduro regime in Venezuela, Alvarado was evasive.

“(The agreement of the Lima Group) is not a matter that we must assume in a hurry,” said the president.

On Thursday and Friday, the Organization of American States (OAS) will hold extraordinary sessions to individually address the crisis in Venezuela and Nicaragua.

However, the Alvarado government did not advance concrete actions that Costa Rica will propose in these meetings in favor of resolving the crises in these two countries.

The new chancellor

- paying the bills --

Manuel Ventura, 70, who has worked for the last 37 years at the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR), 12 of them as a judge, explained that along with the crisis in these two countries, other priorities on his agenda will be migration and foreign trade issues.

He agreed with Alvarado that as a democratic country, Costa Rica cannot renounce multilateralism or the promotion of representative democracy and respect for human rights.

The new chancellor has also been a critic of the decision of Costa Rica not to sign the complaint against Maduro.

He was part of a panel of three experts appointed by the OAS who between September 2017 and May 2018 investigated actions of the Venezuelan government and concluded that “crimes against humanity were committed there” and that they were able to verify such in at least seven cases.

They also discovered cases of torture, “which strongly impacted me,” Ventura said in an article published in La Nación on November 4, 2018. There, he expressed his “vergüenza” (shame) when he saw that Costa Rica did not sign the complaint against Maduro, despite the fact that “he was expected to lead the initiative”.

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