Nicaragua’s president,Daniel Ortega, in a live broadcast Monday evening accused Costa Rica of stopping the transit of goods through the Central American Isthmus for the measures implemented to prevent foreign truckers, infected with coronavirus, from spreading the disease in the country.
In a not his usual self and in a room only accompanied by his wife and vice president, Rosario Murillo, the president of the National Legislature and his Minister of Health, whose name his had difficulty remembering, Ortega blamed the Costa Rican government for imposins unilateral decisions that, he said, will affect the transit of products and the economy of the entire region.
“It is not Nicaragua that has closed the borders for transportation; Costa Rica has closed it with the measures it has been taking,” said Ortega.
The Nicaraguan president readout numbers that included some 1,000 truckers from Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and Nicaragua, lining from the Peñas Blancas border to Rivas.
“It’s not only Nicaraguan truckers, but from all over the region”, said Ortega.
The week before last, Costa Rica made it mandatory that truckers entering Costa Rica to be tested and must wait the two to three days to confirm results before being allowed to enter the country.
On Friday last, a week later, the Minister of Security, Micheal Soto, announced that to reduce and eliminate the long line of trucks on the Nicaragua side of the border, truckers would travel from the Nicaragua border to Panama and back in a police escorted convoy.
Several convoys were carried out Friday and Saturday, but did not appease the truckers.
On Sunday, Costa Rica announced an intermodal type of transfer, drivers would no longer have to enter Costa Rica, but must unhook the trailer in the primary customs area, so that a new driver can hook the look and take it to its destination in Costa Rica.
Meanwhile, trucks passing through Costa Rica bound for Panama or Nicaragua must continue to travel in convoy.
As Ortega explained, most of the trucks are independently owned and operated and they, the truckers, don’t trust the cargo will be delivered in full or “used to transport drugs”.
Costa Rica’s decision to the strict health measures are a combination of the relaxed attitude of the Ortega government in managing the pandemic, or lack of, and that 25 truckers at the Nicaragua border tested positive, 8 more at the Panama border.
In Nicaragua, daily the number of doctors, civil organizations and the press complaining about the uncontrolled situation in their country and about the concealment of real data.
In its last official report last week, Nicaragua reported only 25 infections and 8 deaths. According to Ortega, a new report is expected today, Tuesday, May 19.
However, unofficially, the number of infections are estimated at 1,600 and more than 200 deaths. Real numbers are difficult to come by as the Ministry of Health is the only authorized to test.
The majority of the cause of deaths are officially logged as “pneumonia” or “respiratory disease”, and the bodies are quickly buried. One tell is the report of casket makers tripling their production in the past week or so, based on the increase of orders from funeral homes.
“We are all fighting this pandemic, with the greatest coordination. The important thing is that by fighting the pandemic you cannot create a crisis, and a pandemic that would have a humanitarian impact and that would affect the Central American population.
“We have to see how fluidity is regulated and allowed, without this weakening the measures that each country has to combat the pandemic; it is the call we make to the government of Costa Rica,” said Ortega.
The Nicaraguan president’s last words were that it is in Costa Rica’s hands to find a solution to the flow of goods.