President Carlos Alvarado denied that he was hiding in an ambulance after the cabinet meeting held last Saturday, in the Casa de la Cultura de Limón, as it is wrongly shared on social networks.
The President and his cabinet were in the Caribbean city for the celebrations of the Día de la Cultura Afrodescendiente (Day of Afro-descendant Culture).
With a smile on his face and a brief statement, Alvarado denied the social network reports, that included he had been injured when the protests turned violent.
Jessica Rojas, a journalist for La Nacion, was one of the first to confirm that the Alvarado left the premises minutes before 10 pm, boarding his official vehicle.
“The president came out of one of the side doors of the building, got into one of the official cars waiting for him on the street and left without any problems,” said the journalist.
The false information was also denied by Casa Presidencial (Government House): “President Alvarado left the Governing Council in the vehicles that are usually used for him. Several media witnessed his departure from the premises normally,” said communication director Laura Valenciano.
The origin of disinformation
On Facebook, the false news began to circulate from a page identified as “Television and Radio RN”.
“Departure of Carlos Alvarado from Limón hidden in an ambulance according to extra official information,” the portal published at 9:30 pm on Saturday, along with a picture of the president.
At least eight other Facebook pages: “Movimiento Nacionalista Costarricense”, “Patricio Aclara”, “MNC Heredia”, “Liberales Costa Rica”, ” Chernóbil Progre”, “Costa Rica en Desarrollo” and “Eres un PAClovercillo” posted the montage of the alleged “escape of the president” and also reported by Univisión Noticias, the largest provider of Spanish-language content in the U.S.
Together, these Facebook pages have some 93,500 followers and are characterized by constantly publishing false news and xenophobic information that exalts hatred and nationalism, mainly against Nicaraguan migrants.
On Twitter, the leader of the Nacional de Empleados Públicos y Privados (ANEP), Albino Vargas, also published the montage on Sunday night, however, it was deleted and Vargas apologized for sharing it.
Acepto que me precipité y no verifiqué la realidad de una “noticia” sobre el periodista Jorge Ramos, de Univisión, y la salida intempestiva de Alvarado de su actividad en Limón. Le di credibilidad por la cercanía con la fuente que me la proporcionó. Asumo la responsabilidad.
— Albino Vargas (@AlbinoVargasB) September 2, 2019
“I accept that I rushed and did not verify the reality of the “news” from Jorge Ramos of Univisión. I take responsibility,” Vargas wrote from his Twitter account on Monday.