The government of Daniel Ortega has dismissed Harold Rivas Reyes from his position as Nicaragua’s Ambassador to Costa Rica. The decision was communicated to the Costa Rican Foreign Ministry last Saturday and effectived immediately.
The “note” by Nicaragua’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not mention the reason for the decision.
“The Government of Reconciliation and National Unity, headed by comrade-commander José Daniel Ortega Saavedra, President of the Republic of Nicaragua, has decided to terminate the functions of Comrade Harold Fernando Rivas Reyes, as extraordinary and plenipotentiary ambassador of the Republic of Nicaragua before the government of the Republic of Costa Rica,” the note said.
Rivas has been at the head of the Nicaraguan embassy in San Jose for the last 11 years, appointed in February 2007.
According to the Costa Rican Foreign Ministry, the Ortega government indicated “it will soon be sending communications for the procedure of approval of a new ambassador.” It did not name names.
Harold Rivas is the brother of the Supreme Electoral Council of Nicaragua (CSE), Roberto Rivas Reyes, who has a record of assets in Costa Rica and is investigated by the Attorney General’s Office for an apparent crime of legitimizing capital (money laundering).
Harold Rivas’ sudden dismissal may be tied to the December 21, 2017, sanctions by the United States Treasury Department of Roberto Rivas, which accused him of committing electoral fraud and of amassing considerable wealth in his country, also tied to reports by Costa Rica’s Instituto Costarricense Sobre Drogas (ICD) – Institute on Drugs – of alleged criminal acts committed by Roberto Rivas in Costa Rica.
Roberto Rivas was also included in a list of people accused of human rights violations and corrupt acts by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), the financial intelligence and enforcement agency of the U.S. Treasury Department.
According to the press release issued by OFAC a little over a month ago, the assets of the Nicaraguan magistrate in the United States were blocked.
The U.S. Treasury Department specified the reasons why it sanctioned Roberto Rivas:
“As president of the Supreme Electoral Council of Nicaragua, with a government salary reported at $ 60,000 per year, Roberto José Rivas Reyes has been accused in the press of accumulating a considerable personal wealth, which includes multiple properties, private planes, luxury vehicles and a yacht Rivas has been described by a comptroller general of Nicaragua as “above the law”, and investigations into his corruption have been blocked by Nicaraguan government officials, and he has also perpetrated electoral fraud that undermines the electoral institutions of Nicaragua.”
In Costa Rica, Roberto Rivas is president of the company Chibilu del Oeste S.A. which owns “a plot of land with a house under construction” in the Villa Real, in Santa Ana.
According to the Public Registry, the property measures 1,514 square meters and has a fiscal value of ¢111 million colones (about US$193,000).
In 2009, La Nacion reported that the same corporation registered four other houses in the same development, where three of Roberto Rivas’ children resided and two of the Nicaraguan president, Daniel Ortega.
The four residences measured 2,441 square meters (26,000 square feet).
That same year, in addition, the Costa Rican government questioned Roberto Rivas for having in San Jose two luxury vehicles that were exempt from taxes, with a diplomatic license plate of the Nicaraguan Embassy, even though he was not a member of the diplomatic delegation.
In addition, the senior Nicaraguan official is a frequent visitor to Costa Rica, in the last two years he has recorded some 60 entries/departures from the country.