(QCOSTARICA) It was at 2:00 pm Saturday when Nicaraguan authorities lifted the blockade to the passage at Peñas Blancas northern border, after denying for some 18 hours the entrance to a group of 120 of its citizens from Panama.
The group of Nicaraguans, all citizens and with proper documentation, had traveled from Panama after facing hardships in the canal country due to the coronavirus pandemic. Most had been in Panama working when the borders were closed.
Costa Rica’s immigration service and the Ministry of Public Security confirmed the blockade that began this Friday, June 26.
The conflict arose after, this Friday, Nicaraguan authorities prevented their entry, remaining stranded at the border crossing, on the Nicaraguan side, because their authorities prevented them from entering after crossing the Costa Rica side of the border.
Michael Soto, Minister of Public Security, confirmed Saturday morning that it was Nicaraguan authorities who was not allowed the group to enter that country. Hours later, Soto himself confirmed the lifting of the blockade. Authorities of the neighboring country did not comment.
“The deployment is on the other side, where the Police set up a cordon so that Nicaraguans do not pass, they do not want to let them in. Our police presence in the area is for the protection of our sovereignty,” explained Soto hours earlier.
Meanwhile, another group of Nicaraguans stranded in Panama, have announced their intention to move to their country by Costa Rica, next Wednesday.
It is about 100 Nicaraguan citizens still in Panama after a failed exit attempt that Panamanian immigration authorities thwarted on Thursday, for immigration reasons, Panamanian media reported.
That group is expected to leave Panama next Wednesday but there is no certainty due to the incident caused by the blockade on the Nicaraguan border.
The concern of Costa Rican authorities is a repeat of Saturday’s experience, that, in addition to blocking the entry people, the vital transit of cargo was also hampered.
The director of Costa Rica’s immigration, Raquel Vargas, explained Saturday that there is a coordinated mechanism with Panama to make the border to border transit between authorities.
According to Vargas, according to this transport protocol, any Nicaraguan from Panama must pay all their transportation expenses and are escorted from border to border.
As to the group still stranded in Panama, they must first place clear with Panama’s immigration authorities before organizing their departure.