(QCOSTARICA) The president of the Nicaraguan Chamber of Tourist Transport, Enrique Quiñónez, said last Friday that three companies in the sector sent a letter to the Costa Rican president, Carlos Alvarado, requesting the opening of the land border between Nicaragua and Costa Rica, closed due to the COVID-19.
“We join in asking the president of Costa Rica, Carlos Alvarado, and the executive director of the Public Transportation Council to be able to dialogue and take the necessary health measures, not only for our clients but also for our workers and that the companies are available to do so,” Quiñónez told La Primerísima.
The letter bears the signature of Quiñónez himself, also president of NicaBus, and of executives Transnica and TicaBus, the three bus companies providing daily service between San Jose and Managua.
TicaBus also provides regional service from Panama to Mexico.
“It is not possible that you want to force people to make the trips by air that cost more, and at the same time the PCR test is requested, which increases the costs, and in the end we know that imported cases (of COVID-19) in Central America have been by air and not by land,” insisted the businessman.
Another letter with the same motive was addressed to the secretary of the Central American Integration System (SICA), while they are preparing a similar one for the Nicaraguan Minister of Development, Industry and Commerce, Orlando Solórzano, who is also the president pro tempore of the SICA.
The businessmen argue that it is necessary for companies that provide international land transportation services to restart operations as soon as possible.
For his part, the president of the Consejo Nicaragüense de la Micro, Pequeña y Mediana Empresa (Conimipyme) – Nicaraguan Council of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises – said that the buses that made trips from Managua to Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Panama and even Mexico, have been detained for months because these countries keep their borders closed to land transport of passengers as a preventive measure of COVID-19.
“It is necessary to open up land connectivity, and the World Health Organizatgion (WHO) has officially declared that the coronavirus is endemic, that is, it will not disappear, and we have to learn to live with the virus,” said Torres.
Torres was referring to statements made by the WHO last May.
Torres added that of every 10 tourists who come to the Nicaragua, 8 are Central Americans, and people use this service because it is cheaper than the air route.
He added that November and December are high season months for international transport companies, and therefore they call on SICA to urge the ministers of the countries of the region to open their borders.
Banks threaten to repo buses
Quiñónez mentioned that international land transport companies are at the mercy of the banks that at any time can take the units (buses) from them as they cannot continue to pay the loan installments.
“Here there is no longer even the possibility of paying or being forgiven the interest on the loans, there is no longer any income, not even a cordoba or a dollar, and that is in all of Central America … Most (busissmen) have said, here are the buses, if you want to take them, take them, although the banks have understood that it is not good business to take the units,” lamented Quiñónez