Monday 20 September 2021

Prisoners of COVID-19: Argentines Stranded in Costa Rica, Feeling “Abandoned”

After Argentinian President Fernández announced the suspension of repatriations, thousands of Argentines abroad - at least 300 in Costa Rica - are waiting for a response that does not come.

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They came to Costa Rica to enjoy the paradise that the country offers, without knowing that they would be imprisoned by the sudden voracity of a “monster” called COVID-19.

Argentinians stranded in Costa Rica at the San Jose airport. from social networks

When the call from world health authorities to stay home to prevent the spread of the dreaded coronavirus, some 300 Argentines became trapped in Costa Rican between the unprecedented chaos of the global air operation and the closure of borders.

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In most cases, the foreigners arrived in Costa Rica days before, arriving when there still was no positive cases of the virus. Nor were there any in Argentina. Many of the trips had been planned way in advance.

As of this Thursday, March 26, the future of the 300 Argentines was not clear, what would happen. They desperately insisted on a more forceful collaboration on the part of the diplomatic authorities of their country, but nothing has been so positive as to translate into an opportunity to return to South America soon.

In the midst of this anxiety, the foreigners created two accounts on social networks (one on Instagram and the other on Twitter) to report on their situation and thus be heard by the authorities of their country. For now, the Argentine government is keeping plans to repatriate citizens stranded in different countries frozen.

“Currently we are 300 stranded Argentines, who had our return planned for the first or second week of April. As the border closure continues, we calculate that we are going to grow and that we are going to pass the current number,” explained Angie Durán, spokesperson for the group.

Durán arrived in Costa Rica in December and had a return ticket for the beginning of April. All this time here, she has been working virtually. She even spent a few days in Nicaragua, from where she returned due to the closure of the borders.

“I came back here when the borders closed because my return ticket was from San José ( Costa Rica). All airlines canceled their operations. The first was Avianca, then Copa and now it is Latam. The options to return to Argentina are completely closed, except for some flights scheduled for today or tomorrow by Aerolineas Argentinas, but it does not enter Costa Rican territory. At the moment, they are going to repatriate from Miami, Barcelona and Madrid,” said the tourist.

They cry out for help

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Despite the willingness of the Argentine Embassy in Costa Rica to help, in reality, the stranded tourists organized themselves autonomously due to the alleged lack of forcefulness of the diplomats.

“We started to make a list of who we are, what our return dates were, what our situation is and the needs we have. Precisely, we ask the authorities for serious information about the dates when we would be returning and how those returns will be scheduled.

“Those of us who were going to return in the last 2 weeks of March are running out of money. Especially those who came on vacation. If they have to stay throughout the month of April, we calculate that they do not have the way to pay for that stay. Added to that the hotels and hostels every day are closing. Options are reduced for the stay,” said the young woman.

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The foreigners ask their embassy to help them find a place to stay. At the moment, they do not know if there is a possibility of a rescue flight. It is believed that between 20,000 and 40,000 Argentines are stranded in different countries around the world.

In Costa Rica, stranded tourists are scattered in areas such as San José, Puerto Viejo de Talamanca or Guanacaste. The request of the Argentine Chancellery was that they not all concentrate in the capital, but that they stay in the places where they were, to avoid greater risks of contagion.

“We are afraid to stay here for weeks. Precisely the possibility of a shortage of money and medicines is our second complaint. The first is that they tell us when and how we are going to return (home). Since the beginning of the week we have already asked the Consulate in San José to help us with medicines. We have a large percentage of people at risk, in need of medical treatments and who had planned their return already,” said Durán, who explained that among the stranded tourists there are babies, children and a considerable number of people over 65 years of age.

As of this Friday, March 27, Costa Rica reported 263 positive cases and 2 deaths of COVID-19, while in Argentina, authorities there reported 690 confirmed cases and 17 deaths as of this morning (March 28).

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"Rico" is the crazy mind behind the Q media websites, a series of online magazines where everything is Q! In these times of new normal, stay at home. Stay safe. Stay healthy.

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