(RICO’S DIGEST) – I couldn’t believe what I was hearing the other day watching the live press conference from Casa Presidencial on the coronavirus in Costa Rica.
Here was this bald man saying:
“Suddenly in this moment and in this circumstance, we would like to have a solid, physical barrier like a wall, and well, we don’t have it. I repeat, at this time and in this circumstance.”
I had to double-check if I had the right channel and the right country. WTF? A border wall? In Costa Rica?
Did I hear wrong?
Here was the Ministro de Seguridad Pública de Costa Rica (Minister of Public Security), Michael Soto, talking about the police efforts at the northern border with Nicaragua and about a wall?
On social networks, comments included:
“They are already understanding (US President Donald) Trump, we must defend our country, our country comes first, we already saw how necessary it is to defend the borders (…),” Alberto S.
“I remember that in the government of Miguel Angel Rodriguez (1998-2002) this possibility was raised and the same people who said no now wish they had, as well as those who criticized Trump when he said about the wall with Mexico, well, gentlemen, you see it as “inclusion” for everyone. It is how they paint it now that our health system is at risk because of the pile of infected Nicas that are going to get in. We are going to put our families at risk, thanks PAC for loading you back into my country,” Varg Vikernes.
“Possibly the majority of Ticos agree that we need a barrier or wall to protect us from the invasion of undocumented immigrants (…),” Leo.
Again, WTF is going? Have we stooped this low in the xenophobic scale? Do Ticos forget who works in the jobs they don’t want to do, ie construction, cleaning toilets?
On Friday, Soto denied a rumor that was circulating about his resignation, spread by none other than Albino Vargas, one, if not the most, influential union leader in the country, who wrote on Twitter”
De buena fuente me indican que también habría presentado su renuncia Michael Soto, de Seguridad Pública. Alvarado no se la habría aceptado pero queda en “lista de espera”. ¿Podría la gente de prensa retomar este aspecto?
— Albino Vargas (@AlbinoVargasB) May 28, 2020
“From a good source, they indicate that Michael Soto, from Public Security, had also resigned. (President) Alvarado would not have accepted it but it remains on the ‘waiting list’. Could the press come back to this aspect?”
Soto replied quickly and without expressly naming him, with a sharp message asking the union leader to stop spreading false news about his resignation.
Sin nombrarlo expresamente, el ministro de Seguridad, Michael Soto le pide al sindicalista Albino Vargas que deje de difundir noticias falsas sobre su renuncia pic.twitter.com/wF1RnseWer
— Delfino.CR (@delfinocrc) May 29, 2020
At this time I could not verify if the Vargas rumor had foundation, and the motive. Was it over the border wall comment?
Was it part of the dissatisfaction of three other ministers, including the Minister of Finance, resigning on Thursday over their differences with the President?
I believe Soto owes Costa Ricans, Nicaraguans and all migrants a public apology.
The talk of a border wall, that most likely will never materialize, goes completely against the image that the country sells to the world, as a pacifist country and protector of the rights of individuals.