QCOSTARICA – Six former presidents of Costa Rica expressed their support for the Government of Carlos Alvarado, the Fuerza Publica (National Police) and the democratic institutions in a statement released this Saturday, October 17.
The statement sent to the press was signed by former presidents Rafael Ángel Calderón Fournier (1990-1994), Miguel Ángel Rodríguez (1998-2002), Abel Pacheco de la Espriella (2002-2006), Óscar Arias Sánchez (86-90 ; 2006-2010), Laura Chinchilla Miranda (2010-2014) and Luis Guillermo Solís Rivera (2014-2018).
Former president José María Figueres Olsen (1994-1998) was also considered in the initiative, however, for reasons that were not disclosed, he declined to participate.
In their statement, the politicians point out that in “an hour of serious difficulties” in Costa Rica “we must all support our democracy, institutions and the human rights of all citizens.”
“On our patriotic attitude, on our defense of the institutional framework that we have built with so much effort for almost 200 years, it depends on maintaining social peace and overcoming the serious obstacles we face,” the text reads.
In its letter, the sextet of former heads of state expresses its “unconditional support for constitutionality, the rule of law, the authorities and the police who act in the exercise of their powers, for the public liberties of all who inhabit this blessed land.”
The former presidents also dedicate a prayer to the National Rescue Movement responsible for the blockades for 15 days since September 30 that led to violence that included attacks against police officers that left more than 100 officers injured and heavy economic losses.
“With equal vehemence, we express our repudiation and condemnation of the use of violence, so alien to the idiosyncrasy of being Costa Rican,” they point out in their message, which adds that it is the legitimately established authorities who must exercise their powers.
In fact, they urge the Government to take that responsibility effectively and with a “sense of urgency”.
“The political parties must act with high sights, the unions must prioritize the national good over their interests, the demonstrations must be respectful of the law. We must all submit to the rule of law,” they add.
Finally, the ex-presidents publicly request a halt “to the pains that so many homes experience today and to the frustrations and anger that we feel at the accumulation of adversities that the country faces.”
The show of support and call for calm came after this Thursday, Célimo Guido, leader of the National Rescue Movement, announced a pause in the blockades to comply with the requirement set by the government to sit down to negotiate.
Expresidentes de #CostaRica nos pronunciamos de manera conjunta sobre las actuales circunstancias, convencidos de que tenemos las reservas instucionales suficientes para superar problemas y diferencias. pic.twitter.com/6jO9wZmLhs
— Laura Chinchilla M. (@Laura_Ch) October 17, 2020
However, he threatened that if President Alvarado refuses to talk, the movement will be free to “raise the country.”
This was stated during an activity in the auditorium of the Episcopal Conference, in San José, when Guido also said in his message to the president: “You have said over and over again that if there are no movements in the street enter to negotiate, we hope that this time it will be the exception and do not lie, and keep your word. We will pause until next Wednesday (…)
“We have already done our thing, you do your thing, otherwise, this national movement, this peaceful movement, to raise this country again and with more force seeking more solidarity support (…)
“You will be solely responsible for what happens in this country, as you will be responsible if you continue attacking, hitting and shooting men, women and children, in any part of the national territory.
“We hope, Mr. President, that you keep you word, otherwise the people will rise up,” he said while standing up saying that he would not answer questions from the press, so as to not advance strategies.
Here is the full message from the group of politicians: