Thursday 30 November 2023

Suspected of leader of commando group has history of promoting subversive activities

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30 November 2023 - At The Banks - Source: BCCR

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A long record with the law precedes Álvaro Sequeira Mendiola, one of the group’s alleged leaders who recorded the video with calls to arms and threats to Costa Rica President Carlos Alvarado.

Álvaro Sequeira Mendiola

Sequeira, 60, also has a political career.

In 2010 he was a candidate for mayor in Alajuelita for the Partido Renovación Costarricense (Costa Rican Renovation Party), in which he obtained 5.56% of the votes.

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Sequeira told Diario Extra in those days that he wanted to govern the canton “because Alajuelita deserves a good mayor, and I have enough capacity to put order and organize the town for labor issues.”

Three years later he tried unsuccessfully to register at the provincial level, in San José, with the Frente Democrático Campesino party.

Friday, the Organismo de Investigacion Judicial (OIJ) – Judicial Police – claimed to have identified the voice of Sequeira, known as the leader of a group that emerged in the 1990s, calling itself the “Brazo Armado del Pueblo” (Armed Arm of the People).

Since 1991, authorities found a camp in La Union de Pococí, where, according to the investigation, Sequeira Mendiola, who at that time identified herself as Sequeira Ramírez, received military training along with six other people.

The Ministerio Público (Prosecutor’s Office) indicated that those arrested at the time admitted that they promoted subversive activities against the then president, Rafael Ángel Calderón Fournier (1990-1994).

However, this group was acquitted in February 1993 for the crimes of aggravated robbery, manufacture of explosives and possession of prohibited weapons.

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Four months later, the members of the “Brazo Armado del Pueblo” were arrested for assaulting two businessmen in San Miguel de Sarapiquí, whom they had threatened with machine guns and held hostage for several minutes.

According to a cable from the Reuters and AFP agencies, reproduced by El Tiempo de Colombia, Sequeira confessed in the interrogation that the gang intended to rob a bank in order to raise funds to buy weapons and recruit men too, again, for a coup d’état against Calderón.

The minister of Security of that time, Luis Fishman, affirmed that the arrested were common delinquents that looked for notoriety.

“He has always fought for the poorest. He is not a delinquent as the police say, “Álvaro’s father, José Sequeira, declared after that arrest.

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The leader of the group, even, escaped avoiding the trial for this crime that resulted in two condemned to 14 years in prison.

“I declare, once again, that I do not believe in the powers of the Republic, not because of their nature that is necessary for social coexistence, but because they have become nests of lies, in the headquarters of the true delinquents and unpatriotic,” Sequeira said in a statement issued in March 1996.

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