Costa Rican Foreign Minister Rodolfo Solano “is considering” the possibility that the results of the elections Nicaragua is holding this Sunday will spark increased migratory flows to the Central American country, which is already welcoming large numbers of Nicaraguan migrants.
“It is a scenario that we are considering,” insisted Solano in an interview with Europa Press, in which he appealed to the international community to “intelligently formulate an answer” that would allow the Nicaraguan people to “embrace democracy to enjoy to the full “. .
In Nicaragua, presidential elections are taking place this Sunday, in which Daniel Ortega will vote for a new re-election, which he is expected to reach. The main Nicaraguan opposition formations were banned and more than thirty politicians were arrested, including seven candidates for the presidency.
The worsening situation in Nicaragua following the 2018 protests stimulated the arrival of Nicaraguan migrants in Costa Rica, which in the past has already received significant population flows from its neighboring country.
Solano has stated that “around 100,000 Nicaraguans” sought refuge in Costa Rica after the 2018 crisis. “Over the past few months we’ve seen a rise in refugee applications from 1,000 or 1,500 per month to 9,000 or 9,500,” he added.
For this reason, he has stressed that Costa Rica has for “months” expressed its “deep and serious” concern about the electoral process in Nicaragua, which, according to the complaint, “does not meet the minimum requirements for participation, transparency and inclusion”. and much less with an important international observation. “
With this in mind, he advocated a region of Central America that is “one whole” with “a single identity” made up of three pillars: democratic institutions, respect for human rights and freedom of the press To improve the quality of life of Central American citizens.
“I believe that the international community has realized that we are not talking about an electoral process in a specific geographic area, but about the universal defense of these principles,” added Solano, stressing that Costa Rica is “in line with” Spain and the European Union on the “need” for the Nicaraguan people to have the “right” to return to democratic institutions as soon as possible ”.
However, the head of the Costa Rican Foreign Ministry is proud of the “instinct of refuge”, which is “in the DNA” of the Central American country not only in Nicaragua. “We are a country that, by tradition and to promote human rights, always offers refuge to those who need it, who are forced to come to our country for political or economic reasons,” he said, defending the model of Costa Rica migrant works for the “integration” of the migrant.
Solano argued that migration does not have to be “negative” from the outset, but that this phenomenon “can become a trigger for regional development”. “In countries where the demographic dividend could be at risk, it is important to see migration as a smart way of integration,” he added.
Solano, who emphasized the importance of international cooperation in such situations, expressed his “confidence” that the international community will address the phenomenon “in a comprehensive manner”. “It’s here to stay,” he said, noting that immigration is not about statistics, “it’s about people in vulnerable situations.”
For the head of the Costa Rican Foreign Ministry, this approach means paying attention to the structural causes of migration, which must be combated with the creation of educational, housing, health and employment opportunities. “Nobody wants to be a migrant, people migrate because they strive for better (living) conditions,” he explained.
“Costa Rica will do what it can, within the limits of its competencies, but this is an issue that needs to be addressed regionally with shared responsibility,” summarized Solano.
On the other hand, Solano has pointed out the situation of vaccination against COVID-19 and spoiled the “serious problem of access” to vaccines by poor countries. “You don’t understand how arms budgets rose 23 percent during the pandemic when there are countries that failed to reach the goal of vaccinating 1 percent (of the population),” he lamented.
He also wanted to express the “gratitude” of the Costa Rican people to Spain for the donation of vaccines against the disease, a “generosity” that allows legalized and irregular migrants to be vaccinated in the Central American country. “Costa Rica vaccination is crossing borders,” he said.
With this in mind, it has transferred its “support” to the mechanism for the equitable distribution of COVAX vaccines set up by the World Health Organization (WHO) and through which Spanish cooperation is channeled, although it has stressed the need to “grant it” to enhance”. essentially”.
“It is useless for a country to be fully vaccinated if its neighbors are not. Therefore, universal access to vaccines against COVID-19 is becoming an urgent necessity today, not only for health but also for economic recovery. “
The pandemic had a significant impact on three economic sectors in Costa Rica: tourism, transportation, and services. Unemployment hit nearly 23 percent but is now 15.6 percent, a sign that the Costa Rican economy is recovering. Currently, nearly 60 percent of Costa Rica’s population has the full vaccination schedule.
In the interview, Solano also defended the importance of the environment as a “potential ally” to improve the quality of life of the population and thus generate sustainable development.
“The discussion now is more about what we need to get rid of so that our children can enjoy the same benefits as we do,” he said, alluding to the abolition of the army in 1948, which made it possible to divert those resources to other areas, such as e.g. education. , Health or housing. “(We have to) get rid of fossil fuels and focus on green energy,” he added, stressing that the target must be achieved in the next 15 years.
Costa Rica has reversed deforestation and managed to reforest the land in a generation. In addition to other positive properties, 99 percent of the electricity comes from renewable energies.
At the United Nations Climate Change Conference, Costa Rica announced an expansion of its protected area in the Pacific and an initiative presented with Panama, Ecuador and Colombia aims to create a protection corridor for its part of the Pacific.
“Definitely a green and blue economy,” he stressed, stressing that the environment is one of the most pressing concerns of young people. “2030 – the limit year of the UN Sustainable Development Goals – we see it very far, but it is just around the corner, tomorrow is one day less to achieve it,” he concluded.