Friday, November 20, 2015

Costa Rica Treats 67 Cubans Injured By The Use Of Military Force In Nicaragua

Costa Rica Treats 67 Cubans Injured By The Use Of Military Force In
Nicaragua / 14ymedio, EFE
Posted on November 19, 2015

14ymedio/EFE, San Jose/Managua, 17 November 2015 — The Costa Rican
Social Security Fund (CCSS) had to treat 67 Cubans after clashes with
the Nicaraguan Army, according to the Government of Costa Rica. The
migrants were treated at the Cuidad Neily Hospital, at the hostels
located in La Cruz canton and at a border post on the northern border of
the country.

Dr. Maria Eugenia Villalta Bonilla, CCSS medical director, reported that
migrants were treated for various injuries caused mainly by tear gas
fired by the Nicaraguan Army; however, none were in serious condition.

Since Monday, the Cuban migrants have been in various shelters in the
community of La Cruz, and the Emergency Health Services of the area are
being reinforced with more personnel, in order to prioritize patients
requiring immediate medical attention. The emergency health services of
La Cruz are available 24 hours a day, with more personnel on duty from 7
AM to 4 PM.

This level of care in the northern zone of the country will be
maintained as long as necessary, according to the institutions, that is
as long as Cubans remain in the shelters, as the institutional priority
is to maintain an adequate level of health care.

Migrants have also been assessed to rule out other illnesses caused by
environmental conditions, such as respiratory infections, nutritional
problems, flu and dehydration.

Tension between Costa Rica and Nicaragua intensified this Monday with
accusations made by both governments. Nicaragua formalized a complaint
against Costa Rica before the 192 member states of the United Nations
for provoking a humanitarian crisis by allowing the islanders to leave,
according to Nicaraguan Deputy Foreign Minister Maria Rubiales.

The complaint was also sent to Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, the
International Organization for Migration, the United Nations High
Commissioner for Human Rights and the United Nations High Commissioner
for Refugees (UNHCR).

About 2,000 Cubans arrived in Ecuador by air and from there moved
unofficially through Colombia and Panama, reaching Costa Rica, where on
Saturday the government granted them seven-day transit visas valid to
reach Nicaragua on their trip to the United States.

However, on arriving at Peñas Blancas, the border between Costa Rica and
Nicaragua, the Nicaraguan government denied them entry and on Sunday
afternoon the army stopped about 800 who tried to enter illegally.

Following this incident, the Managua Government deplored and condemned
"the irresponsible attitude, disrespectful of all international
conventions and agreements on human mobility, by the Government of Costa

The Nicaraguan Deputy Foreign Minister said that Costa Rica caused "this
situation by pushing these immigrants to cross our border illegally."

Costa Rica did not consult Nicaragua with regards to whether it was in a
position to deal with Cuban immigrants, said Rubiales. "You cannot take
actions that have to do with the sovereignty of another state without
any negotiation," she argued.

Nicaragua suggested that the issue of Cuban migrants must be addressed
within the Central American Integration System (SICA).

In response to these accusations, Costa Rica sent a note of protest to
Nicaragua in which it criticized the use of the Army and tear gas
against immigrants, who include pregnant women and children, a measure
which was also rejected by human rights organizations in Nicaragua.

Costa Rican Foreign Minister Manuel González reported that his country
would take to international organizations the problem of hundreds of
Cuban migrants trying to reach the United States.

The minister said that talks were held on Sunday with the Secretary
General of the Organization of American States (OAS), Luis Almagro, to
explain the situation and said that he "did not rule out" raising the
issue in that forum.

In addition to the OAS, Gonzalez confirmed that this issue was discussed
today in Ecuador, during a meeting of national coordinators of the
Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), in which his
country responded "to a rude and unfounded statement by the Government
of Nicaragua, which makes serious accusations against Costa Rica."

This situation has made strained relations between Costa Rica and
Nicaragua even more tense, the two countries have been at odds since
2010 over territorial disputes brought before the International Court of

The Secretary for International Relations of the ruling Sandinista
National Liberation Front (FSLN), Jacinto Suarez, said it is possible
the situation will "complicate" bilateral relations, "because they have
been making some statements that seem to want to complicate things."

However, according to Sandinista deputy Carlos Emilio López, the matter
can be resolved through diplomatic channels.

"The Government of Nicaragua has a vocation for dialogue, of resolving
conflicts through diplomacy. We hope that the governments can sit down
together to find a solution to this situation," said the official

This episode adds to the long list of disputes that Costa Rica and
Nicaragua have maintained for years. In late 2010, Costa Rica filed a
complaint before the International Court of Justice, for Nicaragua's
alleged invasion of Costa Rican territory in Isla Portillos, also known
as Harbour Head Island, as part of a dredging project to connect the San
Juan River with the Caribbean Sea.

Nicaragua, in turn, protested a road being built by Costa Rica parallel
to the tributary, alleging damages to the San Juan river from the

Meanwhile Cubans, housed in shelters set up by the Red Cross, churches
and civil society organizations, wait near the border with Nicaragua to
continue their journey across the continent to reach the United States.

Source: Costa Rica Treats 67 Cubans Injured By The Use Of Military Force
In Nicaragua / 14ymedio, EFE | Translating Cuba -

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