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Costa Rican ex-President Oscar Arias agrees to observer role in Venezuela

February 18, 2014

Former Costa Rican President Óscar Arias accepted an invitation from Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo López to observe the conflict in Venezuela. It seems unlikely, however, that the two will meet soon, as López recently turned himself in to Venezuelan authorities.

Arias, the 1987 Nobel Peace Prize winner, has been one of the most vocal critics in the region of Venezuelan’s violent crackdown on anti-government protesters. Arias has said there has been a “negligent silence” from Latin America’s governments on what’s occurring in Venezuela.

Three protesters have been killed so far. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro announced plans to arrest López on charges of homicide and inciting violence. Leftist governments in the region have backed Venezuela’s head of state. Supporters for Maduro also have taken part in the daily demonstrations

Other international political figures also have accepted López’s invitation, including former Chilean President Ricardo Lagos, former Brazilian President Fernando Henrique Cardoso and former Spanish President Felipe González.

Costa Rican officials also have repeatedly spoken out against the violence. President Laura Chinchilla said Tuesday, “We hope they can reach a peaceful solution because the Venezuelan people are suffering.”

There also has been talk about giving asylum to Venezuelan opposition political leaders, a proposal endorsed by Costa Rica’s ruling party presidential candidate Johnny Araya.

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