Hundreds of Nicaraguan asylees in Costa Rica protested this Sunday in the border town of La Cruz against their president, Daniel Ortega, demanding that he stop the repression of press and civil society.
At least 600 people left in a caravan of buses from San José in a journey of more than 300 kilometers to the border, where they marched with blue and white balloons, the colors of the Nicaraguan flag, which have been converted in symbol of resistance against Ortega.
“Libertad, libertad,” chanted a group of protesters carrying the Nicaraguan flag.
“Ticos and Nicas are brothers, shoulder to shoulder, hand to hand,” exclaimed others.
Thousands of Nicaraguans have sought asylum in Costa Rica since the outbreak of anti-government protests.
The suppression of the protests has left at least 320 dead and hundreds more detained, and thousands have sought exile in neighboring countries — especially Costa Rica.
Costa Rican authorities said that through September, more than 50,000 Nicaraguans had been admitted, mostly as a result of to the crisis that had ensued there following protests.
Although protests in the streets of Nicaragua have declined in recent months, the government has continued to lash out against human-rights organizations and media critical of President Ortega.
“The message we want to send is not a step backward — we move forward together, and no one surrenders here,” said Maria Alejandra Castillo, a university student who had been imprisoned during the protests.
The farmer and peasants’ rights activist Francisca Ramírez said that, “here we Nicaraguans are fighting. Do not give up; soon Nicaragua will be free, and we will return to our homeland.”