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Costa Rican lawmakers request intervention in Nicaragua due to pandemic

May 14, 2020

Costa Rican lawmakers on Thursday asked the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) to take decisive actions in Nicaragua, arguing that the response of the country to the coronavirus pandemic has been deficient.

In a letter signed by 52 of the 57 members of Costa Rica’s Legislative Assembly, the legislators expressed their “concern” about the situation of this disease in the neighboring country and asked the PAHO “to take forceful and urgent actions in this regard.”

The note is addressed to the Director of the PAHO, Carissa Etienne.

The deputies questioned the Nicaraguan government’s figures of 25 coronavirus infections with eight deaths, in contrast to data from the independent Citizen Observatory, which has calculated 1,033 cases and at least 188 deaths in Nicaragua.

The signatories of the letter described a “reckless” response to the pandemic from the Nicaraguan government of Daniel Ortega, who dismissed containment measures and installed called for mass gatherings. The Costa Rican legislators warned that Nicaragua’s response could have negative effects on neighboring countries.

“We do not consider it fair that, our country taking all the efforts that are within its reach to contain the pandemic, we are exposed to risks of contagion due to the irresponsible attitude of the Nicaraguan rulers,” states the letter signed by deputies of various parties.

The letter asked Etienne to carry out an “external evaluation” of the situation in Nicaragua to clarify the true situation of COVID-19 in that country.

The head of US diplomacy for Latin America, Michael Kozak, acknowledged this week that the spread of the coronavirus in Nicaragua is much greater than the government’s data.

“There are numerous, credible reports of much wider COVID-19 contagion in Nicaragua than official numbers show,” the diplomat said on Twitter. 

Kozak called on Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega to “level with Nicaraguans about what’s really happening,” and to “fulfill the duties of his office and protect the Nicaraguan people.”

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