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News briefs: President Alvarado investigated after taking vacation

August 12, 2020

The coronavirus crisis has transformed life in Costa Rica, which has enacted measures to protect the capacity of its health system.

Here’s what you should know as a new day starts in Costa Rica:

Alvarado denies wrongdoing in investigation

The Chief Prosecutor’s Office has opened an investigation after a vacation taken by President Carlos Alvarado.

According to the Public Ministry, the investigation will “determine whether or not there was any criminal conduct” related to Alvarado’s helicopter trip last weekend to Punta Islita, Guanacaste.

The case is being processed under file 20-000044-0033-PE, for the alleged crime of illicit enrichment.

Alvarado denied wrongdoing, saying that he had properly paid for expenses and that taking a break on a weekend “cannot be a crime.”

“It is the right of the Prosecutor’s Office to undertake the investigations it deems appropriate and we respect it,” he said.

The president spent the weekend at Punta Islita with his family and André Garnier, another government official.

Alvarado referred any future inquiries to his lawyer, while the Prosecutor’s Office declined to provide further details.

U.S. Embassy alert for Escazú

The U.S. Embassy in Costa Rica on Wednesday issued the following alert for Escazú, a city southwest of San José that is popular among U.S. immigrants. The alert reads as follows:

Embassy contacts have confirmed the Policia Municipalidad Escazu (Escazu Municipal Police or PME, which is the largest police force in Escazu) has temporarily suspended public services after staff tested positive for COVID-19.  PME officials have reported that all PME staff are observing mandatory health and sanitary measures in the wake of these tests results.  PME currently plans to resume providing public services on August 19, 2020.  During this period,  PME will not be staffing police stations, conducting public patrols, or answering calls placed to local stations.

Residents of Escazu needing emergency police assistance are advised to call 911.  The Ministry of Security and Fuerza Publica will be responding to emergency situations in Escazu during this time.   

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