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Costa Rica President Alvarado warns of eventual “great crisis” in Latin America due to war in Ukraine

Costa Rican President Carlos Alvarado warned Thursday that the war in Ukraine could generate a “great crisis” in Latin America and called for an end to the conflict, in an interview with AFP.

“The invasion, against international law, obviously generates death and pain in Ukraine, but it also has the potential to generate a major crisis in Latin America,” Alvarado said in Paris, during a tour of Spain and France.

The Costa Rican head of state, who will leave power on May 8, highlighted the rise in fuel and fertilizer prices that can make it “unaffordable” to grow food or generate unemployment.

If fuel subsidies are chosen, for example, this could increase the pressure on public debt in countries of the region, which could “also bring them closer to a crisis”, he explained.

In a context of an exit from the coronavirus pandemic, Alvarado also recalled the “social unrest” that some Latin American countries have experienced in recent years “due to different triggers”. 

“From every point of view it is desirable that the conflict ends”: “It is generating the death of people in Ukraine, the death of soldiers on both sides, impacts in Europe but also the developing world is suffering from it”, he stressed.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has already warned that the Russian invasion of Ukraine is causing a shock wave that is driving up the cost of food and energy, with “substantial impacts in some cases”.

The upheaval is widespread in a region that has an average annual inflation rate of 8%, with extremes of over 50% in Argentina, over 10% and rising in Brazil, and endemic hyperinflation in Venezuela.

During his interview with AFP, the Costa Rican president also pointed out the “terrible democratic deterioration” in neighboring Nicaragua and estimated that the international community was “categorical in pointing it out, although perhaps not so insistent”.

“What is up to the international community is to sponsor (…) a solution of the Nicaraguans, that is, that there is a dialogue and that there is a way out,” said Alvarado, who defended his diplomatic actions since his arrival to power in 2018.

“We have raised our voice. We have sought ways in which the need to keep the critical situation in Nicaragua very much in mind does not lose validity,” he estimated.

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