Nicaragua sent a contingent of riot police to the Peñas Blancas border post, which it shares with Costa Rica, where, after being refused entry, a group of Nicaraguan migrants trying to return home blocked the passage of truck traffic to pressure the immigration authorities.
“The 500 Nicaraguans traveling from Costa Rica and Panama [stranded between countries] at the Peñas Blancas border continue to be surrounded by the armed forces of the Ortega regime. The border remains closed and no vehicle is allowed to pass in either direction,” informed the Nicaraguan Center for Human Rights (Cenidh) in a statement.
Cenidh asked the government of Daniel Ortega “to let the citizens enter immediately”. Part of the Nicaraguans have been stranded on the Costa Rican border since last Saturday.
The Ortega-Murillo government says it will only allow permission to enter to those who do not present a negative covid-19 certificate, do not present related symptoms, and demonstrate that they have paid for their transportation from the country they were living in to their home in Nicaragua.
Nicaraguan authorities only provide covid-19 tests to Nicaraguans traveling abroad, not entering, at a cost of US $150, which is equivalent to 81% of the average minimum wage, according to the Ministry of Health, which, after criticism of the exorbitant fee, removed the option from its website.
Ortega violates the Constitution
Cenidh maintains that the Nicaraguan government must guarantee the Covid-19 tests, and according to the results, monitor their health, “but not on the border”, where they sleep in the open.
“The Ortega regime does not respond to compatriots who have spent several days living in inhumane conditions on the border,” said Cenidh, who said it is concerned about the situation of the over 400 Nicaraguans “that with both borders closed to them are trapped and without support.”
Various humanitarian organizations believe that the Ortega government is violating the human and constitutional rights of its own citizens, whom it does not allow to enter the country without negative evidence of Covid-19.
The situation was reported to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) and the regional office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.
Since Wednesday, the Nicaraguan migrants have closed the border to the passage of vehicles to pressure the authorities to allow them to enter their country.
The Costa Rican Immigration Office informed that these people carried out the corresponding immigration procedures to leave the country, but when trying to enter Nicaragua, the country’s authorities blocked their passage.
Panama, Costa Rica and Nicaragua have an agreement for the transit of Nicaraguans who were stranded in Panama after losing their income sources due to the pandemic. Many migrants in Costa Rica find themselves in the same situation.