23,000 refugees have fled violence in Nicaragua

Last week, Nicaraguan president and dictator-in-training Daniel Ortega had the gall to declare that the violence and protests that have plagued his nation since April had come to an end. His nation's doing just fine! At the time that this bullshit dribbled out of his cakehole, protests against government corruption, cronyism and the government’s slow role into fascism were still ongoing. To date, approximately 300 people have died as elements of Nicaragua’s police and paramilitaries loyal to Ortega have attempted to put a bloody end to the growing voice of dissent and disgust for his administration.

Not everyone in the South American country wants a piece of this action.

According to Al Jazeera, upwards of 23,000 Nicaraguan citizens have fled to neighboring Costa Rica, seeking refugee status, due to the escalating violence surrounding the demand that Ortega step down from power and his refusal to do so.

From Al Jazeera:

William Spindler, UNHCR spokesman, told reporters in Geneva on Tuesday that an average of 200 asylum applications are being lodged every day in Costa Rica.

"Besides the 8,000 who have filed asylum claims, and the 15,000 who are waiting to do so, thousands more have arrived in Costa Rica but have not yet contacted authorities there," added Splinter.

Panama, Mexico and the United States also saw a rise in claims by Nicaraguans in the first half of this year, but the numbers in these countries are still in the low hundreds, according to the UNHCR.

Costa Rica and Nicaragua, which share a border, have bickered over land rights and environmental issues for years. Their most recent squabble had to be sorted out by the Hauge. You can add human rights issues to that list now as well.

From The Tico Times:

“We call for all human rights to be respected so there are no acts of violence, and above all so that all this can be resolved through peaceful means and dialogue,” said Christian Guillermet, Costa Rica’s director of foreign policy, on Thursday. He questioned the closure of four private television channels on Thursday as they reported on the protests. (Three of the four returned to the air on Friday.)

“Curtailing freedom of expression doesn’t contribute [to a positive resolution], so we call on the government of Nicaragua to… reconsider the closure of some media,” Guillermet said.

But yeah, everything's fine down there.

Image: by Fundscion Ong DE Nicaragua - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link