November 12th, 2012 (InsideCostaRica.com) 35 organizations from 11 Latin American countries, participating in the “Alternatives and Resistence” conference held by the Regional Conference for Education, held in Mexico, have condemned the actions of the Costa Rican government and the Fuerza Publica during the “march in defense of La Caja,” which occurred last Thursday, November 8th.
A press release issued by the organizations begins, “In regards to the march on November 8th in Costa Rica, held in defense of public health and towards the rescue of the Costa Rican Social Security System from the permanent threats of privatization of health services as well as the corruption that reaches the highest levels of (government) in the country; several repressive elements of the Costa Rican Fuerza Publica, under the responsibility of Raul Rivero, director of the organization, brutally assaulted a large number of protesters that were peacefully marching, asking for a larger budget and a change in the institution’s direction, while close to 40 protesters were arrested, though later freed because of citizen pressure, though some of them are now facing unfair charges.”
The release continues, “The (conference) …condemns these actions and demands the Costa Rican government to cease the repression.”
The organization expressed their opposition towards the “abuse of authority by repressive organizations,” and demanded punishment for the police officers that it says acted wrongly.
The organization also expressed its support in defending the right to social protests and various types of struggles, which it describes as a “proper part of a democratic country.”
According to the press release, “democracy weakens with repression like this.”
The organization also requested a review and assessment of the Security Minister Mario Zamora, the vice Minister Celso Gamboa, and Rivero, to determine whether or not each should remain in their positions.
“We demand the Costa Rican government to stop pressing unfair charges against protesters, as well as to respect international human rights agreements signed by the country,” said the organization.
Lastly, they added: “We express our rejection and request the support of social and human rights organizations, both national and international, to denounce these actions, and will join in solidarity with the country of Costa Rica.”
35 Latin American Organizations from Mexico, El Salvador, Panama, Nicaragua, Bolivia, Guatemala, and Costa Rica signed the document, among others.
The “march in defense of La Caja” occurred last Thursday. ”La Caja” refers to the Costa Rican Social Security System, or CCSS. Organizers said they wanted to send a message to the government that citizens have a right to social security and healthcare, and that they feel the institution is being mismanaged.