January 28th, 2013 (InsideCostaRica.com) The former government of the state of Monagas, in Venezuela, Jose Gergorio Briceno, defected from Hugo Chavez’s government and entered Costa Rica on December 21st. He has requested political asylum from the Costa Rican immigration department.
Press spokesperson for the immigration department, Allen Ulloa, confirmed the information, stating that Briceno entered at the country through the Paso Canoas border with Panama.
Authorities have not yet responded to Briceno’s asylum request, who has not left the country since he entered in December.
According to information that was made public on Friday by the EFE news agency, the former governor was expelled from Chavez’s Partido Socialista Unido de Venezuela (United Socialist Party of Venezuela), and left Venezuela due to alleged political persecution.
According to EFE, Briceno is gathering evidence in order to prove he is the victim of persecution at the hands of the Chavez government.
His expulsion Chavez’s political party occurred in March 2012, when he stated that Chavez had forced him to end his independent administration.
Sources say that the former governor’s expulsion stems from his criticism of the “Chavista” party leadership.
Briceno’s criticism of the Venezuelan Executive Branch came over an oil spill that occurred in February 2012, in his state of Monagas, which contaminated the Guarapiche River. The river provides the state with drinking water, and the spill left close to one million people without drinking water.