March 8th, 2013 (InsideCostaRica.com) The government of Costa Rica withdrew its ambassador in Panama, Melvin Saenz, following an incident between the diplomat and a reporter in that country that occurred on February 6th, the Foreign Ministry confirmed yesterday.
The incident between Saenz and Bettina Garcia, host of the comedy show, La Cascara, took place on February 6th near the Rommel Fernandez Stadium, after a qualifying soccer match between Panama and Costa Rica.
The altercation occurred when the ambassador scolded the reporter for allegedly using a disrespectful tone during a prior interview with Costa Rican president, Laura Chinchilla. This resulted in an exchange of words, where the ambassador said that Panama was a country of “pure money laundering.” The diplomat confirmed his statements yesterday in local media in Panama.
Saenz said he was involved in the incident to “defend my country and my president.”
Costa Rica’s Foreign Minister Enrique Castillo, admitted that Saenz’s statements troubled Panamanian authorities, but denied that the decision to transfer Saenz to Peru was a result of the incident, saying instead his transfer had already been planned.