U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with the President of Costa Rica Carlos Alvarado on Tuesday as part of a tour of the region. In Costa Rica, Pompeo cited crime as the reason for issuing a cautionary travel advisory. Pompeo visited Colombia before Costa Rica, and the rise of dictatorships in both Venezuela and Nicaragua are a key agenda item for the tour.
Cautionary Travel Advisory for Costa Rica
Saying the classification will have a direct, negative impact economic on the country, President Alvarado asked Pompeo to reconsider. Last year the prison population in Costa Rica reached it’s highest levels in national history, exceeding 16,000 inmates. However, the fiscal crisis has limited the number of judicial officers who investigate criminal complaints.
In May of 2019, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration also degraded Costa Rica to category 2 for failure to comply with standards for civil aviation safety. Alvarado indicated that changes had been made, and asked Pompeo to push the FAA for an audit to reinstate Costa Rica to category 1.
Pompeo calls for fair elections in Venezuela and Nicaragua
Pompeo used the trip as an opportunity to speak out about the lack of democracy in Nicaragua and Venezuela. In Costa Rica, Pompeo met with Nicaraguan refugees who had fled the violent crackdown on the opposition in 2018. President Alvarado indicated that Costa Rica had received tens of thousands of Nicaraguans following the crisis and has asked the international community for assistance.
As the Nicaragua crisis has effects in neighboring Costa Rica, the departure of over 4 million Venezuelans from their country during the last 2 years has created challenges for Colombia. Venezuela dictator Nicolas Maduro won another term as President in 2018 after outlawing opposition political parties, and conducting a sham election.
There have been lots of conversations with Nicolas Maduro over these past months. There’s been no demonstration that he is prepared to permit free and open presidential elections,Pompeo said in Costa Rica.
In January of 2019, the President of the Venezuelan Legislature, Juan Guaidó declared himself interim president and insisted that the country have a legitimate presidential election.
“We’ve seen no evidence that Maduro is remotely interested in having free and fair elections. He knows that he would lose,” Pompeo said.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrived in Jamica on Tuesday, and will remain for 2 days. before returning to Washington D.C. with a stopover in Miami.