Explosive device goes off in front of Costa Rican television station

Expression

On 27th July 2019, a home-made bomb exploded in front of Costa Rican television station Teletica, causing material damage to the building’s façade. CNN reported that Teletica’s security videos show three people placing the device and leaving the scene minutes before the explosion. The situation is also worrisome because of suspicion that this attack was directed at Nicaraguan journalist Carlos F. Chamorro. Since January 2019, Chamorro has broadcasted his program "Esta Semana" from this television station in Costa Rica, having fled Nicaragua after suffering harassment and receiving threats for his criticism of Daniel Ortega’s government. Amnesty International issued a statement calling the case ‘deeply concerning’. Erika Guevara-Rosas, Amnesty’s Americas Director said:

“The possibility that this attack could be related to the work carried out by the Confidencial team and Carlos F. Chamorro at Teletica is deeply concerning. If this hypothesis is confirmed, it would show just how far Daniel Ortega’s government is prepared to go to silence the voices that are courageously informing the world about what is happening in Nicaragua.”

The Sociedad Interamericana de Prensa (Inter-American Press Association - SIP) urged the government to conduct thorough investigations. Costa Rica’s president Carlos Alvarado condemned the attack, stating that authorities were working to uncover those responsible.


Peaceful Assembly

In June and July 2019, Costa Rican social movements from various sectors, including transport, health and education, mobilised in protests against current government policies. In particular, students' protests against education reforms have gained traction and led to the resignation of Education Minister Edgar Mora on 1st July 2019. 

On 2nd July 2019, reports indicated that the police used tear gas against demonstrators who were blocking passage through key roads. No cases of injured or detained persons were reported in this incident. President Carlos Alvarado said on Twitter that his government was open for dialogue with the different sectors, but that continuing traffic disruptions would not be permitted. This has been a tactic used in particular by transport workers to protest. Alvarado warned that the government would act to lift such road blockades. Despite this warning, protests, school strikes and road blockades have continued in July 2019.