A Molotov cocktail was thrown at the Nicaraguan Embassy on Friday night, resulting in the Security Ministry issuing a nationwide statement warning that xenophobic acts against Nicaraguan citizens will not be tolerated. The report of the thrown Molotov cocktail, which is a makeshift gasoline and fire bomb in a bottle, comes a time when tensions between Costa Rica and Nicaragua continue to swell due to the ongoing conflict on the Río San Juan, which serves as a border between the two countries.
According to the Security Ministry, Friday night at 10:17p.m., an official of the National Police stationed at the Nicaraguan Embassy in the east San José neighborhood of Barrio California reported that a car with tinted windows drove past the front of the embassy and launched the Molotov cocktail from the vehicle. After the incident was reported, members of the National Police, the Judicial Investigation Police (OIJ) and Department of Intelligence and Security (DIS) arrived on the scene to investigate. No damage was reported at the Nicaraguan Embassy.
In response to the thrown Molotov cocktail, Juan José Andrade, the director general of the National Police, spoke with the Nicaraguan Ambassador to Costa Rica, Harold Rivas, to alert him that further members of the National Police would be placed on guard at the embassy and that he hoped the situation was only an isolated incident.
“We have to take into account that these types of acts put everyone in risk, not only the lives of Nicaraguan citizens, but Costa Rican citizens as well,” said Walter Navarro Romero, the vice minister of the Security Ministry.
On Saturday, Security Minister José María Tijerino issued a statement referring to the incident, saying that “these types of incidents will not be tolerated” and that the Costa Rican people need to maintain their calm as the border conflict continues.
“These manifestations of violence do not contribute to the diplomatic efforts that Costa Rica is trying to accomplish before other nations of this hemisphere,” Tijerino said. “They only create an unfavorable image of Costa Rica, which is a civil and peaceful nation.”
The call to refrain from xenophobia against Nicaraguans comes at a time when nationalist pride is being drummed up throughout the country. On Friday, President Laura Chinchilla participated in a peace march deemed “The Right to Live in Peace”, which was organized by the Education Ministry (MEP). During the event, which was a walk from the office of the Central Bank of Costa Rica in downtown to the Museo de los Ninos in west San José, Chinchilla and thousands of children and educators marched through the streets wearing white and waving Costa Rican flags.
As part of the event, Chinchilla held a videoconference to speak to the members of the National Police stationed in Barra del Colorado, just south of the Río San Juan in the Limón province. Chinchilla thanked the men for their duties, reiterated the nation’s belief in peaceful resolution and discouraged any acts of violence.
National media has also continued to reiterate the nation’s stance on peace, as images of the blue, red and white Costa Rican flag are being shown on screens behind many national news broadcasts. On Thursday night, the news station Repretel, which was commenting on the conflict between Costa Rica and Nicaragua, showed images of iconic peace figures, such as Mother Teresa, Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela, before showing a picture of the Nicaraguan dredge in the Río San Juan. The clip ended with footage of a waving Costa Rican flag and a reminder that the country was one that prided itself on peaceful resolutions.
“Peace resides in the fact that tranquility is the deepest part of our being, to have peace in your soul and heart,” Chinchilla said Friday. “For 60 years, our guns have been work and peace. These are the guns that we have to win long battles that life presents us. Because of that, we are going to show the world that Costa Rica is different.”