San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Police: Costa Ricans’ Arrest in Nicaragua Was Normal Procedure

Two Costa Rican men were permitted to return home this week after being arrested in Nicaragua for crossing the Río San Juan without passports.

Ernesto Mauricio Quesada and Mainor Masís spent four days in a Nicaraguan jail after illegally crossing the Río San Juan on Nov. 11. Both men are residents of Santa Rosa de Pocosol, a border town in Costa Rica’s Alajuela province. They were released on Monday after being cleared by the Costa Rican consulate in Managua.

Alexis Núñez, assistant director of the National Police in the northern Costa Rican border town of Los Chiles, told The Tico Times the arrest and deportation were normal police procedure and that speculation that the arrests were prompted by tension over the ongoing border dispute between the two countries is exaggerated.

According to the Costa Rican Foreign Ministry, four fishermen detained in Nicaraguan waters were also permitted to return to Costa Rican on Nov. 12. Ministry officials are reminding travelers entering Nicaragua that they must have valid passports.

Núñez also addressed another incident reported by the daily La Nación in which Nicaraguan citizens crossed into Costa Rica to avoid being recruited by Nicaraguan military present in the area near the border conflict zone.

“I’ve heard rumors that it is happening but I can’t confirm it is true,” Núñez said. “I know that was what the Nicaraguan military did in the 1980s, but I have yet to hear of any confirmation of that thus far,” he said.

He said relations between residents of the two countries along the border have so far been nonviolent.

“We still say good morning and good afternoon like we always have,” he said.

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