Libertarian lawmaker Danilo Cubero, who until this week was expected to become the next president of the Legislative Assembly on May 1, said he would no longer seek the assembly’s top seat. Cubero, from the Libertarian Movement Party, made the announcement during a Sunday night phone call to the daily La Nación.
The news follows a protest Sunday by animal rights activists who accused Cubero of participating in illegal cockfights. Cubero told La Nación he considers cockfighting a sport and “he enjoys it as a family tradition.”
The lawmaker said he decided to withdraw his name as assembly president “to strengthen the alliance [of opposition parties]” and because “circumstances” could jeopardize that alliance in the assembly.
Cubero is backing fellow Libertarian Marielos Alfaro, who could be ratified for the nomination during an internal party meeting on Monday.
Current Legislative Assembly President Juan Carlos Mendoza supported Cubero’s decision on a Facebook post Sunday night. “In light of the cockfighting story, I don’t doubt that the Libertarian Movement Party will make a wise decision and nominate someone else to occupy the presidency,” Mendoza posted.
Many opposition lawmakers recently withdrew their support for Cubero, including Rita Chaves, from the Access Without Exclusion Party, who participated in Sunday’s demonstration in San José’ Plaza de la Democracia that called for the criminalization of violence against animals.
Former assembly president Luis Gerardo Villanueva, from the ruling National Liberation Party, also criticized Cubero, saying that “cockfighting is illegal and violent, not only in Costa Rica, but also in most of the world.”