San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Former Venezuelan governor seeks refugee status in Costa Rica

CARACAS – Former governor of the province of Monagas and Chavista dissident José Gregorio Briceño seeks refuge in Costa Rica from harassment and death threats in Venezuela, one of his collaborators in San José said.

“Briceño arrived in Costa Rica in late December and as of this week is under a temporary status of territorial refugee,”  said lawmaker Jesús Dominguez, a member of Venezuela’s Movimiento Independiente Ganamos Todos, which Briceño founded.

“He left the country because of harassment, death threats and persecution he’s been suffering by the government since last year. Our attorneys will present evidence to Costa Rican authorities to promote his status as a refugee,” Dominguez said, adding that Briceño’s wife, mother and two daughters also are in the country.

Briceño, who was expelled from Chávez’s ruling party in March of last year after criticizing the government for its handling of an oil spill in Monagas, was governor of that state from 2004-2008 and 2008-2012.

He lost a third-term re-election last December, running as an independent candidate. He was then expelled from the party. “From that moment he and his family became a government target,” Dominguez said.

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