San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Costa Rica's Chinchilla says NSA spying has been a 'blow to U.S. credibility'

Costa Rican President Laura Chinchilla said that the U.S. National Security Agency spying scandal has been a “strong blow to the United States’ credibility and its democratic standards,” during a press conference in San José Tuesday afternoon.

The Costa Rican leader did not address directly whether or not she believed the NSA had targeted her electronic communication, as it had against German Chancellor Angela Merkel, according to the latest allegations based on documents released by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

Chinchilla agreed with Merkel’s and Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff’s proposed resolution to bring the issue of Internet privacy and online espionage to the United Nations. The draft resolution would extend Internet activities to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

“I believe that the president of Brazil’s suggestion is correct, that, through the United Nations, there should be a global discussion about the rules that govern the use of the Internet to access private information. Having said that, I would like to add that Costa Rica is very vigilant that other governments not take advantage of this debate […] to determine restrictions on the use of the Internet. I think that would be very dangerous,” Chinchilla said.

She added that the Internet is the “freest” space yet created by humans, and the same restrictions on other communication should not apply to it.

Brazil and Germany want a provision of the covenant that says “no one shall be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to unlawful attacks on his honor and reputation” extended to cyberspace.

Chinchilla said that Costa Rica has already expressed its concerns along with several other Latin American countries about the reach of alleged U.S. spying in the region and around the world.

AFP contributed to this report.

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