Costa Rica’s Oscar Arias: ‘Oliver North and the NRA deserve each other’

May 10, 2018

People who have been honest, just and compassionate deserve every second chance they can get – but how bitter it is when people who have inflicted only harm are rewarded nonetheless. The naming of Oliver North to the presidency of the National Rifle Association (NRA) is a flagrant display of cynicism. It confirms that the NRA lacks not only a moral compass, but also the most basic respect for the lives of all those who find themselves in the line of fire.

Oliver North was the architect of the illegal exchange known as the Iran-Contra scandal through which the United States sold arms to Iran to finance the Nicaraguan Contra. This was done behind the backs of the people of the United States and at the expense of thousands of Nicaraguan lives. If that scandal had not been revealed – despite North’s efforts to hide it by destroying sheaves of evidence – it is possible that we would never have achieved peace in Central America.

It’s no surprise that the NRA would choose an unscrupulous hawk as its leader. In many ways, North and the NRA deserve each other. An organization dedicated to corrupting the U.S. political system by injecting massive sums of money in exchange for paralysis and indifference in the face of mass shootings finds in Oliver North a leader worthy of its mission.

I speak from experience. The NRA was a fierce opponent of the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) that my second presidential administration presented before the General Assembly of the United Nations to prohibit the international sale of arms to states, groups or individuals when evidence exists to show the arms will be used to violate human rights or international law, or perpetrate acts of terrorism. NRA lobbyists did everything they could to boycott the agreement, although they were unsuccessful. The ATT, small Costa Rica’s largest contribution to the world, took effect in 2014 and has been signed by 130 countries.

Oliver North never served time for his crimes in the in the Iran-Contra affair. History, nevertheless, provides its own sentences, and there is no immunity from those.

Oscar Arias is a former president of Costa Rica (1986-1990, 2006-2010) and Nobel Peace Laureate (1987).

You may be interested

Tico Times 360: Whale watching tour in Marino Ballena National Park
Costa Rica
257 views
Costa Rica
257 views

Tico Times 360: Whale watching tour in Marino Ballena National Park

The Tico Times - September 24, 2018

It's whale watching season in Costa Rica. Every year, thousands of humpback whales come to Costa Rica to give birth.…

6 questions for an aerial acrobat: ‘It means freedom, risk, and strength’
Arts and Culture
1792 views
Arts and Culture
1792 views

6 questions for an aerial acrobat: ‘It means freedom, risk, and strength’

Amanda Zúñiga - September 23, 2018

As our Weekend Arts Spotlight celebrates its third anniversary, we take a look back at the first edition of the…

Poetry, Cacique and memories at San José’s cultural dive bar: La Bohemia
Dining & Nightlife
1476 views2
Dining & Nightlife
1476 views2

Poetry, Cacique and memories at San José’s cultural dive bar: La Bohemia

Natalia Díaz - September 23, 2018

La Bohemia is something you can really only experience sitting with a self-made cheapskate gin and tonic in hand, watching…