Friday, February 29, 2008

Foreign Ministry investigating Costa Rican consul in Nicaragua

Victor Lascarez (Photo by La Nacion)Victor Lascarez helped two Arab men obtain a visa to enter Costa Rica and drove them to the border.

Alvaro Murillo
La Nacion

The consul of Costa Rica in Managua, Nicaragua is being investigated by the Foreign Ministry for helping two Arab men obtain a visa to enter the country and then driving them himself to the Penas Blancas border post.

The Foreign Ministry and the Minister of the Presidency, Rodrigo Arias, confirmed that a report about the acts of the consul is being prepared, but they declined to give any additional information about te case.

Nicaraguan police is also investigating the case accrding to commissioner Alonso Sevilla but they haven't released any information yet.

Even though the two arabs entered the country separately, they did cross the border the same day: September 13, 2007.

According to a police report that is now in hands of the Foreign Ministry the Arabs, whose last name is Ziad and Owadely, were helped by Lascarez that day as he drove each of them to the border in his vehicle.

According to that same report Lascarez drove the Lebanese man to the border even though he had an irregular migratory status in Nicaragua. Whether or not Lascarez knew this is unclear.

Furthermore, it's been revealed that a Costa Rican woman is married to one of the Arabs although it hasn't been specified to which one.

Lascarez requested a visa for both men and since the immigration service failed to detect any anomalies in their migratory history the visas were authorized, something that has been confirmed by Mario Zamora, director of the immigration service.

When La Nacion called Lascarez he refused to comment on the situation, claiming that the press office of the Foreign Ministry told him not to talk with the media.

However, Foreign Minister Bruno Stagno said later that they had not prohibited Lascarez from talking to the press and that he is authorized to do so if he desires.

Lascarez did accept later over the phone that the decision of not talking to the press was his own and that the only way he will do so is through the Foreign Ministry.

The Foreign Ministry press office also told La Nacion that the case is now in the hands of the President's Office, but Minister Rodrigo Arias declined to make any further comments.

"The Foreign Ministry is responsibly in the last stages of an ongoing investigation. Rest assured that we'll act accordingly as soon as we have the result of such investigation," Rodrigo Arias answered by e-mail.

Translated by Uri Ridelman

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