[Marxism] Costa Rica throws out Chavez foe

Macdonald Stainsby mstainsby at resist.ca
Wed Apr 7 20:23:28 MDT 2004


BBC News     30 March 2004

Costa Rica throws out Chavez foe

Costa Rica's government says it has cancelled the asylum given to a leading Venezuelan opposition figure, after he gave a controversial speech in the US. 

Union leader Carlos Ortega requested asylum last year, saying he faced persecution in Venezuela. 

Last week he reportedly told a meeting in Miami, Florida, that he would return to Venezuela to work clandestinely to remove the government of Hugo Chavez. 


Costa Rica said this speech violated the terms of Mr Ortega's asylum. 

"In the judgement of the Costa Rican government, the statements made by this asylum holder are decidedly contradictory to the spirit of political asylum, and to his responsibilities as a recipient of asylum," the foreign ministry said in a press statement. 

The ministry said Mr Ortega had twice been warned to exercise his freedom of expression "in a responsible manner" to avoid damaging Costa Rica's foreign relations. 

The withdrawal of Mr Ortega's asylum came hours after the Venezuelan foreign minister said he would lodge complaints with both Costa Rica and the US. 

Mr Chavez was briefly ousted from power during a short-lived coup in 2002. 


Venezuelan chasm 

As leader of the Venezuelan Labour Federation, Mr Ortega was a principal organiser of a two-month strike in Venezuela which began in late 2002. 

The strike crippled the Venezuelan economy, severely denting the output of its primary export, oil. 

Mr Ortega was facing charges of treason and rebellion when he walked into the Costa Rican embassy to request asylum on 14 March. 

Venezuela continues to be sharply divided over the rule of Mr Chavez. 

A legal battle is currently being fought over whether the opposition has the support to demand a referendum on Mr Chavez's rule. 

Macdonald Stainsby
In the contradiction lies the hope

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