Whether any violence has been perpetrated by members of the National Liberation Party (PLN) against former members of the PLN or members of the Christian Social Unity Party (PUSC); specifically whether there have been any reports of violence by the PLN against the PUSC during and after the 2001 presidential elections (2001 to October 2002) [CRI40269.E]

Please note that the first and second rounds of the last presidential elections in Costa Rica took place on 3 February 2002 and 7 April 2002 respectively, not in 2001 (Central America Report 19 Apr. 2002). The Christian Social Unity Party (Partido Unidad Social Cristiana, PUSC) presidential candidate, Abel Pacheco, won the second round with 58 per cent of the vote, while his National Liberation Party (Partido de Liberación Nacional, PLN) rival, Rolando Araya, received 42 per cent (ibid.).

No reports of any violence, including threats, intimidation or harassment, being perpetrated by members of the PLN against former members of the PLN or members of the PUSC could be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate. However, there were reports of PLN presidential candidate, Rolando Araya, being attacked and beaten by alleged supporters of the PUSC after the second electoral round in April 2002 (ibid.; EFE 9 Apr. 2002; La Nación 9 Apr. 2002; Weekly News Update on the Americas 14 Apr. 2002). In an attempt to defend his sons against a potential attack from the PUSC supporters, Araya intervened and was in return violently attacked and beaten; the incident left Araya unconscious (Central America Report 19 Apr. 2002; EFE 9 Apr. 2002). According to La Nación, the incident occurred after individuals travelling in vehicles displaying PUSC flags paraded in front of the house of Araya's parents hurling insults at the Araya family (9 Apr. 2002). When Araya's sons asked the individuals to respect the fact that the family was inside the house, someone began to beat the sons; Araya then intervened to defend his sons and was in return beaten with a flag pole by someone else who pounced on him from behind (La Nación 9 Apr. 2002). Araya was taken to hospital in San José on 8 April where he sustained head injuries and was released the next day (ibid. 10 Apr. 2002). While asking for forgiveness to Araya for the injuries he suffered, Pacheco refrained from blaming himself or the party for the incident (ibid.). Furthermore, PUSC President Rina Contreras stated that the party could not apologize for an incident that the party had not committed or organized (ibid.). The PUSC's Executive Committee supported an investigation into the events to identify and punish those responsible and reiterated that these were isolated events (ibid.).

With regard to the first round of the elections in February 2002, two sources report that international observers stated that it was held without violence and praised it as a great example of democracy (ACAN-EFE 4 Feb. 2002; Le Monde 6 Feb. 2002).

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.


ACAN-EFE [Panama City, in Spanish]. 4 February 2002. "International Observers Say Costa Rican Elections 'Civil'." (FBIS-LAT-2002-0204 4 Feb. 2002/WNC)

Central America Report [Guatemala City]. 19 April 2002. Vol. 29, No. 14. "Costa Rica: Pacheco Elected President in Runoff."

EFE. 9 April 2002. "Costa Rica-Elections (1st Lead) Social Democratic Costa Rican Presidential Candidate Attacked." (NEXIS)

La Nación [San José]. 10 April 2002. Alexánder Ramírez S. "Ataque a Araya desata polémica." http://www.nacion.co.cr/ln_ee/2002/abril/10/pais1.html [Accessed 22 Oct. 2002]

_____. 9 April 2002. Mauricio Herrera and Alvaro Murillo. "Agredido Rolando Araya." http://www.nacion.co.cr/ln_ee/2002/abril/09/pais5.html [Accessed 22 Oct. 2002]

Le Monde [Paris]. 6 February 2002. "Les élections vues par la presse du Costa Rica; Un nouveau venu agite la vie politique de ce petit pays démocratique d'Amérique centrale."

Weekly News Update on the Americas [New York]. 14 April 2002. "Costa Rica: Abstention, Violence in Runoff." (NEXIS)

Additional Sources Consulted

Country Reports 2001. 2002

IRB Databases

Latinamerica Press [Lima]. 2001-2002

Latin American Regional Report: Central America and Caribbean Report [London]. 2001-2002


World News Connection (WNC)

Internet sites including:

Amnesty International

Human Rights Watch

Observatorio Electoral Latinoamericano

La Prensa de Honduras [Tegucigalpa]

Search engines:



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