Nicaraguan political activist shot in Costa Rica, in critical condition

Nicaraguan political activist Joao Maldonado in critical condition in Costa Rican hospital
FILE PHOTO: Nicaraguan political activist Joao Maldonado participates in a protest in front of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (CIDH) in San Jose, Costa Rica August 27, 2021. REUTERS/Mayela Lopez

September 13, 2021

SAN JOSE (Reuters) – A Nicaraguan political activist who opposes the government of President Daniel Ortega is in critical condition in a Costa Rica hospital after being shot, police and activists said on Sunday.

Joao Maldonado, a well-known leader of demonstrations in 2018 in southwestern Nicaragua’s Jinotepe municipality, was shot twice in the chest and once in the arm on Saturday evening in Escazu, 10 km (6 miles) west of Costa Rica’s capital San Jose, a police spokeswoman said.

Yefer Bravo of Unidad de Exiles Nicaraguan in Costa Rica said Maldonado, 32, had been organizing a protest against Ortega’s government for Sunday in San Jose. The demonstration went ahead, but turnout was low.

A Nicaraguan government official did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Maldonado underwent emergency surgery, his wife Nadia Robleto said.

More than 80,000 Nicaraguans have requested refuge in neighboring Costa Rica since the 2018 protests; numbers had increased in the past three months as Ortega’s government clamped down on opposition politicians and activists.

(Reporting by Alvaro Murillo in San Jose; Editing by Daniel Wallis)