Vice Minister of the Interior, Luis Cañas, comments to a local media that the closing of borders “is something utopian”
By Juan Carlos Bow (Confidencial)
HAVANA TIMES – Nicaragua is, since this Thursday, April 2, the only country in Latin America with its borders open, despite the covid-19 pandemic that affects the world. The other nations have opted for various options, from complete closure to anyone, to partial closure.
Nicaragua became the only country with this characteristic after Cuba decided on Tuesday to completely close its borders, suspend commercial and charter flights to the island, and request the withdrawal of foreign vessels from its territorial waters to stop the expansion of the coronavirus.
A graph from Deutsche Welle (DW), the German foreign press network, shows that the Latin American countries with their partially closed borders are: Trinidad and Tobago, Mexico, Venezuela, French Guyana and Barbados.
The nations that have their borders closed to non-resident foreigners are: Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Belize, Uruguay, Brazil, Chile, Guyana and Suriname, according to the DW.
Deutsche Welle points out that the countries with their borders totally closed are: Cuba, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Paraguay and Argentina.
In the graph, Nicaragua appears as the only country in the entire region that keeps its borders wide open. This position is part of the policy of the government of Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo to show apparent “normality” in the country.
“Closing is something utopian”
The Vice Minister of the Interior, Luis Cañas, defended the Government’s open borders policy. In an interview with Channel 10, the official assured that “the closing of borders is something utopian, because physical borders are not limited only to the official immigration post.”
“No country in the world is hermetically closed,” said Cañas, who explained that it is “better” to manage the entry and exit of people with technical personnel, although he clarified that it is not “iron control”, but ” is control”.
“To pass immigration, all travelers must undergo the review of the medical personnel that the Minsa (Ministry of Health) has in each post,” the vice minister told the local media.
Why immobilize the country?
The government line that “everything is normal” in the country also means that Nicaragua is the only country in the region that has not established measures – such as quarantine, school closings and flight restrictions – to prevent a massive spread of the coronavirus. Instead, it organizes marches and festivals with its supporters.
Cañas stressed that the closure of borders to people from countries with outbreaks, “isn’t necessary.” At the same time, he justified: “Should we immobilize our country to avoid the effects of the pandemic? That is debatable.”
“If from the start it was said: ‘Nicaragua is totally quarantined, no one enters the country,’ what other stage are we going to adopt in the different phases, that this (pandemic) is evolving? There would be no more, we would have already done everything, going immediately from the beginning to the end,” said the official.
He indicated that the pandemic “has its phases” and that “it is the circumstances that are making us adopt the measures.”
The vice minister said that Ortega “constantly” dispatches with all the institutions, despite the fact that the president has not appeared in public for more than 20 days. His last appearance was, on March 12, in a virtual meeting with his counterparts from the Central American Integration System (SICA), to discuss the issue of the pandemic.
Cañas guaranteed that Ortega gives the guidelines and seeks “how to do it” on the crisis caused by covid-19.