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The U.S. Secretary of State, Antony Blinken,  didn't confirm nor rule out the possibility of donating vaccines against covid-19 to Costa Rica.
- Casa Presidencial photo -




















Published Tuesday, June 2, 2021

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff and wire services


Yesterday, during the visit of the U.S. Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, he didn't confirm nor rule out the possibility of donating vaccines against covid-19 to Costa Rica.

"In the next week, or about two weeks, we (the United States) will announce the process that we will distribute those vaccines, the criteria that we will use, among other conditions," Blinken said. "We are going to focus on equity, on the equitable distribution of vaccines, on science, we will work together with the COVAX mechanism and we will distribute them without political requirements."

The United States recently announced the possibility of donating 80 million vaccines against covid-19 through the Covid-19 Vaccines Global Access, known as COVAX, which is a worldwide initiative aimed at equitable access to the vaccines directed by the World Health Organization.

President Alvarado commented that he awaits to get confirmation soon about Costa Rica being listed to receive the vaccines. "We look forward to getting that announcement," he said.

According to Alvarado, in the meeting with Blinken, they covered topics such as integration and trade processes, the fight against the pandemic and post-pandemic recovery in the region.

"Our countries have built and strengthened a bilateral relationship based on the common values ​​of democracy, human rights and people-centered progress," Alvarado said.

At the end of the meeting, Blinken thanked Alvarado for "Costa Rica's leadership in supporting democracy and rule of law in the region and beyond."

The U.S. Secretary of State agenda included a meeting with Rodolfo Solano-Quiros, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, representatives of the Central American Integration System, SICA, and Mexico. "Together, they will advance a collaborative approach to addressing the root causes of migration, including improving democratic governance, security, and economic opportunity for the people of Central America," the U.S. Embassy said in its statement.

Blinken's goals for his visit were to reinforce cooperation, promote inclusive economic growth, combat the covid-19 pandemic, economic recovery and action on combating climate change.



The U.S. Secretary of State visit has been
video-streamed on the Facebook pages of  Casa Presidencial.

According to the U.S. Embassy, today Blinken  will meet Mexican Foreign Secretary Marcelo Ebrard. Then, he will tour Civic Center Desamparados in connection with the Sembremos Seguridad initiative. After that, he will participate in a National Land Use, Land Cover, and Ecosystems Monitoring System (SIMOCUTE) Environmental Event.  About 2 p.m.  he will hold a Meet and Greet with U.S. Embassy staff. After completing these activities, the secretary will leave the country today.

On May, the American Citizens Abroad, ACA, a non-profit, non-partisan exempt organization representing U.S. citizens that live and work overseas has followed up with a letter to Congressional leadership and the U.S. State Department, to request for clarification on how U.S. taxpayers living and working overseas can avail themselves of the SARS-CoV-2 vaccine.

According to ACA, in their request, sent already twice on April 12 and May 18, since U.S. resident overseas are subject to the same U.S. taxation requirements as U.S. stateside residents, these individuals should have access to the same healthcare opportunities, including free and expedited access to vaccines developed against the novel SARS-CoV-2 Coronavirus.

"ACA has asked for clarification from the U.S. Government and U.S. State Department on opportunities that citizens may have for vaccinations at U.S. Embassies and Consulates in their countries of residence in light of the Biden Administration’s promise to vaccine all U.S. citizens and most recently the Administration’s decision to make available 80 million doses of surplus vaccinations to foreign countries by the end of June," the organization said in its statement.

According to Jonathan Lachowitz, ACA Chairman, the U.S. State Department last month reported that it had already shipped doses to embassies and consulates in 220 locations worldwide to vaccinate its own diplomats and other employees, and the same access should be made available to U.S. taxpayer residents.

ACA’s letter suggests that vaccinations could be provided through the various U.S. Embassies and Consulates. But according to President Biden’s press secretary Jen Psaki, the U.S. government had not “historically provided private health care for Americans living overseas, so that remains our policy.” Representatives from the U.S. State Department have contacted ACA and indicated that they are looking into the issue.

“The issue has picked up media attention and it once again highlights the inherent problems associated with a system of taxing U.S. citizens on their income earned overseas even when they are already paying taxes in the foreign jurisdiction in which they live and work,” Marylouise Serrato, ACA Executive Director said.
 
ACA’s website highlights numerous areas where U.S. tax policy and government programs are not designed to meet the needs of citizens who live and work overseas; from the inability to create IRS online accounts, the loss of U.S. Social Security Benefits due to the Windfall Elimination Provision, the inability to easily access taxpayer-funded government agencies and programs, the list is long, they said.

“One simple way forward is to join the rest of the world and adopt Residence-based taxation (RBT). RBT would tax Americans overseas on the income they earn in the United States but would not tax them on the income they earn overseas in the country of their foreign residency where it is already taxed,” Serrato said. “RBT can be done without costing the government revenue, without creating loop-holes for tax evasion and without making anyone else worse off.”

Antony Blinken is the third U.S. Secretary of State visiting Costa Rica in 11 years.



In January 2020, the former U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo visited Costa Rica.


His conversations focused on the situation in Venezuela and Nicaragua, an increase in migratory flows and the efforts in the area on the fight against drug trafficking.

In the meeting, Pompeo was accompanied by Michael Kozak, acting assistant secretary for Western Hemisphere Affairs; Sharon Day, the now-former U.S. ambassador among others U.S. government representatives.

Pompeo also visited the Joint Operations Center of the Ministry of Public Security, located in Base 2 of Juan Santamaría International Airport in Alajuela.



In March 2010, Hillary Clinton, the U.S. Secretary of State at that time, also visited Costa Rica.



She first met with then President Laura Chinchilla. Her meeting agenda included topics such as the fight against drug trafficking and the development of the aerospace industry in Costa Rica. Later, Clinton met with former President Oscar Arias.

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Should your government provide the vaccine against covid-19 to its citizens living abroad?  We would like to know your thoughts on this story. Send your comments to news@amcostarica.com


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