U. S. Embassy officials say Oscar Mora Morales, a Costa Rican father of two American citizens, talked about bringing a weapon onto embassy grounds, became argumentative and refused to answer simple anti-fraud questions and lied about having the two U.S. born children when he initially applied for a visa.
The embassy staff finally replied to news stories about Mora but in an unusual way. A press spokesman sent Mora an email presumably with the expectation that he would share it with reporters. The embassy staff has declined to discuss the case directly with this newspaper even though Mora signed a privacy act waiver for reporters.
The embassy email sent by spokesman Eric Turner said the staff decided not to engage in a public discussion of his case with A.M. Costa Rica and the Facebook community, in part, to protect his privacy and to avoid causing undue embarrassment to him and his family. Turner welcomed Mora to re-apply for the visa but asked Mora to stop posting negative comments on the embassy’s Facebook page. He threatens to delete all of them. “We appreciate free speech,” said Turner but said he classifies Mora’s comments as spam.
Óscar Mora was the 50-year-old Guanacaste businessman whose U.S. visa was canceled summarily by a vice consul at the embassy Jan. 12 while Mora was pushing for a U.S. passport for his Florida-born daughter. A.M. Costa Rica ran news stories Friday and Monday but could not obtain explanations from the embassy because staffers declined to comment.
Said Turner in the email:
“Do you really want us to explain to the Costa Rican public that we had to inform our security officers that you had talked to our security guards about bringing a weapon onto embassy grounds? Or that you actually demanded in front of the entire waiting room that consular officer cancel your visa, after you became upset during your daughter’s passport application? Or that you were uncooperative and argumentative answering routine anti-fraud questions?”
Mora said in a telephone interview Wednesday that the embassy public relation’s officer is exaggerating in order to justify the consul’s actions. The consul lost her temper, said Mora. Mora possessed a 10-year business and tourist visa that wasn’t dated to expire until 2015.
Mora said he was irked when a Costa Rican interviewer asked
him if he paid the hospital bill for his daughter’s birth. He noted that his daughter is now 13 and he has no way of proving that he did. Mora said he did pay the bill but said the interviewer pushed him for documentation. He said the request for medical receipts from 13 years ago was absurd and it should not have any bearing on whether his dual-citizen daughter receives a U.S. passport.
Mora admitted Wednesday that afterward he mentioned as a joke to an embassy security guard he said he has known for years that he felt like killing someone because he was so frustrated with the situation.
“In your last visa application, you concealed that you had not one, but two children who were U.S. citizens by answering ‘no’ to that direct question. Having children while on a tourist visa is not against the law, but doing so without paying for it is a problem and a potential reason to be ineligible for a visa. My understanding is that because you refused to address any questions on that subject, your visa was cancelled. If you re-apply, consular officers will need to examine this issue again.”
Mora also said that on his last visit to renew his visa five years ago he was never asked if he had U.S. citizen children and therefore could not have lied.
Mora said the family has been planning a trip to Florida for more than a year as a way to show his daughter the United States. Although his 13-year-old daughter is a citizen of that country, she was only born there and has never returned. His other child, a boy, is 15 and also a U.S. citizen. He said his daughter cries about the situation and apologizes to her father because she feels guilty that his visa was canceled while he was getting her passport.
Before getting the email from Turner Mora was clinging to the hope of having his visa reinstated. Now he has to make a decision to seek a refund for the airline tickets for the trip he had planned with his family in February.
Mora routinely visits the United States to purchase computer equipment for his electronics resale business in Guanacaste. He also conducts several other business endeavors in Costa Rica including a television show and a tour company.
He said he has never once overstayed a visa, has no plans of illegally staying in the United States and that both his children were born there legally.