Human rights race Sunday seeks a halt to violence

Droves of participants are expected to run in the Race for Human Rights Sunday in Goicoechea to exposition grounds  east of the stadium Colleya Fonseca in Guadalupe starting at 9 a.m. The starting point is near the municipal building.

The theme is Alto a la Violencia, Unidos por Costa Rica, or “ Stop the Violence, United for Costa Rica.”

There is a 7,000 colon fee that includes a trophy, T-shirt, water. Some 10 percent of the money goes to the organization Fundacion para la Defensa y Promocion de los Derechos Humanos. The distance is just short of 10 kilometers, about 6.2 miles.

The race is put together by that foundation and sponsored by different organizations and businesses, including Hotel California, owned by human rights activist Roberta Felix. The hotel is in Manuel Antonio.

The California native and now Costa Rican resident has lived in Costa Rica for 12 years. Since her arrival she said she has incessantly worked non-stop with human rights organizations. She started a non-profit organization to also sponsor the human rights walk in the Municipalidad de Goicoechea north of San José. There is nothing she wouldn’t do to help victims in Costa Rica, especially those who are victims of sexual abuse and human trafficking she said.

Ms. Felix ran a non-profit for disabled children in Manuel Antonio where she said she was able to help rescue three handicapped children who were sexually abused in their home. The organization is no longer active because it lacked donations she said. Since the Ministerio de Educación Pública began to provide help to handicapped children, the mission of the organization became harder to accomplish, she said. The foundation still exists, but now it functions to support other human rights organizations, she added.

Although Ms. Felix is the owner of a Manuel Antonio hotel,  she also has a place in the Central Valley. She said she stays in the Quepos-Manuel Antonio area to better help those victims in a location she referred to as corrupt. In January the mayor of Garabito was accused of corruption, funding child pornography, and driving around children in government cars for prostitution. He is awaiting trial. Garabito is the canton in which Quepos and Manuel Antonio are located.

Ms. Felix said she came to the country to volunteer and help others. She said she has been threatened because of her work.
Costa Rica has a system that is broken, not complicated, and it needs to be fixed, said Felix.

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