Foreign minister wants discuss death penalty

Costa Rica, which opposes the death penalty, has suggested that the United Nations hold an open discussion among countries on the topic. The suggestion came from Manuel González, the Costa Rica foreign minister, who spoke at the international organization’s New York headquarters.

He noted that the United States is the only country where a death penalty remains. He said 140 countries have abolished the death penalty.

González clearly was talking about the case of convicted murderer Terence Valentine, who is on death row in Florida because the foreign minister did not mention any of the other countries where the death penalty is still on the books and in practice.

González said that the Costa Rican experience shows that a criminal justice system is possible without the death penalty.

Valentine was convicted of the cold-blooded torture murder of his ex-wife’s boyfriend and her abduction in 1988.  The wife,  Livia Romero, survived and implicated her former husband in the crime. Valentine has been fighting in the courts since.

González said that the death penalty is a cruel and inhuman punishment that degrades the individual and his family and its abolition will contribute to better protection of human dignity and the right to life.

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