Racy online video sparks firing of Costa Rican official

Story highlights

  • A video shows a now-former top cultural official lying on a bed in her underwear
  • She is dismissed from her job after social media posts "connected with (her) private life"
  • "An injustice has been committed," Karina Bolanos tells CNN en Español
  • A computer engineer stole the video and tried to blackmail her, she says

An online video showing a now-former Costa Rican official in her underwear has sparked a debate over the privacy of government workers in the Central American country -- and cost the official her job this week.

The video shows Karina Bolanos, who had been Costa Rica's vice minister of culture and youth since 2006, lying on a bed in her underwear and apparently talking to her lover.

"I miss you. I love you with all my soul. And everything that you see here is yours," she says.

The cultural ministry said Monday that Bolanos would be leaving her post after a surge in journalistic reports and social media posts "connected with the private life of the vice minister."

"Even though the information that has circulated is strictly related with the private life of Bolanos, and not with her work as a public official, she was released from her post so that she could face this in the private sphere," the cultural ministry said in a statement, adding Costa Rica's president authorized the move.

Bolanos, 39, told CNN en Español Tuesday that she recorded the private video in 2007, when she was separated from her husband, a Costa Rican congressman.

"It is a very old and personal video of mine, that really makes me very embarrassed with the Costa Rican people and I apologize, especially before the youth who I represent. ... but also it has nothing that I should be ashamed of, and I think an injustice has been committed," she said.

    Bolanos said she did not have a chance to defend herself before she lost her job.

    "I think as a woman, I had a right to defend myself and to speak. These are questions of my intimate private life that have nothing to do with my work," she said.

    A computer engineer that her family had hired to install security cameras stole the video and tried to blackmail her to stop its release, she said.

    "It is very difficult to prove because he is a computer engineer and he is one of those people that hacks and steals accounts, and...because my husband is a congressman and I am a vice minister, he took advantage of the situation to get money out of us," she said.

    By Tuesday evening, the video had been viewed more than 370,000 times on YouTube.

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