HomeNewsBriefUS Aid Package Aims at Growing Criminal Threat in Costa Rica
BRIEF

US Aid Package Aims at Growing Criminal Threat in Costa Rica

COSTA RICA / 25 AUG 2016 BY JAMES BARGENT AND SOFIA LIEMANN EN

The United States' announcement of a $30 million aid package to help Costa Rica confront organized crime represents a timely intervention for a country that is becoming increasingly important in the regional drug trade.

After a meeting between US President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and Costa Rican President Luis Guillermo Solís, the two countries announced a bilateral agreement that will see the United States donate two C-145 cargo planes, three vessels for maritime surveillance, armored vehicles and a coast guard station to aid in counter-narcotics efforts in the Central American nation.

The deal will include biometric equipment to track undocumented migrants and provide funding for scholarships for 2,000 at-risk youths.

In an opinion column for Univision, Vice President Biden said cooperation between the countries was aimed at "working to eradicate the transnational criminal networks that drive drug smuggling, human trafficking and financial crime" while also "pursuing long-term solutions to address the underlying drivers of migration."

InSight Crime Analysis

In one sense, the aid package for Costa Rica appears to be an extension of the recent US focus on Central America, such as the Central America Regional Security Initiative (CARSI), which Costa Rica is not part of. However, it also comes at a time when there is a growing international awareness of Costa Rica's role in the drug trade and transnational organized crime.

Costa Rica’s importance in the drug trade has grown significantly in recent years, with the country emerging as a key transshipment and storage point for drugs, and international criminal networks establishing a presence in the country. Various sources from international intelligence and security agencies have also indicated to InSight Crime that the country is emerging as a money laundering hub, as criminal networks seek to capitalize on favorable financial and social conditions.

SEE ALSO: Coverage of Costa Rica

Another possible reason for US intervention in the country is to act as a bulwark against Nicaragua in a throwback to the Cold War era. Costa Rica's concern over Nicaragua's recent military buildup was also discussed in the meeting between the US and Costa Rican heads of state, with President Solís declaring Nicaragua's "remilitarization" to be a "veiled threat" to Costa Rica. That claim may well fall on sympathetic ears in the United States, which is a long time antagonist of Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

MEXICO / 10 OCT 2016

The Mexican government's most recent annual survey of crime victimization rates and perceptions of security shows little improvement -- and…

COCA / 25 APR 2016

Anti-drug authorities in Colombia announced they will increasingly focus on locating and destroying drug laboratories while placing less emphasis on…

BRAZIL / 3 NOV 2017

Brazil's justice minister caused a stir this week when he accused Rio de Janeiro's military police of maintaining ties to…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Guatemala Social Insecurity Investigation Makes Front Page News

10 DEC 2021

InSight Crime’s latest investigation into a case of corruption within Guatemala's social security agency linked to the deaths of patients with kidney disease made waves in…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela El Dorado Investigation Makes Headlines

3 DEC 2021

InSight Crime's investigation into the trafficking of illegal gold in Venezuela's Amazon region generated impact on both social media and in the press. Besides being republished and mentioned by several…

THE ORGANIZATION

Gender and Investigative Techniques Focus of Workshops

26 NOV 2021

On November 23-24, InSight Crime conducted a workshop called “How to Cover Organized Crime: Investigation Techniques and A Focus on Gender.” The session convened reporters and investigators from a dozen…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Names Two New Board Members

19 NOV 2021

In recent weeks, InSight Crime added two new members to its board. Joy Olson is the former executive director of the Washington Office on Latin America…

THE ORGANIZATION

Senate Commission in Paraguay Cites InSight Crime

12 NOV 2021

InSight Crime’s reporting and investigations often reach the desks of diplomats, security officials and politicians. The latest example occurred in late October during a commission of Paraguay's Senate that tackled…