On Sunday, the Venezuela-based television station, Telesur, reported the existence of a U.S. Southern Command military based in Costa Rica. According to the report, “Presencia de milicia de EE.UU. en Costa Rica es evidente”, the base is located in the Guanacaste province.
The story was part of the Telesur’s coverage of Costa Rica’s presidential elections.
The report stirred controversy, prompting a scathing complaint by Presidenta Laura Chinchilla, calling the report “direspectful” of Costa Rica, a country without an army. “Telesur’s information is completely false”, said Chinchilla.
On Thursday, the television station apologized to Costa Rica. In a formal letter by Telesur’s managing director, Patricia Villegas, the television station said it acknowledged “regrettable mistake”.
The U.S. Embassy in San José also rejected the statements in the report, describing the information as “completely inaccurate”.
“There are no U.S. military troops or military vessels stationed in Costa Rica nor are ther any future plans to do so. U.S. aircraft conducting counter-trafficking operations in the area do on occasion refuel and depart from Liberia Airport; however, no U.S. government aircraft are permanently based there,” said U.S. Information officer, Eric Turner.
In the U.S. Embassy San José letter, Ardon explains that “the U.S. provides, at the request of the Costa Rica government, the Costa Rican Coast Guard and Ministerio de Seguridad Publica, training, equipment and infrastructure and support in its war against organized crime and drug trafficking.”
Ardon also explains that “on occasion” U.S. aircraft participate in join drug trafficking operations in Costa Rica and aircraft will land and take off from the Liberia airport, for fuel and supplies, but, in no aircraft is permanently stationed in Costa Rica.”
See the video (in Spanish only) by Telesur: