U.S. President Mike Vice (right) with Costa Rica President Luis Guillermo Solís Rivera, in WashingtonDC, March 17, 2017. Foto: Roberto Carlos Sánchez

Q COSTA RICA – Washington, with Donald Trump at the helm, is keeping its pledge for police equipment to deal with drug trafficking that Barack Obama offered Costa Rica last August.

President Luis Guillermo Solis on Friday received confirmation by U.S. Vice President Mike Pence during a meeting at the White House.

The day before, Solis met with John Kelly, the United States Secretary of Homeland Security, who told Solis that the U.S. firmly supports the logistical support for Costa Rica’s Fuerza Publica (national police force).

Last August, the United States offered Costa Rica a donation, the most important of the last three decades, that includes two patrol boats, two patrol and cargo planes, three helicopters and equipment that will help binational actions to strengthen Costa Rica’s fight against drug trafficking and organized crime.

Keeping Obama’s commitment has wiped away any fears by Costa Rica officials of the arrival of Donald Trump to the White House.

In fact, the White House in a statement said the discussion between Solis and Pence included ways for the U.S. to increase cooperation to combat drug trafficking and illegal immigration from Central America to the United States.

The White House called Costa Rica a “key ally” in promoting regional economic prosperity, security and good governance throughout the hemisphere.

Solis, who is the second Latin American president to visit the White House since Trump took office (the first was Peru’s Pedro Pablo Kuczynski), said that there is no setback in the bilateral relationship.

“We can safely say that we have ratified all we had advanced in joint actions to fight organized crime and drug trafficking and for security in the communities. Both Vice President Pence and Secretary Kelly expressed the willingness of the United States to strengthen The relations with Costa Rica, where they recognize an important ally in the region,” said Solís after the meetings.

Another worrisome subject with the Trump taking of the presidency is the TLC – the free trade agreement between Costa Rica and the United States.

Solis says he raised the issue with Pence. The statement from Casa Presidencial is that the TLC is a different case of that of NAFTA, the free trade deal between the U.S. and its neighoours, Mexico and Canada, and which Trump said he would be asking to renegotiate as soon as he occupied the presidential chair.

Solis and Pence also talked about the willingness of both governments to increase investment, trade and tourism areas in which Costa Rica benefits.

Only in terms of income from U.S. tourists, Costa Rica had, in 2015, a total of 1,077,044 American tourist arrivals.

The Solis – Pence meeting alos touched on a hot topic, Venezuela.

According to the White House statement, Pence thanked Costa Rica for its “constructive position” in favour of constitutional order and respect for human rights in Venezuela.

The meeting between Solis and Pence ended with a pledge by both leaders to continue their dialogue on bilateral issues and maintain strong relations between the United States and Costa Rica.


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