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US military helicopter in Liberia on Sunday

QCOSTARICA – Under a director order by the Constitutional Court not to repeat the allowed incursion OFBlack Hawk helicopters back in July 2013 without the express permission of the Legislative Assembly, five U.S. military helicopters were granted permission by Aviación Civil to land aT the Liberia airport, on Sunday.

The five (un-armed) helicopters – three UH-60 Black Hawk and two CH-47 Chinook, landed Sunday at the Daniel Oduber airport in Guanacaste, refueled and were in back in the air by 1:00pm, headed to Panama for an “aeromedical” operation, said Monday Juan Luis Vargas, acting director of the Air Surveillance Service (Servicio de Vigilancia Aérea of the Ministerio de Seguridad Publica).

The request for the landing was made by the U.S. Department of Defense to the Foreign Ministry on September 11. However, resolution 9122-2013 of the Constitutional Court ruled that “rests solely with the legislature (…) to give or withhold consent to the entry of foreign troops to national territory and for the stay of warships at (Costa Rican) ports and airports”.

The order followed the permission granted in July 2013 for the presence in Costa Rica of three Blackhawks, part of the security detail for the visit of U.S. President Barack Obama. In that instance, the U.S. military helicopters entered Costa Rica without prior authorization of the Legislature, as required by law.

US military helicopter in Liberia on Sunday
US military helicopter in Liberia on Sunday

In 2013, the Constitutional Court ruled that Aviacion Civil arrogated the Legislature.

Vargas claims that the authorization on Sunday was granted on the basis of a Bilateral Maritime Agreement.

The U.S. Embassy in Costa Rica told La Nacion in an email, that the helicopters “had all the required permits within the bilateral agreement between the United States and Costa Rica.”

“They are violating national sovereignty with military ships. The Attorney General and the Constitutional Court have demanded it happen only with the permission of the Legislative Assembly,” said legislator fo the Frente Amplio, Frank Camacho,

The statement coincided with the Partido Acción Ciudadana (PAC) legislative party whip, Otton Solis.

“It seems very serious to me. Costa Rica chose not to have military forces in the country. The presence of foreign forces have a procedure established in the Constitution,” said legislator Solis.

No word from Casa Presidencial (government house) on the matter.

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