QCOSTARICA – ‘Operación Diamante’ (Operation Diamond) brought to the mind of many in Costa Rica the mayor par excellence of corruption who rules the city of Springfield, in the animated television series The Simpsons.
This fictional character, Mayor Joseph Fitzgerald O’Malley Fitzpatrick O’Donnell The Edge “Joe” Quimby, nicknamed Diamond Joe (José Diamante in Latin America), unfaithful, unscrupulous, took bribes from Fat Tony — Springfield’s most dangerous mobster — embezzled public funds, paid witnesses to free his nephew from trial, and is more than known for his love affairs than his marriage.
The character from The Simpsons took unexpected notoriety in Costa Rica on Monday, November 15, due to the Organismo de Investigacion Judicial (OIJ) and the Public Ministry operation that saw the arrested of six mayors from various municipalities in Costa Rica, for alleged corruption.
Social networks reacted to the coincidence of the name of the operation. However, Wálter Espinoza, director of the OIJ assures that the name of the case has nothing to do with Diamante character on The Simpsons, that they were not inspired by this character to name the most recent case of corruption involving municipalities and private companies MECO and Explotec.
“They (the agents) thought of diamante as a very hard transparent substance that is very difficult to alter, that does not withstand scratches and they made a similarity to that concept for what should be the probity of a public official,” explained Espinoza.
Regardless of whether the name is inspired or not by the political fiction, the following is a review of some of the most scandalous actions of the questioned head of the local government of the city of The Simpsons, a series that in itself accumulates a long history of coincidences with the real life.
“Those who in some way baptize (name) the operations after the cases are generally the people who carry out the police investigation, in this case, they thought of the diamond as a transparent substance, very hard, that is very difficult to alter, that does not admit blemishes, that does not support scratches. They made assimilation of that concept for what the probity of the public official should be. In other words, the probity of the public official, his honesty, and his way of behaving must be like a diamond, transparent, luminous, clear, hard, and absolutely free from the possibility of blows, such as those that the country receives in this case from of corruption. This is the circumstance, it has nothing to do with the other thing that you raised (The Simpsons),” declared the police chief.
So far, the operation has accumulated 12 detentions, six of them mayors, namely the mayor of San José and former presidencial candidate in 2014, Johnny Araya; the mayor of Cartago, Mario Redondo; Alfredo Córdoba Soro, from San Carlos; Humberto Soto Herrera, from Alajuela; Alberto Cole De León, from Osa, and the mayor of Escazú, Arnoldo Barahona Cortés.
All six spent their first night in the OIJ jail cells in the basement of the Goicoechea criminal courts building, where today, Tuesday, November 16, they will face a judge to determine cautionary measures that could include preventive detention (remand) to freedom while awaiting the progress of the investigation and trial.
At the center of the case is the construction company MECO, one of the most important in the country, that recruited officials and created a bribery network to win municipal contracts, says Prosecutor’s Office.
“The concentric point is the MECO company, which is the one that participates in the bids, the one that generates accommodations in the tenders, the one that makes suggestions, the one that cancels gifts and the municipalities function as areas in which money can be obtained beyond of which a tender would normally produce,” Espinoza said.
MECO’s owner, Carlos Cerdas, is currently in preventive detention in the Cochinilla case.