QCOSTARICA – Less than a week after President Rodrigo Chaves announced his plan to curb crime, the ruling government party Partido Progreso Social Democrático (PPSD) a bill that would allow the extradition of Costa Ricans in cases of terrorism and drug trafficking.
The proposal implies a constitutional reform, since currently the Constitution, in its article 32, does not allow a Costa Rican to be compelled to leave the country.
In case the initiative is approved, the courts will then determine the decision on extradition.
According to the UN Global Report on Cocaine 2023 at the end of March, the Sinaloa and Jalisco Nueva Generación cartels of Mexico, in alliance with Colombian drug traffickers, dispute drug trafficking routes and Costa Rican territory.
As a consequence, the violence experienced in Mexico and Colombia is also transferred to Costa Rica and other Latin American countries.
And it is that the gangs do not work together to get their drugs to the United States and Europe mainly, but wage a war among themselves and against local drug traffickers to seize the shipments.
Currently, Costa Rica registers a record number of homicides due to the increase mainly in conflicts between these rival gangs. It is expected that by the end of the year, the country will have a record number of some 900 homicides.
“The increase in violence in Central America has been driven primarily by competition with local drug traffickers and among various gangs (…) At the behest of the Mexican-Colombian collaboration, individuals linked to the Sinaloa cartel are using their management skills to penetrate the territory of Costa Rica together with the Colombians. It is also believed that Mexican assassins are behind the wave of violence in Costa Rica, where local traffickers have been assassinated to be replaced by members of Colombian-Mexican groups”, the UN report, released in March 2023, indicates.
InSightCrime.com analyzed the report’s main findings and their implications for Latin America, in which it states that:
- Colombia, the world’s largest cocaine producer, saw just under 2,000 tons of cocaine manufactured in 2020, the last year for which the complete data could be confirmed. This set a new production record for Colombia, doubling the quantity produced in 2014.
- The report found that purity levels for cocaine in Europe surpass those found in the United States. Cocaine purity has been increasing steadily in both markets since 2012. But both regions regularly see cocaine of over 60% purity for sale, with purity levels now more stable in Europe than in the United States.
- While the cocaine business is doing well in Colombia and much of Europe, Brazil saw a drop-off during and after the pandemic. Due to the distance cocaine needs to travel to reach Brazil and then to cross the country to its ports, traffickers faced a logistical squeeze, the report found.
- One of the most eye-catching statistics from the UN report was the 400% spike in cocaine seizures across Africa in 2021, compared to the average of the five previous years. Transit routes now crisscross the continent, catering to local markets in South Africa and Angola or heading across west and north Africa to reach Europe.
- The UN report also focused on how communities across Latin America that sit directly on major trade routes are facing increasing challenges. While drug trafficking and violence have gone hand-in-hand along national borders for decades, the report pointed out historically poor and vulnerable populations are suffering more than ever.