QCOSTARICA – The international media continue reporting the increase in homicides and crimes in Costa Rica linked to drug trafficking.
Over the weekend, CBS News and the New York Post reported “alarming figures” of what is happening in Costa Rica.
CBS News, in its article titled “Drug trafficking blamed as homicides soar in Costa Rica”, pointed out that the record of more than 650 homicides is related to the growing violence of drug trafficking and how the government of Rodrigo Chaves tries to find a solution to the problem.
“The bloodshed in a country better known for its laid-back, “it’s all good” outlook and its lack of a standing army has stirred a public outcry as the administration of President Rodrigo Chaves scrambles for answers,” stated CBS News on April 1, 2023.
And that Costa Rica would have gone from being a “pass-through” or bridge for illicit drugs to becoming a “warehouse and transshipment site”, according to the article.
On the other hand, Costa Rica has lost the slogan of “Pura Vida” to be “besieged” by crime and drugs, especially in the Caribbean, according to the New York Post.
It also points out that drug traffickers have used the poverty of the coasts, luring Costa Rican fishermen into their network of drugs.
Both media outlets assure that drug trafficking has taken advantage of the unemployment experienced by the country’s youth.
“Costa Rica, laid-back land of ‘pura vida,’ succumbing to drug violence” is the Washington Post headline on the very topic.
The reports are not wrong. In February, President Chaves himself stated that “The increase in violence and the number of homicides reported by Costa Rica is the product of a gang war, drug trafficking and few opportunities for young people”.
Read more: Every 11 minutes there is a crime in Costa Rica
“We know of cases where drug traffickers who have been caught in boats ended up free because a Court determined that they were poor from origin (…) Here the Judiciary, the Government and the Legislative Assembly have to get to work to change, what some call extreme pandering in criminal matters and make things a little firmer,” said Chaves at that time.
The fear is that reports of Costa Rica’s current situation in the United States could negatively affect the tourist image of the country, since the U.S. is Costa Rica’s primary tourist market.
Despite the heightened alert, currently the State Department still categorizes Costa Rica as Level Two: Exercise Increased Caution, the same travel advisory it’s had in place since October 4, 2022.