Saturday, 28 November 2020

Laura Chinchilla: Organized Crime ‘Sneaks Into The Cracks Of Our Institutions’

Former president of Costa Rica, Laura Chinchilla Miranda (2010-2014). Photo DIANA MÉNDEZ / La Nacion
Former president of Costa Rica, Laura Chinchilla Miranda (2010-2014). Photo DIANA MÉNDEZ / La Nacion

QCOSTARICA – Amid news of the infiltration of alleged drug traffickers in state institutions and the wave of murders attributed to organized crime, former president Laura Chinchilla (201-2014) said the situation is overwhelming current authorities.

In an interview with La Nacion, Chinchilla warned about the need to close loopholes allowing the penetration of organized crime (mafia) in politics and state institutions, that can slip through any crack in the system.

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She urges transparency in both financing campaigns of political parties, as in the current municipal elections, and assets of state officials. The former president also advocates the adoption of a law that allows authorities to confiscate property that cannot be justified, (ie purchases made with drug money).

“It requires greater action from the leadership of the branches of government,” said Chinchilla, who expressed concern of the weakened coordination at the highest level.

“Organized crime never knocks on the door, it does not ask permission to enter; simply sneaks through the cracks of our institutions,” is how Chinchilla describes the situation and that she had to be careful during her leadership.

The former president added that the given the current situation, the mechanisms and legislation currently at the disposal of agencies like the, Dirección de Inteligencia y Seguridad (DIS), the Policía de Control de Drogas (PCD) and the Organismo de Investigación Judicial (OIJ), among others, is limited.

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Without finger-pointing, Chinchilla says that in recent months there has been a weakening in many areas such as lack of police presence in conflictive areas; feeling of abandonment (by the authorities) by some communities, empowering organized criminal groups; monitoring of results; and an effective implementation of resource allocation, among others.

“The same authorities have recognized that the situation has overwhelmed them. I confirm this on the basis of data published by the national press and the judicial and police statistics,” said Chinchilla.

Asked what she thinks is happening to the country as a society and why do so many people give in to the temptation of participating in organized crime?  The former president answers that she is convinced that in Costa Rica there are many more good people than those being swayed by the mafia groups.

“Ambition” and “greed for easy money” are the two motives leading people, ignorant of the implications, to join criminal groups, according to Chinchilla.

“Once inside, they cannot get out, and if they try, it is at the expense of their life or that of their families. While impunity grows, there will be a greater incentive to go over to the side of illegality,” says the former president.

Does it make sense to keepdrugs illegal? That allows the emergence of strong mafias that move the drugs in any way?

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Chinchilla said if we make drugs not illegal, organize crime will always find ways of doing business in violation of the law, in areas like human trafficking, child pornography, illegal migration, arms trafficking, and more.

“It is clear that we have to fight against organized crime through stronger, transparent and efficient institutions, essential to ensure the prevalence of the rule of law and democracy,” says Laura Chinchilla.

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