Thursday, 22 October 2020

U.S. Explains to Costa Rica why it raised the alert level for travelers

Costa Rica was told of the difficulty of getting the country back to the previous risk level.

The Office of Consular Affairs of the U.S. State Department reaffirmed to Costa Rica’s Ambassador Fernando Llorca, in Washington D.C., on Friday, January 24, that the reasons for raising the alert level for people traveling to Costa Rica is due to a change in the criteria with which all nations are evaluated.

In the photo, Foreign Minister Manuel Ventura (standing) with his counterpart, U.S. Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, during his visit to Costa Rica last week

In a press release, the Costa Rican Foreign Ministry said that the Ambassador was shown that the level previously occupied by Costa Rica, to which the country wishes to return, “is now very difficult to achieve”.

It added that the adjustment in the methodology will imply that the level of warning will be reallocated on most countries.

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“They also stressed that they do not expect that there will be an impact on the tourist attraction of the country for the US market and that these warnings are not ‘categories or notes’ for a given country, but simply, a recommendation given to travelers seeking prevention and that they are attentive to their surroundings during their stay abroad,” says the statement from Casa Amarilla (Ministry of Foreign Affairs in San Jose).

On January 6, the U.S. government informed the Instituto Costarricense de Turismo (ICT) – Tourism Board, that it increased the security alert to travel to Costa Rica from level 1, in which tourists are urged to take normal precautions, to level 2, in which urges travelers to increase care.

Last week, during his visit to Costa Rica, the U.S. Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, promised to check if the country’s reclassification was correct. The meeting between Llorca and the officers of the Office of Consular Affairs was held in response to the agreement between Pompeo and Costa Rica President Carlos Alvarado.

During the meeting with Carl C. Risch, Undersecretary of Consular Affairs and Karin M. King, Deputy Undersecretary of Citizen Services Abroad, told Llorca of the difficulty of getting Costa Rica back to the previous risk level.

The Costa Rican ambassador presented the recent achievements in public security, that Costa Rica had in 2019 a decrease in the murder rate and in the number of tourist robberies.

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“It was also noted that Costa Rica is the most successful country in the region for the joint confiscation of drugs, having reached more than 81 metric tons of cocaine and marijuana in the present administration,” the Foreign Ministry said.

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