Anger in Costa Rica over deal to ‘invite’ 46 US warships in the war on Drugs
2010 07 12
By Daniel Tencer | rawstory.com
Costa Ricans suspect 'ulterior motive' in permitting large numbers of US troops
Opposition leaders in Costa Rica are up in arms over an agreement between the country and the United States that reportedly allows 46 US warships and 7,000 US Marines to enter the country as part of an anti-drug effort.
According to several Costa Rican news sources, the government there signed an agreement with the US last week to extend an 11-year-old cooperative program aimed at eradicating the maritime drug trade.
But opponents say this year's deal differs from previous ones in that it allows US warships to enter the country. Previously, opponents say, only US Coast Guard vessels were allowed to enter Costa Rican territory. The new agreement expires on December 31 of this year.
A committee of the People's Movement political party said the deal turns Costa Rica into a "US protectorate" and brings the country into "a new phase of military occupation," according to the Costa Rican newspaper El Pais.
Costa Rica's Nacion newspaper reported last week that the new agreement will see 7,000 US Marines, supported by 200 helicopters and 46 warships, "enter and leave the country at will." The paper also cited a June 2 letter from Costa Rica to the US declaring that US troops will have "the right to carry out the activities it deems necessary in carrying out its mission."
Inside Costa Rica reports that opposition leaders see the US military force as disproportionately large compared to the problem of Central American drug-running.
Luis Fishman, head of the Christian Social Unity Party, said the deal amounts to a "blank check" for US forces in Costa Rica. "We cannot support the illegal; we cannot allow our Constitution to be trampled," he said, as quoted by ICR.
Inside Costa Rica reports:
FA legislator José María Villalta questioned the conditions under which the permission was granted, since US personnel "will enjoy freedom of movement and the right to carry out the activities needed to fulfill their mission".
The FA also urged consideration of the geopolitical situation in which naval forces will be allowed to enter a region considered by Washington as part of its sphere of influence.
The legislator recalled that the US applies in the region a "strategy of complete dominance", which includes offensive actions such as the coup d'etat in Honduras and the installation of military bases in Colombia.
Writing at Inside Costa Rica, John Holtz says the fact that the deal allows such a large US troop presence, allows warships rather than Coast Guard vehicles, and expires rapidly at the end of this year, has made many Costa Ricans suspicious of the US and Costa Rican governments' motives.
"This story is not going away and for sure the pro–con arguments will grow exponentially as will the theories and hidden agenda accusations. A military presence of this magnitude on foreign soil with what amounts to be a 'blank check' is serious stuff and fodder for speculation," he writes.
The US State Department says the US-Costa Rica Maritime Cooperation Agreement, first signed in 1999, "facilitates cooperation between the Coast Guard of Costa Rica and the US Coast Guard."
It says the program "has resulted in a growing number of narcotics seizures, illegal migrant rescues, illegal fishing seizures, and search-and-rescue missions."
Latest News from our Front Page
People are merging with machines
2014 10 20
Ian Burkhart concentrated hard. A thick cable protruded from the crown of his shaven head. A sleeve sprouting wires enveloped his right arm. The 23 - year-old had been paralysed from the neck down since a diving accident four years ago. But, in June this year, in a crowded room in the Wexner Medical Centre at Ohio State University, Burkhart’s ...
Illegal Aliens Cleared For U.S. Military Service
2014 10 18
The Pentagon announced a new policy allowing illegal immigrants the opportunity to enlist in the armed forces, Thursday.
USA Today reports that the new recruitment policies will focus on people with "high-demand skills" like foreign language acumen and health care training:
"For the first time, the program — known as Military Accessions in the National Interest, or MAVNI — will ...
Bronze Age Sundial-Moondial Discovered in Russia
2014 10 16
A strange slab of rock discovered in Russia more than 20 years ago appears to be a combination sundial and moondial from the Bronze Age, a new study finds.
The slab is marked with round divots arranged in a circle, and an astronomical analysis suggests that these markings coincide with heavenly events, including sunrises and moonrises.
The sundial might be "evidence of ...
Humans may only survive 68 days on Mars
2014 10 15
Space enthusiasts planning a move to Mars may have to wait to relocate: conditions on the Red Planet are such that humans would likely begin dying within 68 days, a new study says.
Oxygen levels would start to deplete after about two months and scientists said new technologies are required before humans can permanently settle on Mars, according to the study ...
Tom Sunic’s letter to the US Ambassador to Hungary
2014 10 14
October 11, 2014
Mr. André Goodfriend
Embassy of the United States of America
Szabadság tér 12
Dear Mr. Goodfriend,
As an American citizen I would hereby like to express my concern over the recent decision by the Hungarian government to ban the National Policy Institute (NPI) conference which had been scheduled to take place in Budapest from October 3 to October 5, 2014. ...
|More News » |