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Embassy Killings Horrified Country

January 21, 2005

COSTA Ricans were horrified by theJuly slayings of three diplomats at theChilean Embassy in the eastern San Josédistrict of Los Yoses.Local police officer José OrlandoJiménez shot and killed embassy staffersChristian Yuseff, Roberto Nieto andRocío Sariego, all Chileans, on the afternoonof July 27 before turning the gun onhimself. Jiménez had been stationed as aguard at the embassy for two years.Five other employees barricaded themselvesin a room in the building duringJiménez’ six-hour standoff with police.The event prompted a review of securityprocedures at embassies in San José,as well as an outpouring of sympathy andsolidarity with the people of Chile duringa three-day period of mourning.Chilean Ambassador Guillermo Yungewas not present at the time. He was heavilycriticized for comments he made in thewake of the killings and for not returningto Chile to attend the funerals of hisstaffers. He resigned shortly thereafter.It was later revealed that Jiménez,described as a model officer, had hadclashes with embassy staff over use of theparking lot.Nieto’s family, which earlier had saidit planned to sue the government of CostaRica in connection with the slayings, laterannounced it would seek an out-of-courtsettlement to avoid a drawn-out battle fordamages in the courts.At year’s end, the Public SecurityMinistry announced it would assign a speciallytrained force of 132 officers to guardall diplomatic posts. The creation of thenew security division was part of a series ofrecommendations made by a special commissioncreated in mid-August in responseto the embassy slayings–

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