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U.S. Police Academy Proposal Floundered

January 21, 2005

A proposal by the United States tocreate an International Law EnforcementAcademy (ILEA) in Costa Rica was practicallynullified this year after U.S. negotiatorsrefused to accept various interpretativeclauses proposed by the LegislativeAssembly.The controversial academy, whichwould have trained police officers fromCosta Rica and other countries to combatproblems such as weapons and drug trafficking,was denounced by opponents as amilitary training center that would not bein keeping with Costa Rica’s tradition ofpeace.In March, Costa Rica demanded theright to exclude military personnel fromother countries, who carry out duties normallyreserved for civil police officers inplaces such as Nicaragua, Colombia,Venezuela and Chile – something theUnited States refused to accept.At the time, U.S. Embassy spokesmanPeter Brennan said the academy wouldhave afforded Costa Rica the opportunityto contribute to the fight against transnationalcrimes, some of the biggest problemsCosta Rican law enforcement officersface. He also said there would havebeen no military subject matter in thecourses and no military personnel wouldhave worked as instructors.The academy would have been thefourth of its kind outside U.S. territory,following installations in Hungary,Thailand and Botswana.At year-end, the U.S. government waslooking at other countries to install thecontroversial academy.

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