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Wikileaks: U.S. trained C.R. riot police during CAFTA protests

March 3, 2011

The United States embassy in Costa Rica provided logistical support and police training to local authorities to deal with civilians protesting the approval of the Central America Free Trade Agreement on Feb. 26, 2007, according to the latest WikiLeaks cables published by the daily La Nación.

Embassy staff agreed to rent 10 buses and provide transportation to police members into the main areas where outbreaks of violence were most likely to occur. Members of the embassy staff also supervised riot control training administered by Colombian police forces to the Costa Rican riot police.

Fernando Berrocal, former Public Security Minister, also allowed an unidentified expert in political affairs to participate in two meetings to discuss “pre-protest strategies” with local authorities.

Most of the training aimed to keep police forces from engaging in physical confrontation with the protesters, an objective that strengthened the government position, according to the cables. 

This cooperation took place while Mark Langdale was the appointed U.S. ambassador to Costa Rica.

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