It has been 48 days – not hours – since the murder of 26-year-old Costa Rican turtle conservationist Jairo Mora. In that time there have been vigils, petitions and rewards offered by environmentalists. Officials in San José have responded with statements and assurances by the judicial system, and they have held several meetings. A U.S. congressman has even gotten involved. Yet the one thing there has not been is an arrest in the high-profile case.
Last week, Costa Rica’s Chief Prosecutor Jorge Chavarría said investigators had identified two suspects in the case, and he promised there would be important “news” this week. Yet instead of an arrest, that news appears to have been yet another meeting.
On Wednesday, Environment Minister René Castro and Public Security Vice Minister Celso Gamboa traveled to the prosecutor’s office in Limón to talk with Mora’s friends and family.
“We went to Limón because the Environment Ministry wanted to accompany Jairo Mora’s family and because we are working to understand why there hasn’t been justice in this case,” Castro said.
The ministers and Mora’s family met with the Limón’s Adjunct Prosecutor Alexander Mora, who, according to an Environment Ministry press release, assured them that the case is being taken seriously. Authorities are not releasing any additional information on the case.
“There is a sense of frustration among members of our organization. First of all we have the environment minister telling us things are going well, that they know who the suspects are. But this is the same thing they have been saying for months,” Didiher Chacón, director of WIDECAST, told crhoy.com on Tuesday.
Environmental groups are planning a protest for July 31, the two-month anniversary of Mora’s death. According to AmeliaRueda.com, protesters will meet at the Environment Ministry at 5 p.m. and march to the Judicial Investigation Police (OIJ) and the Legislative Assembly.
The purpose of the march is to keep pressure on the OIJ to make an arrest and to encourage transparency in the government’s process of creating a protected area in Mora’s name on the Caribbean coast.
Demonstrators also will pass around a petition that currently has more than 150,000 signatures asking for transparency in the formation of protected areas and the protection of those who care for them.
This story was updated at 12:05 p.m. on July 19 to include information about the July 31 demonstration.