Manfred Barberena and Marco Calzada were killed in San Jose. According to police reports, 23-year-old Barberena and 19-year-old Calzada were stabbed. These unfortunate events have deeply shocked and saddened Costa Ricans, who are outraged by the lack of security in the country.
The first murder occurred on June 24, when Barberena was attacked after leaving work at 10:00 p.m. while waiting for the bus to return home. The young man died on Sunday, June 26, at the Calderón Guardia Hospital after being stabbed several times in the back and thorax after an assailant intercepted him in Cuesta de Moras to steal his belongings.
After being attacked, Manfred Barberena asked for help at a local store and was taken to the hospital, where he died two days after.
The Judicial Investigation Agency (OIJ) confirmed that a 23-year-old man suspected of Barberena’s murder was arrested on June 28.
His family and friends remember him as a humble, honest person who always smiled. They described him as a hardworking, generous person who loved helping others.
On the other hand, young Marco Calzada was reported missing on Saturday night. Calzada was enjoying a night out with his friends. A few hours later, he was found dead near San Jose’s Barrio Chino with two stab wounds. It is presumed that the attack was carried out to steal his cell phone.
According to the Judicial Investigation Organism (OIJ), at about 11:30 p.m., the young man was intercepted by two individuals, who attacked him with a knife in the neck and abdomen, killing him on the spot.
Marco Calzada had just turned 19 last week and was starting to study Data Engineering at Lead University. He was very religious, participating as a missionary in the Schoenstatt Catholic movement and with a deep love and devotion to God and the Virgin Mary.
Marco’s friends and family remember him as a young man full of love, a great brother, son, and friend who always sought to bring others closer to God and help them in any way he could.
The San José Municipal Police director, Marcelo Solano, explained that cameras are showing the possible killers. In the case of Marco Calzada, two of them were reportedly handed over to the authorities by their parents.
“These events are not new; the Plaza de la Democracia has already had a police approach for drug trafficking and other criminal activity. It is a dark and busy area,” he explained.
Undoubtedly, both murders have struck a deep chord in the hearts of Costa Ricans, who are clamoring to address the problem of insecurity.
Homicide statistics from the Judicial Investigation Organism (OIJ) show that in the four districts that make up the central area of San José, 12 homicides have been registered as of July 5.
Those involved in the homicide of Marco Calzada were allegedly minors. In the case of Manfred Barberena, he was a man who had been brought to justice at least 92 times on different charges.
Through social networks, Costa Ricans demonstrated, calling for real changes to stop violence.
Costa Rica faces an epidemic of violence that must be eradicated. Costa Ricans want to recover public spaces, be able to go for a walk without fear and to recover the peace and tranquility that characterized the country for a long time.
Mario Calzada, Marco Calzada’s father, said a few words at his son’s funeral that have echoed in Costa Rican homes.
“Costa Rica and the world do not need fewer criminals; it needs more families that get involved with many young people who are in huge problems. Many families lack love and lack Christ; we need more of us that are willing to help. We need to help so many people who have emptiness in their hearts, who fall into drug addiction, who fall into addictions,” he expressed.
In addition, the Bishop of Tilarán recalled the need to address social problems integrally.
“This crime is a symptom of a social problem that cannot be solved with more repression but with more real opportunities for study, work, economic wellbeing, and access to culture. There is a lack of education in values!” he emphasized.
It is expected that the Ministry of Security and the local police will develop a plan and implement measures to monitor the areas that have been recognized as dangerous.