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Friday, February 23, 2024

The Washington Post exposes Costa Rica’s drug and criminality issues

US newspaper The Washington Post published a report on the escalation of violence linked to drug trafficking in Costa Rica.

Costa Rica, the laid-back land of ‘pura vida,‘ succumbing to drug violence, narrates how the country’s conditions have been deteriorating, especially in coastal areas such as Puntarenas, where the story was published in the newspaper took place.

The report begins with the testimony of Maribel Sandí. This 59-year-old grandmother witnessed how a 21-year-old man was shot with an AK-47 assault rifle in a neighborhood located a few kilometers from Paseo de los Turistas, one of the most famous areas of Puntarenas.

Although Costa Rica has long been a model of progressive democracy in Latin America, the country is now grappling with a severe crisis. The journalist highlights that the country is immersed in escalating violence related to the international drug trafficking business.

“Now, this longtime refuge of tranquility is grappling with a jump in violence, driven by a little-remarked-on phenomenon that is bedeviling several Latin American countries. Once merely way stations for illegal drugs heading to the United States or Europe, they are suffering abuse problems of their own,” writer Mary Beth Sheridan stated.

Drug addiction has become a serious problem. In fact, the newspaper explained that “cocaine and crack have overtaken marijuana as the second-most-common category of substances for which Costa Rican addicts are receiving treatment, after alcohol.”

In addition, the journalist pointed out Costa Rica’s high homicide rate in 2021 and informed the country reported a record of 656 murders.

“The expanding drug-addiction crises in Latin America are exacerbated by a lack of professional police, effective judicial systems, and treatment facilities,” she added.

Of course, not only Costa Rica is facing this problem. That is why former president Laura Chinchilla, who was consulted by the newspaper, indicated that cooperation between the various Central American countries is necessary to deal with this situation.

“We continue to live practically with the same anti-drug policy we designed 30 years ago,” she told The Washington Post.

Undoubtedly, a great effort is required to restore the ‘pura vida’ of a nation characterized by its peacefulness. 

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