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Sunday, December 3, 2023

Juntos por Puntarenas: U.S. Funds Costa Rican Community Uplift

The U.S. Embassy in Costa Rica announced the program “Juntos por Puntarenas” (Together for Puntarenas), an initiative that aims to enhance security and prosperity in the province. The investments amount to nearly $11 million, encompassing new security assistance as well as economic and educational opportunities.

“In collaboration with the people of Puntarenas, congressmen, and mayors, this effort encompasses a variety of new programs and financial support,” the Embassy stated.

This project builds upon the “Sembremos Seguridad” program. This is a solid coordination between the embassy, the central government, local governments, and communities. Its goal is to bolster community safety and counteract the influence of organized crime by offering academic, sports, artistic, and cultural programs to the province’s youth.

According to the Embassy, there are several other new projects in the pipeline. These include constructing a dock and a Coast Guard station in Puntarenas, establishing another station for the Border Police, and launching new initiatives aimed at the youth and female entrepreneurs of Puntarenas.

U.S. Ambassador Cynthia Telles emphasized the significance of collaboration as a cornerstone for progress. She pledged to “work side by side to transform the Pearl of the Pacific into a beacon of hope and promise for the forthcoming generations.”

The Projects

Officials elaborated that the initiative comprises numerous current and prospective investments that the community will benefit from.

Initially, there’s a focus on expanding community programs. This includes prevention centers, municipal bands, and the Police Athletic League. These are geared toward enhancing the bond between the police force and the communities they serve.

An investment of $1.9 million has been earmarked for artistic, cultural, and sports projects for the youth. This encompasses the Safe Place in El Huerto (Fray Casiano community hall), a project being undertaken in collaboration with UNICEF.

Included in this package is the donation of new sports gear for the Barranca Sports Club. This club offers soccer training to 250 young residents of Puntarenas.

There are plans to construct a $7.4 million Coast Guard station and a dock in Puntarenas. Currently in the design stage, this project is slated for completion by 2026. Moreover, a new station for the Border Police and patrol boats in Rio Sierpe are in the works, carrying an estimated price tag of $1.3 million.

Another major highlight involves upgrading the infrastructure for the National Coast Guard in Drake Bay and Caldera. This includes docks and maintenance stations.

The Embassy also confirmed its plans to broaden the support for Puntarenas’ women entrepreneurs via the Academia de Mujeres Emprendedoras program. There’s also a heightened focus on countering human trafficking and child sexual exploitation throughout the province.

Lastly, promoting sustainable fishing practices is on the agenda. This move is intended to deter illegal fishing activities in the Gulf of Nicoya and ensure the conservation of fishery resources.

“The United States remains a steadfast ally and supporter of Costa Rica and its citizens, especially those who are most vulnerable. This aid project in Puntarenas stands as a testament to this commitment, and we express our profound gratitude,” remarked the Minister of Public Security, Mario Zamora.

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