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Saturday, December 2, 2023

Costa Rica Refutes Cartel Deal Claims, Vows Probe

Following the publication in the Mexican newspaper El Universal, which alleged a negotiation between the Costa Rican government and cartels in the Central American nation to decrease street violence in exchange for allowing continued drug trafficking, reactions came swiftly.

The Chaves-Robles administration issued a press release refuting the accusations and emphasized that no negotiations are underway.

“The Chaves-Robles Administration vehemently denies the claim made by El Universal which suggests a negotiation with Costa Rican drug traffickers associated with the Sinaloa and Jalisco Nueva Generación cartels,” the government statement read.

The government also underscored that there is no kind of agreement or negotiation “with criminals” as it contradicts their approach to curbing violence.

Furthermore, officials spotlighted the success of Operacion Soberania and Costa Rica Segura Plus, which they believe contribute to the reduction of crime, violence, and drug trafficking.

“The most prominent result of Operation Sovereignty is that since its launch, not a single kilo of cocaine has been transported from the port of APM Terminals to Europe. This represents a significant loss for the Colombian Mafias and Mexican Cartels that utilized our primary Atlantic port as a conduit to ship cocaine to Europe, garnering profits in the hundreds of millions. No truck accidents involving the scanners or failures in electricity, voltage, and internet will deter us,” the Executive Branch elaborated.

Mario Zamora, the Minister of Security, also announced that the government plans to file a criminal report with the Public Prosecutor’s Office. He also invited the journalist from El Universal for a face-to-face discussion on the allegations.

Other Responses

Gilberth Jiménez, PLN representative and member of the Security and Drug Trafficking Commission, disclosed that the commission is contemplating initiating a formal inquiry into the published accusations, which he deems serious. The proposed investigation may summon the current minister Zamora, Jorge Torres, the former head of the Ministry, and even the journalist.

Additionally, legislators Priscila Vindas of the Frente Amplio, and Andrea Álvarez of the PLN, labeled the allegation as “extremely concerning” and called for comprehensive explanations from the Executive Branch.

Former President Laura Chinchilla shared her thoughts via X (Twitter) and underlined the severity of the situation.

“This is the gravest accusation I’ve ever seen. It’s something that should captivate the attention of judicial authorities, deputies, local journalists, and the general public. Costa Rica must avoid spiraling into criminal governance as seen in other nations. Engaging with criminals is not only morally, politically, and legally reprehensible, but above all, it betrays our nation,” she conveyed.

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