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HomeCosta RicaCosta Rica's New Visa Mandate for Hondurans Amid Security Woes

Costa Rica’s New Visa Mandate for Hondurans Amid Security Woes

In a significant shift, Costa Rica has instituted a new visa mandate for Honduran citizens seeking to enter the country. The move represents a toughening of the nation’s immigration policies towards its northern neighbor amid rising security concerns.

The decision was detailed on Monday by Public Security Minister Mario Zamora. He cited growing links between irregular Honduran groups and escalating crime in Costa Rican border zones like Limón as rationale behind the new protocol.

“It’s alarming when in Limón, you find one of the predominant gangs is actually named ‘The Hondurans’. Just last week, authorities detained a Honduran with military ties for alleged illicit acts,” described Zamora.

The minister also referenced customs records showing armored vehicles repeatedly entering from Honduras, often claimed by individuals from there. He suggested potential collaboration between Honduran gangs and Costa Rican criminals motivated the visa requirements.

Zamora pointed to a broader context of irregular groups expanding southward from North America, which presents security challenges at every border crossing point. “Our immigration barriers must now leverage protection to safeguard against the growing influence of hitmen and organized crime from Honduras,” he stated.

The sudden visa imposition, published over the weekend in the official state journal La Gaceta, generated confusion and criticism from Honduran citizens and officials alike. Many sought urgent clarification on Costa Rica’s reasoning behind such an unexpected move.

Defending the decision, Minister Zamora asserted immigration controls represent key tools for maintaining internal order and sovereignty when intelligence suggests substantial risks are present.

“We’ll use these strategies judiciously, especially when our expertise indicates pressing needs for decisions of this scale,” he emphasized.

The Honduran government responded in kind, notifying they will also mandate visas for Costa Ricans looking to enter as a result of these policies.

While jarring Honduras and straining bilateral ties, Costa Rica feels tightened border security is currently essential. However, the nation assures it will reopen channels once threats tied to irregular Honduran activity are addressed.

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