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Monday, May 20, 2024

Costa Rica Reaches Grim 900 Homicides Milestone in 2023

Costa Rica has sadly reached the grim milestone of 900 homicides in 2023. This represents an unprecedented figure in the country’s history, causing deep concern among both authorities and citizens.

The Judicial Investigation Agency confirmed that early this morning, at approximately 12:10 a.m., a 33-year-old man named Acuña was fatally shot in Lomas del Río, Pavas. His lifeless body was discovered on the street, bearing at least six gunshot wounds to the head.

The statistics are truly alarming, with one person being murdered every 9.6 hours throughout the year.

“We have been issuing warnings about this almost since the beginning of the year, emphasizing the urgent need for extraordinary measures by the Ministry of Security and greater coordination with the Judicial Investigation Organism to implement containment and prevention efforts. This was to prevent reaching the unfortunate milestone we are facing today — 900 homicides,” expressed Gustavo Mata, the former Minister of Security.

The primary motive behind these violent deaths appears to be score-settling or revenge, resulting in nearly 600 cases, almost 200 more than the previous year. This underscores that homicides are largely attributed to drug gangs vying for territorial control and drug sales within the country.

Firearms, including pistols, rifles, or large-caliber weapons, are identified as the primary contributors to these deaths, accounting for 726 murders, according to data from the OIJ.

“Numerous warnings were issued regarding the imperative need to take urgent measures to prevent this surge in violence from breaking historical records. Unfortunately, we find ourselves now at 900 homicides,” lamented Daniel Calderon, former director of the Public Security Forces and former vice minister of Security.

San José and Limón persist as the provinces with the highest number of murders in 2023, each exceeding 200 cases.

Authorities project that 2023 will conclude with a figure close to 915 homicides. They express concern that, given the current scenario, this figure may be surpassed again in 2024.

“We anticipate a very similar trend for the upcoming year, potentially with an even higher figure. In addition to being a cocaine warehouse for the South, we have observed an increase in domestic consumption,” added Mata.

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