Costa Rica News – Costa Rica has been nicknamed “the Switzerland of Central America,” due to its reputation of peace and opportunity. Many U.S. citizens visit each year to take advantage of the natural beauty, eco-tourism market, wildlife watching tours, and adventure activities offered in this land without an army.Some even choose to retire here to enjoy the “pura vida” lifestyle along with friendly locals. So what would make Obama interested in spying on this near perfect and purely pacifist country?
The U.S. has been conducting electronic surveillance on Costa Rica through the NSA, the National Security Agency. When this news went public, President Laura Chinchilla was quoted as follows, “To me, as a citizen of a disarmed democracy like Costa Rica, these things bother me, I don’t like it.” Costa Ricans want to know the reason behind these actions. Washington has yet to explain why they want information about Costa Rica but it is suspected that it has to do with the country’s rising position in Latin American drug trade. Drug smugglers have been using Costa Rica to transport drugs north from Colombia and Panama because there is no army, few police, lose border control, and extended coastlines.
The government is not prepared to efficiently handle this issue so the U.S. has sent financial assistance by means of the “Mérida Initiative” as well as donated interceptor boats, police training, and night goggles, at the Chinchilla administration’s request.
Still, cocaine is passing through and some is staying in the country because of the drug cartels that have moved in. The local drug market is being fed which leads to other crimes such as homicide and robbery.
Though Chinchilla is grateful for the help from the United States, she seems to have been unaware of the spying that has been going on. She stated that it’s an issue for Central American’s to discuss because they are the ones most affected.
One of her ideas is to loosen wiretapping laws to better combat the drug trafficking problem. There’s the possibility that she was allowing the spying in order to solidify U.S. help in setting up tracking equipment and other technological aid for the local officials to use against this growing problem. She said of the NSA scandal that it “has opened a broad discussion on what should be the balance between the protection of the security of a nation and its citizens, as opposed to respecting the rights of other nations.”