QCOSTARICA – With only a few days before the end of the first three months of the year, Costa Rica already has recorded 203 homicides, according to the Organismo de Investigación Judicial (OIJ).
This is 49 more murders compared to the same period last year, with San José being the province with the most violence, with 52 murders.
Daniel Calderón, director of the Fuerza Publica (National Police), pointed out that they are particularly concerned about the numbers reported in Guanacaste and Puntarenas, adding that Semana Santa represents a challenge for them given the current panorama of violence.
Read more: Every 11 minutes there is a crime in Costa Rica
At issue is also the fact that, while in addition to homicides, the country has seen an increase in common crime and drug trafficking, however, the number of police is even less than ten years ago, according to statistics from the Ministry of Public Security and the OIJ.
The fiscal deficit and budget cuts – mainly from 2018 to date – would explain part of the phenomenon, but also the growth of the war between gangs mainly for drugs and territory; in addition to the difficult economic situation that affects thousands of families due to unemployment and social exclusion.
The news of Costa Rica’s increased violence has made headlines in the international press.
One of those is The Washington Post, which published that Costa Rica succumbed to drug trafficking.
The report titled “Costa Rica, laid-back land of ‘pura vida,’ succumbing to drug violence” reports on insecurity in the country
The US publication reports that, so far this year, Costa Rica has recorded five times more murders than El Salvador.
“Despite the fact that Costa Rica has been a model of progressive democracy for many years in Latin America, it is now dealing with a jump in violence, driven by a little-commented phenomenon that is afflicting several Latin American countries.
“This former haven of tranquility is dealing with a surge in violence, fueled by a little-reported phenomenon that is afflicting several Latin American countries,” the article says.
The tourism sector regretted the impact on the country’s image after the publication by the Washington Post in the United States and other media, such as El País in Spain, key countries in attracting tourists to Costa Rica, on the wave of violence in the country.
In January, the Instituto Costarricense de Turismo (ICT) – Costa Rican Tourism Board – shared that foreign visitors perceive the country as a ‘safe’ destination, obtaining a score of 93% of the evaluations.
Shirley Calvo, Executive Director of the Cámara Nacional de Turismo (CANATUR) – National Chamber of Tourism, stated that if the wave of violence continues, the perception of the country would be impacted in the long term.