“We are united and I know the commitment of the president (Alvarado) to fight corruption and confront this, as well as the corrosive impact it has, also the money that comes from drug trafficking and criminal organizations, and the impact on the partnerships. We are both very focused on this.”
In this way, the US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, responded to a query about the possible infiltration of drug trafficking in the highest spheres of Tico politics, after in the last two months links between deputies and alleged members of gangs dedicated to the international cocaine trafficking were revealed.
“We are extremely proud of our alliance with Costa Rica in every sense and in so many different areas, many of which we discussed today with the president and his cabinet ministers. Part of that has to do with significant assistance from the United States, both technical and financial, but everything is done in a spirit of alliance. We have had considerable results from the point of view of the security alliance and the assistance that is being given, with considerable drug interdiction,” explained the head of the Joe Biden’s administration diplomacy.
A similar response was given by the President of the Republic, Carlos Alvarado, when the press asked him to elaborate on his conversations with Blinken regarding organized crime and the information that emerged last week, from multiple visits to the Legislative Assembly by suspects of forming a group criminal.
“We have a joint concern in the matter of corruption, in the matter of the possible penetration (of drug trafficking) and it is part of the joint agenda that we have talked about strengthening to have a whole block in the security part. But also with a very important emphasis, all this has to be in function of protecting our people, our citizens, the people who live in the country, that is the approach that we are contemplating for this pillar and for the others that we have spoken about, environment, commerce, health … protect our health”, stressed the President.
In this sense, the President recalled the manifesto of “absolute rejection” of organized crime, signed by him, the president of Congress, Silvia Hernández; the president of the Supreme Court of Justice, Fernando Cruz; and the president of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE), Luis Antonio Sobrado. “There is one thing that is important to say, I believe that in no country are there institutions or people absolutely shielded from those risks,” Alvarado stressed. Instead, the President stressed the importance of crime prevention programs and highlighted the support provided by the US government.
Blinken highlighted the actions taken by Costa Rica in the fight against drug trafficking and highlighted the interdictions achieved in recent years, as the country broke its record for annual cocaine seizures in the last three years.
In addition to this, the Secretary of State rescued the investments announced by Vice President Kamala Harris, equivalent to $ 28 million of programs in Costa Rica for the care of “vulnerable migrants seeking asylum and internally displaced persons from other countries,” such as Venezuela and Nicaragua.
“This will involve more financial and technical assistance, bringing together our experts. That is so important, and that is why this alliance is both important and frankly valuable for us. Because Costa Rica enjoys something extraordinary and that is an abundance of human resources, the most important of resources, more than natural ones, than the size of the military forces and well, in the case of Costa Rica it does not have military forces. The important thing is human resources and we must connect our experts, to our peoples and our governments and I think that is where we are going to see even more robust work in our alliance,” said the diplomatic chief.
The US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, arrived on Costa Rican soil around 12:35 p.m. of May 1st, through flight SAM-188 from Camp Springs, Maryland. In this way, he makes his first visit to Latin America.
His arrival at the Juan Santamaría International Airport (AIJS), in Alajuela, was marked by an important security device that included the presence of officers from the Police Intervention Unit (UIP) and the General Directorate of Traffic Police (DGPT), to achieve his transfer to the Presidential House, in Zapote, San José.
The entourage led by Blinken is made up of:
Gloria Berbena, Chargé d’Affaires from the United States to Costa Rica.
Julie Chung, Acting Undersecretary for Western Hemisphere Affairs.
Ricardo Zúñiga, special envoy for the Northern Triangle of Central America.
Ned Price, spokesman for the State Department.
Tom Sullivan, deputy chief of staff.
Jessica Wrigh, Deputy Chief of Staff.
In the meeting with President Carlos Alvarado, topics such as security, environment, migration, trade, human rights, cooperation and the novel Coronavirus Pandemic were addressed, according to the participants of the meeting themselves.
Blinken participated in a meeting of the Central American Integration System (SICA) convened by the President, where the head of US diplomacy said he expected a commitment from regional authorities to address the problems that motivate the migration of thousands of Central Americans to the United States.