It appears that Costa Rica’s reputation as the Switzerland of Central America may be a thing of the past. The country’s Congress has just authorized the presence of 46 U.S. Navy vessels off the Costa Rican coasts between July 1 and Dec. 31 of this year to conduct anti-narcotic operations and humanitarian missions. Besides the ships, which have a capacity to transport 200 helicopters and planes, 7,000 Marines will be allowed to enter and leave the country at will, without restriction.
Opposition parties Citizen Action (CAP), Unidad Social Cristiana (PUSC) and Frente Amplio (FA) have expressed dismay at the deal, claiming that the sheer number of ships, helicopters and Marines involved is vastly out of proportion to the threat posed by drug trafficking. The deputy of the PUSC, Luis Fishman, also believes that the presence of American troops violates Costa Rica’s sovereignty. With Costa Rica being home to a vast number of U.S.-facing online gambling sites for which the U.S. has no great love, will we now see a stampede of operators heading for friendlier climes, like, say, Antigua?
To read a Spanish-language article on the subject, click here.