Hosting U.S. ships ruled to not be unconstitutional

The Sala IV constitutional court, by a split vote, has rejected a challenge to Costa Rica’s agreement to operate joint maritime patrols.

As part of the agreement, the legislature votes every six months to allow U.S. Coast Guard and Navy vessels to dock in ports here for supplies and shore leave.

The high court reported that it did not find a cause for action. The challenge had been made by opposition legislators six months ago when the legislature was asked to make another routine approval. The challenge was in the court’s hands for six months.

In the most recent case, lawmakers last week declined to allow U.S. Navy ships to dock in Costa Rica from Jan. 1 to June 30. But approval was given for U.S. Coast Guard vessels.

Lawmakers seem to have been upset by reports from the Cuban news service Prensa Latina that said they were allowing 7,000 U.S. marines and 46 warships to dock here. The U.S. Embassy routinely listed every possible boat whose captain might want to dock here during the six months. Far fewer actually do.

Some lawmakers also may be troubled by anti-drug efforts.

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