Two U.S. Blackhawk helicopters here on humanitarian visit

Expats tend to become excited when they see what they think are U.S. helicopters in Costa Rica.

At times, like the Jan. 8, 2009, Cinchona earthquake, the sightings are accurate.

Well, there are two more Blackhawk helicopters in the country now on what the Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores y Culto calls humanitarian missions.

They come from the Jorge Enrique Soto Cano air base in Honduras where the U.S. military maintains a presence.

The helicopters are bringing medical personnel to evaluate the details of developing a training program for physicians and nurses in the northern part of the country.
José María Tijerino, the security minster, said in a release that the helicopters are not rigged for war and do not require legislative approval to enter the country. His comments are sure to raise some eyebrows in the legislature which contains a minority of lawmakers who balk at giving approval to U.S. aircraft and warships.

The ministry said that this is the first diagnostic step to plan and develop training which will take place this year. The programs will be in Guanacaste in an area known as El Jobo and in Puntarenas on the Isla Chira, which is in the Gulf of Nicoya.

The helicopters come just a few days before the International Court of Justice in the Hague is to hand down a decision regarding the invasion by Nicaraguan troops of a small part of northern Costa Rica. So the presence of the helicopters is sure to raise eyebrows in Managua, too.

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