U.S. ships get routine approval to enter Costa Rican waters

The Asamblea Legislativa Thursday approved a motion to allow U.S. warships to dock in Costa Rica territory.

The ships, which are on anti-drug patrol, come to Costa Rica for shore leave and to put on supplies. This is a routine measure that is approved every six months. The Costa Rican Constitution forbids the entry of foreign warships without legislative approval.

The routine approval became controversial last year after the Cuban news agency said that U.S. Marines and 44 warships were heading to Costa Rica. The story got heavy play by uncritical news outlets. In fact, the measure simply listed all the ships in the U.S. Fourth Fleet that might want to make use of Costa Rica for shore leave.

The story had wide interest. One news outlet said: “Russian foreign military intelligence directorate (GRU) sources are reporting in the Kremlin today that NATO has ordered over 7,000 U.S. Marines to begin deploying in the Central American Nation of Costa Rica over fears the disastrous oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is about to rupture the fracture zone lying between the North American and Caribbean Plates and potentially unleashing upon the America’s a catastrophic earthquake.”

A gambling site said: “The online gambling friendly Central American nation of Costa Rica is about to be invaded by U.S. Marines.” An Internet search turns up many similar tales.

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