Mushrooming criminality is background to Sámara march

Says the banner: 'The people have the power. We say no to violence and injustice'

The long-simmering discontent with revolving door justice and police inaction appears to be the background for the march Sámara residents staged Sunday.

At least 100 residents took part. Some carried signs that called upon President Laura Chinchilla to take action. Others said: “Costa Rica change. Please, more security.” “Laws in favor of citizens.” “Murderers and crooks in jail.”

The residents of the Nicoya peninsula beach town got support, too, from Nosara residents who carried signs showing their backing. Nosara is further north on the Pacific coast.

The trigger for the march was the cold-blooded killing of an Argentina tourist last Thursday as she sat with her computer in a local open-air restaurant. The woman was 29-year-old Carolina Silva Pacheco. The Judicial Investigating Organization said she was the apparent robbery victim when two men tried to take her portable computer. She resisted and one man shot her in the head.

The Pacific beach communities are seeing more and more violence as city gangs find the pickings are easier in these areas. Sámara residents also say there is an influx of hardened Latin American foreigners who seem to be involved deeply in the drug business.

Marchers parade through town

Police stations in beach towns are notoriously understaffed and under equipped. In some communities police officers fear venturing out onto the streets because they are outgunned by the local crooks who happen to be part of an extended criminal family. There is a Fuerza Pública station in Sámara but major cases are handled by the Judicial Investigating Organization either from Liberia or Nicoya, the regional center. For Nosara residents, the situation is more difficult because the community is some 40 kilometers off the hard-surface road that connects Nicoya with Sámara. In wet weather the trip is nearly impossible.

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