U.S. donates radios and body armor to law enforcement

Ambassador Anne S. Andrew confers with Mario Zamora Cordero, the security minister, while a properly garbed agent displays some of the body armor.

The U. S. Embassy announced Friday that it was providing more than $1 million in equipment to the security ministry and the Judicial Investigating Organization for community security measures.

The equipment includes communication devices, such as radios, electronics and software as well as hundreds of bulletproof body-armor equipment to be used by law enforcement agents in the field.

Ambassador Anne S. Andrew, to justify the use of United Stated resources for police forces of a foreign country, said the safety of Costa Rican communities is linked to the safety of stateside communities as well. She cited Costa Rican efforts to counteract drug trafficking operations that may affect the United States.

She also talked about the United States contribution toward building a more-than-$3 million security checkpoint at the 37 kilometer point along the Interamericana Sur north of the Panamanian border.

“The U.S. citizen has a general interest in addressing the organized crime and narcotrafficking, because those organized crime units operate throughout the hemisphere,” Ms. Andrew said.

She said the money was expended as part of the U.S. State Department’s regional initiative to ultimately serve the best interest of United States citizens. Most often drugs produced in Columbia make their way north to the largest consumer country in the region, the United States. Ms. Andrew said it is more effective to target the trafficking closer to the source.

At least one Costa Rican security official has said the problem of the country’s insecure communities is a national one. At a recent press conference the minister, Mario Zamora Cordero, said he welcomed the help of the United States to support the building of the checkpoint and to help patrol the seas, but said the responsibility of the country’s security ultimately falls on the Costa Rican government.

At the press conference Dec. 2, regarding the gift of equipment from the United States, he said any help was welcomed, especially protective armor that has the potential to save the life of an officer in the line of duty.

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