After a discussion that took nearly all of the legislative session Tuesday, lawmakers finally gave permission for eight U.S. warships to dock in Costa Rican ports. The measure was a compromise. The security ministry had asked for approval of 17 boats through next May. The lawmakers voted permission through December.
The vote was 36 to 12 with all members of the Partido Accíon Ciudadana and the single representative of Frente Amplio voting against. The Costa Rica Constitution requires legislative approval for the docking of foreign warships.
Most lawmakers favored the proposal, which was backed by the Presdiencia. But Acción Ciudadana lawmakers staged what amounted to a filibuster to prevent voting last month.
The security ministry pushed hard and said that failure to permit the docking of the “USS Carr” would endanger a criminal case against three marijuana smuggling suspects. The “Carr” had picked up packages of marijuana that fleeing smugglers had dumped in the ocean. The suspects were snagged by Costa Rican officers closer to shore.
The main reason for docking is resupply. Costa Rica and the United States have an agreement that allows U.S. ships to operate offshore outside the three-mile limit.