Semana Santa holiday death toll set at 32 by the Cruz Roja

Traffic was heavy Sunday night as vacationers headed back to the Central Valley from the Caribbean and Pacific beaches.

The Cruz Roja reported late Sunday that there had been 32 deaths since the holiday began March 23.

The Cuerpo de Bomberos said its crews responded to 25 incidents related to the quema de Judas tradition. That is four fewer than a year ago.

Six of the incidents resulted in disturbances that were handled by the Fuerza Pública, said fire fighters.  Only trash was burned by the youngsters celebrating the Easter season.

That is in contrast to 2008 when a quema de Judas fire destroyed a furniture store in San Rafael de Heredia. Vehicles have been burned in other years.

Even though Judas Iscariot is getting a favorable makeover by theologians, the tradition continues to set fires and sometimes burns effigies of the apostle who was blamed for singling out Jesus for His arrest.

The Cruz Roja said that the agency made 20 water rescues and transported 70 patients from the scene of violent vehicle accidents. There were 12 deaths attributed to firearms or knives.

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