$100 million sought to improve transportation at nation’s borders

The central government will ask the legislature for permission to negotiate a new $100 million loan to improve the boarder crossings at  Peñas Blancas, Paso Canoas, Sixaola and Las Tablillas.

The project really is a commercial effort to improve the flow of goods in and out of the country. Some 80 percent of the loan will be spent on infrastructure.

Now there are long lines of trucks at the major border posts of Peñas Blanca in the north and Paso Canoas in the south. The Sixaola crossing in the southeast at the Panamá border is the site for a new bridge, but the old railroad span that was used for vehicle traffic is what most people remember. The border controls there are not very tight.

The loan is expected to be repaid by user and customs fees.

The announcement comes at the same time when the central government and security officials are paying more attention to the northern border.

The northeast section of the border along the Río San Juan was abandoned for years, and that is why the Nicaragua government was able to move in and begin dredging work before Costa Rica could react. That was three years ago.

This month law officers uncovered what appears to be a helicopter way station in northwestern Costa Rica.  A camp in a wooded area there appears to have been a fueling station for helicopters carrying drugs north. Police arrived to find an abandoned site but with barrels of fuel.

The Policía de Fronteras has been clearly outgunned because one of the items found at the hidden camp was a RPG rocket launcher. That was among the AK-47s and the M-16s.

Costa Rica prides itself on not having an army, but the recent events have militarized the police forces. They carry military style weapons and wear protective vests on the job. That has not gone unnoticed in Nicaragua where President Daniel Ortega joked about the new Costa Rican army.

The security ministry has put a police unit in the northwestern part of the country specifically to suppress drug trade and smugglers.

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