Lawmakers give U.S. Coast Guard boats permission to dock

The legislature approved with 44 votes permission for 43 U.S. Coast Guard ships to dock in the nation’s ports. There was no action on a similar request for U.S. Navy vessels.

The action came in an unusual morning session of the lawmakers’ full body.  They usually meet that way in the afternoon.

The country will not see 43 U.S. boats docking here. The U.S. Embassy usually provides the names of every possible boat that might end up wanting to dock in a Costa Rican port.

The request came from the security ministry that noted that U.S. ships are in joint patrol against drug smugglers with their Costa Rican counterparts. The ministry urged approval before lawmakers left on Christmas vacation Dec. 23 because a prior approval expires Dec. 31.

The legislature is divided over U.S. Navy vessels. The Partido Acción Ciudadana, for example, usually votes to allow the U.S. Coast Guard vessels but not the ones operated by the U.S. Navy.

Legislative approval for foreign vessels is required by the Costa Rican Constitution.

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