Costa Ricans are murdered in street robberies nearly every day. There were three such cases, at least, over the weekend.
Yet the murder of two budding musicians has had an impact that brought hundreds to the streets Sunday to protest violence. Some came from outside the country specifically to participate in the march.
The participants included many in the country’s music and culture scene. The musicians used their instruments to honor the slain teens. Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy,” Wagner’s march from “Tannhauser” and Brahms’ “Requiem” were some of the works that accompanied the marchers.
The two teens participated in the Sistema Nacional de Educación Musical and were members of a youth orchestra set up by the Sistema. They also were studying at the Universidad de Costa Rica. By all accounts they had a bright future in the music world. They played in the Orquesta Sinfónica Manuel María Gutiérrez.
Sebastián Condorí, 16. played the flute, and Valeria Cortés, 15, his girlfriend, was a violinist.
Ironically, the national music system was set up to provide youngsters an activity that would keep them away from street crime.
The country has to produce more musicians than young criminals, more musical instruments than weapons and more artists than murderers, said Manuel Obregón, minister of Cultura y Juventud, in a summary provided by the ministry.
Noé Cortés, father of the dead girl, said that “in this country you still cannot walk through the streets safely. We ask a halt to the violence, the drugs and to all that is happening.”
Carl St. Clair said he worked his whole professional life with youth orchestras, and for him it was a way to return all the education he received when he was starting out. He is the new director of the Orchestra Sinfónica Nacional. St. Clair said he had heard the youth orchestra last year in Costa Rica. He said he came to the country specifically for the march, according to the ministry.
The suspect, 21, who is now in custody lives about 100 meters from the presumed scene of the crime in a mountainous area of Valle Verde de Paraíso. He is an agricultural worker, the Judicial Investigating Organization said.
The pair were killed and then buried in separate graves.
Their friends found them late Tuesday because they were killed in a place where they have been known to frequent.
The boy was carrying a camera that appears to be the motive for the robbery, said investigators. Both were shot.
There were three murders reported since A.M. Costa Rica was published Friday morning. In Guápiles, a 31-year-old man died from two bullet wounds to the back. Judicial agents said he appeared to have tried to run away from robbers Thursday night.
Another man died at Hospital San Juan de Dios early Friday after arriving there with four bullet wounds. He was a construction site guard who shot it out with intruders, agents said.
Saturday night a 22-year-old man died in Hospital San Juan de Dios, after he was shot in Calle Fallas in Desamparados. He was attending a party and suffered bullet wounds to the head, judicial agents said. They said they were unsure of the circumstances but they detained a 17 year old.