Legislature acts to resolve flap over visits by U.S. Coast Guard planes

Some 41 lawmakers voted Monday to allow U.S. Coast Guard aircraft to land at the country’s airports as long as they were not armed.

There was a flap over the weekend because a Coast Guard aircraft had landed. The plane left Monday. There also was a complaint earlier in the month because a U.S. helicopter had landed.

The Costa Rican Constitution gives the legislature the power to permit the entry and presence of foreign troops or warships in ports and also aircraft at the nation’s airports. The Coast Guard operates under the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, although during wartime it becomes a uniformed service.

Lawmakers have long made a distinction between U.S. Navy ships and Coast Guard ships even though both are involved in anti-drug patrols.

Casa Presidencial said that there may be as many as 800 overflights or landings by U.S. planes during a year, and suggested that Aviación Civil  should be the agency to give approval.

President Luis Guillermo Solís had a meeting scheduled this week with U.S. anti-drug officials. In the past there has been considerable discussion when the U.S. Embassy sought approval for docking Navy boats. In fact, the leftist propaganda machine once issued a statement say that thousands of troops and boats were going to invade Costa Rica.

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