Costa Rica lawmakers have approved the docking and port stays of U.S. Coast Guard vessels.
The U.S. and Costa Rica are working together to develop counternarcotic operations under a joint patrol agreement. But the agreement to allow the boats to dock require periodic legislative approval.
Lawmaker Luis Vasquez Castro said the permission to dock is crucial in Costa Rica’s fight against drug trafficking and corruption.
“And I say this from my position as representative of the province of Limón, an area that is vulnerable where the drug scourge painfully threatens youth,” Castro said.
Lawmaker Mario Poveda Redondo said assistance from the U.S. is important because of the technological advances the U.S. Coast Guard brings with it to detect the movement of drugs off the coasts.
Not all legislators agree that it’s a good idea to essentially allow carte blanche to other nations in the use of Costa Rican ports.
José Ramírez Aguilar argued that with or without the help of other nations, about 90 percent of the cocaine destined for the United States has been moving through Costa Rica this year. In 2012 that number was only 80 percent.
In October 2015, lawmakers fought bitterly after a U.S. Coast Guard aircraft was not permitted to land in Costa Rica.