By the A.M. Costa Rica staff
Following the shootout near a school in Escazú that left two men dead, the killers still at large and the deceased’s brother arrested while attempting to leave the country, the public security ministry felt compelled to make a statement.
Within the confines of this statement, there are many different interpretations to be made but the facts are relatively clear. In 2016, the Ministerio de Seguridad Pública said, police forces seized over 44 percent more cocaine than in the previous year.
It also praised itself for making Costa Rica a leader in marijuana eradication as it slashed and burned over 1.5 million hectares more than in 2015. Some may believe that to represent a triumph in the war on drugs.
It could also point toward an increase in marijuana growing as well. This could suggest a transition of Costa Rica becoming a country where drugs are produced rather than funneled through to the north.
To that end, the public security ministry conceded that the stakes in the international takedown of criminal organizations are higher. The police forces have seized more drugs and weapons than in previous years. With all that in mind, officials gloomily railed that they had “lost two years insistently requesting resources.”
The recent shooting has inspired a complete nationwide crackdown at the behest of Costa Rican President Luis Guillermo Solís and under the orders of Gustavo Mata, the security minister. Solís requested that the security ministry create a full report of actions taken by the Fuerza Pública nationwide. This report is required to be submitted in a month.
It is uncertain if the contents of the report are to be released from the public. The recommendations are expected to remain the same: more men and more money are needed to the ministry.
Expats should recall however that this ministry does not budget nor is in charge of the Judicial Investigating Organization, whose agents actually arrest and formally charge persons usually.
This ministry does not control the prison system and its guards, which equally need money and manpower. The report may suggest an expedition in judicial cases and a promotion in coordination between different law enforcement entities.
Security officials and government legislators have warned time and again that, unless there are changes made to improve the situation as much as the system, it is unlikely crime and violence will decrease.