The U.S. Government Supports Costa Rica’s Security Strategy

August 22, 2016

President Obama and Vice President Biden meet with President Solís at the White House

The President attended a meeting between the Vice President and President Luis Guillermo Solis of Costa Rica at the White House to discuss the overall situation in Central America and new steps to improve security and governance
The President attended a meeting between the Vice President and President Luis Guillermo Solis of Costa Rica at the White House to discuss the overall situation in Central America and new steps to improve security and governance

The United States and Costa Rica are longstanding close operational and strategic partners in an impressive range of security cooperation activities.

We view our support as part of a holistic partnership with the country and its security forces. As good partners in the fight against transnational crime, we believe that our joint efforts will result in a transformation of Costa Rican capabilities as we work to equip and train Costa Rican authorities to better secure national borders and create safer communities, improving security while addressing the underlying causes of violence.

Our assistance focuses on blocking transnational criminal organizations from penetrating Costa Rican society, reducing the tide of drugs transiting Costa Rica en route to the United States, and working with the government and civil society on prevention programs.

Vice President Jose Biden and President Luis Guillermo Solis of Costa Rica at the White House
Vice President Jose Biden and President Luis Guillermo Solis of Costa Rica at the White House

Secure Borders: With the goal of supporting Costa Rican security forces to effectively patrol Costa Rica’s territory, waters, and air space, together we are working to advance the capabilities of the Costa Rican Coast Guard, Air Surveillance Service (SVA), and Border Police. Our support includes:

  • Two 110-foot patrol ships based in the Pacific – the U.S. government’s largest current investment ($25-$30 million) in Costa Rica’s long-term security. Includes extensive training for Costa Rican Coast Guard crew and a two-year maintenance package. The ships are scheduled to arrive in Costa Rica in late 2017.
  • A donation of two C-145 cargo planes ($20 – $25 million).
  • Additional ships: A 45-foot vessel; two 38-foot interceptors, and 19.5-foot riverine boats.
  • Ongoing information-sharing, resulting in large maritime drug seizures.
  • Coast Guard station and pier in the port of Golfito.
  • Refurbishing the SVA’s King Air plane ($1 million).
  • Equipment to strengthen the SVA’s capability to conduct joint 24-hour maritime counternarcotics operations with the Coast Guard.
  • Construction of a hangar and operations center for SVA in Coto 47, Ciudad Neily.
  • Construction of KM35, a key security checkpoint facility near the southern border with Panama.
  • Biometric equipment for the identification of undocumented migrants; Equipment and training to Border Police for mobile inspection teams.
  • • Donation of tents, cots, blankets, and footlockers for up to 2,400 people to support disaster relief efforts, migration, and the Border Police.

 

Law Enforcement, Justice Sector, and Corrections: We are working together to strengthen law enforcement’s ability to confront organized crime, to effectively investigate and prosecute criminals, and to modernize the corrections system. Our support includes:

 

  • The creation of an Organized Crime unit in the Judicial Investigation Organization (OIJ). We are providing expertise and equipment.
  • Three armored vehicles to Fuerza Publica, Special Intervention Unit, and the OIJ.
  • Donations to the Penitentiary Police K-9 Unit ($350,000), a center of excellence in the region.
  • A set of virtual shooting ranges ($900,000) designated for Fuerza Publica (2), the Border Police, the Police Academy, and the Coast Guard.
  • Communications equipment ($40,000) to help park rangers in Corcovado.
  • Support to victims of sexual assault: 450 officials trained and equipment donated to create Sexual Assault Response Teams. Donated 1000 hygiene packets for sexual assault victims.
  • Equipment and training for the Juvenile Restorative Justice program, with the goal of reintegrating juvenile offenders.
  • Advisors and equipment for the forensic lab to reach international accreditation.
  • Support to combat trafficking in persons: financing for the Rahab Foundation to support trafficking victims in the Northern zone and to educate government officials and the public.

 

Communities and Prevention: Providing training, equipment, programs, grants, and technical assistance to improve outcomes for at-risk youth, prevent drug use and youth involvement in crime and gangs, and create positive relationships between communities and the police. Our support includes:

  • Through the Central American Regional Security Initiative (CARSI), the U.S. funds programs benefitting more than 2,300 at-risk youth, providing job skills, leadership, entrepreneurship. Last year, CARSI funded $2.2 million in projects, and this year will fund an additional $1.57 million in projects led by non-governmental organizations (NGOs).
  • This year, the U.S. Department of Labor will award a $3 million, four- year grant to help Costa Rica provide workplace-based training programs for at-risk youth.
  • Grant to Fundacion Accion Joven ($460,000) to prevent school desertion and drug abuse in youth in Puntarenas and Limon.
  • Under the Gang Resistance Education and Training (GREAT) program ($200,000), the Embassy has funded training for 80 police officers and provided equipment. Police educated 3,000 children in 2015 and are expected to reach 8,000 in 2016. We are working to expand the program throughout Costa Rica.
  • With the Ministry of Public Education, the creation a new English curriculum will build skills which will provide better opportunities for young Costa Ricans.
  • English Access Microscholarship Programs ($571,000), which have trained nearly 500 high school students in the last 3 years.
  • Grant to Marviva ($350,000) to organize small communities in the Gulf of Nicoya in order to increase security and awareness of crime trends and connections with government authorities and law enforcement.