Dave acquitted by trial court
A.M. Costa Rica staff
Updated: Friday, Aug.
18 at 2:06 p.m.
The attorney for David Strecker, also known
as Cuba Dave, a U.S. citizen charged with
promoting Costa Rica as a sex tourism
destination, has been acquitted by a trial
The lawyer, Luís Diego Chacón,
confirmed this to A.M. Costa Rica Friday
afternoon. According to Chacón, the court in
San José ruled that the evidence presented
by the prosecution did not maintain a
logical relationship with the accusation. He
also explained that Strecker had no
knowledge of the laws of the country and
their changes being out of the country for
at least four years, during which the new
law that he was accused of violating was
Chacón also said the prosecution could not
prove it was actually Strecker who directly
published the images or videos. The
Ministerio Público will have 15 days to
appeal the court’s decision but Strecker is
apparently freed from prison. Final
resolution will be handed out around Aug.
24, Chacón told A.M. Costa Rica.
This was the second trial for Strecker, a
Florida resident known for his web reports
on first-person encounters with Latin
prostitutes. The outcome is not final. As
with other criminal cases, the prosecution
has the option to appeal the verdict, and
there is no limit on the number of times a
case may be appealed.
Strecker’s first conviction was overturned
by an appeals court in May because of what
the panel said were serious flaws in the
prosecution’s case. Among the flaws
mentioned were that there was no proof that
Strecker was in Costa Rica at the time his
internet accounts were posted.
he was acquitted by the appeals court,
prosecutors managed to keep him confined in
anticipation of a second trial. He was
subsequently transferred to a prison
facility for older persons.
Strecker was convicted of violating a 2013
law that made promoting the country as a sex
tourism destination a crime. After he
arrived as a tourist, judicial agents
followed him for days and arrested him when
he was leaving the country in late August
2015. It appeared they were trying to find
other crimes with which to charge him. They
were unable to do so. To this day, Strecker
told A.M. Costa Rica back in May that he
still has no understanding of why he was
He claimed at the time that he was simply
writing about the country from a tourism
perspective and was reporting on certain
aspects of the country rather than promoting
The acquittal, if it sticks, is a major
embarrassment for Costa Rica’s judiciary.
The law, passed in February 2013, violated
most international standards on free speech.
The Poder Judicial has confirmed that the
Fundación Rahab was the organization that
initiated the criminal case. Fundación Rahab
has been the recipient of a number of
federal grants under the auspices as been
the recipient of a number of federal grants
for work with prostitutes in San José and
Because of the sleazy nature of
Strecker’s reporting, he has not been
supported by journalistic organizations or
others who defend free speech. The initial
sentence was for five years. Typically
convicts serve about half of a court
sentence, so Strecker would soon be eligible
for release anyway.
fight over shrimp trawling, it is the
small-time fishermen that lose out.
tries to move trawling bill forward
A.M. Costa Rica staff
The administration of Costa Rican President
Luis Guillermo Solís looks like it is trying
to continue pushing a bill that would seek
to allow more shrimp trawling in national
The move has drawn ire and opposition from
numerous environmental groups. One of the
more voiceiferous groups is Fundación
MarViva that sent out a statement Thursday
condemning the move as obstinate and lacking
scientific support to show that shrimp
trawling can be sustainable in Costa Rica.
“It is unfortunate that this decision can
seriously endanger the marine ecosystem,
without a scientific and technical base and
ignoring the academics and scientists of the
country,” said Jorge Jiménez, the director
of the foundation.
“Instead of maintaining this obstinate
position, the government has had years to
promote a plan of transition and definitive
cessation of trawling that allows us to
protect our fishing resources and secure the
future of thousands of families that depend
on fishing in Costa Rica.”
Proponents of the bill argue that there are
already environmentally-friendly regulations
incorporated into the legislation.
“Any fishing gear has to prove that it is
environmentally viable,” said Luis Paulino
Mora, the deputy-minister for the
presidency, back in March 2016. “That is
clear in the bill.”
Casa Presidencial claims that the bill seeks
a balance between environmental principles
and sustainable production and is line with
a constitutional court ruling back in 2013
not to hand out any fishing licenses to
those companies or individuals not complying
with environmental regulations.
Trawling is a type of fishing involving a
net that sweeps across the sea floor bagging
all manner of fish and marine life. Opponents to mass
trawling argues that this kills off the
ecosystem by unintentionally grabbing and
killing other sea life aside from the
photo of trawling boat.
prohibits trawling within its
territorial waters that does not comply
with environmental safety measures yet
some fishing vessels still do it.
They may claim that it is their only
means of making a living and
safeguarding the economic security of
themselves and their families.
MarViva says that this ends up hurting
most small-time fishermen to the benefit
of large industrial fishing operations
and corporations. They claim that shrimp
trawling destroys the seabed and affects
those same fishermen that depend on a
The bill went before the legislature’s
environmental committee last Thursday.
Representatives of the Universidad
Nacional, the Centro de Investigaciones
Marinas of the Universidad de Costa Rica
and 16 conservation organizations
publicly voiced their opposition against
the bill and the method used to create
it, MarViva said.
“We want all the deputies to know our
true position and to learn that the more
than 500 fishermen who are members of
the Cámara do not agree with what this
bill proposes,” said a statement from
the Cámara de Pescadores de Guanacaste.
The bill, numbered 19838, was first
introduced back in December 2015 but has
been sitting in committee since November
2016, based on the latest update from
the Asamblea Legislativa.
for Immigration Studies photo
American mothers wait with their
children at immigration facility.
American minors program terminated
A.M. Costa Rica staff
Wednesday signaled the termination of the
Central American Minors Parole Program in
the United States.
The notice was published in the Federal
Register, which is the United States’
comparative to Costa Rica’s La Gaceta. The
program began under the administration of
former president Barack Obama back in
December 2014 under the joint control of the
Dept. of Homeland Security and the Dept. of
The program allowed for certain minors
fleeing the area of Central America known as
the Northern Triangle. These are the
countries of El Salvador, Honduras and
It allowed for parents who were lawfully
present in the United States to request a
refugee resettlement interview for unmarried
children under age 21.
Due to the parent needing to be a lawful
permanent resident or U.S. citizen, many
qualifying parents under the program were
unable to file an immigration petition for
their in-country relatives. Qualifying
children denied refugee status under the
Central American Minors Refugee Program
would then be considered by the U.S.
Citizenship and Immigration Services for
parole into the U.S. on a case-by-case
According to immigration law, parole does
not lead to any immigration status and does
not actually constitute an admission to the
United States. It did allow, however, for
the parolee to stay temporarily in the
country until it was terminated.
“As of August 16, 2017, USCIS will no longer
consider or authorize parole under the CAM
Parole Program,” said a statement from
addition, USCIS will notify individuals who
have been conditionally approved for parole
under this program and who have not yet
traveled that the program has been
terminated and their conditional approval
for parole has been rescinded.”
Homeland Security clarified that those
already paroled will be allowed to stay
until their term has expired pending any
other problems. So how could this effect
The country is already starting to feel
pressure mounting on its immigration
situation. The Northern Triangle citizens
need only cross through Nicaragua before
making it to the country and beginning the
process of applying for refugee status.
Some could consider Costa Rica to be the
next best option to escape the violence of
their home countries.
The Costa Rican government has already made
an agreement with the United States to house
some adult refugees from the region who are
supposed to eventually be exchanged with
Pacific Islanders in an agreement between
the U.S. and Australia.
A.M. Costa Rica has confirmed from officials
at the State Dept. and Casa Presidencial
that the deal is in the works and will be
honored by all sides.
As increased gang violence batters away at
those countries just north of Costa Rica and
the crackdown on illegal immigration
continues with the policies under President
Donald Trump, then those persons may look
toward other countries to flee to.
One of those choices is Costa Rica, which
has already seen a flood of Haitian,
African, Cuban, Venezuelan and Nicaraguan
nationals come within its borders for either
a brief or more extended period of time.
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