Fuerza Pública officers busted up a
thriving business in Filadelfia de
Carrillo, Guanacaste, where residents
were charging tourists $10 each to have
a photo taken with this boa.
Police confiscated the three-meter
snake and remanded it to a refuge
because they assumed a violation against
taking wildlife out of the wilds.
de Seguridad Pública photo
|Nine police officers face home
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff
Judicial investigators detained nine Fuerza
Pública officers Thursday and said they were
members of an organized gang that invaded
homes to steal and rob.
The police officers worked in Tibás, two
downtown districts in San José Centro,
Hospital and El Carmen, and in Aserrí. They
are accused of using their status as police
officers to enter homes where there were
people present. They also are accused of using
police vehicles and other equipment. Officials
said the men used their knowledge of the areas
that they gained from their police patrols.
The arrests are a major public relations blow
to the Ministerio de Seguridad Pública, which
is seeking to have a tax on corporations
renewed to provide it more funds. The ministry
issued press releases Thursday saying it was
working with investigators.
Gustavo Mata, the security minister, reported
later Thursday that the nine had been fired
from the force. That is the result of a policy
that has only been in force this year. In the
past, police accused of crimes were put on
paid leave. Juan José Andrade, head of
the Fuerza Pública, said that four other
officers have been fired this year for other
He identified the suspects by the last names
of Alvarez, Mesa, López, Calderón Castro,
Abarca Torres, Mora Solano, Olloa Caballo
and Coronado Canal. Some have worked for as
long as 15 years with the police agency.
Others have only two years of service, he
Both Andrade and Walter Espinoza, head of the
Judicial Investigating Organization, provided
only minimal details when they met the press.
Andrade did say
that since 2013 there have been 416 complaints
against members of all the agencies under the
ministry. That includes the Fuerza
Pública, the anti-drug police, the Servicio
Nacional de Guardacostas and the ministry’s
air wing, he said.
Espinoza said that at least four other persons
were sought as members of the robbery ring but
they were not public employees.
Investigators were assisted by videos from
cameras installed by homeowners. In at least
one of the videos, the intruders are seen
using a Fuerza Pública pickup truck.
When the intruders found persons at home in a
targeted dwelling, they pretended they were
conducting an official raid, but once inside
they threatened and tied up those present and
sacked the home.
Judicial investigators and prosecutors are
working on a number of cases that involved
alleged wrongdoing by police.
flag going up over the U.S. Embassy
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff
Staffers at the U.S. Embassy will raise the
rainbow flag of sexual diversity Wednesday to
show support to lesbians, gays, bisexuals,
transsexuals and intersexuals, the embassy
said in an announcement Thursday. The flag
will fly for a month.
The event will be at 8:15 a.m. at the embassy
in Pavas with the participation of Ambassador
S. Fitzgerald Haney.
Intersex may be a term that is not
familiar to many U.S. expats. The word
refers to individuals who have sex
characteristics, including genitals, gonads
and chromosome patterns, that do not fit
typical binary notions of male or female
bodies, according to the UN Office of the High
Commissioner for Human Rights.
This condition is known as hermaphrodism
in animals but the use of that term to refer
to humans is considered inappropriate now.
The U.S. State Department has been
particularly sensitive to the rights of
members of these groups.
State Department photo
Secretary of State John Kerry noted earlier
this month that the embassies and consulates
of the United States work closely with the
lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual and
intersexual communities. The department even
has appointed a special emissary for human
rights, Randy Berry, to raise the issue with
high officials of other governments, Kerry
The State Department emphasis of gay rights
has been credited to Hillary Clinton, the
former secretary of State who is now the
leading Democratic presidential candidate.
However, the department has been criticized
for its uneven condemnation of anti-gay laws
in other countries. For example, little is
said about the Saudi death penalty for