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 General Laura Richardson, Commander of U.S. Southern Command and President Rodrigo Chaves-Robles at Casa Presidencial in San Josť. Photo via Casa Presidencial and Board of Port Administration and Economic Development of the Atlantic Coast of Costa Rica. 

United States plans to strengthen Costa Rica's ports control

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Published on Monday, March 25, 2024
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The United States intends to expand assistance for Costa Rica in its struggle to control all commercial exports and imports in ports, according to General Laura Richardson, Commander of U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM).

During her meeting with President Rodrigo Chaves-Robles at the Casa Presidencial in San Josť on Friday, Richardson stated that the support will be in response to Chaves' request for additional resources in the country's ports.

President Chaves' goal is for the government to have enough equipment to scan all shipments in the battle against drug trafficking.

"I am working with the United States Department of State to develop a port strategy with Costa Rica, to assist President Chaves to scan all cargo shipments entering and leaving the country," Commander Richardson said.

In addition to the donation of scanners, the U.S. will invest more in the training of port officers, personnel in charge of managing the equipment, infrastructure improvements, and other equipment to combat the flow of narcotics and criminal activity in the ports, Richardson noted.

"Our effort to increase security for the people of Costa Rica is based on shared values and the common goal of having a more prosperous, safe and democratic country in the region," she stated.

Richardon's visit was also part of the agenda of U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo, who came to Costa Rica to boost the country's semiconductor industry.

This is Richardson's second visit to Costa Rica in less than a year.  In August 2023, the Commander announced a $9.8 million donation to enhance the country's cyber defense capabilities.

Recently, the U.S. donated to Costa Rica a police facility base, fishing boats and vehicles via its embassy valued at $2 million.

According to the Ministry of Public Security, Costa Rica seized 43.5 tons of drugs and arrested over 190,000 offense suspects in 2023.

How could the United States aid Costa Rica in combating drug trafficking? We would like to know your thoughts on this story. Send your comments to news@amcostarica.com