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Viewing cable 07SANJOSE868, MORE CHINESE MIGRANTS RESCUED IN COSTA RICAN WATERS

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07SANJOSE868 2007-05-09 16:04 2011-03-07 18:06 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy San Jose
Appears in these articles:
http://www.nacion.com/2011-03-06/Investigacion/NotasDestacadas/Investigacion2702320.aspx
http://www.nacion.com/2011-03-06/Investigacion/NotasSecundarias/Investigacion2702325.aspx
http://www.nacion.com/2011-03-06/Investigacion/NotaPrincipal/Investigacion2702324.aspx
http://www.nacion.com/2011-03-06/Investigacion/NotasSecundarias/Investigacion2702326.aspx
http://www.nacion.com/2011-03-06/Investigacion/NotasSecundarias/Investigacion2702327.aspx
VZCZCXYZ0011
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHSJ #0868/01 1291659
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 091659Z MAY 07
FM AMEMBASSY SAN JOSE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7932
INFO RUEHZA/WHA CENTRAL AMERICAN COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHBO/AMEMBASSY BOGOTA PRIORITY 4011
RUWDQAA/CCGDELEVEN ALAMEDA CA PRIORITY
UNCLAS SAN JOSE 000868 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SENSITIVE 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR WHA/CEN, WHA/PPC AND INL 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PGOV PHUM PINR PREL KCRM CO CH CS
SUBJECT: MORE CHINESE MIGRANTS RESCUED IN COSTA RICAN WATERS 
 
REF: A. 06 SAN JOSE 2316 
     B. SAN JOSE 132 
 
------- 
SUMMARY 
------- 
 
1.  (SBU) On April 21, the Costa Rica Coast Guard (SNGC) 
again rescued a large number of Chinese migrants adrift in 
Costa Rican territorial waters.  Three Ecuadorians and two 
Peruvians were also apprehended, and charged with human 
trafficking under Costa Rica,s new immigration law.  The 
governments of Costa Rica and Colombia have not yet reached 
an agreement on the costly repatriation of the migrants to 
China, with the GOCR blaming Colombia,s temporary lifting of 
the visa requirement for Chinese travelers from January 1 to 
May 1 for the spike in Chinese migrants heading north.  These 
rescues of Chinese migrants in Costa Rican waters put a great 
strain on an already stretched-thin SNGC.  End Summary. 
 
--------------------------------------------- ------- 
CHINESE MIGRATION THROUGH CENTRAL AMERICA INCREASING 
--------------------------------------------- ------- 
 
2.  (U) On April 20, SNGC officials were notified by two 
merchant vessels that the "Arluc," of Ecuadorian origin, was 
disabled and in danger of sinking approximately 110 miles off 
the southwest coast of Costa Rica.  Over the next 24 hours, 
the merchant vessels took on 57 Chinese nationals, three 
Ecuadorians, and two Peruvians from the "Arluc."  The young, 
mostly male Chinese migrants claimed they paid from USD 
10,000 to USD 15,000 to be smuggled into the U.S. The 
migrants were transferred to a SNGC patrol boat and on April 
23 arrived at Puntarenas on the Pacific coast where they were 
treated for dehydration. 
 
3.  (SBU) The Ecuadorians and Peruvians were later determined 
to be the vessel's crew, not immigrants, and were placed in 
preventative detention as human traffickers under the new 
Costa Rican immigration law tht took effect in August 2006. 
As of May 3, 15 ofthe Chinese had been returned to Colombia, 
accoring to Minister of Public Security Fernando Berrocl, 
who credited his "personal friendship" with the Colombian 
Ambassador for the return of the immirants.  Otherwise, 
Berrocal told Poloffs, all th Chinese would still be 
languishing in the GOCR, immigration detention center. 
Earlier, because f the USD 5000/head cost to return the 
migrants to Hong Kong, Costa Rican Immigration officials had 
announced that they were seeking a compromise with the 
Colombian government to accept at least those migrants who 
still ha a valid round trip ticket from Hong Kong to Bogot 
in their possession. (This may have been the grup of 15 
Berrocal mentioned.) 
 
4.  (SBU) This as the second rescue of Chinese migrants by 
the SNGC in the last six months.  In October 2006, 128Chinese and Peruvian migrants were rescued near Cota Rica's 
Isla del Coco and returned to Peru (Re A).  These rescues 
strain the limited resourcesof the GOCR.  In both cases, the 
SNGC was forced to divert one or more patrol boats outside of 
their normal range and fuel capacity to rescue the migrants 
and the Directorate of Immigration had to offload, process 
the immigrants, and attend to their health needs.  According 
to the GOCR, the October 2006 rescue cost the GOCR over USD 
one million. Because Costa Rica's Pacific Coast territorial 
waters are greatly extended by possession of the Isla del 
Coco - hundreds of miles west of its Pacific coast, an 
increase in this migration route could seriously affect the 
SNGC's operations and budget.  A slightly exasperated 
Berrocal made this point to Poloffs on May 3. Although 
relieved that the GOC had re-established visa requirements 
for Chinese nationals as of May 1, Berrocal feared that any 
"in the pipeline" already could pose additional burdens on 
the GOCR,s resources.  To stress his point, he said that 
leaders of the large smuggling ring broken up by the GOCR in 
January (Ref B) had told authorities there were "over 10,000" 
Chinese in Costa Rica illegally. 
 
------- 
COMMENT 
------- 
 
5.  (SBU) Berrocal,s concerns may be well-founded. 
According to the April 2007 report "Human Smuggling: 
Increase in Chinese Transiting Colombia" produced by the DHS 
Human Smuggling and Trafficking Center, an estimated 2000 
Chinese left Hong Kong for Colombia in the first two months 
of this year alone.  Presumably, many of these will try their 
luck on the maritime routes off Costa Rica, and some may 
again need assistance from the overstretched SNGC.  Migrant 
rescue responsibilities are another reason continued USG 
assistance to the Costa Rican Coast Guard is essential. 
LANGDALE