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Viewing cable 08SANJOSE586, COSTA RICA REITERATES NEED FOR IMMEDIATE MARITIME

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08SANJOSE586 2008-07-10 12:12 2011-03-07 18:06 CONFIDENTIAL 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
VZCZCXYZ0000
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHSJ #0586 1921250
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 101250Z JUL 08
FM AMEMBASSY SAN JOSE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9924
INFO RUEHZA/WHA CENTRAL AMERICAN COLLECTIVE
RUEABND/DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMIN HQ WASHINGTON DC
RUMIAGH/COMJTF-B SIMS SOTO CANO HO
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
RHMFISS/CDR USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL
C O N F I D E N T I A L SAN JOSE 000586 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR WHAT/CEN, WHA/PPC, INL/LP, AND PM 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/09/2018 
TAGS: PREL PINR MASS MCAP PINS SNAR CS
SUBJECT: COSTA RICA REITERATES NEED FOR IMMEDIATE MARITIME 
INTERDICTION ASSISTANCE, SPELLS OUT OTHER PRIORITIES 
 
REF: SAN JOSE 530 
 
Classified By: DCM Peter M. Brennan for reason 1.4 (b). 
 
1. (C) On July 1, during the Ambassador's formal courtesy 
call with her, Minister of Public Security Janina Del Vecchio 
reiterated what she had told us on June 12 meeting (Reftel): 
Costa Rica needs immediate maritime interdiction assistance 
to help combat drug trafficking in littoral waters.  She 
asked that we commit as much of the Merida Initiative funding 
to help fix the Costa Rican Coast Guard (SNGC) as possible. 
Del Vecchio emphasized that what the SNGC needed most are 
maritime interceptors that could both catch "go-fast" drug 
runners as well as board them.  She acknowledged that her 
current SNGC fleet was inadequate for either mission. 
 
2. (C) Speaking more broadly on security issues, Del Vecchio 
shared with us that President Oscar Arias had instructed her 
to obtain as much international assistance as possible to 
help address Costa Rica's deteriorating domestic security 
problems, which are directly linked to the effects of 
narcotrafficking throughout Costa Rican territory.  She 
relayed that Arias told her that the GOCR's budget was 
already under a lot of pressure due to increased fuel and 
food prices and that there was little room in the budget to 
increase current levels of security spending. 
 
3. (C) Del Vecchio told us that after the SNGC, her top 
priority was to professionalize the police and to ensure that 
they were properly equipped.  The establishment of a new 
police academy was, she highlighted, an important part of 
reforming the Costa Rican police.  (NOTE: Post has assisted 
the GOCR on this issue in an advising role, especially 
through our New Mexico State Partnership Program.  END NOTE.) 
 She said the police needed more medium-size trucks or SUVs 
that could be used off-road (4X4s) and more mobile command 
posts (bus-size type of mobile command and control units, 
they currently have just one) to deal with problems outside 
of the capital such as major drug busts or reacting to 
natural disasters.  She confirmed to us that Costa Rica would 
be receiving 200 small patrol cars from China, though she did 
not have a time frame for their delivery. 
 
4. (C) In a separate courtesy call with Vice-President and 
Minister of Justice Laura Chinchilla on July 2, Chinchilla 
told the Ambassador that Costa Rica was very pleased that the 
Merida Initiative had passed.  The GOCR was confident this 
would help address security needs.  Chinchilla also seemed 
interested in developing a strategic security plan for Costa 
Rica with USG help.  We are exploring various options on how 
to proceed, including a seminar led by a team from the 
National Defense University's Center for Hemispheric Defense 
Studies, perhaps as early as next month. 
 
======= 
COMMENT 
======= 
 
5. (SBU) Regarding the types of maritime interceptors that 
Minister Del Vecchio requested, Post recommends that as part 
of the Merida Initiative the USG purchase 33-foot SPE-LE 
"Safe" boats.  The USCG uses these types of boats for both 
interception and boarding of drug running "go-fasts" and are 
the desired choice for the SNGC.  Earlier this year, a USCG 
survey team visited Costa Rica and concurred with Post's 
assessment.  The advantage with this type of interceptor is 
that is has a foam-filled hull, similar to inflatables but 
without the risk of being punctured and losing air, to 
minimize any damage made during boarding operations.  The 
rigid-hull type of design, such as those used for Enduring 
Friendship, can cause damage to both the boarding vessel and 
the vessel being boarded. 
CIANCHETTE