San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

U.S. security aid tops $6 million

In 2011, the United States government donated almost $6.6 million in cash, equipment and training to Costa Rican public security forces, according to data released by the Public Security Ministry.

A Coast Guard base, two new patrol boats, bulletproof vests, radios, boat and helicopter parts, trucks, generators, office supplies, language learning materials and cash are some of the donations made by the U.S. government last year to help Costa Rica meet security challenges.

The single largest donation was the newly built $3.5 million Coast Guard station in Caldera, Puntarenas, on the central Pacific coast, inaugurated in March of last year. 

“The U.S. government has a strategic plan to partner with Costa Rica to strengthen the capacity of its Coast Guard,” U.S. Ambassador Anne S. Andrew told The Tico Times at the time (TT, March 31, 2011).

That strategic plan is evident in the breakdown of U.S. donations among different Public Security Ministry agencies: Of 31 donations received by the ministry from the U.S., the Costa Rican Coast Guard received approximately $5.5 million, or about 84 percent of the total. That figure includes the new base and two interceptor boats with a $1.8 million price tag. 

Uncle Sam also shelled out $48,000 “to support marine operations,” according to the ministry report. Additionally, the Coast Guard also received $60,000 for generators for patrol boats, $19,000 for parts for patrol boats and $11,000 for trucks and $120,000 in training for Coast Guard personnel, including eight weeks of diesel maintenance training for three individuals to the tune of about $50,000.

The National Air Vigilance Service also did well, receiving $371,000. The National Police received $78,400 for training, including $40,000 for 25 Costa Rican and Nicaraguan police who learned how to detect hidden compartments in vehicles. The U.S. also financed the attendance of three National Police representatives at the International Drug Enforcement Conference in Cancún, Mexico, to the tune of $12,000.

Other donations listed by the Public Security Ministry include just under $10,000 for “jungle commando” training for two agents, $15,000 for a three-week course on national defense strategies for one person and $15,000 for “reinforcement and development of new capabilities for the approach and control of disturbances,” among other programs. 

The Judicial Investigation Police and Presidency Ministry received a donation of bulletproof vests valued at $289,208

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