Our most-clicked stories of 2013 involved, certainly not unexpectedly, a mix of scandal and mystery. These topics included the biggest alleged money-laundering case in history, an environmentalist’s brutal death, the polemical figure Paul Watson and a screwy crocodile attack.
Here are The Tico Times’ most popular articles from this year (with the top 5 arranged by most popular topic):
1. Liberty Reserve
A scandal in Costa Rica involving digital currency operator Liberty Reserve attracted international attention last May. That’s what happens when $6 billion and U.S. federal prosecutor Preet Bharara are involved.
The breaking of what U.S. prosecutors called “bank of choice for the criminal underworld” involved arrests in Costa Rica, New York and Spain.
2. The Jairo Mora Murder
Jairo Mora, a young Costa Rican conservationist, and four foreign volunteers were captured while patrolling for nesting sea turtles on a northeastern Caribbean beach. The four volunteers escaped captivity, but Mora was beaten, stripped, dragged behind a car, and left to die on the beach. The brutal attack and the investigation that followed dominated our headlines for months, generating safety concerns among the environmental community, both in Costa Rica and abroad.
3. Tamarindo Crocodile Attack, Sorta
Last October, a croc harassed a tasty surfer in Tamarindo, in the northwestern province of Guanacaste. There were many conflicting versions about what exactly happened, but the slashed-up surfer sympathized with the reptile, saying he just got in the predator’s way.
4. Sources: Reagan Administration, CIA Complicit in DEA Agent’s Murder
A series of exclusive reports on (more) alleged U.S. government meddling in Latin America during the Reagan era became our fourth most popular topic of the year. Two former U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents and a former U.S. Central Intelligence Agency contract pilot are claiming that the Reagan Administration was complicit in the 1985 murder of DEA agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena at the hands of Mexican drug lord Rafael Caro Quintero. The author of the series also argued for further scrutiny on links between the CIA and the Contras.
5. Mass sea turtle deaths
The mass deaths of critically endangered sea turtles touched off a major ripple among readers. At least 70 Eastern Pacific green sea turtles were found dead and washed up ashore, with hundreds more reported offshore. After much speculation about the cause of death (including dynamite-fishing), the most likely explanation seemed to be red tide.