Presidents Obama, Solís sign historic security donation for Costa Rica

August 22, 2016
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Costa Rica President Luis Guillermo Solís, U.S. President Barack Obama and Vice President Joseph Biden announced an unprecedented donation of security equipment for Costa Rica on Monday during Solís’ visit to Washington.

They also agreed on the terms for joint projects aimed at curbing problems related to organized crime, migration and public security.

Solís described the aid from the U.S. government as “the biggest assistance granted in the last 30 years” and a reflection of the good relations between the two countries.

The extensive donation list includes aircraft, speedboats, biometric equipment for identifying undocumented migrants in the field, equipment and training for the National Police and communication equipment and other resources for park rangers.

The list also includes emergency supplies and equipment for attending natural disasters, kits for rape victims, scholarships and funding for education programs, among others. Some of the listed donations are ongoing or had been previously announced.

Although Solís initially was scheduled to meet only with Vice President Biden, Obama also met with Solís and members of his entourage.

The presidents talked about current challenges that organized crime and drug trafficking pose to both countries, Casa Presidencial reported.

Solís said the meeting at the White House increased “as never before, the bilateral cooperation in the fight against organized crime.” Donations will be used primarily to block operations of international criminal organizations.

Among the most important actions, the new resources are meant to reduce the amount of drugs passing through Costa Rica bound for the U.S. and also prevent crime in vulnerable communities of the country.

President Solís said the U.S. donations will result in a noticeable improvement of resources and training of Costa Rican police officers.

The president also expressed to Obama his concerns about the remilitarization of Nicaragua. Daniel Ortega’s government last week displayed part of the new military equipment bought from Russia, including a tank.

Solís told Obama that he does not expect these military resources to be used against Costa Rica, but highlighted that his administration “is not comfortable with Nicaragua’s rearmament.”

Clean energy, women’s empowerment

The meeting at the White House also included discussions about energy concerns and access to clean and renewable energy sources.

The leaders also discussed programs and policies aimed at empowering women. That conversation followed negotiations that began during separate visits to Costa Rica by President Obama and second lady Jill Biden.

Solís also took the opportunity to request U.S. support for Costa Rican Christiana Figueres’ bid for the General Secretariat of the United Nations.

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