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Many Costa Ricans Are Angry, Scared And Confused Over U.S. War Ships
By John Holtz*

I very much admire those people who took time and made an effort to comment on the latest Op-Ed piece, Has Costa Rica Rolled Over To The US?, regarding the US forces who are expected to be in Costa Rica as agreed to by the legislature.

Perhaps my piece on Monday was too flip, but it is hard to be always serious here or I would go bonkers. Actually, I am going bonkers.

This story is not going away and for sure the pro – con arguments will grow exponentially as will the theories and hidden agenda accusations. A military presence of this magnitude on foreign soil with what amounts to be a “blank check” is serious stuff and fodder for speculation.

Just as serious is that the mission is only until December 31, 2010.

What happens then? Are we to believe the drug lords and traffickers will be gone or do you think they just might come back? Or, never leave at all. Or, will the armed forces agreement be extended?

I am also curious to why no DEA presence was announced who are the US experts on the trafficking of drugs and could probably pick the narcos out by facial recognition alone. Limiting the attack to our oceans makes no sense for such a large scale operation. Money is not laundered on the high seas and neither are those who direct the drug trade.

Moreover, what will 7,000 land based Marines do here? I know the jokes, but in reality, what are they going to do in Costa Rica?

All these questions and so few answers because too many pieces of the of the puzzle are missing.

Many Costa Ricans are angry, scared and certainly confused.  It is time to practice empathy and put us into their shoes for a moment or two.

Think about it. One day the major issues were World Cup envy, vacation time, cost of living and having to resort to driving over the Aguacate again instead of the Caldera highway and then BOOM, without any warning whatsoever we are confronted by what is being rapidly perceived as an invasion of foreign forces who have a long history of taking over small countries.

This scares the people of this country and rightfully so
In addition, by the military presence and the size of that presence, Costa Rica is now the focus of regional tensions and in particular, Nicaragua. Something our adopted country does not need right now.

What is needed is to immediately become transparent and I do not mean on Facebook or Twitter.

Presidenta, Laura Chinchilla, the US Ambassador, Ann Andrews who is the leader of all this need to come clean, face the people and tell us what this is all about and not in gross generalities which will just result in more and more apprehension and distrust.

Even the “Home” page of the U.S. Embassy does not mention a word about the military presence and what it is supposed to do in Costa Rica. Albeit, the most current news item on the page is dated June 14, 2010 and it goes downhill from there.

I believe that more than anything else it is the suddenness of this dramatic measure as well as the massiveness and that by putting armed military inside Costa Rica, it diminishes for years to come any further claim that we are a nation without an army. We just went out and got one.

*John Holtz is the Executive Director of the Center for the Studies of Modern Management
www.modernmanagement.org and can be reached at:  [email protected].


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