Militaryless, democratic, non-conflict-having Costa Rica is the new front in the United States’ War on Inanimate Objects. The country’s national assembly has given the OK for a veritable US invasion force to enter Costa Rican territory: 7,000 marines on 46 warships, including the Wasp-class amphibious assault ship the USS Makin Island, pictured.
La Nación quotes a document from the US Embassy that states that, “The US personnel in Costa Rica will be able to enjoy freedom of movement and the right to carry out the activities that they consider necessary to complete their mission.”
Well isn’t that just permissively vague.
The legislation says the mission has to do with fighting drug traffickers, as well as a few humanitarian goals, though the humanitarian use of a Harrier jet is still somewhat unclear.
On a casual note, I would point out again that for all the Costa Rican smugness about not having an army, they do a pretty good job of borrowing one when they need it. On a more serious note, because this is bound to be extremely politically unpopular domestically, the government must have a damn good reason for inviting all this firepower in from up north.
My guess is that the government is secretly terrified it is losing control of the security situation. They probably should be.
A proportionally very large amount of cocaine is busted in Costa Rica every year, and the country has become something of a bodega for Mexican and Colombian drug smugglers, what with its good infrastructure, weak judicial system, ill-equipped police force, long coastlines, remote beaches, terrible immigration enforcement, and ample opportunities for laundering money through real estate transactions and layers of shell corporations.
I’m not sure how well-armed helicopters will change any of those factors, unless you could make the National Registry more transparent by slipping a few Hellfire missiles through the front door . Probably wouldn’t hurt.
Anyway, keep ironing around that wrinkle fellas. You’ll win the war on drugs any day now.