Despite the fact that Costa Rica is widely regarded as a pacifist nation due to its decision not to have its own military forces, the country controversially granted the US permission to send 7,000 troops and 46 warships (along with their accompanying airplanes and helicopters) to Costa Rica through the end of the year. Officially, the act is considered part of the US led "Drug War" (which is increasingly war-like in nature). Costa Rica's neighbors, however, see the massive military presence as a potential base for regional strikes. Internally, many Costa Ricans are questioning the military presence and its impact on the nation's sovereignty. One party has even brought forth a claim questioning the constitutionality of such an act.
Due to the US's history of intervention in Latin America (perhaps most notably in neighboring Nicaragua), the region is clearly justified in its concern for the disproportionate and virtual invasion of troops into an area that provides such a logistical and geographic striking point. They deserve an explanation and we, as US taxpayers have the right to know why our money is being spent on further militarizing Latin America rather than on the jobs, schools, and healthcare urgently needed in our own country!
But the US has responded, as usual, by disregarding the concerns. According to a TicoTimes article "'We are not sure why there is this uproar,' U.S. Ambassador Anne S. Andrew said, explaining that the request is the same one that has been submitted each year for the last 10 years under a bilateral agreement between the two countries." Past agreements, however, appear to only grant US vessels permission to enter the area in pursuit and, to our knowledge, do not seem to have mentioned troop or warship presence.
Please support Costa Ricans in defending their sovereignty and to maintain peace in the region by refusing US military presence! Contact your Member of Congress today, and demand the following:
Dear Representative XXX,
I am very concerned about the increased US military presence in Costa Rica. I demand to know why my tax dollars are being spent on such a disproportionate show of force in response to drug trafficking, when that money could easily be redirected toward much needed treatment, job creation and social welfare programs at home. How much of our tax money is being sent on the deployment on 7,000 troops and 46 warships?
The region, that has suffered so greatly at the hand of US intervention, deserves a true explanation as to why we are sending such a huge military strike force. This military occupation must end immediately. Please report back to me the expected cost to the taxpayers of this misguided venture.
Alliance for Global Justice [mailto: firstname.lastname@example.org ]