The Costa Rican Congress has authorized the United States to send 7,000 Marines and 46 warships to Costa Rica to provide counter narcotics and humanitarian support. However, the opposition alleges the authorization is a violation of Costa Rican sovereignty.
According to some news estimates, this influx of U.S. personnel will also be accompanied by around 6,000 U.S. civilians and will also include some 200 helicopters. The U.S. forces are authorized to stay in the country from July 1 to Dec. 31 “for anti-narcotics operations and humanitarian missions.“
Government officials say the force will provide humanitarian assistance by constructing schools and will launch operations to counter narcotics traffickers.
According to a letter sent to the U.S. embassy, “The United States personnel in Costa Rica can enjoy freedom of movement and the right to carry out the activities it deems necessary in carrying out its mission.”
The opposition parties PAC, PUSC and FA, allege the size and nature of the force is disproportionate to efforts to combat narcotics traffickers.
At this time, it is unclear what precise roles the U.S. forces will undertake during their time in Costa Rica.
Contractors are often brought in to provide needed training and support to U.S. forces engaged in counter narcotics and humanitarian missions. In Afghanistan, Xe Services holds a contract to provide training to Afghan government officials in countering the narcotics trade.