Colombia, Costa Rica to Cooperate on Defense Training Programs

By Dialogo
July 08, 2013

SAN JOSÉ — Police training and coastal vigilance programs are among new initiatives likely to result from a recent visit by Colombian Defense Minister Juan Carlos Pinzón to Costa Rica.
Pinzón met his counterpart, Costa Rican Security Minister Mario Zamora, during a visit to San José to discuss narcotics trafficking and other defense issues. Colombia currently trains Costa Rican officials through an online program.
“Public insecurity has been the biggest worry amongst Costa Ricans for more than two decades. Now it is in third place, thanks in great part to the government of Colombia,” Zamora said.
About 350 officers have already received training from Colombia either online or in Costa Rica, and the new program will allow officials to apply for training in Colombia, according to Zamora’s ofice. Under the new agreement, the Colombian Navy will send its vessels to help the Costa Rican Coast Guard.
Both men agreed on the importance of a new joint patrol between the Costa Rican Coast Guard and the Colombian Navy. The new program is now in the technical analysis phase and soon Colombian ships will assist in areas known for heavy drug trafficking.
Pinzón also reviewed some Costa Rican police programs which may be worth implementing in Colombia, including Costa Rica’s Tribunales de Flagrancia. Established in April 2011, this court is specifically designed to expedite the judicial process for damaging crimes.
“The idea is to enable us to better proceed in trying these crimes,” said Kattia Rivera, the tribunal’s director of legal support in Costa Rica. “We’ve eliminated all of the paperwork because what is important is the oral arguments. The key is what the police have to say after they detain someone.”
During his May 27 visit, Pinzón also met with Costa Rican President Laura Chinchilla to discuss what he said was “the importance of generating a shared responsibility against the crimes facing both countries, and investing in security and defense.” He also visited the San José headquarters of the Inter-American Human Rights Court, in order to present advances Colombia has made regarding human rights for members of its police force.