Thanks to the support of the United States government, the Costa Rican Air Surveillance Service (SVA), of the Ministry of Public Security, has mechanics, pilots, and police officers being trained in the Aviation Program, taught through the U.S. Embassy’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement (INL).
This alliance has allowed Costa Rica to have its first certified woman UH-1ST helicopter pilot working for the country, as a VAS officer. She is Officer Yuriana Arnesto Segura, 32, who joined the SVA in 2011, carrying out various tasks in aerial surveillance.
The UH-1ST helicopters arrived in Costa Rica in 2019 aboard a U.S. C-17 Globemaster, while the Aviation Program started that same year.
“It fills me with great emotion and pride; it’s a very big effort of many years of training and striving, to achieve this great step that I took as a professional in the SVA,” Officer Arnesto said. “This was a goal, a dream that I wanted with all my heart. I thank God, my family and the U.S. government, because thanks to them I was able to train and serve my country.”
From 2019 to date, the INL Aviation Program has trained VAS mechanics, pilots, technicians, and police officers.
“We of the U.S. Embassy, under the leadership of Ambassador [Cynthia] Telles, are all dedicated to building a world in which there are more and better opportunities for women and girls,” INL Director Robert Alter said. “We are very proud to be partners with the SVA and the Ministry of Public Security in this effort, and we are particularly proud of the accomplishment of Captain Arnesto, in becoming a pilot in command, the first female pilot in command for the SVA [on UH-1ST helicopters]. We look forward to continuing to collaborate with the SVA and achieving many more successes.”