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  #1  
Old 18 Jun 2009
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Need update for Puerto Limón, Costa Rica

If anyone is in or around Puerto Limón, Costa Rica could you please advise if there are any increased safety, security issues or current travel advisories that should be considered before traveling there? thank you

This was recently released: "Almost one ton of cocaine carried in frozen sharks"

Sharks were loaded at Puerto Limón, Costa Rica, the sharks were busted in Mexico.

AFP: Almost one ton of cocaine carried in frozen sharks

xfiltrate
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  #2  
Old 18 Jun 2009
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Spent a day in Pto.Limon in March and did not see any drug crazed sharks walking the streets so I felt pretty safe there.I would recommend any traveller to go there for a visit.
Too bad about all those sharks being dead and frozen though. Poor things should be left alone in the ocean, cleaning out the sickly fish .
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  #3  
Old 18 Jun 2009
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The sharks of Puerto Limón

Sjoerd, those sharks were more than likely fresh water sharks, although there are ocean sharks there too. Yes, the rivers in Costa Rica have fresh water sharks.

I lived and worked in Puerto Limón as a U S Peace Corps volunteer for 2 years in the sixties. I was there about 3 years ago, but have visited many times since my Peace Corps service. I know Limón.

Today, I am more concerned about the people who put the drugs in the sharks, then I am about the sharks. Anyone who really knows Limón knows who I speak of, and where they come from. And, I was wondering if the shark bust, will change the apparent hands off policy by Costa Rican government and other drug enforcement agencies toward Limón or not.

If there is a policy change, Puerto Limón might become dangerous, until the game plays itself out. I have witnessed the negative effects of governmental policy change on Limón in the short term several times. There could be violence.

I was asking if anyone on the ground there now could advise. thanks

This illustrates my concern: Costa Rica Drug Wars - New Hub of Traffickers | Tico Times Directory Blog

xfiltrate

Last edited by xfiltrate; 18 Jun 2009 at 22:51. Reason: I added Tico Times article to clarify my point.
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  #4  
Old 19 Jun 2009
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Indeed there are sharks in some fresh water bodies . Lake Nicaragua comes to mind , but research has shown that they are basically sea sharks which travel up and down the rivers.
Good animals , sharks, and all the greater the pity that they are being fished dangerously near to extinction often just to have their fins sliced off for the Chinese market .
I have no pity for the people who put drugs in the sharks nor for those who take them out , nor for those who put the drugs in their own corpses. Let them all do something useful and turn themselves into shark food.
If there is any violence coming out of this in Limon I doubt that the regular drug free traveller needs to have much concern.There really is no need to spread unwaranted alarm with ominous musings about sinister parties who might get involved with drug smuggling related violence.

Last edited by Sjoerd Bakker; 19 Jun 2009 at 17:32.
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  #5  
Old 19 Jun 2009
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Update and an additional caution

Update... and a caution

Costa Rica Drug Wars - New Hub of Traffickers | Tico Times Directory Blog

As partially correctly indicated by the Tico Times article, the United States has expended 22 million dollars into Costa Rica "to help curb drug trafficking." Actually the United States has spent much , much more than 22 million, if black budget costs are included.

"Since 2003, Costa Rica drug seizures have jumped up 1000%, way above the World-wide percentage of 10%, according the 2008 World Drug Report from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime."

Because of the very recent "shark bust," that captured world attention, more than one 3 letter agency will be demanding much more from the Costa Rican authorities. The Costa Rican authorities are going to correctly blame the drug trafficking on "foreigners," the 3 letter funding agencies are going to say, "fine," "then arrest the foreigners" and this makes foreigners, other than the mainstream tourists suspect in Costa Rica. All tourists will be more vulnerable in Puerto Limón, where the offending, now busted sharks, originated. This is a numbers based game.

This ain't my first rodeo, in Latin America, drugs are routinely offered to "tourists" throughout the Province of Limón, and my advice is that if you are in or planning to be in Costa Rica carefully consider all that has been written on this thread. And the following:

Special Warning About Drug Offenses Abroad

Every year, several hundred Americans are arrested abroad on drug charges. Persons caught with illegal drugs in a foreign country are subject to the drug laws of that country, not those of the U.S.; as always, ignorance of the law is no excuse. In many countries, the burden of proof is on the accused to show that he or she is innocent of the charges.

Every aspect of a drug arrest abroad can be different from U.S. practice. For instance:

few countries provide a jury trial
many countries do not permit pre-trial release on bail
pre-trial detention, often in solitary confinement, can last several months
prisons may lack even minimal comforts, such as beds, toilets, and washbasins
diets are often inadequate and require supplements from relatives and friends
officials may not speak English
physical abuse, confiscation of property, degrading treatment and extortion are possible.
persons convicted may face sentences ranging from fines and jail time, to years of hard labor, and even the death penalty
penalties for drug possession and for drug trafficking are often the same abroad, so possession of one ounce of marijuana could result in years in a foreign jail
As with any arrest of a U.S. citizen abroad, consular officers perform a variety of services (see Arrests Abroad, above). For more information about arrests abroad, see Assistance to U.S. Citizens Arrested Abroad.

Sjoerd, not much better than shark bait.... I don't eat fish, but you are right, about the sharks. Thanks xfiltrate
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  #6  
Old 20 Jun 2009
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Costa Rica signs Mérida Initiative accesses $4.3 million US

This week, the US Ambassador to Costa Rica, as his last public act ,signed an agreement with Costa Rica for additional US funding to monitor drug trafficking. Ambassador Clanchette has completed his service in Costa Rica and is heading home to the States.

In the coming months the US government will be reviewing Costa Rica's progress toward stopping drug trafficking.

Inside Costa Rica - Costa Rica's Daily News

The US has expended more than 200 million to stop drug trafficking in Mexico, with some success and horrific consequences for tourists and the Mexican people . Costa Rica has now been targeted as a potential new drug trafficking route due to its' location and the absence of well funded police and military.

A personal note here. during my 2 years service as a US Peace Corps volunteer in Puerto Limón, Costa Rica, there was no standing army, and not much of one today. There was no road between the Capital San Jose and Limón, only a narrow gauge train that took 7 to 10 hours to make the trip. The modern day *carpet baggers, had not yet then arrived from the continent directly north or from northern europe, with their *carpet bags full of foreign cash used to buy family farms, family homes, and all available beach front property.

The carpet baggers became known as back packers and with them came the hippies and their drugs. And finally came the green people who exchanged unspoiled rain forests for Disney like attractions and urged tens of thousands of their kind to come and help them do their destructive work. All under the false flag of saving the environment.

NO, then, there was little tourism in general, and no sex tourism or gambling casinos. There was only the railroad and the United Fruit company that not only took their toll upon the land, but enslaved many of the Costa Rican people. And, there were the exotic bird and animal traders, who more often than not left a few of their coveted snakes running lose in the Peace Corps hotel in San Jose, these continue to ply their trade to this day, just in case the Disney people missed killing off a few species.

I watched in horror as what I knew to be a jungle became a "rain forest" and what I knew to be a swamp, became a "wet land" and I knew one thing for sure that the names were changed because it was very difficult to raise money to save a jungle or a swamp, but not difficult at all to raise money to save a "rain forest" or a "wet land."

My heart is heavy, to know that one of the most peaceful democratic countries in the world will more than likely soon be militarized to combat drug trafficking. In many Latin American countries this process has resulted in dictatorships and worst.

If anyone has any good foreign policy ideas that might benefit Costa Rica, please start an appropriate thread somewhere on the HUBB. Thank you

xfiltrate

If this has been a little depressing, go here to cheer yourself up:
Why every girl should have a Snap-on toolbox
XT GIRL in Yamaha Tech...

* for a definition of *carpet baggers study the US Civil War (circa 1865) and learn what the wealthy of the north did to the south after the south lost the war.

Last edited by xfiltrate; 21 Jun 2009 at 01:12. Reason: To speak from my heart.
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  #7  
Old 22 Jun 2009
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"Shark Saga" continues... Mexico Drug War sweeps southward

1. The Costa Rican authorities have wasted no time in arresting suspects possibly responsible for shipping drugs to Mexico inside frozen sharks.

Latin American Herald Tribune - Suspects Nabbed in Costa Rica for Shipping Drugs to Mexico in Sharks


2. 20jun09 : Stephen Meiners of the consulting group Statfor in a recent report on Central America warns against "governments pushing too hard" to stop drug trafficking through Central America, because of the risk of extreme and disruptive violence ordered and funded by the drug cartels, as has been experienced in Mexico and Colombia.

Mexico's drug war seeps southward - Taiwan News Online

3. Good Cop??? Bad Cop???

Costa Rica, Nicaragua Daily News–The Tico Times, Cops arrested in Costa Rica cocaine theft

xfiltrate "ride free, eat, drink, and be careful"
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  #8  
Old 23 Jun 2009
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On the ground updates needed from Central America

Please report here any information that might help travelers avoid drug related problem areas in Central America.

"Moreover, the prognosis is not favorable.

The situation on the ground in Central America is bound to deteriorate if the offensive of the Mexican government against the drug cartels succeeds in reclaiming control over northern Mexico for the state. Evidence of increased activity by Mexican crime syndicates, including turf wars between them, is rife throughout Central America these days. The big difference, of course, is that the capacities of the Central American states, and of the Guatemalan state in particular, to enforce the law and exert effective control over their territory are well below those of Mexico and certainly below what is needed to face up to the dire security challenge that is being foisted upon them.

Guatemala is experiencing a silent institutional collapse. Unlike Afghanistan or Somalia, its institutions seem to be failing slowly, in a non-conspicuous way, unnoticed by the headlines." MEXIDATA INFO ARTICLE 01jun09

'Guatemalastan': How to Prevent a Failed State in our Midst

Xfiltrate says: Based on my continuing research, the key revelation in the article above is that some Central American institutions "seem to be failing slowly," there are thousands of recently published articles regarding new drug trafficking routes through Central America. At this point, government agencies and certain barrios and even cities in Guatemala and Panama have been suffering the violent and disruptive influences of the drug cartels.

Ride Free, Eat, Drink and Be Careful and buy insurance damit

xfiltrate
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  #9  
Old 24 Jun 2009
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Ominous Message from Costa Rica's Attorney General

"Costa Rica's Attorney General warns drug cartels already hold power:
[Francisco D'Lanesse, Costa Rican Attorney General]:
"We have already been taken over by drug cartels and other activities carried out by organized criminals. What follows is that drug cartels will take over political parties, will finance political campaigns and then take over the government."

Costa Rica Target for Drug Smugglers – New Tang Dynasty Television

Xfiltrate says: Released five hours ago in a televised press conference, the Attorney General of Costa Rica, a very brave man, is rightfully concerned for the future of Costa Rica.

Updated reports are welcome here from anyone riding through Central America or anyone that can contribute a safety advisory. I have received several reports from Tico friends that travelers should be extra careful as Costa Rica is ramped up to meet the announced challenge.

This is NOT BUSINESS AS USUAL for Costa Rica. Please post your observations here.

xfiltrate

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  #10  
Old 25 Jun 2009
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Cash and Weapons... CBS news "60 minutes"

This well researched CBS news report might be of interest to anyone wanting a brief overview of drug trafficking in Mexico. The United States has committed (1.4 billion) $1,400,000,000. to assist Mexico in combatting drug trafficking.

Earlier in this thread I reported 200 million has been expended. Why all this aid to Mexico? Perhaps because, "we the people" of the United States buy the illegal drugs and sell weapons to the drug traffickers to insure ourselves a continued supply of drugs to feed our addictions.

The War Next Door - 60 Minutes - CBS News

Decide for yourselves the effect the drug war in Mexico will have on Central America. With the presentation of the overview of the drug war in Mexico, I have accomplished my goal of informing international motorcycle adventurers of a potential increase in violence throughout Mexico and Central America caused by the game between the drug traffickers and the war on drugs.

Although, it has been alleged that CBS reporter Anderson Cooper, heir to the Astor fortune, has CIA ties, so what, does anyone really believe that the war on drugs and terrorism are just fear based ploys of the US Government to restrict the Constitution and consolidate power over the people? But, please don't answer on this thread.

I will now stand down and await your on the ground updates. Thanks

xfiltrate

Last edited by xfiltrate; 29 Jun 2009 at 19:12.
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  #11  
Old 29 Jun 2009
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Military Coup in Honduras

Honduran President Salaya has fled to Costa Rica following a Military Coup in Honduras.

Some say it was because of his bid for re election, others say it was his idea to legalize drugs in Honduras.

Cuba and Venezuela have protested the Coup and the United States is playing both sides as usual.

I do not know the truth, although I did discover that the CIA was involved in drug trafficking to fund weapons for the Contras, in Nicaraugua, during the much publicized Iran-Contra, "Oliver North," boondoggle.

Perhaps the drug cartels are running the show, the are opposed to the legalization of drugs.

Did they finance this Military Coup? I don't know.

Political commentary:

YouTube - CBC Newsworld-28 June, 2009-Pablo Policzer comments on the Honduras coup

Presiden Salaya's idea to legalize drugs:

President of Honduras Calls for Drug Legalization | Cato @ Liberty

Historical perspective from The Baltimore Sun June 11, 1995 (an interseting read)

When a wave of torture and murder staggered a small U.S. ally, truth was a casualty. - baltimoresun.com

Ride Free, Eat, Drink and Be Very Very Careful xfiltrate
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  #12  
Old 30 Jun 2009
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Tentacles of Drug Trafficking Extend Widely in Costa Rica

More bad news for the Costa Rican people, as the country struggles to handle recently well publicized illegal drug trafficking.

The President of Honduras was recently exiled to Costa Rica, in his pajamas, by the US backed and trained military, perhaps because he floated the idea to the press, of legalizing all drugs in Honduras in a last ditch attempt to salvage his country from the cartels. There are other explanations of why he was exiled, but for me...this one is just too obvious to ignor.

Latin American Herald Tribune - Tentacles of Drug Trafficking Extend Widely in Costa Rica

Ride Free, Eat, Drink and Be Careful xfiltrate
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  #13  
Old 12 Jul 2009
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Update for Mexico and Central America

NEEDED ON THE GROUND REPORTS FROM HONDURAS.

As described on this thread and in thousands of media articles, the War on Drugs is moving south, both geographically and philosophically.

Mexico's Drug War - Stories, Photos, Videos - Mexico Under Siege - World News - Los Angeles Times

As drug trafficking is blunted through Mexico, the Cartels are invading Central America countries and establishing new routes to the United States. The demand for illegal drugs in the United States is slowly destroying our neighbors to the south, they are buckling, one by one, under the heavy handed suppression of the multinational Cartels who have billions of dollars of product now searching new routes for delivery.

I wonder if the teenagers, yuppies, the rich and the famous, etc... and the impoverished who steal for their next "fix" ever consider that they are contributing to the destruction of hard won democratic countries south of the border.

I wonder if the North American drug addicts consider that their need for illegal drugs is making survival much more difficult for millions of good hard working citizens of Mexico and the Central American countries.

I wonder if the millionaire profiteers of the drug trade, who, invest in businesses of all types, the stock markets of the world, and purchase/lease luxury houses, cars, boats and airplanes, and people, believe their contributions offset their destruction?

xfiltrate Eat, Drink and Be Careful
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  #14  
Old 17 Aug 2009
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Right on schedule - a couple of years late!

Mexico cartels go from drugs to full-scale mafias - Yahoo! News


Mexico replaces customs staff, revamps borders - Yahoo! News

Mexican drug cartels expand abroad | guatemala, abroad, mexican - Latest News - Valley Morning Star

These 3 AP articles are worth reading if you are riding Mexico and/or Central America and South America.

Eat, Drink and Be Careful xfiltrate
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