An A.M. Costa Rica reprint
Published Wednesday, July 30, 2008, in Vol. 8, No. 150

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Contents copyrighted 2008 by Consultantes Río Colorado S.A. (cédula juridica 3-101-290-170).  Republication without permission is prohibited under U.S. and Costa Rican laws and international conventions.


U.S. and Costa Rica mend fences with quick trip
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The disappointment of the United States with the country's failure to extradite one of the nation's most wanted fugitives lasted less than three days.
An embassy spokesperson said Wednesday that the U.S. ambassador, Peter Cianchette, took Costa Rica's security minister on a trip to Florida Sunday.

The security minister is Janina del Vecchio. She granted refugee status in a controversial  decision July 23 to Chere Lyn Tomayko, a U.S. citizen who faced a child abduction indictment in U.S. federal court.

The embassy spokesperson said that the ambassador took the security minister on a visit to the U.S. Southern Command, the multi-service military organization that has responsibility for Latin America, including the Panamá Canal. They were supposed to return today.

Of more interest to Costa Rica is the maritime patrol agreement under which U.S. and Costa Rican ships hunt drug smugglers. Under the agreement, the U.S. Navy and Coast Guard turn over Costa Rican suspects captured on the high seas to the courts here. Costa Rican officials have expressed their own disappointment that the United States only allocated $4.5 million for anti-drug work for the coming year.

When Ms. del Vecchio made her refugee announcement, based on her unique interpretation of international laws, U.S. Embassy officials canceled a ceremony Friday during which  Cianchette was to donate an aircraft to the security ministry, correctly known as the Ministerio de Gobernación, Policía y  Seguridad Pública.
Friends again
U.S. Embassy photo     
Friends again: Cianchette and Ms. del Vecchio

That was the extent of the official pique over the insult.

Certain to have been discussed in Florida is the U.S. reactivation of the Fourth Fleet, a designation of ships that was mothballed after World War II. The Pentagon said that the new fleet was simply a name change. But some Latin American political figures think otherwise. At a trade summit July 1, Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez said the U.S. naval command could pose a threat to Venezuela's vast oil resources.

The U.S. military revived the naval command for the Latin America and the Caribbean region in late April.

Costa Rican officials are trying to get extended credit for petroleum purchases from Chávez now.