Vol.18  No. 620 Wednesday Edition, June 20, 2018
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Costa Rica calls on the US to end
the policy of separating immigrant families

By A.M. Costa Rica staff

The government of Costa Rica called on the United States to cease the policy of separating families of Central American immigrants who are trying to enter through the southern border with Mexico.

Elaine Whyte, the Costa Rican representative to the U.S. Human Rights Council in Geneva, was emphatic in asking the U.S. Government to stop the migration policy that separates children from their fathers and mothers, said the foreign minister and vice president, Epsy Campbell Barr, at the press conference after the Governing Council.

She added: "We have really used the proper channels to make that call, and it is a vehement call like the one made by the international community."

The president of the United States, Donald Trump, announced a package of controversial measures against immigrant families on the border.

"The United States will not be an immigrant camp, and it will not be a complex to keep refugees. It will not be," the president said Monday. He then went on to cite the migratory crisis in Europe to justify his criticized internal measures.

According to the president, among immigrants seeking to enter the country illegally are people "who can be murderers and thieves, and many other things, we want a safe country, and that starts at the border.”

According to official data sent from the press agencies between May 5 and June 9 2,342 children were separated from their families when they entered the country illegally, a measure that triggered a wave of widespread indignation in the country.

The controversy is of such magnitude that Trump referred to the issue during a ceremony at the White House dedicated to the U.S. space program.

In his speech, Trump said that "if you look at what happens in Europe, what happens in other places ... we cannot allow that to happen in the United States, not under my command."

Shortly before, in a series of messages on Twitter, Trump had referred to the big mistake of the old continent to allow entry into its territory of "millions of people who have changed their culture so strongly and violently."

Meanwhile, Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen said Monday that the United States "will not apologize or give in for doing the work that the Americans expect us to do."

A.M. Costa Rica wire services  photo   
The separated children remain in custody.

"Do not be confused: our border is in crisis. It is being exploited by criminals, smugglers and thousands of people who have no respect for our laws," said the official.

According to Nielsen, the government has no choice but to separate children from immigrant families.

"We must separate them in order to process adults," she explained.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions also said the government does not want to continue the policy of separating children from their families but also agreed that there is a lack of option.

"We do not want to separate children from their parents . . . . And we do not want to bring children to this country clandestinely, putting them at risk," he said.

“This is one of the reasons why the Americans chose Trump as president, to put an end to the illegality on the southern border," Sessions added.

Coincidentally, the United States formally withdrew from the Human Rights Council Tuesday, saying the organization was a cesspool of political bias.

Costa Rica receives on average 100 international alerts on money laundering per year, according drug agency

By A.M. Costa Rica staff

Costa Rica receives an average of 100 international money laundering alerts every year, such as the one made by the U.S. Treasury Department about the Venezuelan state company Aluminios Nacionales S.A., government officials here said.

The figure was confirmed by the general director of the Costa Rican Institute on Drugs, Guillermo Araya, who avoided referring to any specific case, arguing that it is necessary to maintain confidentiality because each case is referred to different departments which are those that determine if it is necessary to open an investigation.

Warnings from rating agencies, qualified agencies or international authorities inform the government of irregularities that occur in activities and operations in the country.

All these alerts are subject to the provisions of the Financial Action Task Force which is a network to combat money laundering. The network allows Costa Rica to attack organized crime, money laundering and terrorist financing as part of a group.

The U.S. government sent a report to Costa Rican officials May 18 detailing, without specifying amounts, that, in December 2016, the Venezuelan official Diosdado Cabello, ordered the army to appoint employees to launder money through Alunasa, a Venezuelan-owned company located in Esparza de Puntarenas.

The document follows a communication sent June 7 by the Intelligence Unit of the Drug Control Institute to the Public Prosecutor's Office. The content of that communication is confidential, but the U.S. Treasury outlined the case against Cabello and three associates in a press release in May.

The North American report says that the crime was committed when the state-owned Venezuelan aluminum industry company used boats to move minerals and launder money through Panama to the Alunasa headquarters in Costa Rica.

Cabello is on the blacklist of the United States. The Treasury Department accuses him of being involved in drug trafficking, extortion and operations involving the smuggling of Venezuelan minerals.

A.M. Costa Rica wire services photo   
Alunasa also hit the news recently due to its inability
 to pay workers.

The blacklist also includes several of his relatives, including his brother, José David, his wife, Marleny Josefina Contreras, and his partner Rafael Sarría.

When an individual or group is blacklisted or sanctioned, U.S. authorities can freeze any asset within their jurisdiction.

For the time being, the Costa Rican Prosecutor's Office has not opened an investigation against Alunasa or ordered the freezing of its assets. The company in Esparza uses aluminum shipped in form Venezuela.

Costa Rica sentenced 13 people in 2015, 17 in 2016, and six in the first half of 2017 for the crime of money laundering, according to statistics from the Public Ministry.

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