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San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, Dec. 8, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 243
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Fastboat case illuminates the Caribbean cocaine smuggling route
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation said that a tip to an agent in New Orleans, Louisiana, led to the arrest of four Honduran gangsters who were smuggling cocaine north from Costa Rica.

The report cites the arrest of Honduran traffickers, which seems to be an unusual nationality. Usually those captured on the high seas of Costa Rica are Colombian, Nicaraguan or Costa Rican. Pilots of drug planes usually are Mexican.

In addition, the report confirms the use of the province of Limón as shelter and a transfer point for cocaine smugglers. Most of the interdictions there on the high seas are marijuana smugglers coming from Jamaica.

The tip that the FBI agent got said that a large cocaine shipment was about to leave Costa Rica, the agency reported. The destination was the United States.

The FBI credited a joint interagency task force in Key West, Florida, with tracking the fastboat used by the smugglers.

Task force workers brought a U.S. Navy surveillance aircraft into the case. The plane began tracking the small boat along the east coast of Nicaragua.

Because there were no U.S. surface craft nearby, the case was turned over to the Honduran navy which scrambled aircraft and brought in patrol boats, the FBI said. The patrol boats forced the crew to beach the small boat, fire at pursuers and flee into the jungle where they were eventually caught, the FBI said.

The Honduran navy reported finding 300 kilos of

gofast boat
FBI photo
A U.S. Navy video of the fast boat is on display in Key West.

cocaine and military weaponry, including grenade launchers.

In the past, U.S. officials said that cocaine smugglers kept well out in the Caribbean as they worked their way up the Costa Rican coast. The FBI report, which has not been mentioned in media here until now, shows that there has been a change in smuggling strategy. Smugglers frequently are in need of fuel about the time they reach the latitudes of Costa Rica, and there is a steady trade from the Coast Rican coast of boat crews that fulfill this need.

But now it appears the smugglers are bold enough to actually tie up in Costa Rica.

The FBI said the arrest of the boat crew provided information vital for an investigation in the United States.



Lawmaker seeks special protection for creole that developed in Limón
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A lawmaker wants to add Criollo Limonense to the languages that the Costa Rican government is pledged to support.

Already the Costa Rican Constitution requires special protection for non-Spanish native languages such as those spoken by the native groups Bribri, Cabécar, Guaymí, Buglere and Guatuso.

The lawmaker is
Gerardo Vargas Varela of Frente Amplio. He is from Limón. He proposes a simple addition to Article 76 of the Constitution.

Academics estimate that there are about 70,000 speakers of  Criollo Limonense in Costa Rica. The language is a mixture of English and Spanish developed by the residents of Limón who
came from Jamaica. A creole is a true language, although there
probably are very few persons in Limón who can only speak this tongue.

One person who is fluent in creole from Limón is former president Abel Pacheco, who grew up in that area.

Today the language is, to some extent, the secret tongue of the residents, used among family members. There has been extensive research done on this and many other creoles that are based on English, French, Spanish and other languages generated by cultural invasions.

Vargas says he has the support of 49 other lawmakers.

Many of the native languages have monolingual speakers who do not know Spanish. Many residents of Limón are fluent from childhood in Spanish, English and Creole.


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