Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Are U.S. Taxpayers Funding Empire Building With Costa Rica?

Michael Edwards

One would think that America is experiencing Boom Times with the way their government is throwing around money lately.  The recent announcement that a flotilla of warships and troops will be sent to Costa Rica would ordinarily be laughable for its wastefulness, but with America experiencing an unemployment rate north of 20% and the median duration of unemployment at the highest in the last 50 years, this should be no laughing matter.

Many Americans do not know much about Costa Rica, its history, or its current political landscape.  It might be worth knowing exactly how and where American tax dollars are being spent.  Here are some basic facts about Costa Rica:
  • Costa Rica is a democratic republic with a very strong system of Constitutional checks and balances.
  • Costa Rica does not have a military; it was abolished in 1948.
  • Recent president, Oscar Arias, was a Nobel Peace Prize winner in 1987.
  • Costa Rica consistently ranks as one of the happiest places on Earth according to many polls, including the first ever "happiness poll" conducted by Gallup, where it was determined to be #1 in The Americas.
In other words, Costa Rica's lack of a military culture has been enshrined, and is part and parcel of their overall happiness.  Forty-six warships, 200 helicopters, and 7000 troops being sent to patrol the coastal waters of Costa Rica sends the world a false message that Costa Rica is in some way needy of this massive loan of the American military.  Furthermore, the entire region is moving away from neoliberalism, and toward solidarity, in an attempt to build a sovereign Latin America. 

We have to assume that Costa Rica's welcoming support of the American military is likely to fan regional tensions, at the very least.  Or, could that be the reason itself for such a move?  In a comprehensive article by Mark Vorpahl, writing for Global Research, he points out that such an excessive amount of military in order to "combat drug trafficking" or "offer humanitarian aid" to a country the size of Rhode Island can hardly be justified in and of itself.  Much more likely is that this is regional in scope and is a U.S. intimidation force, rather than a humanitarian mission.  

Vorpahl asserts that the U.S. is determined to return to the Monroe Doctrine principles which led to the overthrow of popular governments throughout Latin America.  He states the results:
Therefore, the U.S. Empire builders could use their political and economic might alone to subjugate these neo-colonies to a very profitable neoliberal agenda. This agenda included allowing U.S. corporations easy access to pillage these nations’ public sectors through privatization, letting multi-national corporations overrun these nations’ local markets and farms through the elimination of trade barriers, and increasing the exploitation of their workers and the devastation of their natural resources by tossing out national labor and environmental standards. Because of the profits enjoyed by a few as a result of these measures, they carried the day, though they, in turn, created a simmering spirit of rebellion in the semi-colonies' peasantry and workers that would inevitably find expression.
It is true that Costa Rica is in a precarious geographical location amid other historically less peaceful (and much poorer) nations, but this is nothing new.  It seems that the most likely scenario is that America would like to take the Drug War show to a new area of the high seas, and they have found a convenient headquarters for operations.  Geopolitics notwithstanding, the financial cost to America should be noted.  America is already embroiled in two major wars; has military bases all over the planet; and has a true disaster spreading along its own coast, not to mention the elephant in the living room of a looming second Great Depression.

As a frequent visitor to Costa Rica, I can only add that if the Costa Rican government is allowing its country to be the staging ground and corporate headquarters for empire building in Latin America, they should be called on it.  If the Costa Rican people decide to abandon their dedication to peace, and the absence of a military, by allowing this violation of their sovereignty and Constitution, they are truly misguided.

Polls show that most Americans do support spreading the idea of democracy, but do not agree with empire building.  If the American people do not voice their outrage over this, and the abject wastefulness of their tax dollars during a time of more pressing crises, they are again proving to the world who really has the power in America.

This article may be re-posted in full with attribution.


If you enjoy our work, please donate to keep our website going.


The White Rose Resistance said...

Comments from a Costa Rican citizen that sheds more light onto the real reasons for this timely U.S. military occupation in concert with pressure on Iran... We have a dangerous situation right now in Costa Rica: our brand-new government just gave permission for an entire fleet (46 warships) of the US to operate in our waters, air and soil -“to fight drugs... See More”. As you know, my country has had no army for 60 years, and we are a neutral nation –except a previous President saw fit to announce “Costa Rica supports the war on Iraq” –which NO citizen was consulted about, trust me: we don’t believe in war. This is particularly worrisome, because no one would even have known about it, weren’t it for the whistleblowing of 3 minority parties; the Parliament was given 2 days to vote on the issue… since the first ship was due on the second day! Of course narcotics are a problem worldwide, but we don’t see how an army can combat this (look at Colombia). And of course, mainstream media portray it as a Very Good Thing –when they do give one or two lines to the issue. Only Nuestro PaĆ­s digital has had the guts to expose it entirely.

Any trafficking –of drugs or others- is only combated by intelligence (the real kind) and most especially… by political decision NOT to support them… which might well be the reason why this is a global problem; I think you can see my point.

Anyway, let’s not forget our tiny country is quite strategically located: we are wedged right between the Panama Canal and Nicaragua (allied with Venezuela and with good relations with Iran); we are less than 500 km away from Venezuela and Colombia. Considering what is going on in the world, I suspect –and am not the only one- that this entire operation has more to do with the US “Plan Colombia” against Hugo Chavez, than with any kind of drug-stopping… Not to mention (with the very dire finances the US has right now), I really don’t see where they would fish the funds… if it really were for an innocent drug operation on this massive scale –we’re talking at least 46 warships, including aircraft carriers, 2 hospital ships (?), 200 armored helicopters and 10 military planes….

Activist said...

Thank you so much for your comments; they are invaluable in helping to understand this situation. And thank you for taking the time to read and comment. Best of luck.

Activist said...

By the way, White Rose, if you would like to submit your own article to us, we would love to add it to the discussion. Please contact us at

Mark said...

Having visited several of Venezuela's massive, yet strangely unprotected oil fields, I don't think having a chunk of the US Navy anchored a few days away is mere coincidence. There are American plans, long prepared, for obtaining strategic control of all major oil and gas deposits, not just those in the Middle East. Notice I say, "control" and not "use". We are going on eight years in Iraq, and have yet to see a single barrel of crude out of that country. This is not so unusual. All major oil companies routinely drill exploratory wells, and once a new deposit is found, they cap it off for later use. That in fact was what BP was doing on the Deep Water Horizon rig when it blew. In war (or empire building), ofttimes it's more important to control a resource than to consume it, if for no other reason than to deny its use by the enemy. The question in this case, who else within striking distance of Costa Rica would the US define as such? Chavez may want to get on the phone with his buddies from China or Russia and soon...

turk182 said...

Thank you for your article. I was not even aware of this situation until I came across your blog today. A friend sent it to me.
New subscriber.
Peace from Boston.

Activist said...

Thank you for the great comments. Much appreciated! -- M.E.

ian said...

Thanks for the article. I feel terrible for the people of Costa Rica and I'm sure most of them would have voted negatively, re: this incursion, had it come to that.
Just read some information on non-cooperation and am wondering how it might be applied in this situation. I'm hoping that if this occurrence and others like it get enough attention they will be doomed to failure since these clowns usually have the benefit of no, or distorted, mainstream media coverage. Can't stand the idea of people having to roll over for these neo-Romans.
Anyone who believes this has anything to do with the so-called 'war on drugs' is either on very strong drugs, probably of the big pharma type, or hopelessly conditioned, i.e. student of E. Bernays.

Activist said...

Thank you for your comments, Ian. Yes, I do believe that if people had the vote they would have rejected this. As it is, there is a BIG debate ongoing

I'm not an expert by any means, just an observer from my many trips to Costa Rica. In my view, Costa Ricans take their label as "The Switzerland of Central America" very seriously. But fear often surpasses logic in even the most peaceful people. Their passing phrase "Pura Vida" means "All is well." I certainly hope that all is well and the American military is not allowed to use Costa Rica as a docking station for another round of Latin American enslavement. -- M.E.

jenny said...

Earning money has online never been this easy and transparent. You would find great tips on how to make that dream amount every month. So go ahead and click here for more details and open floodgates to your online income. All the best.

Post a Comment