A scandal has erupted at one of Costa Rica’s largest state-run medical centers, Calderon Guardia Hospital. The head of Nephrology, Francisco Mora Palma, has been arrested for playing a key role in a suspected international organ trafficking ring set up to supply patients in Israel.
Inside Costa Rica cites information obtained by Costa Rica’s Attorney General, Jorge Chavarria:
“The patients who required the transplants were in Israeli territory, and some of the (trafficking) victims [had their kidney removed] here and others were transported to Israel.”
The prosecutor explained that the organization has branches in Israel and Eastern Europe, though did not elaborate, citing the ongoing investigation.
This arrest highlights the wider problem of organized human organ trafficking, as well as Israel’s role as the centerpiece for this disgusting practice. It is something that Israel as been accused of many times before.
The Costa Rica scandal hints at something broader than what has been uncovered with the arrest of Dr. Francisco Mora Palma. Also taken into custody was a police officer who apparently was connected to the doctor as a scout to look for potential donors. Several other private facilities were raided as well.
Israel’s newspaper, Haaretz, offers some background:
In recent years Costa Rica has served as a destination for Israeli patients needing kidney transplants. The price for a kidney transplant on the black market is estimated at some NIS 700,000 per kidney.
However, they also state that Israel’s Health Ministry “said it knew nothing about the affair.” Yet, it has also been revealed that there was two-way traffic, with some patients flying in from Israel, and Costa Rican “donors” flying to Israel … some with less-than-positive outcomes:
Costa Rican police together with Interpol are now investigating the case of a young woman who had been sent to Israel to donate a kidney, felt bad on the flight back, was taken off it at an interim stop and died.
At this point it looks like the donors were paid anywhere between $16,000 and $20,000, but there have been many other cases within the Israeli organ harvesting network where the “donations” were anything but voluntary….
There are already other kidnapping cases in Costa Rica that are being investigated with possible ties to an international crime ring; one reportedly involves a 15-year-old girl. This article will be updated as more information is revealed and verified. As Attorney General Chavarria stated, this is likely just the “tip of the iceberg.”
Israel has in fact admitted to harvesting organs from many countries, including its own citizens. The Guardian reported on this in 2009, but Israel claims that the practice has now ceased:
Israel has admitted pathologists harvested organs from dead Palestinians, and others, without the consent of their families – a practice it said ended in the 1990s…
Channel 2 TV reported that in the 1990s, specialists at Abu Kabir harvested skin, corneas, heart valves and bones from the bodies of Israeli soldiers, Israeli citizens, Palestinians and foreign workers, often without permission from relatives.
The Israeli military confirmed to the programme that the practice took place, but added: “This activity ended a decade ago and does not happen any longer.”
However, there have been many reports from Haiti, Palestine and Ukraine in particular that call this statement into serious question. More information can be found in the source links posted below.
As reported by Missing Children International, organ harvesting is among the top 10 reasons that children go missing:
Can you imagine having the need of life and searching the Internet and finding a broker who can find you the organ of your choice? Here in the U.S.A., in Mexico, El Salvador, Costa Rica, anywhere in Central, North and South America, anywhere for a price you can pay for and get the organ of your choice. If you don’t believe it, search the net right here right now in Orange County, New York or anyplace in the world.
Many missing children are abducted and sold for these body parts. This is a multi-million dollar a year business. (emphasis added)
While kidnapping and violent crime are still relatively low in Costa Rica, there is a tendency to put a lid on bad press since the small country derives a high percentage of its income from tourism.
Hopefully, this story will gain traction and will spur further investigation to find out just how deeply entrenched are the ties to Israel and its organ harvesting network, as well as alert others who might be involved that Costa Rica is taking this issue very seriously.
Read other articles by Kevin Samson Here