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Cablegate: Excess Defense Articles Waiver for Costa Rica

VZCZCXYZ0007
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHSJ #0427 0642030
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 052030Z MAR 07
FM AMEMBASSY SAN JOSE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7412
INFO RHMFISS/HQ USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L SAN JOSE 000427

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR WHA/CEN, INL/LP, PM/PPA

E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/01/2017
TAGS: PREL MOPS SNAR CS
SUBJECT: EXCESS DEFENSE ARTICLES WAIVER FOR COSTA RICA

Classified By: CHG Laurie Weitzenkorn for reasons 1.4 (B).

1. (U) SUMMARY: Embassy San Jose strongly recommends a
national interest waiver of ASPA restrictions against Excess
Defense Articles (EDA) for Costa Rica. The waiver will
significantly enhance Costa Rica's maritime patrol capability
and build on record seizures in Costa Rican waters during
2006. END SUMMARY.

2. (C) During the February 2007 Central American Chiefs of
Mission Conference in Miami, Ambassador Langdale and Admiral
Stavridis discussed the need to enhance Costa Rica's maritime
patrol capability. Costa Rica's maritime region saw record
cocaine seizures in 2006 but the Costa Rican Coast Guard was
frequently unable to respond to actionable intelligence of
vessels known to be carrying drugs, even within 20 miles of
shore, due to a lack of patrol boat readiness.

3. (U) Costa Rica's Exclusive Economic Zone straddles major
ocean smuggling routes to the U.S. from South America. In
1999, Costa Rica was the first Central American nation to
sign a bilateral maritime agreement with the U.S. to allow
for joint patrols. For domestic political reasons, the GOCR
has found it politically impossible to sign an Article 98
agreement with the U.S. and, as a result, our ability to
build on the strategic relationship suffered as ASPA
restrictions dried up resources. Nonetheless, the GOCR
remained a steadfast ally against narcotics and has managed
to seize increasing amounts of cocaine every year since 2001.
Thanks to close cooperation under the terms of the bilateral
agreement, U.S. and Costa Rican authorities seized a record
25.5 metric tons of cocaine in 2006. Nearly 14 tons were
seized at sea by U.S. assets in Costa Rican waters or aboard
Costa Rican vessels--highlighting in stark terms the need for
Costa Rican patrol boats to serve as a force multiplier for
U.S. maritime law enforcement patrols.

4. (U) In 2007, Costa Rica will begin to benefit from renewed
access to IMET training after several years under sanctions.
Before the sanctions, this urgently needed training provided
the U.S. with access and influence among key Costa Rican
officials. Now that access to IMET has been restored,
addressing the patrol boat readiness issue is the top
priority and will require access to EDA.

5. (U) Post strongly recommends an EDA waiver on national
interest grounds.
LANGDALE

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