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Cablegate: Costa Rica: Return to Whinsec

VZCZCXYZ0000
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHSJ #2073 3541742
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 201742Z DEC 07
FM AMEMBASSY SAN JOSE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 9301
INFO RUEHZA/WHA CENTRAL AMERICAN COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHBU/AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES PRIORITY 0325
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS PRIORITY 1103
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ DEC 0673
RUEHMN/AMEMBASSY MONTEVIDEO PRIORITY 0467
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY
RHMFISS/HQ USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L SAN JOSE 002073

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR WHA/CEN, WHA/PPC, PM
SOUTHCOM ALSO FOR FPA AND WHINSEC

E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/17/2017
TAGS: PREL PGOV MASS PINR CS
SUBJECT: COSTA RICA: RETURN TO WHINSEC

REF: SAN JOSE 1999

Classified By: CDA Peter M. Brennan for reason 1.4 (d).

1. (SBU) On December 13, Public Security Minister Fernando
Berrocal wrote President Oscar Arias a letter recommending
that Costa Rican law enforcement personnel "could maintain a
training scheme" at WHINSEC to receive counternarcotics,
counterterrorism and other "strictly police" training. (Full
text and informal translation emailed to WHA/CEN and
SOUTHCOM.)

2. (C) Following the plan that Berrocal outlined to us after
his November visit to Fort Benning, President Arias will not
respond to this letter, and his silence will be treated as
acquiescence. Berrocal will then be authorized to resume
unrestricted, non-military training for Costa Rican law
enforcement personnel at WHINSEC.

3. (C) COMMENT: Berrocal's letter ended the controversy
(reftel and previous), which began in May when Arias told
School of the America's Watch (SOAW) representatives that the
GOCR would no longer send students to WHINSEC. However, two
areas of potential concern remain, especially since this
"private" correspondence will likely surface in the media
sooner or later: a) the use of "could" (quoted in para 1
above) instead of the stronger "will" or "should" might
provide an opening for a SOAW counterattack that Costa Rica
is not fully committed to training at WHINSEC, after all; and
b) an implicit (and false) expectation, that the USG will
help equip the Air Section of the Ministry of Public Security
with two additional helicopters. (Berrocal and his staff
made this pitch during their visits to JIATF-South and
SOUTHCOM in November.) On balance, however, we welcome the
letter; Berrocal kept his word, and WHINSEC training for
Costa Ricans can continue.
BRENNAN

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