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Cablegate: Costa Rica Response: Tip Downgrade to "Tier 2

VZCZCXYZ0000
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHSJ #0490 1622210
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 102210Z JUN 08
FM AMEMBASSY SAN JOSE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9823
INFO RUEHZA/WHA CENTRAL AMERICAN COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

UNCLAS SAN JOSE 000490

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR WHA/CEN AND G/TIP BFLECK

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ELAB KCRM KWMN PGOV PHUM PREL SMIG KPAO CS
SUBJECT: COSTA RICA RESPONSE: TIP DOWNGRADE TO "TIER 2
WATCHLIST"

REF: STATE 58544

1. (SBU) On June 3, we informed Vice Minister of Public
Security Ana Duran of Costa Rica's placement on the TIP Tier
2 Watch List, and we highlighted the specific recommendations
for Costa Rica. Duran also heads the National
Anti-Trafficking Coalition, comprised of government and NGO
players. She was visibly unhappy and commented that "it's
easy to criticize when you're not in our shoes." She said she
would work on a Costa Rican press release with the Minister
of Public Security (MPS) Janina del Vecchio and Attorney
General Francisco Dall'Anese. We reiterated the U.S.'s
commitment to working with the GOCR on trafficking issues,
and we offered that the February interim report required for
Tier 2 Watch List countries would give the GOCR an
opportunity to show progress by then. Separately, we briefed
Viviana Tinoco of the MFA's Human Rights Office about Costa
Rica's TIP ranking.

2. (SBU) Later on June 3, DCM followed up in a phone call to
Del Vecchio, who has been in her position for about two
months. She had not yet heard about the TIP Report and,
surprisingly, stated she was not aware that TIP was part of
Duran's portfolio. (NOTE: This is especially surprising since
Del Vecchio greeted the May 7 meeting of the National
Anti-Trafficking Coalition at the Ministry.) The DCM
explained the purpose of the report and acknowledged that
some of the recommendations relate to legislative and
judiciary action, which are out of the MPS's purview. DCM
also stressed the opportunity for Del Vecchio to urge the
Legislature to pass anti-TIP legislation and the Judiciary to
get tougher on sentencing. Del Vecchio agreed.

3. (U) On the positive side, Duran informed us that the
National Anti-Trafficking Coalition has finished draft
Legislative language to codify internal trafficking as a
crime (one of the recommendations in the 2007 TIP report. The
language was included in an omnibus public security bill
currently before the legislature. There is some momentum
for the bill (including interest from Dall'Anese to see it
approved), and Duran hopes it can be passed this year with
the trafficking language included.

4. (U) On June 3, popular daily "Diario Extra" reported on
the May 27 closing of a USG-funded, two-year Rahab
Foundation trafficking prevention and victim's assistance
program in the problematic Central Pacific region. The
project closed due to lack of additional funding to extend
it. In the article, IOM Director Jose Pires highlighted
some of the same problems with trafficking in Costa Rica
pointed out in the 2007 TIP report.

5. (SBU) COMMENT: As of June 6, there had been neither media
reporting nor official GOCR comment about the TIP
downgrading. This could reflect the GOCR's having second
thoughts about drawing attention to the on-going TIP problems
here, or simply the GOCR looking for the right time/right way
to respond. Either way, we will remain engaged with the GOCR
on these issues, reiterating that the 2007 TIP downgrading is
meant more to motivate than to castigate.
CIANCHETTE

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