Cablegate: Gwot: Costa Rican Collection of Identifying
DE RUEHSJ #2778/01 3522226
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 182226Z DEC 06
FM AMEMBASSY SAN JOSE
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6857
UNCLAS SAN JOSE 002778
FOR S/CT (FRED VOGEL), CA (ALCY FELICK) AND INR/I
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PTER PREL PGOV PINR CVIS ASEC KVPR CS
SUBJECT: GWOT: COSTA RICAN COLLECTION OF IDENTIFYING
REF: A. STATE 190832
B. SAN JOSE 2054
C. STATE 114021
(SBU) The following information is keyed to the questions in
Ref A. Ref B was Post's September response to similar
questions posed Ref C.
A. Immigration Databases
--What computerized immigration databases are used to track
entries and exits? Is the immigration database available at
all ports of entry (POE)? If immigration databases are
available at some POE but not all, how does the GOCR decide
which POE will receive the tool?
(U) Costa Rica has a computerized immigration database that
tracks entries and exits. It is available at the two
international airports and at the major land and sea POE.
The GOCR prioritizes POE based on the volume of traffic.
--What problems, if any, limit the effectiveness of the
systems? For example, limited training, power brownouts,
budgetary restraints, corruption, etc.?
(SBU) All of the above with the exception of brownouts.
Several immigration employees were dismissed last year for
entering false data to assist a criminal suspect in creating
--How often are national immigration databases updated?
(SBU) Due to a data-entry backlog, there is a three-month lag
between entry/exit and the availability of the data.
Immigration Director Mario Zamora told us on November 28 that
he has secured 80,000 dollars to upgrade equipment at the
Juan Santamaria International Airport in San Jose allowing
processing of entries/exits in real time.
B. Watchlists and Information Sharing
--Is there a name-based watchlist system used to screen
travelers at POE?
--What domestic sources of information populate the
name-based watchlist; i.e. names of deported persons,
lookouts, criminal wants/warrants?
(U) The watchlist contains the names of those under court
order not to leave Costa Rica, those previously
deported/extradited/expelled, refugees, and terrorist
--What international watchlists do host countries use for
screening individuals, such as Interpol or TSA No Fly Lists,
(SBU) Costa Rica utilizes the Interpol and UN lists.
Interpol data is held/checked by the Costa Rican Intelligence
Service (DIS). Due to corruption concerns, Immigration does
not have direct access.
--What bilateral/multilateral watchlist agreements exist
between host government and its neighbors?
--Are biometric systems in place at ports of entry
(Air/Land/Sea)? If not, does the country have plans to
install such a system?
(SBU) No, and currently there are no plans to install a
--What biometric technologies, if any, does the country use;
i.e. fingerprint identification, facial recognition, iris
recognition, hand geometry, retinal identification, DNA-based
identification, keystroke dynamics, gait analysis? Are the
systems ICAO compliant?
--Does the host country issue a machine-readable passport
containing biometric information?
(SBU) The passport is machine-readable with a digitized
photograph, but without biometric information. There are
currently no plans to incorporate biometric features into the
D. Appropriate Partners
(SBU) Post believes the GOCR would be an appropriate partner
for data sharing based on the GOCR's current use of
watchlists. We have no concerns that watchlists would be
manipulated to include members of the political opposition or
other dissidents. We have no indications the GOCR would
share the data inappropriately.