OFFICE OF THE SPOKESPERSON
JANUARY 21, 2020
“The relationship between the United States and Costa Rica is grounded in our mutual commitment to democracy, security, and prosperity. Costa Rica continues to be a regional model of democracy and respect for human rights, as well as a leader in the fight against transnational crime and drug trafficking.”
–U.S. Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo, September 14, 2019
The Secretary traveled to San José, Costa Rica, on January 21, where he met with Costa Rican President Carlos Alvarado, Foreign Minister Manuel Ventura, and Minister for Public Security Michael Soto to discuss our strong bilateral relationship and cooperation to fight transnational crime and strengthen regional security. While in San José, the Secretary also spoke with members of the Nicaraguan opposition who fled from the Ortega regime’s repression, and visited the Joint Operations Center, which focuses on regional law enforcement.
THE UNITED STATES AND COSTA RICA ARE GOOD FRIENDS AND PARTNERS
- The United States and Costa Rica enjoy a long historic relationship. We officially recognized Costa Rica as an independent state in 1849, and our first diplomatic presence in Costa Rica was established as the Consulate in San José in 1852.
- Our two governments work together to promote our shared goals of democracy, security, human rights, and prosperity in the region.
- The United States is Costa Rica’s top trading partner, accounting for around 40 percent of the country’s imports and exports.
- The United States is also Costa Rica’s top source of foreign direct investment, which reached $1.47 billion in 2018 and grew more than 16 percent from 2014 to 2018. This investment primarily benefits the technology, manufacturing, and infrastructure sectors.
- More than 200 U.S. companies operate in Costa Rica, and collectively employ more than 94,000 people, or nearly 84 percent of all jobs created by multinational companies in Costa Rica.
- S. travelers account for nearly half of the 2.9 million annual visitors to Costa Rica. The country is the top destination in Latin America for U.S. study abroad programs.
OUR PARTNERSHIP PROMOTES REGIONAL SECURITY
- The United States provided approximately $80 million of security assistance to Costa Rica from 2017 to 2019 to fight transnational criminal activities in the region, curb the flow of illicit drugs, and address violent crime.
- Our assistance included four helicopters, three 110-foot Island Class Cutters, and help for Costa Rica to acquire a Marine Patrol Aircraft, greatly enhancing interdiction capabilities. In 2019, Costa Rica interdicted 35.1 tons of cocaine, up from 33.7 tons in 2018 – the second year in a row for record seizures.
- Costa Rica partners with the United States on the Sembremos Seguridadcommunity security program, focused on increasing collaboration between police, municipal officials, and citizen groups.
WE WORK TOGETHER TO CHAMPION PEACE, DEMOCRACY, AND RULE OF LAW IN THE REGION
- Costa Rica is a strong proponent of democracy and human rights, joining the United States in supporting interim Venezuelan president Juan Guaidó and in condemning the abuses of the former Maduro regime, as well of those of the Ortega regime in Nicaragua.
- Costa Rica now hosts almost 30,000 Venezuelans who have fled Maduro’s disastrous misrule, along with tens of thousands of Nicaraguans escaping Daniel Ortega’s repression.
- The United States supports Costa Rica’s migration authority and these vulnerable populations. In addition to direct humanitarian assistance, in Fiscal Year 2019 we provided nearly $8 million in support to the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) for this purpose.