In La Cruz, a disproportionate number of people have been killed in homicides compared to the rest of the country since at least 2010. Until now, the number was buried in a study by the University of Costa Rica about the conditions of cantons in the country, but no one had analyzed why, in this paradise called La Cruz, people were killing each other.
For two months, reporter Andrea Rodríguez dove deep into the reasons these homicides happen. The majority happen in far away zones, some of them are femicides and others are due to organized crime, a cancer that eats away at Central America in giant bites and is a phenomenon that Guanacaste doesn’t escape from.
The number is alarming. If we compare it to other border towns, the majority of them have smaller numbers, with the exception of Corredores in the southern part of the country. But the numbers don’t seem to alarm the authorities, who responded to us with the conviction that they are immersed in an old problem without a solution.
Mr. President, Carlos Alvarado, if you have visited La Cruz you will understand that we are surprised at how a canton with such impressive natural scenic beauty and kind, peaceful people – even immigrants say so – can be so immersed in poverty, unemployment, exclusion and, on top of it all, crime.
The answer to this question can be seen through a very clear window: because it’s a canton with a small population and large distances between each resident, governments have pushed it aside. Look at it this way: In order for public policies to have a greater impact, institutions are headquartered in the central valley or the most heavily populated districts and cantons, where programs have a multiplier effect. On the other hand, in a town like La Cruz having an impact on a larger number of people requires greater effort and expenditure.
It gives us hope that the canton is now included in the national accord that was signed by political parties and that it is considered “urgent” to attend to its problems, but it is still a plan written on paper without a concrete and explicit program for its residents.
Mr. President, Carlos Alvarado, you know the structural problems of poverty and know the great contributions that Guanacaste makes to the country. What is happening in La Cruz could metastasize and expand into the rest of the province with disastrous consequences for residents and tourists, one of its greatest assets.
We invite you to pay attention to the statistics that you yourself pushed for during your term as executive president of the Mixed Social Aid Institute and to look carefully and diligently at La Cruz. There are more than 19,000 people that need comprehensive attention. It’s time to show that every life counts.