Editorial- This Is Not Our Guanacaste

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We are Guanacaste. We were born and grew up here. When we were 21, we also loved going out to party at the bars with friends. We did it— not a few times— always carefree and safe. We always felt that way: safe.

Mom and Dad slept peacefully while we were going around partying in Samara, Flamingo, Tamarindo or Coco. It seems that can no longer be the case nowadays.

And it is not just because of the terrible death of 21-year-old Alejo Leiva Lachner, who was attacked by a mob of at least 20 men outside a bar in Coco Beach early on Saturday, March 26th, but also because of all of the young people who are dying in the streets of Guanacaste.

We do not forget about Elvis Roberto Torres Barrantes, who was stabbed to death outside a bar in Nicoya last year on April 11th, or Francisco Gomez Bolaños, who tried to stop a robbery in a bar in Samara in August of 2014 and was shot to death.

We want ALL moms to sleep peacefully when their children go out in Guanacaste, ALL young people to be able to go out peacefully here, to feel safe, because this is Costa Rica, a country of peace, of good people who help each other, who understand the value of justice and peace. It’s in our DNA.

What happened in Coco has hit us hard and hurts us, because it is unjust, because it is inhumane and because we are left uneasy thinking that it could happen again.

This is not our Guanacaste. This is not our Costa Rica, and this is a tragedy we do not want to see happen to anyone else, ever.

Let’s speak up, act, sow peace and choke out badness with an abundance of good, denouncing, defending, raising our hands, opening our eyes and having the dignity to defend life, to stop this nefarious wave of violence that DOES NOT REPRESENT US.

Let’s give a hug of solidarity to the families who mourn the loss of Alejo today and to the families of these young people who also died at the hands of the lack of security and still mourn their loss, waiting for justice and peace.