The United States Congress approved to provide Costa Rica with a US$40.7 million item in the fight against drug trafficking and organized crime during 2019.

A rise in violent crime, including multiple murders of tourists, is threatening Costa Rica’s peaceful image.

According to the Foreign Ministry, said budget allocation represents an increase of 33% with respect to the aid received from the U.S. last year.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs assured that the increase responds to good results of the government, the Ministry of Public Security and the police forces in their work to combat drug trafficking and organized crime in the country.

Costa Rica requested (lobbied) the increased cooperation resources. “For this achievement, the work of the Embassy of Costa Rica in the United States in its constant communication and lobbying with members of Congress has been key, informing about the seizures, the usefulness of the equipment and the training that marks an advance of the country in terms of security,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

The economic contribution is part of the funds for International Operations of the Department of State, contained in the budget ratified by President Donald Trump on Friday.

In the case of Costa Rica, according to the Foreign Ministry, the bilateral priority is the security of the country and the region. The Government of Carlos Alvarado thanked the U.S. ambassador in Costa Rica, Sharon Day, for “the leadership and commitment to Costa Rica.”

Last year, the United States donated three armored vehicles to Costa Rica, which are used by elite police groups in high-risk areas. In 2018, the U.S. also donated four helicopters and three patrol boats.

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Originally published on Qcostarica.com. Read the original.