Despite immense pressure by corporations that have sought to undermine it, Costa Rica's public energy and telecommunications company stands out as a model in terms of its coverage, efficiency, social inclusion and environmental sustainability.
Prison overcrowding is a widespread problem in Latin America, primarily because of harsh drug-sentencing laws and inadequate budgets, but Costa Rica may be setting a useful example for dealing with it. In most countries, guards control the perimeter, but groups of prisoners or criminal gangs organize and control life inside the prison compound. Rehabilitation and re-integration programs are limited.
This page was originally published in August 2014, and last updated in June 2016.
In contrast to other Central American countries, the possession of drugs for immediate personal use is not a criminal offence in Costa Rica. In August 2013 the cultivation, manufacture, transport and trafficking of drugs have all been made a criminal offence under the same article, which provides for a prison sentence of between 8 and 15 years without making any distinction between the offences. The government of Costa Rica supports the launch of an open international debate on the issue, but has declared itself against decriminalisation.
Pien Metaal, who follows Latin American drug law reform ... told The Tico Times ... that legalizing medical marijuana in Costa Rica “would clearly send a message that can spark a debate in the region... Of course, the debate should not just be about medicinal use,” Metaal wrote, “since in fact recreational use is the largest actually existing phenomena, [for] which simple possession and use are being criminalized and prosecuted.”
When you hear the phrase “cannabis advocate,” you might picture someone with wild hair and a Bob Marley T-shirt. But Gerald Murray is nothing like that. At a news conference on Tuesday morning, he was smartly groomed and wore a blazer.
The Latin American country of Costa Rica has achieved the milestone of generating 100 per cent of its energy from renewable resources, with a combination of hydropower and geothermal for 75 days in a row, the the state-owned Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE) said.