U.S. Congressman Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) is urging Secretary of State Kerry to help ensure that the Costa Rican government finds and the perpetrators of the kidnapping and robbery of three American women and the killing of a Costa Rican sea turtle worker on a nesting beach last month. Download the letter in a PDF or read the full text below.
Rep. Huffman asked Secretary Kerry to "encourage the Costa Rican government to seek out the perpetrators of these crimes and to increase safety measures for conservationists working to protect sea turtles."
Three American women volunteering at a Costa Rican leatherback nesting beach on the Caribbean coast were kidnapped and robbed on May 31. Costa Rican sea turtle worker Jairo Mora Sandoval was killed. A fourth woman from Spain was also kidnapped. The four women survived and returned home. Read more about the incident here.
Since then the Costa Rican government has not made any arrests.
Here is the text of the letter:
1630 LONGWORTH HOUSE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON, DC 20515
PHONE: (202) 225-5161
FAX: (202) 225-5163
WEBSITE: huffman .house.gov
July 10, 2013,
Dear Secretary Kerry,
Congratulations again on your recent appointment as Secretary of State. I hope that you are able to continue the leadership on conservation issues that you demonstrated during your tenure in the United States Senate.
I am writing to express my concern about the safety of conservation workers in Costa Rica, in light of recent crimes against Americans and others working on its beaches. I urge you to encourage the Costa Rican government to seek out the perpetrators of these crimes and to increase safety measures for conservationists working to protect sea turtles.
The beaches of Costa Rica are critical breeding grounds for several turtle species protected under the Endangered Species Act, including leatherback sea turtles. During the breeding season for these turtles, Costa Rican and foreign conservationists work to safeguard the turtles' nests from
poachers. These conservation activities often occur in remote areas where the workers and volunteers are vulnerable to threats from poachers and drug smugglers.
On May 31, 2013, a group of conservationists that included three Americans, a Spaniard, and a Costa Rican, were abducted while patrolling a beach on Costa Rica's Atlantic coast. While the Americans and Spaniard were fortunate to escape their captors, Jairo Mora Sandoval of Costa Rica was killed.
As of this letter, the perpetrators of these violent crimes have yet to be apprehended by the Costa Rican government. Although the presence of police officers has increased, it is my understanding that they are not sufficiently equipped to patrol and apprehend poachers or drug smugglers on the beaches. I know that you will share my concerns, and I ask that you urge the Costa Rican government to fully investigate these crimes and to ensure the safety of conservationists of all nationalities who are serving as stewards of precious natural resources.
Thank you for your attention to this matter.
Member of Congress
Jared Huffman was sworn in as a member of the 113th Congress on January 3, 2013
to represent California’s second district, which spans from the Golden Gate
Bridge north to the Oregon border. He serves on the House Committee on Natural
Resources and the House Budget Committee. Prior to his election to Congress in
November 2012, Huffman served six years in the California State Assembly where
he authored more than 60 pieces of successful legislation and received numerous
awards for his legislative leadership. Huffman has distinguished himself as a
legislator who tackles complex public policy challenges, works tirelessly, and
gets results – often by forging bipartisan consensus on difficult issues.
Huffman previously worked as a Senior Attorney for the Natural Resources
Defense Council (NRDC) and as a successful public interest attorney.