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Central America's "Pura Vida" state faces a drug war test as the cartels move in

Thursday, December 29, 2011


Costa Rican exceptionalism is deeply ingrained in the national psyche of this country, a place that has long defined itself by the many ways in which it is not like the rest of Central America.

Today Costa Rica draws nearly a million U.S. tourists each year to its beaches and national parks. It has traffic cops who don’t expect bribes, tap water you can drink and a national motto — “pura vida” (pure life) — that serves as a greeting, a farewell and an all-around expression of tropical beatitude.

And now, with Mexican drug cartels moving in, Costa Rican exceptionalism is being challenged by the same criminal forces dragging down the rest of Central America.

Original source: Washington Post