In the past few weeks the headlines in the Spanish language media, especially the Diario Extra and La Teja, about the violence in Desamparados, of an unusual number of murders almost daily. The most recent, the story about three guys with a dead body (a murder they had just committed), in Pavas early Sunday morning.
Well, let me assure you, that although these are violent acts, they are not random acts of violence. In all cases, they are a settlement of scores between rival drug gangs.
In the case of the Pavas murder, the murder was a result of a confrontation between the two leaders of the local drug gangs, where the victim (a leader) disrespected his rival in public, in the town plaza.
What made this case interesting is the unusual carrying of the body, with its head covered and hands and feet tied was sitting in the back seat with one of the passengers.
At first one comes to the conclusion that these three antisocials had to be some idiots. Why in the back seat (and not the trunk as one Spanish language online source reported and then reported by one English language sourrce)?
The story behind the story is simply that the three had been contracted by the rival gang leader, ordered the murder and wanted the body to be displayed in the “plaza”. The three assassins had the body ready to be pushed out of the moving car as they reached the centre of Pavas. Hence the backseat.
However, this is where they were idiots, their timing and location. Police are constant with their nightly spot checks in Pavas in the middle of the night. And in particular near the “hot zones”, areas with high incidents of conflicts. And the get into a funfight with police. In the hail of bullets two of the suspected were hit by bullets.
The shootout was nothing unusual, it’s more a “macho” thing – on both sides, the criminals as the police – to get into an old-fashioned western style corral gunfight. In this case the guys in the white hats won, police wounding two of the three fleeing suspects. But rarely do the antisocials win.
This is happens almost exclusively during the night, rarely will it occur during the day. And as in the Pavas case, on weekends.
The weekend murder in Pavas will undoubtedly be followed up with another murder, if not this weekend, probably the next or those that follow.
The murders happening in Desamparados are all tied to drug dealer feuds and mostly in areas like Los Guidos, some of the worst areas of the town south of San José and the Central Valley, where poverty and violence go hand-in-hand.
Is Costa Rica move violent? In my opinion not really. I feel more secure walking around my neighbourhood (in the Distrito de Pavas) than ever before. But then I am quite a distance from the areas of Pavas like Lomas and Libertad II, hot zones of conflict, poverty and violence. I wouldn’t and won’t be walking in those areas at night, alone or in company. But then I can remember avoiding some areas of Toronto and Orlando (Florida), two places I lived for some time.