How the Drug War Can Turn Environmental Activism Into a Deadly Undertaking

Costa Rica is commonly known as the safest country to visit in Central America. At this time of year, its secluded beaches on the Caribbean coast are a major attraction for tourists and environmental activists from around the world, many of whom come to experience the sea turtle nesting season from April to July.

However, the same remote areas visited by eco-tourists have also been staked out by drug traffickers who use the beaches as stopover points on their route from Colombia to the United States. When environmentalists attempting to protect the natural ecosystems on these beaches cross paths with the traffickers, the outcome is sometimes deadly.

The recent murder of 26-year-old Costa Rican turtle conservationist Jairo Mora Sandoval is a case in point, highlighting larger conflicts between conservation and drug trafficking. Increased militarization in response to the drug trade could not protect this young activist or the local community, and as a result of his murder, turtles and their surrounding ecosystem will also suffer. In this collision between nature and narco, and in the same collision around Central America, narco is several points up on nature.

– Read the entire article at AlterNet.