Fighting to save sea turtles and their guardians in Costa Rica

July 9, 2015
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THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF COSTA RICA, CA
Luis Guillermo Solís Rivera
San Jose, Costa Rica

With my highest regard:

I am writing to you on behalf of Ocean Futures Society (OFS), a nonprofit organization founded by Jean-Michel Cousteau, whose main objective is to communicate and raise awareness of the enormous importance of the oceans for the survival of life on our planet.

Jairo Mora

Masked assailants kidnapped and murdered Jairo Mora on the beach while protecting nesting leatherback turtles and their eggs. Photo Courtesy of WIDECAST

On June 11, 2013, I sent a note to the then President Laura Chinchilla regarding the cowardly and cruel murder of the young environmentalist, Jairo Sandoval Mora, protector of turtles, a true Costa Rican hero.

On that infamous occasion, we expressed our sorrow and condemnation of an act that stained the reputation of Costa Rica as Island of Peace, a title of one of the documentaries shot by Captain Jacques Cousteau and his son Jean-Michel. The letter had no official response but helped to generate many other NGOs, both Costa Rican and international, to demand the punishment of the guilty. Although seven men were accused of the crime, this past January they were acquitted in a case that questions justice.

It starts with each one of us. It’s our love and passion that motivates change. Talk to your friends, your neighbors, and your families. Every single one of us can take action TODAY.

Green Sea Turtle © Carrie Vonderhaar, Ocean Futures Society

© Carrie Vonderhaar, Ocean Futures Society

Now, another serious incident occurred last week when poachers attacked, in Pacuare Beach, an international group of 11 guardians of turtles during the campaign Operation Jairo. These attacks have occurred with increasing frequency and violence without the authorities acting promptly.

In a world in which evil and corruption spreads like cancer, many of us have seen Costa Rica as an almost isolated example where love for the environment and all living things as a national characteristic.

We hope Mr. President that you act promptly to prevent the deterioration of authority in your beautiful country and not to lose its privileged image of peace, love, protection of nature and full respect for human rights.

Without further ado, I appreciate the attention you give to this letter and salute you cordially.

Warm regards,

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Rubén D. Arvizu
Director General for Latin America
Film Director/Producer /Writer.
Ambassador Global Cities Covenant on Climate.
rarvizu@oceanfutures.org