Last night an incident between some thirty families in Playa Herradura and private security guards ended with a shoot-out, leaving 23 wounded neighbors in a property feud between families that had been living there for 13 years and private security of an american citizen who claims that the land is his and he has the documments to prove it.
On the other hand, these people who had built their homes and had been living there for more than a decade claim that they are not squatters, and that they had bought their property from third-owners back then. Incident yesterday left 23 people with gunshot wounds who were taken to the local hospital in Puntarenas. The conflict had been escalating during the last months since there was an eviction notice issued by the local court that these people did not accept according to them because they held that they had payed money for the properties, and they would not leave after 13 years living there.
Many people have been swindled in Costa Rica by unscroupulous individuals who sell them land that later turns out not even having a properly title. When the people become aware of the situation, the crooks are long gone and nowhere to be found. There is a sort of indigenous right that squaters can claim after seven years living on idle land, but I don´t know if this applies here because this american (Whose name I can´t recall exactly) had been trying to evict them during the last years and the court had passed judgement in his favor, just that the eviction hadn´t become effective. Needless to say, this beachfront property had been acquiring value over the years and now may be worth millions of dollars. It´s also worth noting that since the families were issued the eviction notice they had appealed to The Constitutional Court of Costa Rica and the court had received their appeal.
What makes matters even worse is that some of these security guards were thugs that didn´t even have their working permits in order, let alone their right to bear arms, and had matters pending otherwise in courts of law. Minister of Public Security Fernando Berrocal stated that their job is enforcing law and order, but if the courts of law haven´t yet settled the issue the responsabilities are not entirely theirs.