Thursday, August 03, 2006

Costa Rica may close consulate in New Orleans

Tomas Duenas, ambassador of Costa Rica - Photo by The Washington Diplomat.New Orleans, La. (AP) - Costa Rica has had a diplomatic presence here for a 100 years, but that may be coming to an end.

The Costa Rican government is considering to close its New Orleans consulate, and that move is spurring Louisiana's senators and congressmen to urge Costa Rican President Oscar Arias to keep a foot in New Orleans.

Louisiana's political leaders said in a letter to Arias that closing the consulate would be "a serious detriment" to trade. U.S. Sen. Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., hand-delivered the letter to Costa Rican Ambassador H.E.F. Tomas Duenas on Wednesday.

Louisiana's exports to Costa Rica were valued at over $252 million in 2005.

"For years, New Orleans was a 'gateway to the Americas,"' Landrieu said. "A strong consular corps will help keep and strengthen those longtime relationships."

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