World News

Costa Rican minister steps down over FARC comments

SAN JOSE, Costa Rica (Reuters) - Costa Rican Security Minister Fernando Berrocal will step down on Monday after accusing unnamed politicians of having close links to Colombian rebels, the government said.

A statement issued by President Oscar Arias was unclear about whether Berrocal was fired or resigned.

Berrocal was due to testify in Congress this week to explain statements linking “political sectors” in Costa Rica to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC.

Berrocal’s comments, which have caused a furor in Costa Rica, followed the discovery of a laptop computer seized in an attack by Colombian forces on FARC rebels in Ecuador on March 1.

The discovery led investigators to $480,000 in cash at a house near the Costa Rican capital, San Jose.

Berrocal said the computer also contained information linking local “political sectors” to the FARC.

Costa Rica is best known for its pristine rainforests and exotic wildlife, but it is also a major smuggling outpost for Colombian cocaine bound for the United States.

Reporting by John McPhaul