Casa Caletas Resort Owner Destroys Caletas, Poisons Wildlife, & Harasses Volunteers

Two years ago I lived on a small beach called, Playa Caletas located near the quaint town, San Francisco de Coyote in Costa Rica. I worked/volunteered for the nonprofit group, Pretoma with a group of 6 other dedicated and passionate volunteers who were equally present for one central reason--to save endangered sea turtles. We weren't paid, we didn't have running water, or much electricity casted from our tiny LED light powered for three hours each evening by solar energy collected from the day. We didn't have convenient ways of calling home, or obtaining food, nor did we rarely have transportation other than our feet. But we had each other, our camp dog protectors, and we had a well. One shallow freshwater well that was meant to last groups through the rainy season and part of the dry season. That was until an evil man named Sylvester Fiechtinger ordered his henchmen to destroy it.

Before I even get to this point, let me give you a quick run down of the things that he has done to our volunteers since before ripping out our freshwater well. When the 6 of us lived on Playa Caletas, Sylvester sent his men out every morning at 7am to Ario-Caletas National Wildlife Refuge, that existed behind our camp, on tractors to bang and clang and annoy us ever opportunity they could find. Some of us had just returned home from patrols at 5am-7am and hadn't had much sleep yet, if any. One particular morning I awoke to find his men pounding posts around the parameter of our camp and lacing barbwire around these posts to keep us in. In one location, we cut the wires so we could easily go in and out, but in other areas we simply had to climb through the barbwire when we needed to head into town. Sylvester's men were and still are paid to annoy Caletas volunteers. Volunteers that have safely released upwards of 60,000 endangered sea turtles into Costa Rican tides from Playa Caletas, annually. And of those 60,000, only 600 are projected to survive out in the open waters. Imagine if Pretoma was not there to ensure the safe release of these turtles. How many turtles do you think would survive then?

I received the below video today from one of my fellow turtle friends that documents the destruction of Playa Caletas only well used on a daily basis for dishes, bathing, and washing clothes. Caletas volunteers are sure to have a very different lifestyle, despite all of the other absent amenities, but the loss of the iconic blue barrel and the freshwater that was within is just another symbol of the freedoms being stripped from a group of dedicated individuals living at a camp with practically nothing, while doing nothing, but good.

I should mention that the Ario-Caletas National Wildlife Refuge is a protected area full of immense biodiversity within it's marshes, beaches, and treetops. And Sylvester maintains his chokehold on the land by planting phony cash crops to keep it. His only prerogative in maintaing his hold on the land, is to someday build lavish resorts like his preciously tainted resort, which already exists on the North side of the peninsula, Casa Caletas. In the meantime, he will continue to spray the land with pesticides, poisoning the marine life in the ocean, the exotic birds and monkeys in the treetops, the diverse species of reptiles, anthropoids, and eco-sustaining protists that support the foundation for all those listed and more. Sylvester and his henchmen will continue to harass and harm our volunteers until he gets exactly what he wants--the destruction of Ario-Caletas National Wildlife Refuge and the termination of Pretoma's existence and all of their good work and goodwill on Playa Caletas.

I ask you, if you love sea turtles, me, or what has made me who I am today, please sign this petition to stop what is happening to my beloved Caletas. Please


er!ca said…
How is this guy getting away with this if it's a protected area? And, do you think he's capable of seriously harming Pretoma volunteers? If he's half as money hungry as I expect he is, he might go to any length to get rid of Pretoma all together....
Kimbrolynn said…
Luckily, there are Pretoma camps all over Costa Rica, it's just that Playa Caletas is the most important because of its protected status, because it is so isolated and also doesn't allow shrimp trawling from so many 1000 meters from the shore, and it gets some of the highest counts of leatherback visits a year in all of the Eastern Pacific.

Money talks, unfortunately. I don't really understand why the community doesn't rally around what Pretoma is doing (because I know how much they admire their work), but he is an intimidating man and puts people to work at his resort. He also brings money and tourism in, which brings in drugs and foreigners. There were many times that I awoke at night terrified to walk the 1km to the bathroom, or worried about being left in camp alone. It's a scary place, and it shouldn't be, but he believes in our susceptibility because we are constantly bringing in new and timid faces.

He absolutely needs to be stopped... but I hear that he has ties with the Environmental Minister. But still, there are other powerful people that can stand behind the cause and intimidate Sylvester and the Minister back with hardcore facts, morality, and lawsuits. I know Pretoma will prevail, regardless. Even if we lose this camp. But I won't be the only one losing a piece of my soul if that happens. I wish I could go back and do something myself.
Anonymous said…
I was just enjoying (oddly) an unripe banana and it make me think of you so I thought I'd take a gander at your blog. To my horror I read the for mentioned. I am off to sign the petition as that is all I can do. I'm sorry to hear that this place of loving sacrifice and beauty is being destroyed by such evil. :(
Kimbrolynn said…
Mmmm, starchy banana <3

Thank you for signing the petition. It's all so very horrible. I can't stop thinking about it :(

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