A.M. Costa Rica

Your daily English-language news source
Monday through Friday

Classified ads 
at the speed of LIGHT!

Click Here
These stories were published Monday, Jan. 6, 2003, in Vol. 3, No. 3
Jo Stuart
About us
U.S. citizen slain in own home
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

David Kane, a well-known member of the San José English-speaking community, died Saturday in La Granja, San Pedro, the victim of robbers.

Kane was found by a neighbor Saturday afternoon in the two-story home in which he lived about 800 meters south of La Ferretería la Mar in downtown San Pedro.

Police and friends immediately suspected that the crime was done by someone Kane knew because there was no sign of a struggle. Kane was in his 50s. The 3 bedroom, 3 1/2 baths house has a large garage with space for four cars. The garage door was open Saturday afternoon and Kane’s 4x4 vehicle was missing. This prompted suspicions.

Police found the vehicle later on a dirt road in Alajuela. The vehicle had been torched and was totally burned out. Robbers traditionally do that to eliminate clues and fingerprints. The vehicle was believed to have been used to carry household appliances that the murderer took from the home.

One friend reported having talked to Kane by telephone about 9 a.m. Saturday. The body was found some five hours later.

In one account, death was said to have been caused by a blow to the head. Another account said that Kane was shot in the head. Police asked neighbors if they had heard shots on Saturday. But Costa Rica’s traditional holiday fireworks might present a problem for establishing the exact time of the death.  Officials are awaiting the results of an autopsy to determine the cause of death.

A friend said that Kane would be cremated and his ashes shipped to the United States. He is believed to have a father and other family members in Florida. A memorial service is planned for Costa Rica.

Kane was retired and had been in Costa Rica about five years, friends said. He lived alone and was an investor in the defunct Luis Enrique Villalobos Camacho investment operation in San Pedro Mall. Kane was a curious man and frequently would make independent inquiries about the status of the Villalobos investigation. 

He also had money invested with Savings Unlimited, the investment firm that shut down the weekend of Nov. 22.

Because he lost so much income when Villalobos stopped paying his investors interest in September and when Savings Unlimited closed, Kane thought he had to rent the home in which he was living. He advertised it as a furnished architect-designed executive house in late November with a rent of $1,500 a month. A few days later he happily announced that he managed to obtain a job and would be able to continue to live in the house.

Friends were trying to establish Sunday night exactly where Kane worked. One friend said he believed Kane had found work at a call center in Cariari. The effort to find the workplace was hampered because the murders took many items that had no value, presumably because such items would link Kane to the person he probably let into the home Saturday.

Kane was originally from Boston, Mass. Before he started working, he was a regular member of that group of North Americans who gather each morning at the Gran Hotel Costa Rica. He was universally regarded as a  gentlemen and a clear thinker, even when he was deeply concerned about his investments.

Like most residential areas in San José, the residents in the area around Kane’s home maintained a private security service. However, the guards said they saw nothing except the open door.

to close
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The rush from the beach crowded Costa Rican highways Sunday, as residents hurried to be ready to report to work Monday.

The country swings back to more or less normal today as the holiday season shutters to an end.

Out in Zapote where the Festejo Popular Christmas festival came to a close Sunday night, business people are nursing their wounds after the worse showing ever.

Attendance at the festival was far below normal, in part due to the absence of bulls for the traditional free-for-all bullfights. Health officials condemned the arena, and a lesser version of the traditional man vs. animal contest was held in Heredia. But that didn’t help the festival.

A number of businessmen in Costa Rica have a health sideline of setting up food and beer tents at such festivals of which the one in Zapote is the biggest. Merchants this year are talking about losses in the hundreds of thousands of dollar from food not eaten and salaries paid at the 100 or so stands, some of which are elaborate. Some said they were going to seek some financial adjustments from the municipality of San José, which is ultimately responsible for the event.

The final report on road carnage is not yet available, but at least three persons are believed to have died in as many traffic accidents over the weekend. The toll for all types of holiday-related deaths is expected to be somewhere around 40 from Christmas Eve until midnight Sunday.

our daily
our site
Check out
Check out
our back
Send us
news story
Visit our
Visit our
Visit our
real estate
of Villalobos
Display ad info


We know Customs! 
American-Tico-owned firm 
Commercial and Personal 
Import and Export 
Perry Edwards {Amer} Zinnia Stewart {CR}
Port Limon Agency 
(bonded & licensed) 
(506) 758-2062/2022
How to live, invest or find romance in Costa Rica
Order Now HERE!
Need to rent a car here?
Click HERE!

BAHIA LUMINOSA (Brilliant Bay)
Beach Resort/Hotel, Nicoya Peninsula

Visit our WEB at www.brightbay.info for details then book a room for $55/Night for a couple at the most convenient significant Resort to San José on the Nicoya Peninsula. 
Contact us at tropics@racsa.co.cr
Phone (506) 641-0386 FAX 641-0387
We have vitually everything from horses to yachts for your enjoyment, where our Virgin Forest meets the sea in quiet harmony.

New U.S. visa limit worries real estate execs
By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

There are probably as many jokes about "snowbirds" in Florida as there are snowbirds themselves. Snowbirds are people who spend the winter months in Florida and the rest of the year somewhere else. 

Increasingly, these part-time residents are foreigners — Europeans and Latin Americans, mostly — who see central Florida as a great place to vacation in the winter and even buy a home. But the continuing war on terrorism may put a damper on what's become a multi-million dollar industry. 

At issue is a new government proposal to reduce the standard length of a tourist visa from six months to 30 days. Immigration inspectors could still issue visas for up to six months for good cause, but the proposed regulation has visitors and business people worried.

Anna Garcia is from Britain. Her husband Guillermo is Colombian, but they've chosen Central Florida as home to raise their young daughter. She says it's not just the weather.  "I mean, it's the whole life over here. It's a completely different way of living," she said. "People seem more polite, more laid back, more relaxed."

The Garcias like the area so much that Anna's parents back in Birmingham, England, have decided to start looking for their own home here. They'll rent it out when they're not using it for vacation and eventually, after retirement, they'll move here full-time. 

At least, that's the plan. But it may depend on a new government proposal that would limit tourist visits. The proposal from the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service is aimed at cutting the risk of terrorism, but Anna Garcia says it will cut a whole lot more than that.

"My father's been working for the hospital for 18 years now and he gets 15 weeks [vacation]," she explained. "You telling me they're gonna come for four weeks instead of 15? How much they have to pay in airfares to come here? No, it's ridiculous. It won't work! They'll lose a lot of people coming here, and they'll lose a lot of people buying here if that happens."

Real estate professionals agree. ResortQuest International is a real estate firm which manages about 500 vacation homes in the Orlando area. Most of their customers are Latin American, Canadian or British. In fact, foreign business is so brisk here that the BBC is basing a new reality television series on ResortQuest's Orlando operation. Janice Edwards-Diaz, the company's regional sales director, says limiting tourist visas 

to 30 days would definitely hurt business, both in the rental and sales markets.

"We actually sell homes to people from overseas with the idea that once they purchase them from us obviously we can then turn around and manage it for them so they can go back home with peace of mind," she said.

Several trade groups, including the National Association of Home Builders, the Travel Industry Association of America and American Hotel and Lodging Association have met recently with Immigration officials, urging them to reconsider the proposed rule change. "Our economics department calculates that when you take into account their purchases, the tourist tax payments, etc., it means more than $1.6 billion in revenue to central Florida," said Gary Garzynski, the homebuilder association's president.

And that's just Florida. The foreign home vacation market is also hot in California, Arizona and New Mexico. Language in the Immigration proposal does imply there may be extensions available to foreigners who own homes in the United States, but Jim Olin, president of ResortQuest International, says implications aren't enough: 

If it's not spelled out clearly that foreign visitors can stay for longer than 30 days, many simply won't come.

"When anybody leaves their home to go to a second home for an extended period of time, it's very difficult to make plans when you don't know exactly how long you can stay," explained Olin. "The intent of the law is extremely well crafted; we all understand why. We just gotta see if there's a way to maybe get some greater flexibility on the front end to allow people to plan properly without hurting the Florida economy."

Not everyone's convinced a limit on tourist visas would do significant harm to the local economy. The University of Central Florida's Bill Weaver has studied real estate trends for more than 20 years. 

"I mean, if you're sitting in Europe, and it's cold and it's wet and you want to go to Disney [World], and somebody says, 'Well, you used to go to Disney for five weeks but now you can only go for four weeks,' are you gonna stay in Europe where it's wet and cold, or are you going to come to Disney for four weeks instead of five? I don't think people's plans are going to change materially," he concludes.

Weaver says what builders and property managers like ResortQuest are really doing is using their massive lobbying force to protect their profit margins, which are higher in vacation homes than traditional housing. 

Young opera singers
to give weekend show

Special to A.M. Costa Rica

The Little Theatre Group will kick off the new year with Opera Nova Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2:30 p.m. 

Opera Nova will present scenes from the operas "Rusalka," "Don Giovanni," "Rigoletto," "Carmen," "Faust,"  and "Die Zauberflöte."

The two performances will be in the Blanche Brown Theater located in Bello Horizonte, Escazú.

Opera Nova is a project that provides training for young opera singers, with the goal of creating real options for a professional career in opera. Founded by the contralto Karen Esquivel and her husband, pianist Gustavo Castro, the group currently consists of approximately 18 young singers from the ages of 10 to 35 who receive, in addition to voice classes, classes in ear-training/sight-singing, lyric diction in Latin, Italian, German and French, as well as stage experience in the Opera Workshop. 

Opportunities have arisen for a few of the participants to travel outside of Costa  Rica for auditions and further training, according to a release from the theater group. Funding for air fare, travel expenses, recordings and professional photographs are needed. 

An account has been set up for the purpose of raising funds for these young singers to assist  them in their efforts to move on to further studies and professional singing opportunities. The desire is that no young singer would be lost due to a lack of financial resources. Those interested in contributing to the operatic career of these young singers can contact the group at: divamom@racsa.co.cr

Ticket Information for performances is available from the theater group box office: 289-3910. 

Police break up
two robbery tries

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Police grabbed two different bands of robbery suspects within 90 minutes Thursday at separate points in the Central Valley.

The first capture, about 4:30 p.m. in San Antonio de Belén, came after robbers held up workers in an office of Mutual La Vivienda. Police were on the scene quickly, and within 300 feet of the  office they recovered one bag of money.

When K-9 units arrived, police searched the nearby banks of the Río Quebrada Seca and found two men they identified by last names of Morales Rosales, 24, a Dominican, and Díaz Quirós, 23, a Guatemalan. Several hours later they captured a man with the last names of Jiménez Ramírez, 34.

A woman seen driving a presumed getaway car was still at large.

A little more than an hour later in Cartago, two men led police on a chase after bandits held up the Instituto Nacional de Seguros office. Finally arrested were men with the last names of González Arriola, a Panamanian, and Quesada Alvarez of Costa Rica.

Police at festival
get a belly full

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

More than 150 policemen suffered stomach cramps and other problems beginning Friday evening, and officials are blaming ice used to chill food at the Festejo Popular in Zapote.

The ice was believed to be a type that is used to cool food and not the type that is used for human consumption. However, the ice was in close proximity to refreshments that the police working at the festival consumed.

Kidnap try by rebels
quickly put down

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

BOGOTA, Colombia —  Authorities say leftist rebels kidnapped 22 people early Saturday, but pursuing troops quickly freed the group. 

Officials say rebels with the National Liberation Army seized the hostages, which included women and children, from vehicles traveling along a highway in the northern state of Cesar. 

Authorities say troops rescued the hostages after a brief battle with the insurgents. 

Armed groups in Colombia kidnap around 3,000 people each year in an effort to finance a four-decade civil war. Current hostages include lawmakers and a presidential candidate. 

Fleeing prison inmates
captured in Puerto Rico

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rica — Police say they have recaptured four convicts who fled a maximum security prison Monday in a daring helicopter escape. One fugitive remains at large, but police say it is not clear if he is still alive. 

Authorities made the announcement Thursday, saying the four inmates were apprehended this week in central Puerto Rico. Investigators also say two men suspected of hijacking the helicopter used in the escape have been arrested. 

Police say the convicts fled Las Cucharas Prison in the southern city of Ponce during a recreation period. Officials say the inmates climbed onto the roof and into the waiting helicopter, which then flew to a remote area in the mountains. The pilot later called police on his cellphone. 

Authorities say the pilot told them he had been hired to fly a group of people from San Juan to Ponce, but that during the flight he was forced at gunpoint to head to the prison. His name has been withheld for security reasons. 

Officials described the convicts as "very dangerous" and say the men were serving sentences in excess of 100 years for murder and other crimes. 

Man faces a charge
of stabbing his mother

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A Guapiles man, 44, stabbed his mother, 81, in the left arm and wounded his brother in the head, according to Fuerza Pública officers. They detained a man identified by the last name of Vargas López and assisted in getting the mother, López Carvajal, and the bother, also with the surname Vargas Lopez, to the Hospital de Guapiles.

A.M. Costa Rica photo
Juanita María Gómez, a nurse at Hospital Calderón Guardia, and Sidney Glazer, a retired Atlanta, Ga., spice merchant, were married Sunday in a ceremony in Ciudad Colón. Glazer has lived here about two years.  The ceremony was at the Julia and David White Artist’s Colony.

Washington dismissed
talk of leftist alliance

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Bush administration has dismissed suggestions that Brazil's new leftist president is ready to form an alliance with leaders from Venezuela and Cuba.

State Department spokesman Richard Boucher told reporters in Washington Friday that such an alliance is unlikely because the three leaders have different interests. 

He said the United States has an excellent relationship with Brazil and that Brazil and Venezuela share democratic values. He said that in contrast, Cuba remains a stark exception to those values.

The election of Luis Inacio Lula da Silva, Brazil's first elected leftist president, has sparked concern in some circles that the South American nation may be less interested in a proposed hemisphere-wide free trade agreement.

Da Silva puts on hold
plan to buy jet fighters

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

BRASILIA, Brazil — The new leftist president has suspended the $700 million purchase of fighter jets for the air force so it can to devote more resources to the fight against poverty. 

Officials said Friday that President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva delayed the transaction by one year, saying the money might be better spent to feed the country's needy. President da Silva took office Wednesday, pledging to fight hunger and improve social conditions in South America's largest nation. 

The jet fighter contract was part of a larger $3.3 billion plan to update Brazil's air defenses. 

Defense Minister Jose Viegas Filho says the government may consider renting planes or buying used jets to replace Brazil's French-made Mirage combat jets that date back to the early 1970s.
Professional Directory
A.M. Costa Rica's professional directory is where business people who wish to reach the English-speaking community may invite responses. If you are interested in being represented here, please contact the editor.


Dr. Luis Carlos Sancho Torres
  bilingual psychiatrist (UCR)

• consulting • depression 
• schizophrenia
 • psychiatric disability VA Affairs
• evaluations for gun permits 
 • bipolar disorders • addictions 
• methadone
Available 24-hour a day
children and adults
office: 233-7782 beeper: 233-3333



Learn how to best protect your interests in the Villalobos case. Explore your options at

Also, we invite you to join one of the most active discussion groups on the case.  Find out what people who care are saying. Join at irccr-subscribe@yahoogroups.com


Law Offices of Lic. A.A. Hernandez Mussio

Attorney, Notary Public, Official Translator
English and Spanish

Specializing in Criminal 
and Corporate Law Practice

e-mail: legalxpt@racsa.co.cr

www.forovial.com                            Ave. 10, Calle 19, No. 1906
Cell: 365-3088                                            San Jose, Costa Rica

Real estate agents

15 years Costa Rican real estate experience
Member of the Costa Rican Real Estate Association, Lic. #1000 
Member, Costa Rican-American Chamber of Commerce
(506) 232-5016 home   (506) 233-8057 office  (506) 382-7399 cell 


Empresa de Investigadores Internacionales S.A.
Telephone (506) 280-5217 
FAX (506) 280-5120
P.O. Box 297-2100 Costa Rica
Cédula Juridica #3-101-097681-32


Chavez supporters protest deaths of their fellows
By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

CARACAS, Venezuela — Thousands of supporters of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez gathered Sunday to protest the killing of two people during clashes with opposition demonstrators. 

The protesters pumped their fists and chanted "popular justice" outside a funeral home in Caracas. The crowd also followed a funeral caravan transporting one of the victims of Friday's clashes to a cemetery. Chavez supporters and opponents blame each other for instigating the violence. 

On Saturday, two police officers were wounded during a wake held by government supporters for one of the men killed in Friday's demonstrations. 

Metropolitan Police Chief Henry Vivas, often considered sympathetic to the opposition, said some of those taking part in the wake opened fire on police officers with handguns. Police officers responded with tear gas and rubber bullets. 

However, Vice-President Jose Vicente Rangel, a close ally of President Chavez, accused the metropolitan police of starting the shooting. 

Last year, Chavez tried to take over the city police force, which reports to a mayor opposed to President Chavez. The Supreme Court later ordered Chavez to restore the force's autonomy. 

The violence comes as a strike that began Dec. 2 that paralyzed oil exports. International oil prices are now above $30 a barrel. Protesters say they intend to raise nearly $22-million to finance a referendum next month, a non-binding ballot that would give Venezuelans a vote on whether they want Chavez to remain in office. 

Electoral authorities set the vote for Feb. 2 following a petition campaign in November.

A series of marches convened by the opposition Democratic coordinator converged around midday Friday on an avenue near the Fuerte Tiuna military base dedicated to the memory of the country's independence heroes. Hundreds of supporters of Chavez were waiting for them, and small groups began hurling rocks and bottles at the initially peaceful opposition demonstration. 

Although the national guard attempted to disperse the chavistas, as the president's supporters are known, they continually regrouped. Tear gas and smoke from small fires on waste ground, 

apparently deliberately started by Chavez's supporters, drifted across the scene. More tear gas was hurled, this time by military police, when opposition marchers tried to cross army lines towards their planned destination.

The official reason for the march to Fuerte Tiuna was the detention there of a dissident national guard general, Carlos Alfonzo, who remains under house arrest despite a judicial order that he be freed. The government has declared the area a security zone, and insists marches must be cleared with the defense ministry.

After some hours of tension, gunfire broke out mid-afternoon, and several people were injured. There were conflicting versions as to where the shots came from, and reporters on nearby rooftops took cover at one point after the state TV channel broadcast claims that there could be snipers among them. Reporters denied the rumor. The Caracas metropolitan police, loyal to the opposition mayor, were also accused of opening fire.

U.S. State Department
rejects new mediation

By the A.M. Cosa Rica wire service

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The United States has dismissed a call for the creation of a new mediating group to help Venezuela resolve its ongoing political crisis. 

State Department spokesman Richard Boucher told reporters in Washington Friday that current mediation efforts by the Organization of American States should suffice. 

Mr. Boucher also said the Organization of American States is uniquely positioned and equipped to address what he called Venezuela's crisis of democracy. 

On Thursday, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said he favored the creation of a "Friends of Venezuela" group to help end the crisis that has paralyzed the country's key oil sector. 

Chavez did not name the countries that would be involved in the proposed group, but said he expected them to represent Latin America, Europe and the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries of which Venezuela is a member.

More letters on Villalobos
Give him a chance,
this reader says

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

Sir, your writings seem slanted in my view. Hopefully your patience will let you report Villalobos journal stories with a nuetral point, rather than attempts of your column to join in the sensationalism with an effort to become one of the ( actor/players) of the scenario itself. 

. . .  I have personally known Luis and Osvaldo for 25 years, although I am a relatively short time investor. So, why not let things play themselves out Give the guy a chance. Then we can all see what happens (Fairly Speaking). 

From another perspective , I believe this is a government who has expropriated the property of seven American families without ever paying the families anything. Sen. Jessie Helms was the only one who came to the families aid without much avail. 

Interesting, where was the press in those times. They did not dare to report about rampant corruption within government circles even though independent international pollsters have recorded C. R. as corrupt from the grassroots to the highest in the land. Please, don't get me wrong. Costa Rica is my home, and I care. But be fair not sensational.

Brent Douglas Hofmeister 
Playa Potrero

Show him the money,
he tells Villalobos

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

Thank you for your continued coverage of the tragic collapse of the Villalobos operation. Your sympathy for those who are suffering from the unexpected loss of their funds is obvious. 

It is perhaps understandable that they would cling to the hope that their nightmare will soon end and the belief that everything would be all right if everyone would leave Mr. Villalobos alone so that he can come home and resume the monthly payments. 

Even though you are presently receiving the reprobation of many of the victims, I hope you will continue to publish all of the information available to you, regardless of whether it is favorable to one side or the other. 

There is one relevant question which is common to everyone who has an interest: Where is the money he borrowed from these people? He could easily answer this question, for example, by an e-mail such as was recently reported by you and by Tico Times. 

He can hide out as long as he wants; only the government has a real interest in that. But where is the money? If your reward helps to locate Villalobos' hideout, then the relevant question can be addressed directly to him: Where's the money? 

Leroy Blankenship 
Batesville, Arkansas USA

and lies, he says

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

It is with great exasperation that I write you, but someone must put the Costa Rican government at task to conclude the Villalobos problem/s. This is a task for the voice of the press. 

This is not just a problem for some Americans which have enjoyed the access to a high interest situation. it is for the benefit of everyone. Why is it that the authorities do not charge him with some crime? Is there, in fact, a crime? I personally feel you have not done well by putting up money for a reward for Luis Enrique. Many of us are still determined to see him exonerated of the lies and misinformation that has been printed so far. 

If you were in his position, would you do something different than what he has done in this matter? To date I see nothing concrete done which will allow the president of Costa Rica to declare some amnesty which would allow the conclusion. Are there, in fact , laws which he’s broken? Or is it just convenient for the government to try to get the funds of mostly Americans that have suffered the loss. 

Let us look at what we know, not what we speculate

The investment firm did, in fact, pay what it said it would pay in all instances that are known.

It was done for many years. This in itself would give advice to those who suspect a ponzi scheme.

A similar rate is available to the local banks. Several years ago a newspaper San José published a column that stated that the banks were charging 37 to 51 % interest on loans.

The investment firm did have wide ranging operations in various countries with the resource of a large staff.

The Costa Rican government does not want it in business. Most of the investors are not Costa Rican but are from other countries.

ANY ONE, would like to get their hands on that amount of money (That’s a natural.)

The folks who would like to "help" the creditors get their money are not going to do it without seriously dipping into the funds and taking years to resolve it.

It appears the the government of Costa Rica cares little about how they run their business. They have upset a rather large financially rewarding entity in what they have done.

WHAT I KNOW: I gave $500 cash to the group that is trying to settle this mess when they had their meeting in October.

I feel your $500.00 reward is STUPID, and lacks any good intent. I feel you should "eat some crow" and rescind the lousy reward.

I e-mailed you (Jay Brodell) months ago and asked you to get involved to act as a focal point for those making an effort to resolve the issue. You refused to do that

This issue is large enough that it deserves better attention from those in the government; should your paper want to help ,you may review what an unpopularity vote could do for the current president and his staff. In the States there would be some very serious criticism in all the news.

Are you game for that??

Bud Gustin
Jerico de Desamparados

We are likened
to Romans, Judas

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

2000 years ago, a great Man was worth 30 pieces of silver.  I wonder if the $500 reward is today’s equivalent of 30 pieces of silver!  If so, what an honor for Don Enrique.  Even the Lord thought it a ridiculous price 

"....that handsome/magnificent price at which I was valued...."  read it in the 11th Chapter of Zechariah in the Bible. 

It's also worth reading Ps 35:1-9 to see how God regards this type of action. 

Leny Dolstra 

Luis Enrique Villalobos Camacho

Our reward offer is $500

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

This newspaper seeks the prompt return of two men who ran high-interest investment operations that have gone out of business.

Luis Enrique Villalobos Camacho, 62, was associated with Ofinter S.A., a money exchange house, and with his own private investment business that had about $1 billion in other people’s money on the books. 

Villalobos closed his business Oct. 14 and vanished.

Louis Milanes operated Savings Unlimited and several casinos in San José. He left the country with other members of his firm the weekend of Nov. 23. He may have as much as $260 million in his possession.

Both operations catered to North Americans. Villalobos had about 6,300 customers. Milanes had about 2,400.

Villalobos and Milanes are the subjects of international arrest warrant.  Associates of both men have been jailed.

A.M. Costa Rica has posted a $500 reward for information leading to the detention of either man with the hopes that others will make similar pledges. The newspaper believes that investors only will see some of their money when the two men are in custody.

Milanes has few supporters in San José. On the other hand, as the letters frequently on this page show, Villalobos still has supporters who believe that he will reappear and settle his debts. They believe he is in hiding because of a predatory Costa Rican government.

Louis Milanes

Please negotiate,
he asks president

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

I have been living in Costa Rica for about 12 winters now and I had the opportunity to meet President Pacheco during the election campaign. I could not vote, but I was still very much involved in his campaign and encouraged many to vote for him. 

I respect him very much. During this time in Costa Rica, I also had the privilege to meet Mr. Enrique Villalobos down in the area where I live. I found that he is a very honest person, and he was very helpful to people in need. In conclusion, I beg Mr. Pacheco and his administration to try to negotiate with Mr. Villalobos for the benefit of his investors and for the good of the economy of Costa Rica. 

Joseph De Fabrizio 
Toronto, Canada

Enrique Villalobos
must feel terrible

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

Let’s assume you were Mr Villobos AND you were innocent. Can you imagine the frustration?? 

I truly believe he IS innocent — completely and he must feel terrible being thought of this way. I met him a while ago and many of my friends have invested in him as I have. We put in our hard earned and honest money behind him and are sick at the stupidity of the authorities that have branded him guilty of crimes without a fair trial only accusations and innuendoes. 

Not only has this screwed many good people out of there money, but I am sure Costa Rica will suffer in many ways that are still to be played out. I am sorry to admit that a part of me will chuckle to myself as I hear these negative things happen to your society. How sickening. Remove your reward, and, if you have the cahonies, print that you have removed it. 

Rich Gahn

He is seeking laws
to protect Villalobos

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

I've been following the Villalobos investigation & facinated by the mess the government of Costa Rica has created for itself! 

Thousands of gringos living here & a large number of Ticos have been financially ruined or close to it by investing too much, but I believe there is a way to turn this to the advantage of Costa Rica. 

The government must TOTALLY REVERSE it's position. End the 'investigation' (nothing illegal has been found anyway), and pass laws to protect this type of borrower against any further government seizures. That's it. 

Costa Rica could become the investment capital of the world with a tremendous boost to the economy & much higher residential land values. I didn't understand AM C.R. yesterday. Why would Villalobos need to negociate? He's gone & has the money! It's CR that needs to find a way out of this mess! The economy has suffered & will continue to suffer, Foreign residents have left, and stories have appeared all over the world that I'm sure won't help tourism. 

Steve Silverman 

What we published this week: Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Earlier
The contents of this web site are copyrighted by Consultantes Río Colorado 2001 and 2002 and may not be reproduced anywhere without permission. Abstracts and fair use are permitted.