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Cocal for Jan. 20
    Playa Vista
Amigo Realty
(506) 2223-1327                          Published Friday, Feb. 14, 2014,  in Vol. 14, No. 32                          Email us
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V enezuela
A.M. Costa Rica/Michael Krumholtz
Lorent Saleh discusses the situation in Venezuela with Óscar Arias.
Venezuela activists supported by former president
By Michael Krumholtz
of the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Glaring camera lights and shaking microphones waved in front of Lorent Saleh, as three Venezuelan flags were raised at his back. Outside the gated house of ex-president Óscar Arias Sánchez, he spoke to reporters about the violent student protests in Caracas that led to three deaths Wednesday.

Saleh is head of Operación Libertad, a group of young activists protesting the Nicolas Maduro-led government ad seeking improved liberties regarding both food and physical security. He arrived with a group of Venezuelan supporters and transplants to meet with Arias, the 1987 recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize.

The 25-year-old human rights advocate decried the Maduro regime as remaining neglectful to its people and their well-being. He cited a staggering 25,000 murders that happened last year. He said he came to Costa Rica to seek vocal support from the country that has been appointed this year's head of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, which was born in Hugo Chavez's Venezuela and promises to maintain essential rights and peace.

"Today we are confident that the violation of human rights can call attention to the international community," Saleh said. "Today it's been demonstrated that in Venezuela there is no democracy."

He referred to the three young men who were killed by police as his friends and said the government is wrongly trying to blame the revolutionaries as being violent when they have only staged peaceable marches. "The protests will not stop," he said. "The protests will continue, but in peace."
Arias soon opened his doors and allowed Saleh and his large following of supporters and press to enter.

As the crowd circled around them, Saleh presented his case to Arias and said that the rights of Venezuelan students and youth were being compromised by repressive Venezuela authorities.

After a long discussion, Arias read from a written statement. As he looked into the television cameras he said that he agreed human rights violations were occurring in Venezuela.

He said Maduro's government cannot call itself a democracy while it violently attacks and persecutes any opposition.

"I am aware that in making these statements I'm exposed to all sorts of criticism from the Venezuelan government," Arias said. "They will accuse me of involving myself in internal affairs, of disrespecting their sovereignty and almost certainly of being a lackey of the empire."

Arias' speech quoted Martin Luther King, Jr., and adamantly opposed Maduro's bullying. The 73-year-old ended his declaration by saying, "I have lived long enough to know that there is nothing worse than the fear to speak the truth."

When his words ended, a loud applause and Venezuelan-themed chants broke the momentary silence. Many said thank you to Arias and to the country before they took personal photos with him.

Saleh appeared to know he would have Arias' vote of confidence. On his way into Arias' front doors, Saleh took a picture of the crowd behind him, then turned to his advisor and whispered, "See, Venezuela is not alone."

Banks, businesses struggle to adjust to rising dollar
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The 5 percent increase in the value of the U.S. dollar against the colon has government agencies hopping.

The economics ministry Thursday issued a bulletin warning tourism operators and stores that customers must be allowed the right to pay for services or items in colons even if the price is given in dollars. And the colon price must jive with the exchange rate maintained by the Banco Central de Costa Rica.

The Ministerio de Economía, Industria y Comercio cited two laws that require this. The law also said that the exchange rate must be displayed clearly and visibly.

Meanwhile, Banco Nacional is trying to drum up business by offering those who owe money the chance to change the currency on which the debt is based. Cited were mortgages, educational loans and consumer debts. The bank also noted that it would make loans in foreign currencies.
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The Banco Central said the average overnight exchange rate was 517.06 and 531.24. The average is established by activity in the daily wholesale money exchange market.

Those rates are up from 493 and 505 just a month ago.

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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.

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Culture festival begins today
and includes anti-smoking theme

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Today begins the weekend-long Festival of Popular Cultural Expression which celebrates the country's diverse culture and stands against smoking. Festivities kick off at the Centro Nacional de Cultura on Avenida Siete with a concert and tribute to past Costa Rican artists.

The nationwide celebration is also called the Emilia Prieto Festival, in homage to the artist who profoundly impacted Costa Rica's 20th century art scene through the humor and political critiques in her works.

The Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social is also scheduled to be on hand to provide health information pertaining the effects of smoking. Through pictures of damaged organs and the statistics of addiction, the Caja hopes to prevent people from taking up the unhealthy vice in the future. According to the government branch, tobacco deaths account for 50 percent of the nation's total preventable deaths.

Painters, musicians, actors, and other popular artists will join the cause and spread the message to deter tobacco smoking around the country.

Scheduled shows and performances are intended for audiences of all ages. There will be crafts, food, and other artisanal goods for sale. On Saturday and Sunday at 7 p.m. Espectaculo UPE!! is performing at Teatro de la Danza in the Centro de la Cultura, which also is the culture ministry.

These events coincide with the year's first Enamorate de tu Ciudad Saturday at a circuit of local parks. Music, visual art, plays, games, and yoga are among the events featured. The Enamorate de tu Ciudad will be held at five different locations:  Parque Morazán, Parque La Merced, Parque Espana, Jardin de Paz, as well as a break dancing show at Centro de la Cultura.

Carnival in Puntarenas begins
today for a run until Feb. 23

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Today marks the start of the Carnavales de Puntarenas, which runs until Feb. 23.

Saturday is the tope or horse parade, and the carnival parade is a week from Saturday.

Traffic police said they would be reinforcing patrols from the Central valley to the pacific port town as well as on the Costanera Sur. There also will be some changes in the lanes on the Caldera highway, Ruta 27 to accommodate the traffic flow, they said.

Snow moves up the East Coast
leaving shivering folks in wake

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The last of a wave of snowstorms is expected to pass through the eastern United States today and Saturday, after the biggest snowfall yet in an exceptionally harsh winter.

The latest snowstorms were predicted as millions of people struggled to dig out of heavy snow that blanketed the eastern third of the country. A million people in the South were in the dark after ice coated trees and snapped power lines.

At least 18 deaths have been attributed to the storm, including that of a pregnant woman whose car was hit by a snowplow. Her baby was delivered in critical condition.

The storm hit the southeast Wednesday and moved up the Atlantic coast Thursday into New England in the northeastern U.S.

More than 30 centimeters of snow, nearly a foot, fell on parts of the the mid-Atlantic, closing down the federal government and schools, and grounding thousands of flights. Bus services in Washington were canceled.

Some residents seemed determined to enjoy their unexpected day off. Some Washingtonians trekked downtown to the National Mall in Washington, a broad expanse of lawn, to ski or make sculptures in the snow.

This has been an unusually harsh winter in the United States, with deadly cold in the Midwest, rare ice storms in the South, and the most snow the East has seen in several years.

Judicial Investigating Organization photo         
This growing operation also was discovered in the raids.

Six are detained in Alajuela
on allegations of drug trafficking

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Anti-drug agents spent seven months tracking two women and four men who are suspects in trafficking synthetic drugs.

The arrests came during raids Thursday. The allegation is that the individuals sold many types of drugs at parks and bars in Alajuela.

Agents said that marijuana, cocaine, LSD and Crystal meth were all involved. Arrests were made in Urbanización El Rey, Canoas de Alajuela and Guadalupe de Alajuela.

Animal protection organization
plans a fund-raiser March 1

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

An animal protection organization is having a fund-raising party in Heredia March 1. The organization is Asociación Humanitaria Para la Protección Animal de Costa Rica, an the event is being called  Mutt's Party. The rationale is that "we're into the cross breeds. We're not into breeding purebreds and selling them  when so many great dogs are looking for loving homes, according to a spokesperson.

Tickets are $100, and all proceeds go to the organization's spay and neuter program which sterilizes both stray dogs and cats and the pets of those who can't afford it. "It's all for a good cause! You can pay by cash or credit card at the door, just make a reservation." said the spokesperson. The ticket includes a 2014 membership in the organization and lunch at  Rancho de Salud Pura Vida north of Heredia

The event begins at 12:30 p.m. in  San Rafael de Heredia. For directions and more information readers can contact Leigh Monahan at  or Lilian Schnog at

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Third News Page
San José, Costa Rica, Friday, Feb. 14, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 32
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U.S. studies will seek cause of mystery kidney disease
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Chronic kidney disease is getting a lot of attention worldwide, but the mystery remains.

Boston University's School of Public Health says its experts are conducting an investigation of chronic kidney disease in the northwestern region of Nicaragua in conjunction with the World Bank and Nicaraguan partners.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed Thursday that it is a technical consultant with Boston University School of Public Health as lead. Additionally, all studies are in the planning stages, it said by email.

The Centers also is supporting a national health survey in El Salvador aimed at estimating the prevalence of certain diseases, including kidney disease, for the purpose of aiding national public health authorities in planning for future health needs of the population, said a Centers spokesperson.

There also is a study about to be reported from Colorado, and Costa Rica is involved in a study, too. The prestigious  Scientific American magazine just published a summary of the problem.

An estimated annual average of 1,000 Central American men have died over the last two decades of kidney failure, and they are mainly agricultural workers.

There have been Costa Rican deaths in Guanacaste, the center of this country's sugar cane operation. But the problem is more acute elsewhere in Central America. Ill cane workers staged a protest Jan. 18 in Chichigalpa in front of a sugar mill, and Nicaraguan police killed one man and injured three others, according to news reports.

Since 2002 scientists have known that a disproportionate number of male sugar cane workers have contracted serious kidney disease. Boston University admits that the cause still is unknown.

Boston University will do its study in conjunction with the World Bank and Nicaraguan partners in the northwest section of that country. This area of the country is home to the Ingenio San Antonio, the operational center of the National Sugar Estates, Ltd., the largest of four sugar cane companies in Nicaragua, said the university. Thousands of young men in this region are Ingenio San Antonio employees, and the area also is unique in its geography because it contains several active volcanoes, which may increase the background levels of heavy metals in the environment, the university added.

In their search for causes of an epidemic of chronic kidney disease in Nicaragua, a Boston University-led team conducted a pilot study and gathered insights from local health workers, who cited heat stress, insufficient water intake and medical treatment that may further damage kidneys, the university reported.

In a study published in the journal BMC Public Health, the research team interviewed 10 physicians and nine pharmacists in northwest Nicaragua, where chronic kidney disease has claimed the lives of a disproportionate number of agricultural workers, most of them young adult men, the university said. Researchers have been working in northwestern Nicaragua since 2009, as part of a mediation process that includes the management of a major sugar producer in northwestern Nicaragua and a group of about 2,000 former sugarcane
National Institutes of Health graphic
Dialysis is a treatment for failing kidneys, but sugar cane workers have limited access to such procedures.

workers and community members who are affected by kidney disease, according to the university.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that being planned are an occupational risk factors study and a non-occupational risk factors study with two components, one investigating kidney damage at early ages and one exploring the possibility of a genetically determined susceptibility to kidney disease.

Since it was first identified that high rates of kidney failure exist in the young, male, working populations along the Pacific coast of Central America, many theories have surfaced as to the root of the problem. Although prolonged dehydration is agreed upon in the scientific community as a likely candidate, many others have been proposed.

Some of the others include: exposure to pesticides from the sugar cane work many of the afflicted participate in, consumption of a homemade liquor that is popular in the rural regions where the problem is most prevalent and chronic consumption of pain medications possibly linked to the aches and pains of a manual labor workforce. Genetics could also play a part, but researchers seem to agree that environmental factors are most likely to blame.

A.M. Costa Rica has reported that the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social said that its statistics show that over the last several years the Guanacaste region has accounted for about 12 percent of the nation's documented kidney failures while it only represents 6 percent of the countries population.

Fifty years of history with the songs of the Beatles
This past week has been one of nostalgia.  I watched the entire two-and-a-half-hour celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Beatles arrival in the United States.  Their songs filled the entire program.  One of my most vivid memories of their songs was in 1963 when I was visiting my sister, Donnetta, and her family in Florida.  Her boys had either the radio or a record on and I listened to it transfixed, finally asking, who the group was that was singing.  “The Beatles,” one of them said.  The song was “I wanna hold your hand.”  “They are really good,” I said, little knowing just how good they would be.

The 60s were the best of times and the worst of times: The flower children and the idea that peace might be a better answer to settle differences instead of war, the music and the new freedom for women and the emerging rights for African-Americans. All were changing the world.  But it was also a time of assassinations and a long and senseless war. Quality education took a plunge in the United States when children demanded a change in what was taught in schools, and many talented and innocent people died in China thanks to the Cultural Revolution carried out by children.

The Beatles founded Apple Corp. which included Apple Records.  Over the next years they would go to court to settle their challenge with Apple Computer for infringement of their trademark.

In the 70s I returned from being a cook on an archeological dig, wondering what to do next. Then, with half a mind and a loaf of bread, and thanks to former governor Reagan, I found myself in graduate school, all in one afternoon.  (It’s too long a story for this column.) Also thanks to the former governor, the campus of San Jose State University was surrounded with half-way houses occupied by the mentally ill whom he ordered released from California State Institutions.

The 1970s began for the Beatles with the death of John Lennon, shot five times by a mentally unstable young man who should not have been allowed to have a gun.  In 2001 George Harrison died of cancer.  Death by gunfire and by cancer has been growing in numbers since the 70s. 

In the 70s the flower children of the 60s congregated in ashrams, communes and co-ops, some trying to live by the land, but their most successful crop was marijuana.  Had they grown hemp instead, they might have started a profitable industry.  New and wonderful singers came along, but we and they still sang the songs of the Beatles.
Butterfly in the City
. . .  Musings from San José

By Jo Stuart

Jo Stuart

In the 1970’s paranoia and corruption came together, finally
bringing a president and some of his men down.  Paranoia and corruption seem to have found a home in government since then. 

I think of the 80s as the decade of Wall Street.  It was also the decade that AIDS made its unwelcome identifiable appearance leading to Draconian attempts to curb its spread. In the 80s I took a class in computers so that I could operate the new Apple in my office at the International Center.

The 80s also marked a notable increase in weight among people in the industrialized world.  I visited Costa Rica and was amazed to not see one single fat person on the streets or in the buses.

In 1992 I moved to Costa Rica, in part to satisfy my desire for a country at peace.

In 2001, a few days after Sept. 11, I walked out of the cathedral in downtown San Jose after taking part in a service being held to bring comfort after the tragedy in New York City.  I was dry eyed while many Ticos were crying.  I walked over to the Gran Hotel on Avenida 2, and in the walk way to Central Avenue, a small Peruvian group of musicians was playing on their unique instruments, the Beatles song, “Yesterday.”  Then I began to cry.

Watching the celebration of fifty years of Beatles’ music on TV, I marveled at both Ringo and Paul, the remaining Beatles.  Neither one of them has grown fat or changed much over the years.  They both took the stage with such energy and joy. They reminded me of what I have believed over the years.  Being around music is a wonderful tonic and musicians, if they don’t succumb to overdoses of some addictive habit, live long and healthy lives. 

And perhaps, when governments are considering going to war, instead they should put on the record, the disc, or what of “Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” and keep playing it until they get over the idea.

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A.M. Costa Rica's Fourth News page
San José, Costa Rica, Friday, Feb. 14, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 32
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Lab tests suggests a way to protect brain cells from Parkinson's disease
By the American Chemical Society news staff

Scientists report that they have developed a novel compound that appears to protect mice against developing movement problems associated with Parkinson’s disease. The research, which could one day in the future translate into a therapy that could halt the progression of Parkinson’s and thereby prevent the symptoms of the disease, appears in Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, published by the American Chemical Society.

Onyou Hwang, Ki Duk Park and colleagues explain that Parkinson’s, which affects an estimated 4 million to 10 million people worldwide, is a progressive movement disorder with no known cure. It often starts with slight tremors and gets worse over time. Muscles go stiff. Walking becomes
difficult. Speech is slurred. No one knows for certain what causes the disease, but research has shown that it’s linked with the loss of nerve cells in the brain that secrete dopamine, a chemical that is involved in movement and emotion.

To find a potential new therapy for Parkinson’s, the research team searched for a way to shield these brain cells.

They made 56 compounds and tested them to see which ones boosted the production of proteins that protect dopamine-releasing neurons from damage. Of those, one, which they call “12g,” proved to be the most active. Interestingly, it protected mice from developing Parkinson’s-like symptoms in one laboratory test. “Taken together, 12g was found to effectively prevent the motor deficits that are associated with PD,” they say.

Vacation, travel and hospitality

Largest art gallery in Guanacaste
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Our policies are accepted at Clinica Biblica and Hospital CIMA.   Visit our web page for more info:

Anywhere Costa Rica plans custom vacations, and has the most comprehensive travel services in the country including travel guides, resorts and vacation homes,
Costa Rica tours and car rentals.   Call 1-888.456.3212 or 2479-8811 locally.

Click photo for another video

The Relocation/Retirement tour with the

 (as reported by the moving companies)
Visit many rental options to actually experience the price/amenity options available in more of the areas chosen by Expats for security, comfort, and quality of life.

Meet many Expats who are willing to share their experiences and how the tour has value long after the “lust” wears off.
See how to choose a Retirement tour video by past guest!

Ask the others what you get for your money, and then compare the quality of accommodations, quality, quantity and variety of food and drink to measure the best value for your money. 

Learn how others “talk the talk” and learn who really can “walk the walk”

Please visit my Web site  to contact my references.
George Lundquist, retirement, relocation columnist, Guide & Developer/Builder.


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Costa Rica's world class medical specialists are at your command. Get the top care for much less than U.S. prices. It is really a great way to spend a vacation. See our list of recommended professionals HERE!amcr-prom

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We have many prime properties available for long-term rentals.
Santa Ana

                                                in Heredia
Surrounded by nature in large property. Chalet for rent located in Monte de la Cruz, Heredia. Two bedrooms, two bathrooms,  laundry room, fully furnished, security, electric gate. $500 monthly. Phone  2267-6306

100 houses

CARIARI AND LINDORA areas, nice garden apartments, furnished or not, ideal for small family, couple/singles. US $1,000 and up. Email   Tel. 8383-6388.

MONTHLY $800 TO $1,200

Villas Casa Loma has everything you are looking for.  Best vistas, climate, value.  Four unique homes in a secure private compound on a ridge near Alajuela overlooking the entire Central Valley.  Two are available fully furnished and equipped, each a complete home accommodating 4 persons in two bedrooms with ensuite baths.  Pool, rancho, mirador, other features.  Ask about part-month rates.  Call Gerry at (506) 2441-8796 or e-mail at  See virtual tour of accommodations HERE!
Get to know the real Costa Rica – you may want to live here someday.

Los Arcos gated community 2 bedroom 2 bath apartment $500 monthly. aAso efficiency apartment $300 month. 8841-1606

Beautiful 2-bedroom 2-bathroom American-style apartments with an elevator to your front door in a secure building located in Gringo Gulch the American Section of downtown San José. Costa Rica. Located between the Hotel Del Rey, the Hotel Mona Lisa and the Sportsman's Lodge and The Zona Blue (AKA) Little Habana across the street from Harry's Poas Bar, and next to the Holiday Inn.
apartment view
 There are 15 restaurants and American- style bars on this block and four supermarkets within a few blocks. There are 5 casinos within 2 blocks and dozens of hotels around this apartment. Included in your rental price, fast Internet, the best they have in Costa Rica, cable TV with 80
stations, water, washer and dryer. All you pay extra for is electricity. You have your own meter and receive a bill from the electric company every month.  This apartment has a American-style hot water system, hot water in both bathrooms and the kitchen. There is a 25-foot balcony to sit on and watch the people in San José walk by. The neighborhood Barrio Amón is the safest in San José For photos and more information contact:

Lovely cottage on private coffee farm. One spacious bedroom, one bath, office room/spare room with high speed WiFi internet, fully equipped kitchen, phone  line, balcony with beautiful view, especially at  night with
coffee retreat
 the far off lights of San José. Farm is gated and guarded, private and peaceful. Owner on-site. Sarchi is a quiet and safe small town about 30-40 min from the airport, a perfect base to explore from and also get a feel for normal, day-to-day Tico life. Rental is $575 per month, (Longer term rent is negotiable) All utilities included. Sorry, NO PETS. Contact

Test Drive Costa Rica
Asuncion de Belen. Home in exclusive Residencial La Jolla.  Gated community with controlled access,  security 24/7. Resort swimming pool and gym. Spacious and elegant finishes, private jacuzzi and social areas. 3 bedrooms. 2.5 baths.  Private gardens. Conveniently located close to airport, shopping, bilingual schools, Intel and Duty Free Zones. 322m2 on 249m2 corner lot. Lease with purchase option  $3,400/ $428,000 USD Contact owner for details:

MONTHLY $800 TO $1,200

Villas Casa Loma has everything you are looking for.  Best vistas, climate, value.  Four unique homes in a secure private compound on a ridge near Alajuela overlooking the entire Central Valley.  Two are available fully furnished and equipped, each a complete home accommodating 4 persons in two bedrooms with ensuite baths.  Pool, rancho, mirador, other features.  Ask about part-month rates.  Call Gerry at (506) 2441-8796 or e-mail at  See virtual tour of accommodations HERE!
Get to know the real Costa Rica – you may want to live here someday.

Tropical Homes of Costa Rica is offering the best selection of vacation homes, condos and long-term rental homes in Playa Flamingo, Playa Potrero and Playa Brasilito on  the Pacific Gold Coast of Guanacaste. A wide selection of private residencies is providing an excellent choice for your stay in this beautiful part 
of Costa Rica. We are offering homes for every budget and every need. Please visit our Web page at or contact us at or call at (506) 2654-5442.

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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, Feb. 14, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 32
Real Estate
About us


Time cover

TIME has special edition
featuring Mexican economy

Special to A.M. Costa Rica

TIME's International cover this week has the headline, "Saving Mexico," and features exclusive interviews with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, Finance Minister Luis Videgaray Caso and Interior Minister Miguel Ángel Osorio Chong. TIME's Michael Crowley writes the cover story entitled, "The Committee to Save Mexico," in which these three leaders discuss the Mexican economy, vigilante justice, oil reforms and more.

On Michoacán, a state where vigilante groups have formed to fight drug bosses, Peña Nieto tells TIME: “We need to re-establish the rule of law." But, he adds, “we are regaining territorial control.”

On opening up the country's oil monopoly, he says: "The world has changed, and especially the energy sector has changed. The state does not compromise in its view that the property continues to be owned by Mexico. It belongs to all Mexicans.”

Crowley writes: "Whatever he may lack in literary erudition, Peña Nieto compensates for in political prowess. He is assisted by a group of young technocrats, many with advanced degrees from outside Mexico, who together put a decidedly more modern face on a very old and very distrusted PRI (Institutional Revolutionary Party) machine…. Even if some reforms fall short, it has been a long time since Mexico experienced grand political bargains, a growing economy and optimism about the future."

The full article is HERE!

Costa Rica among countries
hit with advance spy malware

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Researchers at the Internet security firm Kaspersky Lab say they have uncovered what they’re calling “one of the most advanced global cyber-espionage operations to date.”

The malware is called Careto, which roughly means face or mask in Spanish. Since at least 2007, it has netted 380 unique victims in 31 countries, Kaspersky said.

Kaspersky called the Mask  “an extremely sophisticated piece of malware,” which is very hard to detect.

The malware predominantly targets government institutions, diplomatic offices and embassies, energy, oil and gas companies, research organizations and activists, Kaspersky said.

Countries where Mask infections have been observed include several in Latin America, including Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Guatemala, Mexico and Venezuela.

Additional countries included China, the United States, Turkey, Egypt, France, Germany, Belgium, Poland, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, Tunisia and the United Kingdom.

Apart from the Mask’s duration and scope, it is of interest because the “authors appear to be native in the Spanish language which has been observed very rarely in APT attacks,” according to Kaspersky, using initials for advanced persistent threat.

According to Christopher Burgess, CEO of Prevendra, Inc., an Internet security firm, “the Spanish-language market has not been a primary focus of the information security community at the enterprise/government or individual consumer level.”

“It is well known the Spanish banking software offerings are among the best, thus the targeting of the ingredients of the various countries’ economic backbones and foreign diplomacy of the region is most interesting,” he said.

Burgess said that the big question is who could pull this off?

“Several reasons make us believe this could be a nation-state sponsored campaign, said Costin Raiu, director of the Global Research and Analysis Team at Kaspersky Lab in a statement.

“First of all, we observed a very high degree of professionalism in the operational procedures of the group behind this attack," he said.

"From infrastructure management, shutdown of the operation, avoiding curious eyes through access rules and using wiping instead of deletion of log files," he said.

"These combine to put this APT ahead of Duquin terms of sophistication, making it one of the most advanced threats at the moment," he said, naming another malware. "This level of operational security is not normal for cyber-criminal groups.”

Dmitry Bestuzhev, head of Kaspersky’s research center for Latin America, has his own strong suspicions.

“We can certainly say it’s some Spanish speaking government,” he said in an email. “We say it’s a government because of the Careto complexity. The attackers invested a lot of science time and also money. This can be only a government.”

But Matthew Aid, an independent intelligence analyst, said he didn’t think it was a nation-state like China, Russia or the U.S.

“It sounds like something a group of hackers would do,” he said.

He said that the programming used in a lot of malware systems that could be done by “some kids sitting at a terminal thinking how they can put malware out into the ether.”

“It’s not all that hard to do,” he said.

Kaspersky said they first became aware of the Mask last year when it tried “to exploit a vulnerability in the company’s products which was fixed five years ago.”

Infections occur through spear-phishing e-mails with links to a malicious Web site.

Spear-phishing emails appear to come from a trusted source. After infecting the computer, the malicious Web site sends the user to the real Web site referenced in the email.

Kaspersky said the Mask “can intercept network traffic, keystrokes, Skype conversations, PGP keys, analyze WiFi traffic, fetch information from all Nokia devices, screen captures and monitor all file operations.”

Bestuzhev said the malware stole “secrets of the latest research done in the laboratories, diplomatic documents, government plans and documents in general.”

“It was also stealing private encryption keys and private encryption certificates used to cipher connections and locally stored data,” he said. “Additionally the attackers stole certificates used to sign PDF documents."

"It’s a very important point since now they can build malicious PDF files including exploits and when to sign them with a valid signature, so nobody would suspect it is something malicious.

Aid said that he sometimes thinks Kaspersky can be alarmist, but that he liked that the company goes places and looks under rocks that other security firms don’t.

“They don’t give you the means by which you can make an independent assessment,” he said. “This is the sixth or seventh major storm they’ve raised, and then it disappears, and you sort of wonder has this malware disappeared or is it still out there in the ether?”

Kaspersky said that during the investigation into the Mask, the command and control servers, which were in Latin America, were shut down, meaning, at least temporarily, the malware can’t call home.

But Aid is quick to warn about the longevity of malware.

“When you insert something into the Internet, it never dies,” he said. “Once it’s on the Internet, it will never go away.”

Snowden borrowed password
to access sensitive material

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

U.S. investigators have concluded that former national security contractor Edward Snowden collected some of the huge cache of surveillance documents he has disclosed by copying the password of a coworker who since has resigned.

Snowden has said that he did not steal the secure passwords of colleagues at the National Security Agency outpost where he worked on the Pacific island U.S. state of Hawaii. But the NSA said in a memo to a congressional panel this week that at Snowden's request, a civilian NSA worker allowed the contractor to use his encrypted digital key on Snowden's computer.

The NSA memo said Snowden then was able to capture the password, giving him even greater access to classified information on the agency's computer network.

The agency said the coworker acknowledged the security breach last June, but was not aware that Snowden planned to leak details about the extensive U.S. surveillance programs.

The clandestine spy agency said it revoked the coworker's security clearance, and he resigned last month after the NSA said it planned to fire him.

The NSA memo said an active duty member of the military and a private contractor also had their security access restricted as part of the continuing investigation of what officials say is one of the biggest U.S. security breaches ever.

NSA officials say that Snowden stole 1.7 million documents about U.S. spy programs, leaking many of them to journalists who have written numerous stories over the last several months about the surveillance.

The 30-year-old Snowden is living in asylum in Russia. American authorities have been unsuccessful in their efforts to extradite him to stand trial on espionage charges in the United States.

Two major U.S. cable firms
announce plans to merge

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The two biggest U.S. cable communications operators are merging.

Comcast Corp. said Thursday it is buying Time Warner Cable for more than $45 billion. The deal would create a combined company providing television and Internet services to 30 million customers, who account for about 30 percent of the U.S. pay television market.

The size of the new company could give it wide influence over other media companies, since Comcast already owns the entertainment division of a major U.S. television network, NBC Universal.

The companies said they hope to complete the deal by the end of 2014, but the transaction faces a lengthy review by U.S. regulators.

The two companies currently compete with each other in few markets. Antitrust regulators are likely to look at whether the merged corporation would have too much market share, however, and if it would stifle competing content creators and video companies, such as Netflix.

Public interest groups are protesting the merger. They say that Comcast’s purchase of NBC three years ago has led to higher monthly cable bills for customers.

Nancy Pelosi rejects idea
of fast track treaty authority

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The top Democratic Party leader in the U.S. House of Representatives said it is out of the question to give the White House so-called fast-track authority to negotiate massive free trade deals.

The comments made Wednesday by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi mean the top Democratic leaders in both houses of Congress have now expressed opposition to the trade promotion authority bill.

If the measure is not passed by Congress, it could further jeopardize the ambitious yet long-delayed Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade agreement, currently being debated by 12 countries.

The Obama administration is hoping to receive congressional approval to negotiate without having to submit every detail to lawmakers for approval. It has said this would allow countries to put their best offer on the table.

Republicans are generally more supportive of free trade agreements, arguing that bringing down global trade barriers will help open untapped markets and grow the economy.

President Barack Obama's Democratic Party is more hesitant about the multinational deals, claiming that they often favor large corporations at the expense of small businesses and export U.S. jobs overseas.

Last month, Senate leader and key Obama ally Harry Reid also broke with the White House on trade policy, announcing that he was against the fast-track legislation.

The countries negotiating the trade pact are the U.S., Vietnam, Singapore, Peru, New Zealand, Mexico, Malaysia, Japan, Chile, Canada, Brunei, and Australia.

The United States-led trade pact aims to cover nearly 40 percent of global economic output when completed. The White House had hoped to finalize the deal by the end of 2013.

Another free trade deal, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership with the European Union, is also being discussed.

Many analysts believe fast-track trade authority is crucial to getting either pact passed through Congress.

U.S. travel partnership sees
major increase in tourism

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The U.S. travel and tourism industry says it has been waging an effective campaign to attract more visitors to the United States.

The government-private industry organization called Brand USA says new advertising and other marketing efforts in eight foreign nations boosted arrivals by more than one million last year, contributing billions of dollars and 53,000 jobs to the U.S. economy.

The partnership between the industry and Washington grew out of worries that U.S. destinations were losing ground to rival nations.

It is also aimed at attracting customers from emerging nations where growing wealth makes international travel more widely available.

The CEO of Brand USA, Chris Thompson, said international visitors offer a stronger economic lift than domestic travelers.

"The international component of visitation is the one that brings people here for longer stays, it brings them here for greater spending — on the average $4,500 from any international visitor — that comes in."

Officials hope to raise international tourism traffic by about one third over a seven-year period, and push the annual total to about 100 million visitors to the United States.

To do that industry members will continue advertising and are working to streamline cumbersome U.S. visa procedures that frustrate some potential visitors.

Thompson says a stronger tourism industry helps U.S. diplomacy as well as the economy because most visitors come away with a favorable impression of the United States.

November elections delay reform
of U.S. immigration policies

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Earlier this year the prospects for immigration reform seemed bright.  Republican congressional leaders, especially House Speaker John Boehner, shifted their tone and indicated a willingness to find common ground with President Barack Obama and Democrats on legalizing the status of millions who had entered the country unlawfully.
But the backlash was swift.  When it came time to float the idea to the conservative Republican conference in the House of Representatives, the air was squeezed out of the balloon quicker than a giggling 5-year old.  When Speaker Boehner ran into conservative opposition within his own conference, he shifted the blame to President Obama, arguing that Republicans don’t trust him to enforce current immigration laws.
Rather than try to resolve differences in the party that have plagued Republicans for several years, the leadership decided the risks of inter-party warfare were too great during a congressional election year.  Republican strategists focused on the short term political gains and argued that anything that took the party focus off of attacking Obamacare during the election cycle was a distraction and a waste of time.  They won out.  Immigration reform, it seems, has fallen victim to election politics yet again.
None of this is reassuring to moderate Republicans and many in the business community who fear the party may be adding to its long term woes by passing on immigration reform this year.  President Obama lost the white vote to Mitt Romney in 2012 but it didn’t matter.  The president won 71 percent of the Hispanic vote and the Obama coalition of young people, minorities and women carried him to re-election despite Romney’s strong showing with whites and even independent voters.  Forward-looking Republicans are worried that the party is missing an opportunity this year to make some progress on immigration reform, something that might begin to soften the Republican image among Hispanic and Asian-American voters, the two fastest-growing groups in the electorate.
Could reform happen in 2015?  It gets more complicated.  Republican presidential primaries could work against any compromise on immigration reform.
While Republicans appear to be passing on immigration reform, it looks as though they are abandoning their tactic of using votes on raising the debt limit to extract spending cuts from the president and Democrats in Congress.  The decision this week to allow a clean debt limit bill to pass without any conditions or demands for additional spending cuts signals the end of a three-year strategy that Republican congressional leaders have now apparently deemed ineffective.
The culmination of that strategy was last October’s shutdown of the federal government, spurred by Tea Party enthusiasts both within and outside of Congress, who were desperate to show conservatives back home that they were serious about trying to kill the Obama health care law.  But the tactic backfired on Republicans.  Their approval rating as a party began to seriously plummet and only evened off after serious problems arose with the Web site for the health care law, which in turn dominated news headlines for weeks.
The shutdown was a debacle for the Tea Party and emboldened mainstream Republicans like House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell to be less fearful of conservative threats and pressure.  Congressional leaders quickly agreed on a budget framework that was signed into law by President Obama, and that was followed by this week’s strategy on the debt limit extension.
Conservative and Tea Party groups are very unhappy.  The Senate Conservatives Fund, an independent group that strikes fear in the hearts of Republican senators seeking to avoid far-right primary challengers, issued a statement demanding that Boehner must be replaced.  But unlike in past years, the reaction seems muted.  Republican leaders sense that Tea Party organizers are back on their heels a bit after the shutdown fiasco.  They are also being more aggressive in trying to weed out conservative primary challengers who can undermine Republican chances to win back control of the Senate this November.
Republicans sense an opportunity in this year’s midterm elections, and they don’t want to blow it.  They believe if they can field the right candidates in some key Senate races, they can both hold or increase their majority in the House and gain the six seats they need to take hold of the Senate.  If that happens, they believe President Obama would be effectively boxed in for his final two years in office.  Republicans would then have an opportunity to promote their proposals for smaller government in Congress as a kind of preview for the presidential election campaign two years from now.  After eight years of President Obama, Republicans see winning their year’s congressional elections as a key step in returning to power in the White House in 2016.

Consumer spending in U.S drops.
for second month in a row

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

U.S. consumer spending dropped for the second straight month in January, a new signal that growth of the world's largest economy may have slowed.

The government reported Thursday that retail sales fell 0.4 of a percentage point last month, the biggest drop in 10 months, after a 0.1 drop in December, which previously had been reported as an increase.

Consumer spending accounts for 70 percent of U.S. economic output and is closely tracked by economists.

An unusually cold and snowy winter in parts of the U.S. may have contributed to the drop in retail sales, keeping consumers away from auto showrooms and stores.

In a separate report, the U.S. said the number of workers making first-time claims for unemployment compensation increased by 8,000 last week to 339,000, indicating slightly more worker layoffs.

Job growth has slowed in the U.S., with employers adding only 113,000 workers to their payrolls last month and 75,000 in December.

The jobless rate has fallen to 6.6 percent, a five-year low. Some of that improvement has come, however, as frustrated job seekers have dropped out of the labor market and are not counted by the government as unemployed.

Facebook creates options
for specifying user gender

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The social media giant Facebook has now made it possible for people to choose options other than male and female when identifying their gender.

Facebook said the changes launched on Thursday initially cover the company's users in the United States. The adjustments give people more than 50 choices of how they describe themselves, including androgynous, bi-gender or transsexual.

Facebook also is letting users choose between three pronouns to describe themselves: him, her or a gender-neutral them.
Facebook says it plans to take the change global after working with activists abroad to come up with terms appropriate for other countries.

Another step taken in lab
to develop fusion energy

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

American scientists who have been trying to produce energy from nuclear fusion say they have moved a big step forward in their research, which aims to harness the process originally used in hydrogen bombs to produce clean, abundant energy.

Scientists from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory report they were able to create a type of fusion reaction by bombarding a microscopic pellet of fuel with beams from 192 powerful lasers to compress its component parts - hydrogen isotopes known as deuterium and tritium - and fuse them together at the atomic level. This generated large amounts of heat and other nuclear reactions that together represented more energy than the fuel originally possessed.

The fusion of atomic nuclei is the same process that fuels stars throughout the universe, including our sun. Scientists at the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory's National Ignition Facility are working on a much smaller scale, of course. Their ultimate goal -- creating a sustainable, controllable fusion reaction that is a net positive source of energy -- is some years away.

A practical method of generating energy from fusion has been a physicists' dream for decades. Although fusion is at the heart of the hydrogen warheads the world superpowers built in the 20th century, the process of fusion itself would not produce the dangerous radiation that is created by modern nuclear power generators, which use nuclear fission to create energy from enriched uranium fuel.

U.S. joins other countries
to respond to disease outbreaks

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Controlling disease outbreaks that threaten global public health is the goal of a new, 26-nation partnership launched in Washington. The United States is leading a group of countries and international organizations to help improve the world’s ability to prevent, detect and respond to infectious disease threats.

When a lethal Ebola outbreak struck in 2012, Muslims in the Democratic Republic of Congo were barred from the Hajj pilgrimage.

In 2003, SARS leapt from China to more than two dozen countries with alarming speed.

Disease outbreaks anywhere are just a plane ride away in a globalized world, says U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

“Microbes and diseases are moving faster and farther than ever. And one thing we know for certain: they do not recognize or stop at national borders," said Ms. Sebelius.

And, she adds, most countries are woefully underprepared for an outbreak.

So the United States has convened a group of low, middle and high-income countries in a joint effort to plug some of the gaps.

“Working together across at least 30 countries, we can protect at least 4 billion global citizens within the next five years," said Ms. Sebelius.

The effort aims to build on U.S. pilot programs in Vietnam and Uganda that helped improve disease testing and response to outbreaks.

And while the purpose is to contain global threats, it should help countries fight diseases locally, says public health expert Amesh Adalja with the Infectious Diseases Society of America speaking via Skype.  

“A lot of the same technologies and techniques that you use in order to respond to, for example, an unknown disease are going to enhance your ability to respond to regular diseases.  For example, developing laboratory testing capacity, developing means to get vaccines or countermeasures to populations," said Adalja.

The Obama administration plans to commit $45 million in the next year to improve prevention, detection and response to infectious disease threats in developing countries.

And it is calling on other nations to contribute to preventing the next global pandemic.

Real estate-related services (paid category)

Project completion specialists
Casa del pacifico logo
Pacifica living
A turnkey home and project completion agency devoted to creative vision and flawless execution. We provide a single, solid and dedicated point of contact for the duration of your real estate project, specializing in:

                      • Building completion services
                      • Interior design & decoration
                      • Custom furniture design & manufacturing.

Our primary goal is to assist our clients with a smooth transition to occupancy while providing highly personalized and distinctive services. We have refined the process to be a hassle free experience, especially valuable for clients who live abroad. We customize to suit each client’s personal taste, lifestyle and budget.
Serving region for 10 years.
We regularly exceed client expectations. We guarantee it.
Cell phone: (506) - 8707-8008
Office phone: (506) - 2288-5644

Real estate brokers and agents (paid category)

Swimming pool at night
A Buyer’s Broker offering the best
of Costa Rica Real Estate.

For those looking for quality properties and service at quality prices. Central Valley Rentals. Offering honesty, experience and knowledge. Your Villa Real Expert. Call us now  Toll Free (877) 845-4533. In Costa Rica 2228-5961 or 8339-2112.

Re/Max, the Pacific coast expert
Re/Max offers comprehensive Costa Rica Real Estate, vacation rental and relocation services. Our award-winning team is the largest in the country, and can show you the best lifestyle and financial investment properties in the most desirable locations including prime real estate in Tamarindo, Langosta, Conchal, Flamingo, Pinilla, Coco, Hermosa and Playa Panama.  Give us a call in Costa Rica at 506-2653-0073, or toll free from the U.S. and Canada 1-800-385-5930. Re/Max, the name you trust for the finest real estate services in Costa Rica.

Moran Arenal
Lake Arenal, Costa Rica
The undiscovered jewel of Central America, 35 square miles of blue, pristine, clear water ideal for fishing, swimming, boating, Real estate values still low.
Great lake front, river front land, farms, homes, condos and commercial property. Some with owner financing
This is far and away the most beautiful place in all Central America — cool climate. Try our two-day, all-inclusive discovery tour for $299.

Check with our Web site at
Contact us at the office: (506) 2694-0088
Cell (506) 8880-8888
Phone number from the U.S. (305) 307-0088
Moran logo

Costa Rica,

Central America
Houses, lots and farms in Grecia,
western Central Valley.
Great climate
and safe communities.

Visit our Web Site:

English: (Cristian Arce)
(506) 8309-0173  
English:  (Luis Arce)
(506) 7100-8489  
 Español: (Luis G. Jiménez)
  (506) 8707-4016  
Grecia 794
This is the BIGGEST DEAL of the month now at $850.000: HERE!
30,000 square meters of land and 750 square-meters of construction.
Grecia 792
300 square meters of land, 195 square meters of construction HERE
Grecia 807
  18,000 square meters of land and 300 square meters of construction. HERE!
  Send us your request to our email:

Real estate for sale (paid category)

Spectacular 79-acre view property in Guanacaste overlooking tens of miles of pristine coastline with sunset over the Pacific. Own water, electricity, hi-speed internet, property roads, huge building view sites, terraced landscape perfect for growing trees, fruits and vegetables or run horses or cattle, hidden access and high-level security. 169,000 USD. Contact:   or text messages to  8916-5550.

Excazu montage
Trejos  Montealegre, Escazú.
Two bedrooms and two baths.  220 m2 construction on  289 m2 of land. Beautiful contemporary house across from a small park, easy walk to Avenida Escazú.
Great views. Only 7 years old. Two patios and a balcony. In a quiet and secure neighborhood with guard shack across the street. Nice landscaped garden. Sale includes all furniture.  Price: $275,000.    Phone  Ron Eaton  at 8997-1799. Email:

Balcony view
This is a great opportunity
Get your home in one of the best locations. Four-bedroom condo near Universidad de Costa Rica, ULatina & UFidelitas   $170,000. USD.  24/7 gate security with in-home alarm, three levels, parking for two cars and play area for children. First Level: Living room/dining room, kitchen with breakfast bar, laundry room, patio/garden with roof, storage area, & guest bathroom. Second Level: Large master bedroom with full bathroom and walk-in closet, two additonal bedrooms, linen closet, full bathroom. Third Level: Large fourth bedroom or TV room, full bath, large storage attic, spacious roofed balcony   and breathtaking views of mountains to the east, south, west. Call Bill   (English) C.R. Phone: (506) 6011-6987 / U.S. Phone:  (630) 886-4458 . C.R. Spanish  phone number: (506) 8799-4041  or  (506) 8363-9898.  Email:

humming bird nest

Bed & Breakfast for sale and personal home with 2 houses on property of 3/4 acre (3,030 m2) and buildings w/verandas & carport approximately 350 m2. One house at entrance is central to village w/gated parking lot and a 3-bedroom house for rental or employees/family w/carport/yard/gardens. A 50-meter sendero winds to the top among lush gardens where the main house is situated w/2 buildings attached by verandas & stairway to second floor.  There are 2 bedrooms, sala, 4 baths, large kitchen, laundry rooms, work bodega, storage bodega and hot tub on veranda w/tiled shower room.  Home is surrounded by tropical gardens, views of Arenal Volcano, panoramic views of Lake Arenal, private w/school owned property on one side, pasture land on back side and connecting entry gate on other side to Cabinas El Castillo & Fusion Restaurant.  A bird watcher's paradise w/hummingbirds, Montezuma, toucans, butterflies and visits from howler monkeys.  The B&B is listed four consecutive editions of Lonely Planet and the first established B&B in this area.  Photos can be viewed on the Web site:  Make your dream come true with a slice of paradise in a quiet, private setting. Call Ellen Neely at  8835-8711.  Email:

Los Reyes home
House for sale in La Guacima, Alajuela
Located on 9th tee of Los Reyes Country Club. Club offers golf, tennis (6 courts), swimming pool, gym and restaurant. Easy access to schools, shopping, hospitals & Caldera highway. One hour to Pacific beaches. House price: US $450,000.00. Contact Bill, Phone 506 -8878-9221  Email: Click on the link below for photos and additional details:

Spectacular view property on a ridge near Alajuela.  Large home and 3 rental homes totaling 7,300 square feet (678 square meters) live-in construction.  Property area is 3,376 square meters (0.83 acres) including a vacant lot for expansion options.  In total there are 10 bedrooms, each with an ensuite bath.  Property has pool, rancho, mirador, courtyard and covered parking.  Homes have romantic fireplaces, built-ins, storage, other luxury features.  Turnkey sale includes all appliances, furniture, fixtures, equipment.  Call Gerry at (506) 2441-8796 or e-mail at  See property video here:

See virtual tour of accommodations here:

For more details go to:

Land near Monte de La Cruz, 27 hectors+, Must sell for best offer due to cancer, 8841-1606

beachfront home
Beautiful Palo Seco Beach home priced to sell!
Gorgeous beachfront two-story home, of roughly 2,000 square feet, set on a half acre oceanfront lot that is full of beautiful fruit and shade trees in Playa Palo Seco. This home features two bedrooms, three full baths, high quality A/C units in all rooms, huge front and backyard, and of course, a fantastic view of the Pacific Ocean just feet away from the front door! Playa Palo Seco is perfectly situated between Jacó and Quepos and is only minutes away from five-star dining such as El Clandestino.  We have reduced the price from $150,000 to $125,000 firm for a fast sale in the new year! This is a must see property! Owner financing is available. This truly is a once in a lifetime offer and it will go fast! Please call 8816-2478 or email for more information!

St. Michael
Ocean View estates inside a gated community from $5.94 M2.  Properties start at 39K. NO HOA FEES.  Community salt water modern waterfall swimming pools, organic vegetable gardens, exotic flower gardens, food forest, mature orchards, fresh fish from aquaponics, stables, community center, and much more.  Each lot comes with an edible landscaping including pineapples, plantains, papayas, guanabanas, bananas, and more.  Most lots already have mature mango, lemon, orange, or caimito trees.  This is the most secure community in CR with multiple sources of water, electric, and high \[speed internet.

Cahuita estate
Beach house in Cahuita for sale
2,000-sq. ft. house, 2 bedrooms. 2 baths. With incredible view of sea.  House has beautiful hardwood open upstairs deck. Teakwood floor upstairs. CB and ceramic downstairs, Very well built with beautiful hardwoods upstairs.  Oval bathtub, hand painted ceramic sinks  The view is through 240 meters of jungle and coconut trees to the beach. The beach in front is perfect and quiet. Very secure area. Property located adjacent to our wildlife sanctuary and botanical gardens. Great group of neighbors from U.S.A.,  Italy, Holland, Sweden, etc. This very private property is owned by Todd Scottland for more then  35 years. Taxes are paid up to date. This is a gem of a house. Must see!  Price  $205,000.00.  Email to: Email for more photos.
Phone 2755-0014 or cell phone 8610-0490.

Ojochal montage
Ojochal Paradise
Tropical paradise of 6.5 acres in Ojochal.  Cabin with one sleeping loft, all services, mountain and distant ocean views.  Several building sites available for main house or rental units. Close to surfing, fishing, golfing. Sale for $129.000  Contact:  for more photos/information or go here:

Located in Jacó at Barrio Ricos y Famosos
in Calle Europa, Casa Shangri La.
Main house: 3 bedrooms, 3 baths, 270 square meters, 2 condominiums 2 bedrooms, one bath, 110 square meters, plus one small apartment: One bedroom, one bath. Huge pool, carport for five cars. plus double garage, rancho with pool bathroom, gymnasium, laundry room, pool plumbing room, huge dog house in separate 500-square-meter garden with aviary for guacamayas (we have three birds) 60 meters of river front of Río Copey with a 4-meter-high protective and retention stone wall. Eight surveillance camera CCTV system with Internet access from anywhere. Over 2-meter-high brick wall all around the property with two layers of razor wires on top, the safest place to be! Electronic entrance gate, door phone, five telephone lines, high-speed Internet wireless access everywhere. Beautiful gardens with many fruit trees. Built to highest standard by German owner in 2005,  room for two more apartments, plans approved. Less then a 10 minutes walk to the beach and or center of Jaco. Price $ 1,350.000 negotiable. All fittings and furniture. German-built, excellent quality and well maintained. 70% owner financing available. More photos on request HERE!  Email:  cell 8838-2081 or home 2643-2979.

Rich Coast montage
Real Estate, Central Pacific Region

Central Pacific between Jacó and Quepos-Manuel Antonio
Lots in gated community near the beach  from $17,999! Only 3 left
2-bedroom house in gated community was $120k now $99,900
3-bedroom house with 2 additional residential lots, walk to the beach $160k
Turnkey coffee shop/ bakery, corner location, great ROI! $65k
2-bedroom panoramic oceanview house, guesthouse on 2.5 acres $269k
Panoramic oceanview  property, 3 houses, on-ground pool $375k
And much more!!!
   USA Toll Free 1 866 833-4005
   CR Cell 011 506 8718-9891

Samara church and lot
Commercial lot with great visibility in heart of Playa Sámara commercial district. Located alongside town's largest church, bank, hardware store/lumber yard, mini shopping plaza, and Pali (Sámara's largest supermarket). This lot has a large elevated building platform shaded with mature treees. All this makes for many commercial options.  One block from stunning "blue flag" beach. This is a perfect location for a eco/boutique hotel, restaurant/catering, apartments, or condominium. All utilities to this property. Lot size 1,414m2. Price 325K. Email:

Gulf road

Beachfront pristine five-hectare (13-acre) property

includes a common open air lodge with kitchen, three cabins, a caretaker's house, a garage and a secure storeroom. The property is maritime and has a current and valid maritime user's permit, all up to date and clear. In addition to the immaculately landscaped portion of the property that is already developed with bungalows, there are an additional three hectares that are ready for expansion and are cleared and planted in grass. The sales offer includes furnishings, appliances, catamaran, kayaks, and a whole series of extras. This property has about 300 meters of beach front in a docile portion of the gulf about 15 minutes north of Puerto Jimeenez, ideal for mooring boats just off the property shoreline. Has municipal water and power. Offered at $970,000. All reasonable offers will be considered. See photos and maps and more at Contact us at: or +1-866-514-7435.

For Sale By Owner
1 lot (1.5 acres)  at SIBU (8 lots total) amongst 50 acres of protected jungle gardens with sunset ocean views of Playa Nosara. Underground electric and water.13 minutes from Playa Guiones. Gated. In house financing available. Home of SIBU Sanctuary.

Five bedroom home
Five bedrooms, three-and-a-half baths plus guest house
Price reduced $100,000 for quick sale. Features include out door BBQ, swimming pool, plus on the beach. The home is completely furnished with U.S. products. Each room is individually air conditioned.  Hot water in bathrooms, kitchen and laundry room.  Fully furnished. Includes TV’s, refrigerator/freezer, dish washer, microwave, electric stove/oven, washer & dryer and many “as seen on TV” appliances. 
Asking  $250,000.    Call Gary 8784-2945 or email

Becker montage
Beach property on the Pacific Ocean in Guanacaste.

House and guest house on adjacent half acre lots. Each with separate electric,  private septic and well. Each can be sold stand alone or packaged. Modern kitchen, granite counters, Viking stove, large separate frig and freezer. Private commercial grade septic and well. No water shortages even in dry season. High speed internet and U.S. standard electric. Center of the beach -- NEVER floods. Estuary at each end of the beach with excellent kayaking and bird watching through the mangroves. Excellent fishing right off the shore. Great surfing, horseback riding, bicycling or Turtle watching. Groceries three miles away. Mentioned in "The Lonely Planet" Page 301. "Two of the most beautiful and least visited beaches in Costa Rica. Wilderness beaches of fine silver-grey sand." Despite opportunities for great surfing, kayaking and just about anything else you want to do on a sandy strip of paradise, the beaches are nearly always abandoned. $500K Will finance.  More pictures available at:  Contact information:,  US: 001-612-599-0205 or Costa Rica 011-506-2655-1202.

Med house
Mediterranean inspired home overlooking the Bay of Nicoya and Pacific Ocean. This design allows for barrier free living, yet maximizes views from every room in the house . Vaulted ceiling over the living area and kitchen give the great room it’s spacious, open feeling with a natural stone fireplace and imported Spanish tile floors. $365,000.   Property: 22,000 m2 or 5.5 acres. Construction: 4,500 sq. ft. including porches and garage. 3 nedrooms, 2 baths, full dining room, separate office. Custom wrought iron gates, custom exotic wood cabinets, high-end stainless steel appliances, Granite countertops.    Slide show at   
For more information contact:

beach scenes
Established Hotel/Resort -Great Business Opportunity:
The owner/manager of a successful hotel on the Gold Coast of Costa Rica has listed their property with us. It is a successful and ongoing concern. The property and buildings are well built and maintained. The property has a history of repeat clients. To protect the business for the current and future owners, detailed information of the listing will only be shared after an expression of interest and a non-disclosure confidentiality agreement is executed. It is located about one hour of Liberia airport and less than 500 meters to beach. The land is over 1 hectare allowing room for expansion. There are 18 bedrooms in a variety of apartments, cabinas and houses, A/C, bar restaurant and shop. Near golf, horses, tennis, world class surf and more. Listing Price of $US2.4 million. Mary or Jerre West,, 8879-0235 or (303) 317-6603

For sale is a beautiful 50-acre property located in Los Alpes, just 15 minutes outside of San Ramon. At about 4,000 feet above sea level, this finca provides gorgeous views of the Central Valley as well as the Pacific Ocean in the distance while also offering a wonderful climate year around. The main house is two stories with three bedrooms and two full baths. High quality construction using exotic hardwoods such as almond, which covers the ceilings throughout the entire house. There are also two corrals and a small casita on the property. This location is perfect for a farm-style home or for beginning an agricultural business. This truly is a rare piece of property and is available for $399,999. Price is somewhat negotiable and we will be happy to work with the buyer to make it work! Please call 8816-2478 or e-mail for more information ¡y se habla español!

Real estate services
Real estate for sale
Businesses for sale

Business for sale or lease (paid category)
Tanning montage
This is your chance to acquire a totally equipped tanning salon with five machines.  Fantasia Tropical has been open 14 years but the founder needs to retire and return to the U.S. for medical reasons.  You can assume the lease in Sabana West buying the S.A. or buy the assets and move them to a location you prefer. Taxes, permits, bank accounts all in order. Excellent opportunity for an energetic, creative hands-on owner or couple. Long-time manager available to stay on if desired. With an asking price of $30,000 this won't
last long.  Some owner financing may be available.  Contact for an appointment. For a preview

A successful, local, long-running business for sale.
In the nine years of operation, this company has grown to cover the entire Southern Pacific Zone, and opened the door to further penetration in San José, Manuel Antonio and Osa Peninsula areas. And it is the only one of its kind with no comparable competition. With the extensive groundwork that has already been achieved, the business is now poised to expand into a new level of success. Operating since 2005, the owner is retiring to another Latin American country. It is now time to turn the business over to a new owner who could expand it to even greater success. Details on the business, its history, a strategic analysis of its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, as well as a pro-forma income statement from 2008 through to 2013 are available upon request to

Jaco station
Gas Station/Auto Plaza
Located on the Pan American Highway, Jacó Beach, Costa Rica, Central America. This property is  45,000  square feet or  18,000  meters.  Liquor and convenience store is operational. Room to add an automotive service, car wash, restaurant, pharmacy, lotto sales, tour sales, ATM's,  etc, for a real money maker. Also future plans for a 80-unit  auto motel and casino. See on Youtube at: Asking price  $3.9 million. Email or call: 8899-9870.

beach scenes
Established Hotel/Resort -Great Business Opportunity:
The owner/manager of a successful hotel on the Gold Coast of Costa Rica has listed their property with us. It is a successful and ongoing concern. The property and buildings are well built and maintained. The property has a history of repeat clients. To protect the business for the current and future owners, detailed information of the listing will only be shared after an expression of interest and a non-disclosure confidentiality agreement is executed. It is located about one hour of Liberia airport and less than 500 meters to beach. The land is over 1 hectare allowing room for expansion. There are 18 bedrooms in a variety of apartments, cabinas and houses, A/C, bar restaurant and shop. Near golf, horses, tennis, world class surf and more. Listing Price of $US2.4 million. Mary or Jerre West,, 8879-0235 or (303) 317-6603

Live the dream!
Several profitable businesses, including a regional radio station, are for sale in Costa Rica. Certain purchases can provide the new owner with residency as well as a great lifestyle. So live your dream while making a profit. Contact:

Real estate services
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A.M. Costa Rica's
sixth news page

San José, Costa Rica, Friday, Feb. 14, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 32
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News from the BBC up to the minute

BBC news feeds are disabled on archived pages.

Latin news from the BBC up to the minute
Cardiologist gives Valentine:
Love is good for the heart,

By the Vanderbilt University news service

In a Valentine’s Day announcement, Julie Damp says being involved in a healthy, loving relationship is good for the heart. He is a Vanderbilt Heart and Vascular Institute cardiologist.

“There are different theories behind why that might be,” Dr. Damp said.

Most of the theories seem to be related to the fact that people who are married or who are in close, healthy relationships tend to be less likely to smoke, are more physically active and are more likely to have a well-developed social structure. Along with that, they may have lower levels of stress and anxiety in their day-to-day lives, may seek medical attention more quickly, and may be more likely to take preventive medications.

A recent study from Finland showed that married men and women had a significantly lower risk of both having heart attacks and dying from a heart attack compared to people who were single.

“There is also a theory that people who are in loving relationships may experience neuro-hormonal changes that have positive effects on the body, including the cardiovascular system,” she said, explaining that there are certain hormone levels in the body that vary depending on the level of an individual’s stress and anxiety.

“This has not been proven, but the idea is that being in a relationship that is positive may have positive effects on your cardiovascular system over long periods of time,” Dr. Damp said. In fact, studies have shown that relationships that involve conflict or negativity are associated with an increase in risk for coronary artery disease.

Giving loved ones a box of dark chocolates and a bottle of red wine won’t hurt either. Studies suggest they are good for the heart, as well.

Dark chocolate contains flavonoids, which are antioxidants. Antioxidants have positive effects on many different body systems including the cardiovascular system. The high concentration of cocoa in dark chocolate appears to be what offers the flavonoid benefit.

“Dark chocolate has been shown to be associated with lower blood pressure, lower blood sugar levels and improvement in the way your blood vessels dilate and relax,” Dr. Damp said.

Costa Rican News
Retire NOW in Costa Rica
Fine Dining in Costa Rica
The CAFTA Report
Fish fabulous Costa Rica

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From Page 7L

Country reaches tax agreement with Germany

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Costa Rica and Germany have signed an agreement that is designed to prevent double taxation. The agreement needs to be ratified in Germany and here, said the Ministerio de Hacienda. The agreement also is designed to provide better security for investors, the ministry said.

Costa Rica negotiated a similar agreement with Spain in 2004, and it went into effect in 2011.

The agreement was signed by Edgar Ayales, minister de Hacienda, and Ernst Martens, German ambassador.