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These stories were published Tuesday, March 18, 2003, in Vol. 3, No. 54
Jo Stuart
About us
An editoral by this newspaper
Everyone wants peace, but the price is high
By Jay Brodell
editor of A.M. Costa Rica

This newspaper has been critical of George Bush, president of the United States.

We thought his approach against terrorism should have been more oriented to law enforcement than military. We still hold deep concern about the increasing secrecy of the U.S. government for fear that terrorists will glean useful information from public documents.

Text of Bush speech BELOW!

But Bush was correct Monday night when he said: "The risks of inaction would be far greater. In one year, or five years, the power of Iraq to inflict harm on all free nations would be multiplied many times over."

The power of the schoolyard bully is in direct proportion to the number of people who fear and avoid him.

Costa Rica and the rest of the world has seen great outpourings of those who profess peace. Everyone is for peace in the abstract, even Saddam Hussein. Peace was part of Joe Stalin’s arsenal, too.

But we have yet to hear a reasonable option that includes peace and the elimination of Saddam Hussein. Most who profess peace are too young or too narrow minded to remember a man named Neville Chamberlain, the British prime minister who tried to appease Hitler. History lists him as a fool. Perhaps one reason Tony Blair, the current Britsh prime minister, is such an advocate for Bush is that he recognizes the terrible error made by Chamberlain.


Neville Chamberlain

'Peace in our Time'

. . . for a little

Some who profess peace actually hate George
Bush. Others hate the United States. Even others hate free trade, whatever that is. Yet others hate Israel.

A.M. Costa Rica is operated by a Costa Rican corporation, but two of the three owners are Americans. The newspaper sometimes shares this unique perspective.

And this is one of those times. The peacemongers are wrong. Peace comes from strength in a brutal, hostile world. Peace comes from sacrifice. Peace does not come from chanting, rallies and candlelight vigils. 

This is a time for all North Americans, British and Costa Ricans to stand by the president of the United States as he directs allied forces in a surgical removal of a very bad man. 

Cries for peace do not prevent the ignition of a nuclear bomb. 

When Bush goes to war, locations in the United States and even here in Costa Rica might be badly hurt. Saddam has promised a vicious response.  Civilians may die.  That, too, is the price of peace.

Nosara land dispute leads to fight, gun play 
By Bryan Kay
of the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A Costa Rican man took a bullet to the stomach Sunday morning after a fight broke out between him and a local U.S. businessman, said authorities.

Jim Rodengen, the owner of Century 21 real estate in Nosara, and Jorge Arturo Siles Sequeira were involved in the dispute in the area around Playa Pelada, according to the Ministerio de Gobernación, Policía y Seguridad Pública.

The incident was the result of a dispute over property. According to a resident, Siles was living on property sold to a client by Rodengen, who asked the man to leave.

The ministry said Rodengen shot Siles and that he had been detained. Rodengen is believed to have suffered a blow to the head.

An employee at Century 21, Monday said Rodengen had been taken to a hospital in Nicoya after the altercation.  There he received more than 50 stitches to wounds in his head, said the employee. Rodengen suffered a severe concussion, said the employee, who added that Rodengen actually had not been arrested.

Rodengen could not be reached for comment Monday. He was said to be recovering in an undisclosed location in San José.

Real estate

Siles was also taken to the hospital in Nicoya, said the ministry. There he underwent surgery for his wound and is now recovering, said a resident in Nosara.

Rodengen is well known in the area and many of the people contacted said he has been in Costa Rica for more than 20 years. The Century 21 employee said Rodengen has operated the real estate firm there for around two years.

According to the ministry, the Judicial Investigating Organization is conducting an investigation into the incident. An official contacted at the organization did not comment on what more is being done in the case.

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Archaeologist Corrales will lead Museo Nacional
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Well-known anthropologist and archaeologist Francisco Corrales is the new director of the Museo Nacional. That was announced Monday by Guido Sáenz, minister of Cultura, Juventud y Deportes.

Corrales fills a post that was vacated when Eduardo Faith resigned. Corrales has nearly 20 years working with the museum and is an expert in Pre-Columbian cultures.

Corrales fills the post on a temporary basis. Sáenz said the archaeologist was concerned that he did not have the administrative background to handle the job, but the minister called this excessive humility and said he hoped that Corrales would accept the job as a permanent post.

Corrales received his doctorate in anthropology from the University of Kansas in 2000. He completed his earlier degrees at the University of Costa Rica.

In April the museum published "Los primeros costarricenses" written by Corrales.  "We study the pre-Columbian past to understand our present identity," said Corrales in a release at the time.

Corrales said he dismisses the use of the word "prehistory" in the discussion of early inhabitants. He said that term is pejorative, Eurocentric and dismissive of the many sources, including oral history, that are available to investigators. He said he prefers the term "ancient history" or "pre-Columbian." 

Corrales, in accepting the position, said that the Museo Nacional ought to have an important role in creating a Costa Rica that is multicultural and multiethnic., He also said he considered his selection a vote of confidence in museum staff.

At present, said Corrales, the staff of the museum is involved in introspective studies so that the museum will be capable of meeting modern challenges.

UN: Coca growth is 
down in Andes

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

NEW YORK CITY — The U.N.'s drug and crime office says cultivation of coca dropped in the Andean region for the first time in more than a decade.

The agency's executive director, Antonio Maria Costa, described the decrease Monday as a "major achievement" in the fight against drug trafficking and related crime.

He said cultivation in the Andean region fell to 173,000 hectares, and predicted the drop will take more than 100 tons of cocaine from the world's drug market. Costa said the world's production of coca has "persistently" been about 200,000 hectares.

In a report released Monday, the agency says coca cultivation in Colombia dropped 30 percent last year to 102,000 hectares compared with almost 145,000 hectares in 2001. 

Mexico grabs local and 
U.S. drug target

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

MEXICO CITY, Mexico — Authorities have captured reputed drug lord Osiel Cardenas, one of the most wanted fugitives in the United States and Mexico. 

Cardenas was taken into custody Friday after a shootout with Mexican army troops near the U.S. border in the northern city of Matamoras. At least three soldiers were among several people wounded. 

The notorious Gulf Cartel leader was later flown to an undisclosed location to await arraignment. 

The Gulf cartel, named for the Gulf of Mexico, has long been considered the main vehicle for trafficking illegal drugs, such as cocaine from South America and marijuana from here to U.S. cities to the north. 

The United States is seeking Cardenas' extradition on charges of organized crime, drug smuggling, money laundering and assaulting federal agents. In December 2000,the Federal Bureau of Investigation offered a $2 million reward for information leading to his capture. 

Reports also say the alleged drug lord faces charges here for crimes against public health, organized crime and homicide. 

The Gulf cartel was the strongest of the Mexican organized-crime gangs operating along the southern U.S. border until 1996, when a Texas court handed then-leader, Juan Garcia Abrego, 11 life sentences for drug smuggling.

Tovar asks Venezuela
for refugee's safety

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Costa Rica has given a Venezuela political leader asylum and has asked Venezuela to guarantee his safe conduct out of the country.

Carlos Alfonso Ortega Carvajal, president of the Confederation of Venezuelan Workers, said he believed his life was in danger and sought refuge in the Costa Rican Embassy in Caracas.

Roberto Tovar, Costa Rican foreign minister, announced Monday that asylum had been granted. He said he asked Ricardo Lizano, the Costa Rican ambassador in Caracas, to communicate to the highest Venezuelan authorities the decision and seek safe conduct for getting Ortega out of Caracas to Costa Rica.

Ortega sought asylum at the embassy last Thursday. 

A warrant was issued for Ortega’s arrest in February and he has been in hiding since. The warrant was issued for his suspected involvement in organizing the almost two month long workers strike in Venezuela, which brought the country to a virtual standstill.

U.S. physicians help
in the Talamanca

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Eight physicians and two technicians from the U.S. Department of Defense are in Sepeque and Shiroles in the Talamanca helping residents there.

They are working for two weeks along with counterparts from the Ministerio de Salud Pública. The physicians expect to handle up to 500 patients each day. The area in southeastern Costa Rica is one on low incomes among a primarily Indian population.

Hot time on Avenida 10

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

An evening fire heavily damaged a block of stores on the south side of Avenida 10 Monday night about 9 p.m.

Among the businesses damages was The Eagle’s Nest bar, which is in a sprawling corner location. A hair salon and a car wash also suffered heavy damage from the flames.

Nightclub fight kills one in Jacó

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A Costa Rican man was killed over the weekend in a fight at a nightclub in Jacó, said the Judicial Investigating Organization.

The organization said Alexander Solano Delgado, 25, was the victim of the fight. An organization official said three Colombians have been arrested as part of an investigation into the man’s death.


Taxi drivers to go
to Casa Presidencial

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

If you can avoid Paso Colón this morning, you ought to do so. A large contingent of taxis will be parading from la Sabana up the street, then to Avenida 2 and all the way to Zapote and Casa Presidencial.

The taxi drivers are protesting the proliferation of unlicensed taxis and the high cost of fuel. this means few taxis will be working in the morning, and some drivers are referring to the action as a strike.

Representatives of the taxi drivers discussed their complaints at Casa Presidencial Monday, but the concessions granted were no enough to stem the demonstration today.

Officials agreed to speed up the issuance of taxi permits and addressed other technical grievances.
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Bush signals end of diplomatic resolve with Iraq
What follows is the transcript of a speech to
 the nation by George Bush, U.S. president,
 at the White House, Washington, D.C.,

My fellow citizens, events in Iraq have now reached the final days of decision. For more than a decade, the United States and other nations have pursued patient and honorable efforts to disarm the Iraqi regime without war. That regime pledged to reveal and destroy all its weapons of mass destruction as a condition for ending the Persian Gulf War in 1991.

Since then, the world has engaged in 12 years of diplomacy. We have passed more than a dozen resolutions in the United Nations Security Council. We have sent hundreds of weapons inspectors to oversee the disarmament of Iraq. Our good faith has not been returned.

The Iraqi regime has used diplomacy as a ploy to gain time and advantage. It has uniformly defied Security Council resolutions demanding full disarmament. Over the years, U.N. weapon inspectors have been threatened by Iraqi officials, electronically bugged, and systematically deceived. Peaceful efforts to disarm the Iraqi regime have failed again and again -- because we are not dealing with peaceful men.

Intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised. This regime has already used weapons of mass destruction against Iraq's neighbors and against Iraq's people.

The regime has a history of reckless aggression in the Middle East. It has a deep hatred of America and our friends. And it has aided, trained and harbored terrorists, including operatives of al Qaeda.

The danger is clear: using chemical, biological or, one day, nuclear weapons, obtained with the help of Iraq, the terrorists could fulfill their stated ambitions and kill thousands or hundreds of thousands of innocent people in our country, or any other.

The United States and other nations did nothing to deserve or invite this threat. But we will do everything to defeat it. Instead of drifting along toward tragedy, we will set a course toward safety. Before the day of horror can come, before it is too late to act, this danger will be removed.

The United States of America has the sovereign authority to use force in assuring its own national security. That duty falls to me, as Commander-in-Chief, by the oath I have sworn, by the oath I will keep.

Recognizing the threat to our country, the United States Congress voted overwhelmingly last year to support the use of force against Iraq. America tried to work with the United Nations to address this threat because we wanted to resolve the issue peacefully. We believe in the mission of the United Nations. One reason the U.N. was founded after the Second World War was to confront aggressive dictators, actively and early, before they can attack the innocent and destroy the peace.

In the case of Iraq, the Security Council did act, in the early 1990s. Under Resolutions 678 and 687 — both still in effect — the United States and our allies are authorized to use force in ridding Iraq of weapons of mass destruction. This is not a question of authority, it is a question of will.

Last September, I went to the U.N. General Assembly and urged the nations of the world to unite and bring an end to this danger. On November 8th, the Security Council unanimously passed Resolution 1441, finding Iraq in material breach of its obligations, and vowing serious consequences if Iraq did not fully and immediately disarm.

Today, no nation can possibly claim that Iraq has disarmed. And it will not disarm so long as Saddam Hussein holds power. For the last four-and-a-half months, the United States and our allies have worked within the Security Council to enforce that Council's long-standing demands. Yet, some permanent members of the Security Council have publicly announced they will veto any resolution that compels the disarmament of Iraq. These governments share our assessment of the danger, but not our resolve to meet it. Many nations, however, do have the resolve and fortitude to act against this threat to peace, and a broad coalition is now gathering to enforce the just demands of the world. The United Nations Security Council has not lived up to its responsibilities, so we will rise to ours.

In recent days, some governments in the Middle East have been doing their part. They have delivered public and private messages urging the dictator to leave Iraq, so that disarmament can proceed peacefully. He has thus far refused. All the decades of deceit and cruelty have now reached an end. Saddam Hussein and his sons must leave Iraq within 48 hours. Their refusal to do so will result in military conflict, commenced at a time of our choosing. For their own safety, all foreign nationals — including journalists and inspectors — should leave Iraq immediately.

Many Iraqis can hear me tonight in a translated radio broadcast, and I have a message for them. If we must begin a military campaign, it will be directed against the lawless men who rule your country and not against you. As our coalition takes away their power, we will deliver the food and 

medicine you need. We will tear down the apparatus of terror and we will help you to build a new Iraq that is prosperous and free. In a free Iraq, there will be no more wars of aggression against your neighbors, no more poison factories, no more executions of dissidents, no more torture chambers and rape rooms. The tyrant will soon be gone. The day of your liberation is near.

It is too late for Saddam Hussein to remain in power. It is not too late for the Iraqi military to act with honor and protect your country by permitting the peaceful entry of coalition forces to eliminate weapons of mass destruction. Our forces will give Iraqi military units clear instructions on actions they can take to avoid being attacked and destroyed. I urge every member of the Iraqi military and intelligence services, if war comes, do not fight for a dying regime that is not worth your own life.

And all Iraqi military and civilian personnel should listen carefully to this warning. In any conflict, your fate will depend on your action. Do not destroy oil wells, a source of wealth that belongs to the Iraqi people. Do not obey any command to use weapons of mass destruction against anyone, including the Iraqi people. War crimes will be prosecuted. War criminals will be punished. And it will be no defense to say, "I was just following orders."

Should Saddam Hussein choose confrontation, the American people can know that every measure has been taken to avoid war, and every measure will be taken to win it. Americans understand the costs of conflict because we have paid them in the past. War has no certainty, except the certainty of sacrifice.

Yet, the only way to reduce the harm and duration of war is to apply the full force and might of our military, and we are prepared to do so. If Saddam Hussein attempts to cling to power, he will remain a deadly foe until the end. In desperation, he and terrorists groups might try to conduct terrorist operations against the American people and our friends. These attacks are not inevitable. They are, however, possible. And this very fact underscores the reason we cannot live under the threat of blackmail. The terrorist threat to America and the world will be diminished the moment that Saddam Hussein is disarmed.

Our government is on heightened watch against these dangers. Just as we are preparing to ensure victory in Iraq, we are taking further actions to protect our homeland. In recent days, American authorities have expelled from the country certain individuals with ties to Iraqi intelligence services. Among other measures, I have directed additional security of our airports, and increased Coast Guard patrols of major seaports. The Department of Homeland Security is working closely with the nation's governors to increase armed security at critical facilities across America.

Should enemies strike our country, they would be attempting to shift our attention with panic and weaken our morale with fear. In this, they would fail. No act of theirs can alter the course or shake the resolve of this country. We are a peaceful people — yet we're not a fragile people, and we will not be intimidated by thugs and killers. If our enemies dare to strike us, they and all who have aided them, will face fearful consequences.

We are now acting because the risks of inaction would be far greater. In one year, or five years, the power of Iraq to inflict harm on all free nations would be multiplied many times over. With these capabilities, Saddam Hussein and his terrorist allies could choose the moment of deadly conflict when they are strongest. We choose to meet that threat now, where it arises, before it can appear suddenly in our skies and cities.

The cause of peace requires all free nations to recognize new and undeniable realities. In the 20th century, some chose to appease murderous dictators, whose threats were allowed to grow into genocide and global war. In this century, when evil men plot chemical, biological and nuclear terror, a policy of appeasement could bring destruction of a kind never before seen on this earth.

Terrorists and terror states do not reveal these threats with fair notice, in formal declarations — and responding to such enemies only after they have struck first is not self-defense, it is suicide. The security of the world requires disarming Saddam Hussein now.

As we enforce the just demands of the world, we will also honor the deepest commitments of our country. Unlike Saddam Hussein, we believe the Iraqi people are deserving and capable of human liberty. And when the dictator has departed, they can set an example to all the Middle East of a vital and peaceful and self-governing nation.

The United States, with other countries, will work to advance liberty and peace in that region. Our goal will not be achieved overnight, but it can come over time. The power and appeal of human liberty is felt in every life and every land. And the greatest power of freedom is to overcome hatred and violence, and turn the creative gifts of men and women to the pursuits of peace.

That is the future we choose. Free nations have a duty to defend our people by uniting against the violent. And tonight, as we have done before, America and our allies accept that responsibility.

Good night, and may God continue to bless America.

Our reward offer is still $500

Louis Milanes

Luis Enrique Villalobos Camacho
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 warrants.  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.

An invitation to enter our photo contest
The first A.M. Costa Rica photo contest welcomes your submissions and will award a prize of $100 in each of five categories.

The deadline for submission is April 15. The contest was announced in November.

Five categories have been established:

1. DEADLINE NEWS: A news photo that shows a breaking news event, such as, but not only, crime, accidents, fires, arrests.

2. SCENIC: Landscape scenes which may or may not include people as a secondary emphasis.

3. WILDLIFE: Photos that have as their principal subject one or more animals, plants or insects. 

4. SPORTS: A photo related to one of the major or minor sports, team or individual.

5. PEOPLE:  A photo that has as its principal emphasis one or more persons, including individual portraits. 

Deadline is April 15

BASIC RULES: The photo must be taken by the person who submits it, and he or she, as a condition of submission, agrees to give A.M. Costa Rica the right to publish the photo in A.M. Costa Rica. Upon publication, the photo will be covered by A.M. Costa Rica’s copyright, which the newspaper will happily assign back to the contestant upon request. As a condition of submission, the contestant affirms that he or she owns full rights to the photo and that it has never before been published in any professional medium.

The photo must have been taken within the borders or territorial waters of Costa Rica between Nov. 15 and the contest deadline. 

Only one entry per photographer is allowed in each category. Judges reserve the right to place the photo in another category during the selection process.
Employees, shareholders or interns with A.M. Costa Rica may not enter the contest. 

This is an open competition. No distinction will be made between professional and amateur photographers.

A.M. Costa Rica, at its option, will publish photos and information including the name of the photographer, as submissions are made.

The management of A.M. Costa Rica and judges are the final authority on contest rules and submissions.

TECHNICALITIES: The photos must be sent digitally via e-mail to 

editor@amcostarica.com, and the subject line must specify "photo contest." Within the body of the e-mail, the contestant must specify into which category the photo is submitted. The photo should be between 4 and 8 inches in width and contain no less than 72 pixels per inch of density. Each photo should not be larger than 200 k.

The e-mail message must clearly state the name and the circumstances surrounding the taking of the photo and the date the photo was taken. 

The photo should be in jpeg format and sent as an attachment with the file name as the number of the category in which it is being submitted followed by the name of the photographer.

For example, the file name of a photo in the sports category taken by Mr. Jones would be 4jones.jpeg or 4jones.jpg

PRIZES:  A first place winner will be named in each category, and the prize will be $100 paid via Pay Pal, the electronic fund-transfer system.

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