exchange rate
A.M. Costa Rica

Your daily English-language 
news source
Monday through Friday

These stories were published Tuesday, March 29, 2005, in Vol. 5, No. 61
Jo Stuart
About us
Despite rain, dry season still is here
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Just when Central Valley residents were getting used to the sunny days, the weather seems to have turned.

But the unexpected showers do not signal the end of Costa Rica's dry summer. The weather experts predict clearing by Wednesday, although much of the country will be shrouded in rain and dark clouds until then.

The Instituto Meteorológico Nacional logged some 12.5 mms. of rainfall from 7 a.m. Monday at its Barrio Aranjuez headquarters in northeast San José. That's nearly a half inch. The rain was welcomed by many residents who noted that the streets needed cleaning and that some plants were beginning to droop.

The weather institute blamed the rainfall on a low-pressure system in the Pacific which has disrupted the dry, warm spell that has endured for three weeks.

April actually is the month when the country makes the transition from the dry “summer” into the rainy “winter.” March is one of the four months with the lowest average rainfall, according to the weather institute. In the Central Valley from January through March rainfall is well under 25 mms., according to the institute. That is based on the 25 years from 1975 to 2000. December traditionally is a dry month, but this year the rains continued through Christmas.

About 2,000 mms. or 79 inches of rain fall in the Central Valley each year, and nearly all of that from April through November. Other parts of the country receive much more. At the same time, the hours of sunshine diminish from about 8 hours in the dry season to less than four hours a day from June through October.

The Caribbean coast has two relatively dry periods, according to the institute statistics. These occur in February and March and September and October.

Still, average rainfall in the Province of Limón is never less than about 150 mms. (about six inches) a month, and the annual average for the region is 3,525 mms. (139 inches).

The Pacific coast shares the dry season enjoyed by the Central Valley, but when the rains come the totals in the central and south average about twice that of the San José area. Even arid Guanacaste averages about 1,400 mms. of rain a year, some 55 inches.

The dry season is caused by winds from the northeast that keep the stormy weather at bay.

Even though the season of afternoon rains approaches, Costa Ricans can look to July and the arrival of the veranillo, the little summer, which may endure for a few days or several weeks and provides a respite from downpours.

our daily
our site
2004 photo contest
Send us
news story
Visit our
Visit our
Visit our
Display ad info




Great Sunrise Enterprises S.A.
and the largest offshore provider in Panama offers Panama Relocation Services. <>For my fellow expatriates living in Costa Rica or for those individuals living worldwide who wish to move to Panama, receive all the information that you will need by contacting:
Great Sunrise Enterprises S.A.
Tel./fax. (506) 228-7812





Quality souvenirs
at great savings

Free hotel pickup
welcome drink

Click here NOW
(506) 442-1028


Did you know?

- Prescriptions
 are not needed
on most products
in Costa Rica

- You can take
a 90-day supply
back to the USA

- You'll save
up to 80% compared to
U.S. drugstores

Farmacia Alvarez
(click here)


A.M. Costa Rica

Second news page

Costa Rica Expertise
Costa Rica Expertise Ltd E-mail Tel:506-256-8585 Fax:506-256-9393

Man who died for 100 colons
joins list of holiday victims

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Although some 35 persons died over the Samana Santa holiday, the case most people are talking about is the man who was killed for 100 colons. That's about 21 U.S. cents at the current rate of exchange.

The murder took place just after 10 p.m. In the center of San José not far from the large green post office building, Correos de Costa Rica.

The Fuerza Pública identified the suspect in the crime by the last names of Arguedas Garcia and said the man has had many run-ins with the law.

The dead man was identified as Gerardo Alfaro Alpizar. He was 27, according to the Judicial Investigating Organization. Agents said that Alfaro was approached for money by a panhandler. When he declined to give money, said to be 100 colons, the panhandler pulled a knife and stabbed him in the chest.

Alfaro died a short time later in Hospital San Juan de Dios. The suspect was detained near the crime scene, said the Judicial Investigating Organization.

The suspect, about 48, has been detained many times in the past for armed robbery and assault with a knife, said the Fuerza Pública. The man has served a year in prison after a conviction for robbery with violence, said the police statement.

Alfaro was one of at least 35 persons who died violently during the Semana Santa. However, the list is far from complete. The Judicial Investigating Organization said that 35 persons also died the previous year.

Nine persons died after being struck by motor vehicles.

Bootlegged wild things
confiscated at roadblock

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Agents of the environmental ministry and police confiscated a number of endangered species of animals and plants during a traffic stop in Boca de Arenal.

Officials warned prior to the Semana Santa holiday that vacationers should not try to bring wildlife back to their city homes. Officials also found wild game bound for the table, including some five kilos (12 pounds) of deer meat.

Officials confiscated birds, fish and prawns, the latter also probably bound for the table. In addition they confiscated more than 60 plants that had been uprooted in the wilds for transport to private homes or for sale. The action took place at a checkpoint roadblock erected for the holiday.

Forced media participation
in campaigns criticized

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Libertario Deputy Federico Malavassi says the worse aspect of a proposed reform of the election law is forced participation by the television and radio stations.

The measure, which still is being considered by the Asamblea Legislativa, says that each radio and television station has to provide free time to politicians during the election campaigns.

During the 20 days prior to the election for president each station would have to surrender 20 minutes of air time. The Tribunal Supremo de Elecciones would be in charge of distributing the free air time to the political parties.

Malavassi said that the proposal is a manipulation of the budgets of the media of communication which frequently depends on state money.

The section on free air time is a small part of the measure which is designed to rein in party spending. One proposal is to imprison for two to six years any political party official who takes campaign money from foreigners. The same penalty would be levied on foreigners who donate money.

The 2001-2002 campaign was marred by allegations that money was being pumped into two major parities from foreign sources.  However, even the Movimiento Libertario maintains a Web site in English and had sought campaign funds that way.

The ban against foreign donations not only includes individuals but also foreign companies.

Border volunteers face
gangs, organizer says

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Members of a violent Central American street gang have been sent to the southwestern U.S. state of Arizona to attack Minuteman Project volunteers, as they begin a month-long campaign to help patrol the southern U.S. border with Mexico.

James Gilchrist, a Minuteman organizer frustrated by the U.S. government's failure to control illegal immigration, tells the Washington Times newspaper that leaders of Mara Salvatrucha or MS-13 have sent gang members to confront his group in Arizona. More than 1,000 civilian volunteers are expected to converge on the city of Tombstone.

A.M. Costa Rica

1. News reporter trainee to learn news-gathering and editing the way it should be done.

2. Sales executive trainee to help our advertisers continue to improve their businesses.

Right to work in Costa Rica required. Brief resume and cover letter to:

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.


A friendly reminder from
the office of James Brohl C.P.A, M.B.A
U.S. Income Tax 
U.S. GAAP Accounting, 
Business Consulting

Providing U.S. Tax return preparation including back reporting and all other filing issues, accounting services and business consulting. 

Telephone 305-3149 or 256-8620


Williams Dental & Associates
Integral dentistry
Dr. John Williams
• General dentistry 
• Endodontics
• Oral rehabilitation
• Prosthodontics
• Periodontics 
• Dental prevention
• Maxillofacial surgery implants

Guachipelín, Escazú

U.S. prevention of infection and sterilization protocol

Legal services

Adolfo Rojas Breedy
Breedy Abogados S.A. 
Since 1957. Best experience in: 
• Real Estate Transfer of Title and Title Search
• Business       • Investments 
• Commercial & Civil Litigation
• Corporate Law & finance
• Capital markets Law
• International Taxation
(506) 233-7203/221-0230
Web page:

Bufete Hernández Mussio 
& Asociados
Lic. Arcelio Hernández Mussio
Tel. 218-0829                Cell 365-3088
• Family law    • real estate law
•  criminal & constitutional law
• due dilligence 
• title guarantee, 
• fraud protection
 • Constitution of condominiums
• Property Management
• Notary public services in general
Offices in San José and
Century 21, Jacó Beach
Authorized Representative
Stewart Title Attorney Referral System

      Lic. Gregory Kearney Lawson, 
Costa Rica/U.S.A. Attorneys at Law
Villalobos and Savings Unlimited Collections
*Investments  *Corporations
*Real Estate Sales in Costa Rica *Tax Shelters 
*Immigration *Intellectual Property
    *Business procedures *Family and Labor Law
    *Locate People *Private Investigations
       Ph/Fax: 221-9462, Cell: (506) 841-0007

Real estate agents and services

First Costa Rican Title & Trust
Protecting your interests since 1994
  Purchase contracts
  Escrow services
  Title Transfers
  Title Guarantees
  Trust Services
  Investment Services
Call us for your real property legal and investment needs at 225-0501 or send us an e-mail at

Title Guarantees issued by First American Title Insurance Co., one of the oldest and largest title companies in the world. The First American difference in protection is that the policies cover unrecorded matters and unknown risks.

formerly with  Carico and now with Great Estates
15 years Costa Rican 
real estate experience

Member of the Costa Rican Real Estate Association, Lic. #1000

Member of
Costa Rican-American
Chamber of Commerce
(506) 291-2825 & (506) 291-2826
fax (506) 296-6304   (506) 382-7399 cell
A.M. Costa Rica
Consultantes Río Colorado S.A.
James J. Brodell........................editor
Saray Ramírez Vindas...associate editor

Avenida 11 bis, Barrio Otoya, San José 

Voice: (506) 223-1327
FAX: (506) 223-1190

   In Costa Rica:                       From elsewhere:

     A.M. Costa Rica                     Consultantes Río Colo.
     Apartado 12909-1000            SB 11
     San José, Costa Rica               P.O. Box 025292 
     (506) 223-1327                     Miami, FL 33102-5292

Sale/Lease in Los Arcos: Five bedrooms
Rent reduced!
Los Arcos Subdivision, very upscale, extremely safe. Walk to Hotel Cariari, restaurants, mall, Fun & Water park, etc Large 5 bedrooms, 4 1/2 baths, maids quarters, open air BBQ room with large water fountain, 2 dens, office area, large living room, new paint, new bath and ceramic tile throughout, garage.  $1,000 monthly.Will lease w/option. Will furnish. 
Larry or (+506) 293-0891. 
From USA (704) 645-7078

Their new life in Costa Rica
A California couple takes on Tico culture, the language and alien bureaucracies.

This is their story told with wit and deep appreciation for one of the most beautiful countries.
If you love Costa Rica, you need this book!
Click here for more information
Click on the photos to get a discount on reserving rooms
at Cavs
6 p.m.

9:30 p.m.
A block behind the INS building in Barrio Amón

Airline group says I.R.S.targets air crews from Latin nations
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The U.S. Internal Revenue Service wants Latin air crew members to pay income taxes on the money they earn flying over the United States, according to an association of airlines. And this action is arbitrary and discriminatory, the group said.

The group is the Asociación Internacional de Transporte Aéreo Latinoamericano, and a  representative held a press conference Monday in Washington, D.C.

Alex de Gunen, executive director of the group, said that the U.S. Agency was leaving itself open for reprisals from Latin nations because U.S. air crews travel widely in the region and make more money.

“These rules are being applied arbitrarily and discriminatory in an incorrect intent to reduce the high deficit of the government of the United States, said de Gunen. He suggested the next step could be taking tax money from reporters who visit a country to cover an international event.

The association said that the Internal Revenue Service
has begun to contact airlines from seven Latin nations, including Costa Rica. The other countries are Brazil, Chile, El Salvador, Guatemala, Perú and Panamá.

The I.R.S. has given no reason for the action, particularly when it is being applied only to Latin airlines, said the association. Employees on cruise ships and other types of transportation have not been involved, it said.  The group also said that the I.R.S. has not explained why only Latin airlines and not those from the rest of the world are being contacted.

The organization said it represented airlines with more than 100,000 employees and that chaos would result from trying to determine when and for what time each employee passed through the air space of the United States.

Despite the organization's concerns, there are precedents for the action by the I.R.S. Several U.S. States which have their own local income tax have targeted professional athletes who come into the state to play against local teams. The states have tried to obtain a proportional amount of income tax from the visiting football and basketball players.

Hemispheric corruption experts drawing up a long-range plan
Special to A.M. Costa Rica

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Anti-corruption experts are meeting at the headquarters of the Organization of American States headquarters in Washington to discuss strategies to deny safe haven to corrupt officials and corrupting individuals.  Also on the agenda for the two-day meeting that opened Monday are such key topics as confiscation of ill-gotten gain and property as well as cooperation on extradition.

Alberto Borea is chairman of the organization's  Committee on Juridical and Political Affairs. He also is  Peru’s ambassador . He repeated the call for the hemisphere’s 800 million citizens to boldly denounce corruption and find ways to unite against this scourge. Borea urged the experts to be resolute in their efforts to prevent corruption from continuing with impunity. “Corruption with power is pernicious and produces inequality,” he argued.

Walter Hoflisch Cueto, head of Peru’s financial and strategic unit, is chairing the meeting. Citing his own country’s experience, Hoflisch Cueto noted that after 10 years of corruption, corrupt individuals are now even mounting their own defense using the proceeds of their ill-gotten gain.  

Representatives of the organization's Department of
Legal Affairs and Services, including Jorge García-Gonzalez, said the financial sector needs stronger preventive measures and more joint effort to prevent and combat money laundering.  He called for more collaboration with such international institutions as the United Nations, the Group of Eight, and the Commonwealth.
The experts speaking on assets confiscation include, Dimitri Vlassis, a UN crime prevention and criminal justice expert; Luis Vargas Valdivia, former special prosecutor of Peru; Stephen Baker, international expert in assets recovery; Bill Gilmore, dean of the University of Edinburgh’s Law School; and Veronica Wright, legal counsel with the Commonwealth Secretariat.

Those contributing to the discussion on denying safe haven and extradition of officials include Pierre-Gilles Bélanger, adviser to the Canadian Ministry of Justice, and Kathleen Hamann, anti-corruption and good governance expert.  Miguel Ángel Peñailillo represented Transparency International.

Before concluding their meeting, the experts will present specific recommendations, in keeping with the action plan that the parties to the Inter-American Convention against Corruption had approved in July 2004, in Managua, Nicaragua.

A.M. Costa Rica's
real estate classifieds
are the best deal going.

Color photos
Live links
Instant contact
Worldwide readership

Check it out HERE!

Want to know about birds?
This is the CLASSIC
for bird lovers
in Costa Rica.

Order it
via A.M. Costa Rica
in association with

See other popular Costa Rican titles HERE!

Secretary Rice promises to link rights with U.S. foreign policy
By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice vowed Monday to make respect for human rights a test of U.S. relations around the world. She spoke on release of a report on U.S. efforts to advance human rights and freedoms worldwide.

Ms. Rice's comments are a further sign of a new assertiveness on human rights, marked by President Bush's declaration in his inaugural address in January that ending tyranny in the world is a U.S. policy goal.

At a State Department event launching the human rights report, the secretary cited a dramatic shift in the international landscape over the past year, with elections in Afghanistan, the Palestinian territories and Iraq, and steps toward democracy in places like Georgia, Ukraine and Lebanon.

Ms. Rice rejected what she termed a cynical notion that some countries and societies are not ready for freedom, and she said respect for human rights will be the ultimate measure in U.S. relations with other countries.

"In all that lies ahead, our nation will continue to clarify for other nations the moral choice between oppression and freedom, and we will make it clear that, ultimately, success in our relations depends on the treatment of their own people. America's belief in human dignity and human rights will guide our policy," she said.

The report issued Monday is a Congressionally-mandated follow-up to the State Department's annual report on human rights worldwide, and documents what the United States is doing to help improve rights conditions in countries found lacking.

The nearly 300-page document covers U.S. efforts in 98 countries and entities, and reiterates many of the critiques contained in the better-known global rights report issued Feb. 28.

Among other things, it promises to maintain public and diplomatic pressure on China and Russia to

improve their human rights record, and says the United States will continue to address rights problems in autocratic U.S. allies, such as Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.

The State Department's acting assistant secretary for human rights, Michael Kozak, told reporters, U.S. engagement with governments, and where possible programs directly supporting civil society, are aimed at peaceful, as opposed to violent, change.

He downplayed suggestions the U.S. role has been a decisive factor in political upheaval in such places as Ukraine, Georgia, and most recently, Kyrgyzstan, saying, in every instance, the key has been home-grown pressure for change.

"It's not what we do, as much as what people inside do. At the end of the day, it's going to be people taking back their own countries. We can show support for that," he said. "We can give them help and the tools to be able to do that. But it's a question at the end of the day of their will, their commitment. And I think what we're seeing is that you find people like that in every country, in great numbers, usually ordinary people."

Mr. Kozak said there was no uniform approach to advancing human rights, and that, in some cases, incentives are better than sanctions, and, in others, intensive U.S. engagement with governments works best.

Amnesty International issued a statement generally applauding Bush administration efforts for human rights worldwide.

But the group said U.S. policies on democracy and human rights will be greeted with deep skepticism as long as, an Amnesty spokeswoman said, the administration continues to flout international law and blatantly disregard the Geneva conventions on the treatment of terrorism detainees.

She said the United States loses its moral voice on human rights each day it continues to hold, without charge or trial, hundreds of terror suspects at the Guantanamo Bay naval base in Cuba.

U.S. high court to weigh rule for consular access for suspects
By the A.M. Costa Rica wire serrvices

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Is a Mexican national convicted of murder in the United States entitled to a new hearing after being denied access to Mexican officials at the time of his arrest? That question was put before the U.S. Supreme Court Monday.

The Supreme Court heard arguments from attorneys representing the state of Texas, as well as an attorney for Jose Medellin, a Mexican gang member sentenced to death for murdering two adolescent girls in Houston in 1993.

At issue is the responsibility of authorities in the United States to inform foreign nationals of their right to meet with consular officials of their home country when they are arrested.  The 1963 Vienna Convention, which the United States ratified in 1969, stipulates that everyone is entitled to such consultations when detained in a foreign land.

Jose Medellin is one of 51 Mexican death-row inmates in the United States who were not informed of this right. In Mr. Medellin's case, he learned he was entitled to consult with Mexican officials only after a Texas court sentenced him to death.

Last year, the International Court of Justice in The Hague found that the United States violated the rights of the 51 inmates and ordered a review of their cases.

Arturo Dager, chief legal counsel to Mexico's foreign ministry, came to Washington to observe the Supreme Court proceedings and spoke with reporters afterward.

"What we would like to see and what we are actually expecting is a review and a reconsideration as the International Court of Justice directed," he said. "If the reviewing courts find that there was some prejudice because of the lack of notification, then they will have to decide whether to change the death penalty sentence."

The Bush administration has endorsed the International Court's ruling, and called for a review of the 51 death row cases.

During oral arguments before the Supreme Court, attorneys for the state of Texas argued that, because Jose Medellin raised no objections during his trial, he has no constitutional basis to contest his conviction or sentencing. A decision by the Supreme Court is expected by June.

Jo Stuart
About us
What we published this week: Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Earlier
The contents of this web site are copyrighted by Consultantes Río Colorado 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2005 and may not be reproduced anywhere without permission. Abstracts and fair use are permitted. Check HERE for more details