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Published Thursday, March 30, 2017, in Vol. 17, No. 64
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Electric transmission towers going up in Limón
Electrical tower
This is one of two electrical transmission line towers under construction in Santa Marta de Siquirres, Limón. The towers each will be 100 meters tall, some 328 feet, and part of the 112-kilometer Río Macho-Moín power line.
Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad photo


Illegal firearms give holders perceived protection
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The security ministry reported this week that its officers confiscated 340 firearms in the first four months of the year.

Not all the confiscations followed shootouts like the one Monday in San Rafael Abajo de Desamparados when a gunman fired on police.

Only 15 of the confiscated guns came from drug raids. Almost always when the Fuerza Pública and the Policía de Control de Drogas officers conduct raids, they find weapons. That makes sense. Drug dealers and producers are big crime targets and keep weapons around to protect themselves and their stash of cash.

Expats can draw some conclusions from the police report:

1. Plenty of people are carrying weapons illegally. If police officers found more than 300 weapons simply by stopping and frisking individuals on the street, the number of unregistered weapons must be much higher.

2. A high percentage of these weapons are carried for self-protection as are all sorts of knives.

3. The poor and youngsters make their own firearms. Police said the ministry statistics show that some of the confiscated weapons were made in Costa Rican workshops. Several major criminal gangs also use the services of specialists who can make guns that then become untraceable.

confiscated
                            pistol
Ministerio de Seguridad Pública photo
One of many confiscated illegal weapons.

The gangs also export these specialists to other countries for the same purpose.

4. The complex gun rules generally can cause people to carry illegal firearms instead of going through the lengthy process to obtain permission from the Ministerio de Seguridad Pública. Frequently private guards are found with illegal weapons.

5. Expats should remember the next time they shout out the window of their car to a driver who has cut them off that there is a good chance the offending motorist is packing a weapon.

Police said that they thought the man arrested in Desamparados was a hitman trying to commit a murder. They said the man fired 18 shots at another individual who is suspected to be a major drug dealer.

The presumed victim was injured but lived. He was hospitalized.

The gunman received a bullet in the leg from police and also received medical treatment.

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A.M. Costa Rica's  Second news page
San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, March 30, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 64
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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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I.R.S. Criminal Investigations, including non-filing of tax returns, tax evasion, filing false income tax returns, money laundering, currency reporting requirements, offshore banking reporting requirements, false statements, and false offer in compromise submissions.

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Puerto Viejo man called dealer for tourists

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Drug police allege that on Tuesday they detained the main drug dealer of Chiquita beach in Limón’s Puerto Viejo.

Police from the Control de Drogas allege that the 60-year old man was selling indiscriminately to foreign tourists. The man also apparently had a lot of guns in his possession. One of the more unique firearms was a revolver registered in the name of an association called the “Amigos de las Aves,” according to a preliminary report.

Police also said they seized a shotgun. The Ministerio de Seguridad Pública believes the man in custody sold cocaine and marijuana. The anti-drug unit seized around 90 baggies of cocaine and marijuana in addition to over $5,000 in colones and dollars that officials believe was earned through the sale of drugs.

The suspect has no prior criminal record but could face up to 20 years in prison if charged and found guilty, the ministry said.



Cooperative corruption case continues

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The six members of the Instituto Nacional de Formento Cooperativo arrested Tuesday had their Wednesday court session delayed for unclear reasons.

The Poder Judicial issued a statement that said the Fiscalía de Anticorrupción suspended the Wednesday afternoon hearing and moved it to today. A spokesman for the Poder Judicial did not say the hour in which the hearing was to be held.

These six persons are charged with embezzlement, influence against public finances, illicit enrichment and bribery, according to Poder Judicial. They are facing preventive detention before the trials begin. All six held high positions within the institution known as Infocoop, which judicial agents said was in charge of promoting and developing cooperatives at the national level.

One person arrested was the executive secretary of the Consejo Nacional de Cooperativas. Another was the board president for the institute and as leader of the nation's coffee cooperative and yet another was even the administrator of a periodical called La Voz Cooperativa.

Investigators said they believe that money for grants was given away to contacts close to the suspected leader of this group. This was allegedly done through manipulating appointments in Infocoop to grant large amounts of money to those contacts. In addition, minutes during meetings of the cooperative were allegedly falsified and elections of board members were allegedly manipulated as well, according to Poder Judicial.

The losses for Infocoop are believed to be in the range of at least 9 billion colons or around $16.1 million, based on estimates from the judiciary.

Some of the evidence seized in Wednesday’s raids included: portfolio reports, audits, financial statements, credit analyses, appraisals and Board of Directors minutes. Over 160 agents from the Judicial Investigating Organization participated in the raids that occurred throughout the Central Valley and San José. The Poder Judicial said that 17 people have now been charged so far, but the prosecution is requesting the aforementioned six to receive preventive detention.


Under-educated can get driving lessons

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The road education directorate is opening up classes for those persons who did not have an education past the sixth grade.

In an announcement Wednesday, the Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Transportes, which oversees driver education courses in Costa Rica, said that May is the month for people to learn the rules of the road. The sites will be at the headquarters of the Dirección General de Educación Vial in San José as well as the sites in Heredia, Alajuela and San Ramón.

The ministry said that the registration will start next Monday and run until April 28. The month-long course costs only 5,000 colons and applicants must attend two classes each week before taking the theoretical test, according to officials. The test will not be an additional charge.

The effort is for those persons who did not complete their education to still be able to obtain a driver’s license in a manner that caters to the additional assistance those persons may need, a statement from the ministry said.

The requirements for enrolling are to present on the first day of classes a certified document from the regional education department certifying that the applicant did not complete the second cycle of their primary education.

There is even an allowance towards foreign nationals as well. With foreigners, a certificate from the education ministry of the country of origin must be notarized by the consulate of the applicant’s embassy indicating an incompletion in one’s studies.

Officials emphasized that playing hooky won’t be allowed either. Attendance upon registration is mandatory pending any health emergency or death in the family, according to the ministry.



Our reader's opinion

Some math on teams and the World Cup


Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

Your article Wednesday had one small error. It made it look like CONCACAF would get an extraordinary percentage of teams into the World Cup, Russia, 2018.  You wrote: "This region with six teams will send at least three teams to Russia. A fourth spot is based on the results of a playoff with a team elsewhere."

I just wanted to remind us that: This region CONCACAF actually began with 35 countries, not six.

Round 1) Qualifying started in March 2015 with 14 games, when seven teams were eliminated.
Round 2) Then in June 2015, 20 more games, with 10 more countries eliminated.
Round 3) September 2015, with 12 more games, six more countries eliminated.
Round 4) November 2015/March 2016 and September 2016 another 36 games, and eliminated 6 more countries.

So now, 29 members of CONCACAF have been eliminated with 82 games having been played throughout North & Central America, and the Caribbean Islands.

It's a very long process, and Costa Rica is pleased to still be a part of the Final Round. In this round, six teams known as 'The Hexagonal,’ play a total of 30 games and then we get to, "This region...will send at least three teams to Russia." And maybe four!

Go Sele, Pura Vida.
Robert Roman  
Ciudad Colón  
  

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Costa Rica

Third News Page
U.S. Tax
San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, March 30, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 64
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Reflections regarding realities are the current themes for these artists
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Reflections in realities as embraced through multi-dimensional art mediums are the themes behind the two new exhibitions to be presented at the Costa Rican Museo de Arte y Diseño Contemporáneo today.

“Partidas y Partituras” by Honduran artist Pável Aguilar is a reflection on the immigrants returning to Honduras after a failed attempt to reach the United States on La Bestia.

According to the Ministerio de Cultura y Juventud, La Bestia was the network of freight trains in México taking migrants towards the U.S. despite the result of the journey often ending in tragedy.

According to Adriana Collado, the curator for the exhibits, the work is presented in three acts with the first one being what she calls “the musicalization of silent dramas.” The second part composes visuals of missing body parts and the memory of the forgotten, Ms. Collado said.

“Finally, the cyclical history. We listen to the Texas Philharmonic Orchestra tuning before a concert: the pathetic symphony is to begin because certainly today, there are thousands of immigrants who have just started their departure toward exile,” she said.

Naturaleza
                    Oculta
Ministerio de Cultura y Juventud photo
Guillermo Tovar explores the hidden corners of nature.

The other exhibit showcasing the work of Costa Rican artist Guillermo Tovar combines nature with symbolism. Observing reality with the eyes of the mind is the goal for Tovar with a look into exploring other mediums of art such as digital animation, tattooing and painting.

“Truth that can only be revealed to those who learn to look beyond appearances and to observe reality with other eyes,” Ms. Collado explained in describing the exhibit.

The museum’s opening for the exhibit will be tonight at 7 p.m.

Admission is free to attend the ceremony, according to the cultural ministry. The normal entrance fee for foreigners is $3, while permanent residents and Costa Rican citizens get in for 1,000 colons. The museum is open from Tuesday until Saturday.

Costa Rica's food security is potentially at risk, according to experts
By Rommel Téllez
of the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Exporting the best and most nutritious food while consuming the imported and cheaper products could jeopardize public health, social development and the country's ability to nourish itself.

In other words, it may put at risk Costa Rica’s food security, according to Alex Pacheco, professor of Natural Resources at the Escuela de Agricultura de la Región del Trópico Húmedo, located in Limón.

Food security is a term first coined in 1974 by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

It describes a country's ability to provide nutritious food to its residents at any given time, even in crisis.

Pacheco explains that even though food scarcity is an unlikely scenario in the country, there might exist a lack of nutritious quality on what Costa Ricans eat, due to the fact that the best crops are reserved for international markets.

“A lot of people rely on imported food because it might be cheaper. However, low prices are low because of trade agreements, subsidies, pesticides or genetic manipulation.

That's the reason food grown miles away from here may have competitive prices,” he said.

The professor argues that having access to food that is not healthy and nutritious is not really the concept of food security. He also explains that a country whose residents eat what comes from afar, loses its capacity to face unexpected changes in the world and in the market.

“We have extensive crops of pineapple, coffee, bananas, etcetera. Nevertheless, if for whatever reason we lose access to the food we import right now, we are not prepared and our diets are not based on pineapple, coffee and bananas. Exporting provides great socio-economic advantages, but we must make sure that self-sustainable agriculture and agro-ecology is taking place,” he said.

Pacheco explained that, at the global level, the trend is to encourage local and small farmers to produce food that will be locally consumed as well.

This becomes even more important in small villages located in remote places, so that residents don't depend on big cities to provide their food.

“There is no such thing as food scarcity. There is enough food for everyone, The reason many people don't have access to it is just because of the inefficient distribution channels, which makes products more expensive and harder to get,” he adds.

To make sure that Costa Rica doesn't fall short on it's own capacity to provide aliments to its citizens, the agricultural affairs office of the legislative assembly is currently discussing a bill that seeks exactly that: to encourage internal consumption of locally produced food.

The bill 20.076 was introduced Aug. 23, and right now has the support of 30 lawmakers from several parties, according to Javier Cambronero, legislator of Partido Acción Ciudadana.

“The proposed law will make agriculture-oriented public institutions work together to empower small producers and give them the tools to sell at competitive prices. If approved, this law will require the state to buy national production for all the hospital networks, jails and school cafeterias,” he said.

According to the latest report of Estado de la Nación, a social research and analysis program, from 1998 to 2011, the country imported 73 percent of the beans and 34 percent of the rice, the two main ingredients of a typical Costa Rican diet.

In addition, a 2015 report of the food and agriculture organization shows that Central America increased its dependency of imported cereals, with Costa Rica at the top of the list.

Between 2007 and 2012 the import of basic cereals in the country came from United States, El Salvador, Colombia, Nicaragua and China. In the same period, 97 percent of all rice came from the United States.


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A.M. Costa Rica's Fourth News page

San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, March 30, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 64
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Xenophobia and illegal immigration are challenges for Costa Rica
By Caitlin Fouratt, professor of International Studies
at California State University in Long Beach

Costa Rica is often thought of as the “Switzerland of the Americas.”

With a stable democracy and no standing army, the small Central American country of 4.8 million is often referred to as the exception to the conflict, violence and poverty faced in other Latin American countries. In particular, Costa Ricans pride themselves on their strong health care and education systems.

But Costa Ricans have increasingly faced social and economic challenges that threaten their exceptional status. In response, many Costa Ricans have projected their anxieties onto immigrants.

In 2005, a Costa Rican congressman named Ricardo Toledo gave a passionate speech criticizing immigrants who “come to kill our women; many of them come to rob our banks; to rob our sons and daughters in the streets.”

He called on Costa Rica to close its borders to Nicaraguan immigrants. In response to this kind of anti-immigrant attitude, the national assembly passed a law that restricted residency, increased enforcement and limited immigrants’ opportunities for integration.

That same year, a 25-year-old Nicaraguan immigrant named Natividad Canda was mauled to death by two Rottweilers. According to some reports, several onlookers who witnessed the attack did nothing to help him. Many Costa Ricans praised the dogs and condemned the victim as an alleged criminal and illegal immigrant.

Approximately 1,000 mostly Nicaraguan families were being evicted from land they have been squatting on since 2005.

While Costa Rica has since stepped back from the worst of its explicitly xenophobic legislation, the discriminatory spirit that led to that law being passed still continues today.

In my research with Nicaraguan immigrants in San José, Costa Rica, I find that Nicaraguans continue to face widespread discrimination and major barriers to legal status and access to social services.

Attitudes and behaviors that reject, vilify and exclude immigrants often solidify national identity when that identity is in crisis.

In Costa Rica, Nicaraguans make up 75 percent of immigrants and represent around 7 percent of the total population. They often work in agriculture, construction and service sectors.

Nicaraguan migration to Costa Rica is not new, but attitudes toward Nicaraguans have become more prejudiced since the mid-20th century. Where Nicaraguans are seen as inherently violent, Costa Ricans see themselves as peace-loving.

Where Nicaraguans are seen as poor, illiterate and uncultured, Costa Ricans see themselves as middle-class and educated. Where Nicaraguans are mestizo and dark-skinned, Costa Ricans are “white.”

The sense of difference and superiority felt by many Costa Ricans has been reinforced by stereotypes of Nicaraguans developed over decades of migration.

Nicaraguan migration to Costa Rica goes all the way back to colonial and 19th-century regional economic developments.

Nicaraguan workers were instrumental to the rise of the Costa

Caitlin Fouratt
Caitlin Fouratt
Rican coffee industry, the construction of its railroad and the establishment of the multinational banana industry.

Later, during the Sandinista Revolution and Contra war in the 1980s, Nicaraguans fled to Costa Rica for both political and economic reasons.


After the fall of the Sandinistas in 1990, economic migration to Costa
Rica
increased dramatically. In 1998, Hurricane Mitch devastated Nicaragua, leaving millions homeless and destroying infrastructure and the harvest.

As Nicaraguan migration increased in the 90s, Costa Rica’s exceptional welfare system was weakened by cuts in public funding. Crowded classrooms and long waits for health services were compounded by perceptions of rising crime and economic downturns. As Costa Ricans began to feel their privileges as citizens decline, they projected their anxieties onto Nicaraguan immigrants.

Nicaraguan migration began to represent a demographic, cultural and racial threat to Costa Rican exceptionalism.

Legal restrictions and widespread attitudes of rejection continue. Nicaraguans still face discrimination and barriers to services and legal status.

For example, my colleague Koen Voorend and I have found that Nicaraguan immigrants report being sent extra paperwork or conflicting directions to access health care or enroll children in school. Young people report hiding their Nicaraguan origins from classmates because of fear of being teased or bullied.

In health clinics, Nicaraguans say they are often treated as ignorant or stupid by doctors and nurses. Clinic staff ask for extra documentation or refuse them care.

They also face discrimination, if not outright violence, on the streets. Nicaraguan immigrants often avoid speaking in public to avoid revealing their accent. They worry about being harassed on the bus. They stick close to home or work to avoid attracting the attention of immigration authorities.

Meanwhile, civil society organizations, academics and activists are working to create change. For example, “What Unites Us” is a campaign against xenophobia in Latin America and the Caribbean led by RET International, an organization that works to protect vulnerable young people through education.

The campaign is enlisting young people to discuss what brings immigrants and citizens together. In emphasizing what unites foreigners and nationals, the campaign breaks down the dividing line between deserving and undeserving, citizens and immigrants.

However, seeing what unites citizens and immigrants will not eliminate xenophobia. Citizens still feel that their way of life is under threat. When prized institutions fail to address people’s real social and economic problems, blaming immigrants serves as a useful distraction and one that may gain traction in the U.S. too.

Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared on The Conversation, an independent media organization.


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Put Costa Rica on your walls
The Hidden Garden Art Gallery near the Liberia airport is the perfect place to find quality Costa Rican and international art for your home or office.  With over 60 artists and 15 rooms full of paintings, prints, sculptures, and diverse artistic expressions, we have been your source for fine art since 2010.  We also offer commissioned pieces so you can create your own unique masterpiece to cherish forever. Located just 5 kms west of the Daniel Oduber International Airport (towards the beaches).

Visit our Web site at:  www.HiddenGardenArt.com
Contact us by email: info@HiddenGardenArt.com  
Find us on Trip Advisor, Facebook, Twitter,
Moon Travel Guides & Frommer's

Gallery hours: Tuesdays-Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Tel.  8386-6872 / 2667-0592; U.S. telephone 702-953-7073
International shipping available.
9140-5/1/17

George Lundquist header

The Relocation/Retirement tour with the
 *HIGHEST SUCCESS RATE
OF RELOCATION*

 (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!
HERE!

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. lundquistgeorge@gmail.com

George Lundquist

experience Costa Rica
Costa Rica Travel In Paradise Group Tours

Looking for easy booking process for a smooth Costa Rica trip?   We customize wonderful trips to Costa Rica.  We offer you our wealth of knowledge for a great experience . . . a trip of a lifetime!!!

* FAMILY VACATIONS. Our travels take into account the different ages of your family enjoy the most from your Family vacations. Click HERE!

* GROUP TOURS. Whether for a church group, couple of friends, Scout troop or a family group. We provide excellent quality service in your Group Tours. Click HERE!

* EDUCATIONAL TOURS. Tours for universities to schools to elementary schools. We have professionals to help you discover the secrets of Costa Rica in a fun way. Costa Rica Educational Tours. Click HERE!

* GUIDED TOURS. General holiday planning giving you the best value for your investment Costa Rica vacation Packages. Click HERE!

Contact us: 
Dial toll FREE from USA or Canada:  1.800.901.0114
CR local phone:  +506-2274-3231
Cells:  +506-8380-5919  and +506-8302-5877
Email:  info@travelinparadisecr.com
Web:  www.travelinparadisecr.com
8995-4/17/17

Here's reasonable medical care
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



Need a book about Costa Rica?


Check out our special selections available at Amazon
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HERE!

A.M. Costa Rica
Real estate rentals
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Real estate wanted

Real estate-related services (paid category)

COSTA RICA SOLAR
solar one

solar two
NOW with the New Power Company Regulations, we're installing photo voltaic systems for solar electricity.
PV systems: we use Enphase micro-inverters. More flexible. Add panels whenever you like. More reliable than any other system and fully guaranteed!

Solar device
NOW is the time to install our new super-efficient solar hot water! New model for condos
Solar collector
BUY NOW! Your solar hot water system, so in three months, we can calculate a lower install price for your PV system.  Perfect for homes and hotels. Save up to 40% of your electric bill.
More Watts per Panel, Smarter and more Capable Enphase Micro Inverters mean Less Cost and more Flexibility for You.

    We aren't Cheap...Neither are our Products. Call to Compare.
    More Flexible, Reliable-and Fully Guaranteed!

    Push this BIG RED BUTTON:  (O) and Learn ​details about your deal with ICE     
    SEE our new PACKAGE DEALS.
Solar logo
CALL TODAY!
Office: 506-2446-0543
Andre 506-8314-8090
Paul 506-8898-9398
OUR EMAIL:
 andrefurlong@gmail.com
Paul.Furlong@CR-Solar.com
VISIT OUR WEB:
www.crsolar.net 
9118-6/26/17

Real estate rentals (paid category)

rental
                                                  home
Beautiful Home for Rent
San Isidro Del General, Perez Zeledon. The beautiful southern zone. By week or month.  Only 10 minutes to town. Fabulous, artistic, one Bedroom, elegantly furnished home, overlooking river,  and near to attractions at the beach or mountain. Comes completely furnished with custom queen bed, orthopaedic mattress, all linens, large kitchen, all pans, dishes, silverware, blender new refrigerator, stove with oven, washing machine, glove leather couches, breakfast nook, patio with hammock.  Has also large bodega, with extra full sized bed, can sleep 4. Comes with satellite TV & WIFI. Located next to small river, with access to river pools, and over 60 varieties of rare, tropical birds. Only 45 minutes to beach, Playa Dominical and 40 minutes to National Park Chirripo. Perfect weather. Not hot like the beach. No car needed, bus take 15 minutes to town, costs 30 cents. Gated private and secure, near bus, mini markets. This is a complete home, artistic, beautiful surroundings, with convenience and privacy, yet near to it all. Nice folks.  For more photos and information: james43michael@gmail.com  Costa Rica phone: (506) 2771-4339
9178-4/7/17

Poas chalet
What a chalet!
We offer for rent a boutique quality 2-bedroom (BR)/1-bath mountain chalet, and a 2-BR/2-bath mountain home located on the slopes of the Barva Volcano, Heredia Province. The homes are situated at 7,300 feet altitude within the limits of a small horse ranch.  Located just three kilometers from the Braulio Carrillo National Park entrance, our homes sit on the strategic high ground of Costa Rica’s Central Valley, and are contiguous with the park’s 47,000 hectares of primary cloud rainforest. The chalet and mountain home include a spacious living room, kitchen, fireplace, and covered parking.  All utilities and wifi internet included. Please contact Allan or Cristina at barvavolcano@gmail.com for photos, pricing and contract details.
9163-3/10/17


Tropical Homes
                                                  logo
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 www.tropicalhomesofcostarica.com or contact us at rentals@tropicalhomesofcostarica.com or call at (506) 2654-5442
9055-2/23/17

Spectacular rentals are available for low weekly prices on SellMyTimeshareNow.com at resorts such as Bahia Turquesa Residences and Villas Sol Playa Hermosa in Guanacaste. We have 
Timeshare
1- to 3-bedroom ocean and garden view timeshares available and most offer air conditioning, cable TV, fully equipped kitchens, and relaxing hammocks on private balconies. Enjoy the unique combination of seclusion and convenience as all resorts listed on our site are close to popular Costa Rican attractions and downtown 
centers, but are surrounded in lush, tropical forest. Villas are also available for sale in our inventory, so you can enjoy yearly vacations to this mesmerizing rainforest paradise. Please visit our rental inventory HERE!  or call us toll free at 877-815-4227, International: 603-516-0200.  Email: info@sellmytimesharenow.com
9049-7/31/17





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A.M. Costa Rica's
  
Fifth news page
Salsa Lizano
San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, March 30, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 64
Calendar
Opinion
Classifieds
Real Estate
Lifestyle
Food
About us
 
U.S. Congress holds hearing
for better Méxican relations

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Imagine "a Hugo Chavez-type leader" in México, Sen. Marco Rubio, a Republican from Florida, posited during a hearing of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, which he chairs. Invoking the former populist leader of Venezuela was his way of suggesting what might happen if the U.S. fails to keep a good relationship with its neighbor, México.

México will hold a presidential election in 16 months. Rubio's worry, and that of both Democrats and Republicans on his committee, is that worsening relations between the U.S. and México could push voters into supporting a populist candidate.

Testifying at Wednesday's hearing entitled "The U.S.-Mexico Relationship: Advancing Security and Prosperity on Both Sides of the Border," former Democratic New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson said the relationship between the two countries is now in tatters.

Richardson cited reasons for this: the proposed border wall, the Trump administration's declared intent to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement and the prospect of stepped up deportations of undocumented Mexicans living in the U.S.

México is the third-largest trading partner of the United States, and that while there is a $60 billion trade deficit in México's favor, many of the goods that México sells to the U.S. have American content.

And if NAFTA were to be nullified, México might not fare so badly. While the U.S. has free trade agreements with 20 countries, México has free trade agreements with 45.

Richardson said there are good reasons to renegotiate NAFTA. The agreement, which was signed in 1994, could stand to be updated. There was no digital trade then and Richardson said some energy issues need to be brought up to date, as well as worker protections.

But he strongly urged that the clock on a 90-day consultation period be started sooner rather than later to minimize the negative effects of leaving the agreement in limbo with Mexican elections approaching and the U.S. losing leverage.

The consultation period would be a prelude to renegotiating the agreement.

In addition to its role in allocating money, Richardson said Congress can be an advocate. He suggested lawmakers use their influence to persuade Trump to invite Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto to the U.S. for a symbolically important visit.

And he suggested that the State Department or Department of Commerce take the lead on renegotiating NAFTA.

"Keep it out of the White House," he said, expressing concern about back-channel discussions between Mexico's foreign minister and Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner.

At the hearing's end, Menendez expressed hope that friends in México get a sense that there is a bipartisan different view toward the challenges that confront the two countries in their relationship.

12 killed, 3 injured in crash
involving church van in Texas


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

At least 12 people were killed and three injured when a pickup and a church van collided head-on in southwestern Texas.

The crash happened Wednesday afternoon about 75 miles west of San Antonio, police said.

Police said the van was carrying 14 senior members of the First Baptist Church of New Braunfels, and there was one person, the driver, in the truck.

In a statement posted on the church website, church officials said the members were returning from a three-day retreat at the Alto Frio Baptist Encampment in Leakey, about nine miles north of the crash site.

Officials did not immediately say whether the lone occupant of the pickup was among the dead or how many of the dead were among the 14 people aboard the church van.

Petition seeks U.S. First Lady
to pay cost of her protection


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

More than 200,000 people have signed an online petition calling for U.S. First Lady Melania Trump to leave New York City and move into the White House or pay the cost of protecting her in the Trump Tower.

The Change.org petition was started after a senior White House aide indicated the president’s wife and son, Barron, will remain in New York until the school year ends.

"The U.S. taxpayer is paying an exorbitant amount of money to protect the First Lady in Trump Tower, located in New York City," the petition says. "As to help relieve the national debt, this expense yields no positive results for the nation and should be cut from being funded."

The New York Police Department estimated it costs between $127,000 and $146,000 per day to protect Melania Trump and her son.

Comments beneath the Change.org petition highlighted the signers’ dissatisfaction over the first family’s use of taxpayer funds.

“Living in the White House is what you do when you are married to the president,” one commenter identified as Sheila Forsyth of Newport, Rhode Island, wrote. “The tax money saved by eliminating these extra protection expenses can be used to feed senior citizens. Why is our tax money being spent on people who already have more than their fair share?”

Local authorities in Florida have voiced similar frustration at the costs of protecting the president during his frequent visits to his Florida Mar-a-Lago resort and golf club.


Trump launches commission
to address U.S. opioid crisis


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

President Donald Trump hosted a listening session Wednesday at the White House with administration officials, the first step in his pledge to try and stem America’s worsening opioid addiction crisis.

Trump called the increasing number of Americans addicted to opioids a total epidemic, and he vowed to stop the spread of drugs across the nation.

The listening session included people who have had family members die of drug overdoses, recovering addicts, drug recovery specialists and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, whom Trump selected to lead the commission.

Trump introduced Christie as a very effective guy and said the governor would be well-suited to head up the task force. Christie focused heavily on opioid abuse during his failed 2016 presidential campaign and has spoken emotionally about it in the past.

The number of opioid-involved overdose deaths has quadrupled since 1999, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and it estimates that 91 people die each day from their opioid addictions.

Between 2014 and 2015, the CDC reported a 16.4 percent increase in drug overdoses in Christie’s home state. Christie responded to the spike by signing a bill that requires health insurance providers to cover treatment for substance abuse and limits the amount of opioid pills doctors can prescribe patients.

At a press conference last month, Christie said addiction is not a moral failing, but rather a disease than can be treated.

“The more that we talk about it as a disease, treat it as a disease, regulate it as a disease, the more people will finally get the idea that asking for help is not a sign of weakness, but it is in fact a sign of strength," he said.


Pakistan refuses to extradite
U.S. man for terror charges


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A U.S. citizen of Pakistani origin accused of planning a terrorist attack in New York on behalf of the Islamic State militant group remains in Pakistan after its high court temporarily barred his extradition this week.

The man, Talha Haroon, 19, remains held in a Pakistani jail awaiting more legal hearings. After the order Monday, the Pakistan court asked Wednesday for the Interior Ministry to provide more details about his case.

There are no public documents concerning the charges in Pakistan or the United States. Haroon was arrested in Pakistan in September after allegedly making contact with Islamic State backers and hatching a terror plot, his lawyer said.

Haroon, who is from Pakistan’s southwestern Quetta, the capital of Baluchistan province, reportedly left the U.S. two years ago to join his parents, who have been in Pakistan for the past few years.

The court ruling came in response to a petition filed by the suspect’s father, Haroon Rashid, who also is a U.S. citizen, and asked the High Court to overturn a lower court recommendation in January that Haroon be extradited to the U.S. under an extradition treaty between the two countries.

Haroon was arrested by Pakistani law enforcement agencies in September and put in Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi, near the country’s capital, Islamabad.

He was reportedly lured by Islamic State recruiters to carry out an armed operation in New York, hoping that he would evade surveillance because of his legal status in the U.S., his lawyer said.

His lawyer argues that Haroon would receive a fairer trial in Pakistan.

Pakistan has come under frequent criticism from U.S. lawmakers over its inability to curb homegrown militancy. The government is facing threats of increasing diplomatic isolation from some U.S. lawmakers over its failure to counter the threat the Pakistani militancy poses to its neighbors.

Pakistan accuses U.S. lawmakers of diplomatic theater, saying the harsh anti-Pakistani rhetoric belies its government's efforts to root out extremism. Pakistani officials deny that Islamic State has a foothold in the country.

Analysts say the Pakistani government had a two-month window to extradite Haroon before the High Court’s ruling.



U.S. tribes fighting against
high-price, low-quality food


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

South Dakota’s Crow Creek Indian Reservation is home to the descendants of the Dakota people, who thrived in Minnesota before they were forced onto the reservation in the 1860s. Crow Creek sits in the center of the state along the Missouri River, and its more than 1,000 square kilometers stretch across three of the poorest counties in the United States.

There’s only one grocery store on the reservation, said Lisa Hope-Heth, but she refuses to shop there.

“A lot of the prices are too high. Some of the meat is not always fresh. And the bread, you know how in some larger stores when bread doesn’t sell and it gets stale, they take it off the shelf? I sometimes think that we get that bread.”

She once worked as a meat cutter, so she knows old hamburger when she sees it. She also recognizes when meat that has been sitting on the shelf too long is reground with slightly fresher meat, then repackaged and put back on the shelf for sale.

When Ms. Hope-Heth needs groceries, she must either drive 40 kilometers south to the town of Chamberlain or 100 kilometers northwest to Pierre.

EBTs, she explains, are electronic benefits transfers. The U.S. government’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program provides food benefits to low-income individuals and families. These are transferred electronically and accessed via a plastic credit card.

On Crow Creek and elsewhere in Indian Country, EBTs are used like currency to pay for favors or services. And this means that beneficiaries often run out of food money before the month is up.

In 2014, in an effort to eliminate food insecurity among First Peoples, the First Nations Development Institute began a year-long study on food pricing. They recruited volunteers to monitor prices of basic food commodities such as milk, bread, ground beef and eggs on eight reservations across the country.

“What we found was that the price of food was higher, which is a funny thing, since reservation communities have much lower income and are much more likely to be in poverty,” said A-dae Romero-Briones, an associate director of research and policy for Native Agriculture at FNDI.

At the time of the study, for example, a gallon of milk was priced an average of $3.76 in urban centers across America, but one South Dakota grocery store, was charging a dollar more. Similarly, a store in New Mexico was charging Cochiti Pueblo people nearly $1.50 more than the national average price for a loaf of bread.

That may, in part, explain the dearth of fresh fruits and vegetables on Crow Creek.

The Crow Creek tribe, with help from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Indian Health Service, provides diabetic tribal members $10 vouchers every month to buy vegetables.

When Native Americans were driven from their homelands, they lost control of healthful and complex food systems that had sustained them for tens of thousands of years. The U.S. Army provided them with basic commodities -- refined wheat flour, salt, sugar and lard, ingredients that were alien to Native diets but went on to become fry bread, a salty, fried dough that is found on reservations across the country.

Today, at least one-third of Native Americans live on reservations and depend on government-issued commodities and inexpensive packaged food, high in fat, salt and chemicals, which has contributed to alarming rates of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

Alarmed, Crow Creek, like many tribal communities across the country, is now working to regain control of its food supply. Hunkpati last year launched a fresh food initiative on the reservation to get the community to grow its own produce and promote healthier eating.

Today, the tribe is able to harvest its own chokecherries and wild plums, staples of the traditional Dakota diet. Hunkpati has held classes to teach tribe members how to make traditional foods, like wochapi, a thick berry sauce served with game or fry bread, and wasna, a pounded mix of lean dried meat, chokecherries and grains. Portable and packed with protein and natural sugar, it was a mainstay of the original Dakota diet.

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Plantation Acres
PLANTATION ACRES
This exiting new project offers spectacular home sites with breathtaking ocean and forest views stated on 100 acres of tropical forest.

* On-site Welcome Center
* Located between Punta Leona and Playa Agujas
* At just an hour from San José, the capital city.
* 5 minutes from Los Sueños Marina and 18 Hole Ted Robinson Golf Course
* 10 minutes from Jacó Beach, Costa Rica’s lives beach town

Contact:
Johnny Lopez
Phone: (506) 8945-5820 / (506) 2643-3356
Email: johnny@c21jaco.com
9141-3/23/18
9141-3/23/189173-9/1/17

Puriscal home
GORGEOUS MOUNTAIN & OCEAN VIEW HOME
REDUCED $40K - $355,000
HEALTH CONDITIONS REQUIRES QUICK SALE
This is a gorgeous, new, 3-bedroom luxury home on 2.2 flat acres in a secure, gated community, high in the hills of Puriscal, with stunning, 180-degree views of the ocean, city and mountains of the Central Valley in Costa Rica. Centrally located in the heart of Costa Rica, you are never more than an hour from the Pacific beaches while being much less than that to the culture, shopping, services and night life of the San José, Escazú, Santa Ana and the whole Central Valley. The Altos de Antigua gated community sits at an altitude of 2,800 feet with mild temperatures year round. Features wide paved roads and cement culverts throughout, a large community pool & spa with changing rooms & showers. The community association fees are $42 a month ($500 annually).
This property is currently being offered for $355,000.00 U.S.
Purchase adjoining 2.2 acre investment lot with the home sale for $35,000.00 U.S. or separately for $55,000.00 U.S.
 
    Summary of House Features:

       * Completed 2012 to North American standards
       * 3 large bedrooms, 2 full baths
       * Custom designed kitchen w/granite countertops
       * Frigidaire Professional appliance package
       * State-of-the-art solar hot water
       * Eco-friendly Toshiba LED lighting
       * LG Multi-Split air conditioning system
       * House & perimeter security alarm system
       * 2-car closed garage w/large paved driveway
 
Video Tour: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AUEAmahIU9A
Community Web Site: http://www.altigua.com
Photos: HERE!
Costa Rica # 506-8985-6705 or from the States call # 561-740-0651 or email gary_one@msn.com
9173-9/1/17

colinasdelsol
COLINAS DEL SOL Fenced Gated Lots for Sale

* Colinas del Sol is a fenced and gated project  in a quiet area.
* There are 88 clear titled lots.
* Mountain areas with great views.
* Gently sloping level areas ideal for hobby farms, gardening, fruit trees.
* Quiet place to get away from the busy city and beach crowds.
* All lots have gravel roads to them, water and electricity at each.
* Lots are 5,000 sq. meters or larger, starting at only $40,000 USD
* Located in Libertad, Guanacaste, northwest Pacific area of Costa Rica.
* 20 minutes to the Liberia International Airport
* 15 minutes to the Pacific Beaches
* 10 minutes to Medical Facilities
* 25 minutes to the Liberia Hospital
* 5 minutes to Vista Ridge Golf Club

Contact:
In Costa Rica, Jeffrey Sandi Murray:  jsandimurray@colinasdelsolcr.com
In the USA and Canada contact Jim Day: jimday50@aol.com or call 517-484-3675

For more information Click Here: www.colinasdelsolcr.com
9056-2/28/17

Etlinger
                                    Farm rollover
Beautiful farm in excellent location
At only an hour's drive from San José, minutes from Guápiles, and boardering Braulio Carrillo National Park, Etlingera Farms is one heck of an amazing farm. We purchased this 77-acre farm 10 years ago after many trips, and an exhaustive search. It has a little bit of everything we were looking for and a whole lot of beauty. Our average elevation of 600 meters helps to keep Bella Vista cool year round. This farm is nearly level with a semi-modern 2-bedroom house. A fairly rustic 2-bedroom caretaker's home. And, a comfortable, 1-bedroom cabin where we stay. We have 2 large barns, a chicken coop, and a 3-stall pig pen. There are two tilapia ponds and 2 hectarias, (approximately 5 acres) of different species of bananas. The property boarders Rio Blanco in the rear and has 300 meters of public road frontage. Water, electricity, and telephone are all serviced by public utility. Etlingera Farms was reforested with several thousand wood trees of different tropical varieties. We truly believe this farm is spectacular. Our neighbors are selling for as much as $20 per meter. We are negotiable, motivated and open to offers. Our location can be found by searching Etlingera Farms on Google Maps. Our webpage is www.etlingerafarms.com and photo album can be found at www.ticorico.com
9196-4/25/17

horse
                                    ranch rollover
Spectacular Horse Ranch and Spiritual/Yoga
Retreat Center For Sale

We invite you to a horseback tour of 187 acres of pristine farm land with breathtaking vistas, including the islands of the Gulf of Nicoya. There are multiple springs and streams, wooded areas, hard-wood and fruit trees, rolling hills with a geat variety of birds and wildlife. This property boasts the privilege of being bordered by thousands of acres of forest preserve down a steep canyon, offering its own spectacular views, which will never be developed. The many hills provide a builder an endless array of possibilities for nestling buildings in where they will have both views and privacy. The elevation of the property at 1,200 to1600 feet above sea level ensures fresh breezes and ideal year-round temperatures with a day-time average in the low 80's for open-air living. There is a ranch-style house with guest house with 8 total bedrooms, 5 modern baths, huge eat-in kitchen, landmark palm-thatched giant rancho, stable, and storage buildings. The home will come partially furnished, including beds, ample dishware for large groups, housewares, linens, washer/dryer, and fine hard-wood hand-built cabinetry. The remaining horses, 4 to 6 of them, will also convey if one wishes. We are also including a LARGE BEACH LOT in nearby Playa Bejuco. San Rafael de Nandayure is a tiny rural village nestled into the mountainside above Carmona with all the charms of the simple good life of a BLUE ZONE. Carmona is a thriving town with a clinic, restaurfants, shopping, and everything else one may need. The price of our listing Rancho Ricco is $799,000. More information
go to www.ranchforsalecostarica.com  Call Darin Ricco, phone +619-846-8249 or email:  darin_ricco@hotmail.com
9183-6/13/17

Kkpit
                                    rollover

FURNISHED  APARTMENT for SALE.
CONDOMINIO SATURNO, LA URUCA, OUTSKIRTS
of SAN JOSÉ, COSTA RICA
Situated 3 miles west of the capital, 8 miles from the airport. Quiet, secluded area within walking distance to a commercial center including a hotel, 6 restaurants,  next to 2 bus line stops. Car ownership is not needed. January-March air temperatures are 72 to 80 degrees F.  Apartment 1,200 sq. ft (100 sq. meters), on ground floor, indoor  patio. Large windows without bars, parquet floors.  Spacious living room-dining area, 2 bedrooms, maid's room, 2 bathrooms, 4 closets  (including walk in), fully equipped kitchen (refrigerator, washing machine,small appliances, all necessary utensils, work tools). Close covered parking space in guarded area.  Many amenities, (pictures, indoor plants, sewing machine, books, keyboard, dishes, glassware,silverware). Annual cost of maintenance about $1,350 includes water, landscaping service, garbage disposal, 24-7 security and property taxes.
PRICE $120,000
 Available for viewing:   CONTACT:  USA :  (585) 969-3413 or (585) 266-7418 or in COSTA RICA : (506) 2231-0410.   email: boriskopit@yahoo.com
9143-4/17/17

rollover
Owner Financing in San Ramon
New Construction, and Ocean View 
Brand new home with 4-plus bedrooms and 3 baths all overlooking an incredible 180-degree view of the Pacific Ocean and mountains. Located only 45 minutes from the San Jose airport and about the same to the Pacific Ocean.  The lower level could be used as a separate apartment or mother-in-law setup. Home includes HUGE master  suite, CLOSETS, custom cabinets, granite counter tops, high wood ceilings, and all in an area that is 70-80 degrees year round. Priced at $199,000. Completion date is January.  See the Virtual Tour CLICK HERE or see our site here  www.whynotcostarica.com. If you would like to take a look at this amazing house, please give me a call at  Costa Rica # 506-8755-6743 or if from the States call # 509-570-1928 or email tim@whynotcostarica.com 
9143-2/3/17

Penthouse
                                    rollover
Costa Rica penthouse for sale
 5 -story penthouse for sale.  One of a kind penthouse on top of the Corobici Hotel in Sabana overlooking the Central Park and new Soccer Stadium in San José.  Excellent location provides you easy access to everywhere.  Other benefits include 24-hour security, 2 restaurants inside the hotel providing 1st class room service plus shared common areas in the hotel. Commercial license is in place. Seller will consider owner financing.  Asking $795K U.S.  Also available for monthly rent for $3,400 per month on an annual basis. Go to www.ThePenthouseCostaRica.com  Owners U.S. cell phone: 813 310-7402  Email crstratton@ymail.com
9132-6/1/17

Business for sale or lease (paid category)

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: manager@crbusiness.biz.

Real estate brokers and agents (paid category)

Remax
                                      Tamarindo
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San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, March 30, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 64
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Union complains about disabled quota

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The opening of 32 jobs exclusively intended for disabled people in Poder Judicial, has sparked complaints among unionized employees who claim those spaces are already taken.

According to Poder Judicial officials, they are just complying with the law 8862, which requires all public organizations to reserve 5 percent of their available jobs for people with disabilities.

However, Freddy Solórzano, a union leader from Asociación Nacional de Empleados Judiciales, said the authorities are unfairly letting go people who have occupied that position in the past, just because they didn't plan on time.

“It all comes down to the law and the reality. First of all the law says that the administration should reserve 5 percent of the jobs. To reserve is something you do before and not after. They should have complied with it before, since 2010. They didn't. It's not the workers fault.” he explained.

On the other hand, José Bermudez, director of human resources at Poder Judicial explained in a statement that the whole process has been transparent and cites several laws with which they are apparently complying. He also said the job openings were vacant.

A.M. Costa Rica tried to contact Bermúdez for further information, however the press office didn't allow it, saying all the information is in the statement.

“It is a lie. There were people working those jobs as temporary workers, expecting to get an indefinite contract one day. We have nothing against the initiative of providing handicapped people with opportunities but not at the expense of others,” the union leader says.

Some of the jobs include the position of administrative assistants, receptionist, janitors and a radio technician among others. The jobs are opened for applicants until Friday.

“We are just asking the administration to halt the process and have a conversation with us. We need more people working at Poder Judicial, we are not enough. We should have the 32 people who were already there plus 32 more.” Solórzano said.


$310,000 confiscated by drug police

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Wednesday, the Policía de Control de Drogas arrested a 29-year old truck driver who was transporting about $310,000 in cash wrapped in twelve plastic packs. The money was hidden under the driver's seat inside an air conditioning device.

The man also transported a cargo of steel wires, according to police. The truck is registered in Costa Rica. Coming from Nicaragua, the man tried to enter the country through the Peñas Blancas border, according to a preliminary report.

Aside from the money, the man also carried with him a revolver along with Nicaraguan, Salvadoran and Costa Rican currency, officials said.

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From Page 7:


Renovated road seen as boost to area's tourism

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

La Cruz and El Jobo, two small villages located in the northern part of the Guanacaste  province, have now a renovated road built to boost the economy in the area.

Ruta Nacional 935, that runs for 14 kilometers with two lanes, received a new layer of special asphalt known as TS3. New signs were also put in place.

The works will also benefit the communities of Tempatal, Puerto Soley and Cuajiniquil.

The improvements seek to make it easier for tourists to get to the beaches and help the local farmers who had trouble transporting their goods.

The works were financed thanks to an alliance between the Municipalidad de La Cruz, the Consejo Nacional de Vialidad and the investors of Hotel Dreams Las Mareas and the Costa Elena project.

“It is really satisfying to see the cooperation between the public and private sectors to benefit the communities and their access to basic services,” said Carlos Villalta, the minister of Public Works.

Carlos Hernández, director of the Costa Elena project, said the amount invested by the private parties reached $7.4 million and it makes part of their effort to increase the social and touristic development of the region. 

“One of things that makes us proud is that, according to Ministerio de Planificación in 2013, the access to clean water implied a 30 percent increase in the health development index for the people. The aqueduct is also a work we did and then donated to the state,” he said.