A.M. Costa Rica
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Published Thursday, April 7, 2016, in Vol. 17, No. 68
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The iconic headquarters of the Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad will be getting a major makeover, the state firm said.

The 44-year-old structure will be getting a coating on the exterior walls to prolong their life and seal cracks, and the seven elevators are being redone completely.

Next year the building’s entire electrical system will be redone, said the firm.

The building overlooks Parque la Sabana.

Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad photo
Construction in 1970 or 1971

Corporations owners become suspicious characters
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Many expats would be surprised to know that they are suspicious characters because they own offshore corporations.

From the viewpoint of the U.S. tax authorities all those Costa Rican corporations holding vehicles, homes and even A.M. Costa Rica are offshore. That is why U.S. expats here have to file the appropriate papers with the U.S. Internal Revenue Service each year.

The ownership of offshore corporations is in the news now because someone hacked the files of a Panamá law firm that specialized in setting up corporate entities there and in countries cash-hungry governments like to call tax paradises.

As is usually the case, Costa Rica authorities reacted with surprise and then determination to news stories. The chief prosecutor ordered the economics crime unit to study the Panamá Papers to see if there was any evidence of wrongdoing, according to the Poder Judicial. So far most of the disclosures involving Costa Ricans seemed to be business as usual.

And the stolen data probably could not be used in court anyway.

The decidedly anti-capitalistic weekly newspaper at the Universidad de Costa Rica, El Semanario, continues to gleefully publish more names and data provided by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.

The prime minister of Iceland resigned because of information about offshore accounts held by him and his wife, but the allegation was hypocrisy and not a crime.

At the legislature Wednesday the Comisión de Asuntos Hacendarios approved a substitute text to the executive branch’s tax fraud bill.

The new draft includes a requirement for corporations to report the names of their shareholders to the Banco Central.

The lists are supposed to be confidential, but so was the information in the Panam
á law firm of Mossack Fonseca. Approval by the full legislature is likely. The law will not affect foreign corporations.

Some companies now reveal the names of their shareholders. That is a condition of doing business with the government. But many private firms here and also in the United States

are under no obligation to provide tax authorities this type of list.

The Ministerio de Hacienda, which includes the Dirección General de Tributacion, also would prefer that all sales be made via credit card so inspectors can track every transaction.

Expats here own corporations to hold properties without opening themselves up to personal liability. They also have found that bank accounts and other business transactions are easier through a corporation. At one time that was the only way for an expat to get a bank account or even a cell telephone.

The downside is that corporations pay taxes on every colon earned but individual income is exempt up to about $1,500 a month.

Of course offshore companies also can be used to avoid income taxes in the homeland or launder money. But in many cases stashing money offshore is legal and the sums do not become taxable until they are brought into the home country, if then. Plenty of tourism operators here use a United States-based Pay Pal, and they may or may not report the transaction as Costa Rican income.

A wire service report noted that the hacked material released so far contains details on more than 214,000 offshore entities connected to people in more than 200 countries and territories. It also named 140 international politicians, including 12 current and former political leaders. And that is just one law firm.

Although many persons wonder why many Americans are not named in the papers, the wire services noted that some U.S. states have strong secrecy laws and Americans are more likely to create companies there.

The Panama firm appears to have a minimum charge of $1,000. Corporations can be formed by anyone in the State of Delaware online for less than $100. Costa Rican lawyers charge from $200 to $1,000 to set up a sociedad anónima here.

A report by the McClatchy newspaper group found scanned copies of at least 200 American passports in the leaked documents, according to wire services. It reported that many of the passports appeared to be from retirees using offshore companies to buy real estate in Latin America. There also were 3,500 shareholders of offshore companies who provided the firm with an address in the United States, the newspaper said, according to wire services.

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San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, April 7, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 68
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Professional Directory
A.M. Costa Rica's professional directory is where business people who wish to reach the English-speaking community may invite responses. If you are interested in being represented here, please contact the editor.


Marco Cavallini & Associates
Dental Implants and Crowns

Dr. Marco A. Muñoz Cavallini has placed and
DR. Cavallini
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U.S. Income Tax Services
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Ms. Summers
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U.S. citizens, plan now for your tax year. Let me help you pay only the tax  you must!
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If your filing is not up-to-date, the Streamlined Filing Procedure can be used to mitigate penalties.   Including  disclosure of foreign corporations to avoid future problems. 

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Real estate agents and services


A Name You Trust, Professionalism You Deserve
Tom Ghormley and the dream team!
in CR since 1979

Residential sales
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Tour desk

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U. S. A. phone numbers:  (213) 283-5168 
or Toll Free: (877) 746-3868
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U.S. Transportation Security Administration graphic

Air passengers get new rule on liquids

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Costa Rican aviation officials are adopting a rule that allows travelers to bring containers of 3.4 ounces or about 100 milliliters of liquids of gels through airport checkpoints.

This is similar to the U.S. Transportation Security Administration rule that travelers can carry a quart-sized resealable bag of liquids, aerosols, gels, creams and pastes in a carry-on bag.

The Director General de Aviación Civil said that the rule will be applied as a pilot project at Daniel Oduber airport in Liberia starting April 19 and then extended to Juan Santamaría in Alajuela.

Generally air travelers have been prohibited from carrying liquids on their person or in carryon bags, but the rule has been enforced irregularly.

The rule does not apply to duty-free store purchases and probably not for medications, although the announcement did not address that point.

Our readers’ opinions
How about local jobs in the southern zone?

Dear A.M. Costa Rica

It is my understanding that the U.S. Government is giving the Guardacostas a bunch of money in order to improve their facility here in Golfito. I also hear that the contract for construction has gone to a company from Honduras. What’s wrong with hiring local labor in a known depressed area?

Also the Junta Desarrollo Regional de la Zona Sur, known as JUDESUR, that administers the Deposito Libre here in Golfito is supposed to use its income to benefit the community here in Golfito. They are presently installing a nice marine walkway with a company from Cartago, and they are paying for lodging for workers from San Jose. We get a nice walkway, but little work for the locals.

I must assume that when JUDESUR was formed, it was likely staffed by politically connected folks from San Jose, and they are just sending the pork back to San Jose! I have been here in Golfito going on six years. Other than this walkway, the JUDESUR folks have nice offices, drive JUDESUR Prados, and appear to be making good money by their employees’ dress, but little falls far from their front door, for the locals here. In my humble opinion!

Glenn Klima

Save the parrot fish by eating them

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

If we really wanted to save the parrot fish, the best thing to do would be to encourage and (initially) subsidize commercial parrot fish farms.  Just as there is no shortage of tilapia or chickens, you will quickly find that you can remove almost any critters that are now on the endangered list merely by domesticating and creating/finding a market for them.
There will be plenty of parrot fish, more jobs and business opportunities, it will not require more police and more taxes to enforce what can't be enforced (poaching and compliance).  The only government necessary to speed up the process would be research and advice into best practices for captive parrot fish farming and processing.  Just as is done for plantain, rice, beans, coffee, cattle, etc.
So... let's get started on the First Annual Costarricense Parrot Fish Cooking Contest and save the reefs!
Chuck Dumas

News from the Spanish-language press
Translated into English

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San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, April 7, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 68
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Investigation of hacker involvement in presidential race lacks a deadline
By Rommel Téllez
Special to A.M. Costa Rica

The investigation to determine whether Johnny Araya and his team hired the services of a hacker to attack opponents during his presidential campaign in 2014 will not include an entire review of all expense reports and invoices filed before Tribunal Supremo de Elecciones.

That is according to Gerardo Abarca, general secretary of the Political Parties Funding Department of the Tribunal.

Abarca also confirmed that the investigation may last indefinitely, since there is no deadline.

Friday Bloomberg Businessweek ran the story of Colombian prison inmate Andrés Sépulveda, who claimed to have digitally

A.M. Costa Rica/Rommel Téllez
Gerardo Abarca pores over an election spending report.
manipulated political campaigns across Latin America.

In the piece, Sépulveda said he delivered his services to Partido Liberación Nacional and its presidential candidate, Araya, who quit his quest for the presidency on March 5, 2014.

Sépulveda’s affirmations prompted the reaction of Gerardo Vargas and Patricia Mora, lawmakers from Partido Frente Amplio, who demanded the case be examined by electoral authorities.

Abarca explained that the investigation will be based on the results of an audit already carried out by the institution upon samples of expenses filed by the Partido Liberacion Nacional.

"We are not going over each paper again. Work is already done. We will only review specific cases if something unusual arises." said Abarca.

According to records seen by an A.M. Costa Rica reporter, Araya's campaign paid over $915,000 in services and consultancies in 2014. Documents checked in regards to computing and communications services show an individual identified as Freddy Piedra Salazar was one of the main contractors. He got $78,000. However, no mention of Sépulveda was found in the registry.

"It could be the case the hacker got paid in disguise by using another person or company. By cross referencing invoices and Ministerio de Hacienda data, we can verify if the services reported match reality." said Abarca.

The director also explained that in case anything suspicious is found, the Tribunal will send a report to the Ministerio Público, the nation’s prosecutors, to continue the work in the judicial arena. However, no punishment from the Tribunal will necessarily be applied if the suspect already is an elected officer.

"It might be time that we, as society, start analyzing about these new cyber electoral felonies and see if the law can be reformed accordingly," said Abarca. 

Lawmakers fail to convince Sala IV that they should have repeat terms
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Lawmakers who want a repeat term will have to obtain the right the hard way: Through a constitutional amendment.

The Sala IV constitutional court rejected unanimously Wednesday an appeal by several current legislators that their human rights were abridged by not being able to seek consecutive terms.

Members of the Asamblea Legislative are prohibited from
 running again, but many do end up being elected every other four years. Some who cannot run find administrative positions in the legislature or are named to executive branch positions or as heads of various institutions.

The court said it did not have the competence to handle challenges to original constitutional articles.

The lawmakers made the argument that repeat terms would provide a degree of continuity and acquired skills to the legislative body.

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Palermo Hotel

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You need to see Costa Rican tourism information HERE!

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San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, April 7, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 68
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YouTube photos
Walter Cronkite again as anchor at the later 1956 convention and Harry Truman and Adlai Stevenson in 1952.
Televised Democratic convention in 1952 was as open as can be
By Jay Brodell
editor of A.M. Costa Rica

Expats who think that the current round of U.S. primary elections is less than exciting should just wait for an open Republican convention.

The last one was in Chicago in 1952 featuring names that have been lost to history: Adlai Stevenson, Estes Kefauver, W. Averell Harriman and others.

The conventions that year were the first to be televised, and there was real competition for the nomination. Candidates come with support but not many were committed delegates picked by primary elections in the various states.

The selection of Adlai Stevenson of Illinois took three ballots, but these were anything but quick events. As each state voted, other delegates had the right to poll those in the delegation. Since some delegates for political reasons had just half a vote, the polls could involve many more than the 1,230 official votes.

Then those individuals announcing their vote just had to give a little political speech to justify their 30 seconds on the black and white television screen. Three days of little speeches.

Interminable is a good word for the voting with Walter Cronkite on CBS trying his best to make the sessions interesting.

The Democrats met for five days, so the voting took up at least three days. Stevenson’s main opponent was Sen. Estes Kefauver of Tennessee, who was the front runner at the start of the convention.

There is some speculation that Rafael “Ted “ Cruz, the Republican establishment choice is really a surrogate to prevent
Trump from winning the nomination. Some observers suspect that the establishment will dump Cruz if the 2016 nominee is not decided by the start of the July convention. In his place someone who did not campaign
might be nominated.

That is basically what happened in 1952. Democratic leaders, including president Harry S. Truman, were not comfortable with Kefauver, who came from a state with restrictive laws against black citizens.

As the Illinois governor, Stevenson delivered a spirited welcome address to the convention that got him attention and some supporters for the nomination. Eventually he prevailed, and the convention named Sen. John Sparkman of Alabama, a segregationist, as the vice presidential nominee.

The 1950s was the beginning of the civil rights movement, and Democrats had to curry favor with segregationists to hold the southern vote.

Of course, the Republican nominee, Dwight Eisenhower, the World War II general, won the general election.

The Republicans realized that television was the way to get votes, and Stevenson was an intellectual who did not fare well on television and generally spoke above the level of the average voter.

And maybe the lengthy rounds of voting at the Democratic convention turned off some viewers.

Vacation, travel and hospitality

                        Garden 2016
Largest art gallery in Guanacaste
Drop in to see some of Costa Rica's finest art
at the largest gallery in Guanacaste.

The Hidden Garden Art Gallery near the Liberia airport is a great place to find quality remembrances of Costa Rica to take home or to decorate your home or office in Costa Rica.  We also offer commissioned pieces so you can create your own unique masterpiece to cherish forever.  With more than 60 artists on exhibit and fine art in 15 rooms full of paintings, prints, sculptures, and diverse artistic expressions, we are easy to locate just 5 kms west of the Daniel Oduber International Airport. Visit our Web site at
or contact us by email:   
Gallery hours: Tuesdays-Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tel. 2667-0592 / 8386-6872; U.S. telephone 702-953-7073. International shipping available.

Click photo for another video

The Relocation/Retirement tour with the

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

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

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

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

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


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When you visit Costa Rica, you'll want to discover what you need to know to  make the right choice about moving to this tropical paradise.  Our familiarization tours have won hard-earned credentials that prove general excellence and the right focus.  These are the only retirement tours that are licensed and approved by the Costa Rican government and tourism institute  (ICT). In 2006 we were featured on the NBC Today Show and World News.  In 2010, we won the  prestigious Latin America-Asia Travel Excellence Award for the Best and Most Unique Tour in Latin America.

   * Discover how to make the right choices about moving here
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Here's reasonable medical care
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Real estate-related services (paid category)
SOON with the coming of new power company regulations, we'll be installing PV (photo voltaic) for solar electricity. Yes, at last!
* PV systems: we use Enphase micro-inverters. More flexible. Add panels whenever you like. More reliable than any other system and fully guaranteed!
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Office phone: 506-2446-0543
Cell phone: 506-8898-9398
or 506-8314-8090


Real estate rentals (paid category)

Beautiful House Inside Gated Farm for Rent
House inside gated farm. Two bedroom, One bath fully-furnished. Close to town in Santa Barbara de Heredia.  $650 includes:  Internet, Wifi, Cable TV, Water, Electric.  Located in Santa Barbara de Heredia. American owner lives onsite, quiet, secure.  More information to my email:

Spectacular rentals are available for low weekly prices on at resorts such as Bahia Turquesa Residences and Villas Sol Playa Hermosa in Guanacaste. We have 
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:

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
tropical homes
of Costa Rica.We are offering homes for every budget and every need. Please visit our Web page at or contact us at or call at (506) 2654-5442

Real estate for rent (paid category)

Puriscal rental
A peaceful place near Puriscal.
Property is a small house on a 16-acre farm in Desamparaditos, a small village located 5K NW of Santiago de Puriscal. 15 minutes to Puriscal, 1 hour to San José and the airport, all paved roads. House has 2 bedrooms and 1 bath, large  open kitchen/dining/living area and is fully furnished. Nice veranda with great views. Many fruit trees. Private but not isolated with all utilities. Rent $550/month long term, short term negotiable. Tenant pays for electricity and phone. Landlord pays water. No pets, please. In Costa Rica call Liz Guegan at 7187-8577, in the USA call Pete Todd at 970-221-1457 or 720-951-7928.

Two bedrooms plus additional on loft, furnished condo with garage, half block walking distance to Costa Rica international Academy. Gated compound on Country Club grounds across Fairway Five. USD $850 plus utilities. Info: US 925 755-4645 or  Note:

 CR house telephone number 2654- 4145  We will be in our house in Flamingo,  March 11 thru April 30.

                                              Valley view

Boutique quality mountain homes for rent located on a small horse ranch on the slopes of the Barva Volcano, Heredia Province. The homes have stunning views of Costa Rica's Central Valley. Located at 7,300-foot altitude, our ranch borders the Braulio Carrillo National Park and the homes are hiking distance to the Barva Volcano crater lake. We offer various rental options for our 1- and 2-bedroom homes. Contact us at Ajsanch783@AOL.COM for more details.

Fully Furnished American style Apartments for Rent
2-bedroom, 2- bathroom, fully furnished American-style apartments with elevator in a secure building in Barrio Amó. Cable, Internet, water included. Shared laundry. Convenient to Parque Morazán,
hotels, restaurants, casinos, city government, national registry. $650 per month plus electricity. ½ month security deposit. No lease.  The larger apartments are $650 per month. They have larger bedrooms, living rooms and kitchens. It would be best for the prospective tenants to visit
Barrio Amon
the building to see the apartments.   For more information contact:  or call Hilda at 2221-7161.

Real Estate
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 S.A. 2016 and may not be reproduced anywhere without permission. 
Abstracts and fair use are permitted.  Check HERE for details

A.M. Costa Rica's  
Fifth news page
Salsa Lizano
San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, April 7, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 68
Real Estate
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Axiom 890 pixels

Meerle Haggard
Twitter photo  
Merle Haggard

Legend Merle Haggard, 79,
dies on his own birthday

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services
Merle Haggard, one of the most recognizable voices in American country music, died Wednesday, his 79th birthday, at his home in Palo Cedro, California, following a months-long bout with double pneumonia.

Over the course of his career, Haggard released more than 80 albums, and 38 of his songs topped U.S. country music charts, including “Hungry Eyes,” Momma Tried,” and “Okie from Muskogee,” which became an unintentional rallying cry of sorts against the hippie subculture during the late 1960s.

Haggard’s music centered primarily on his impoverished life growing up on the outskirts of Bakersfield, California. His gruff lyrics championing the hard life of blue-collar workers made him a favorite of working-class people across the country, but he infused his songs with more insight and tenderness than most honky-tonkers. He also broadened the genre by writing about poverty, loneliness and social issues.

"Merle was one of the greats. He really embodied the country music singer-songwriter," said Jay Orr of the Country Music Hall of Fame.

"He drew from his own experience, and he drew from the experience of working men and women in America. I think of a song like 'Working Man's Blues' which is a phrase that people use to describe country music."

Haggard's sound drew from traditional country but also touched on folk, pop, blues and rock. He referred to the improvisations of his band, the Strangers, as country jazz,' and in 1980 he became the first country artist to appear on the cover of the jazz magazine Downbeat.

Haggard's songs were covered by the likes of the Grateful Dead, Elvis Costello, Lynyrd Skynyrd, the Byrds, Emmylou Harris, Dwight Yoakam, Lucinda Williams and Reba McEntire.

"I can't remember when I haven't listened to him," said Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards. "Some of the best songs and best delivery you can get."

Along with his albums of original songs, he recorded tributes to such early influences as country pioneer Jimmy Rodgers and Western swing king Bob Wills, and paired up with Willie Nelson and George Jones, among others. He also resisted the slick arrangements favored by some pop-Country stars.

"I'll tell you what the public likes more than anything,'' he told the Boston Globe in 1999. "It's the most rare commodity in the world, honesty.''

Haggard once said he preferred playing guitar to singing, but it was his voice that made him stand out.

"Haggard's exceptionally true intonation, his command of varied vocal textures and his insinuating phrasing would make him a superior vocalist in any idiom," The New York Times said of Haggard in his prime. "Like Muddy Waters in the blues field and only a handful of other performers, he both embodies and transcends his rich American musical heritage."

He was born in 1937, the son of two Okies, Dust Bowl refugees from Oklahoma who moved west to escape the Great Depression and settled in Bakersfield. Haggard and his parents lived in an old railroad boxcar that his father, James Haggard, a railway worker, converted into their home.

Haggard, who was 9 years old when his father died of a brain tumor, quit school in the eighth grade and began hopping freight trains. He also took up the guitar and petty crime and frequently was placed in and escaped from juvenile reformatories.

Later he was convicted of burglary. He had tried to break into a cafe but was too drunk to realize that at the time it was still open and serving customers. He served more than two years at the maximum-security state prison in San Quentin, near San Francisco, where he attended a concert for convicts by Johnny Cash, another legend in the world of American country music, in 1958.

Haggard decided to turn his life around and try to build a career in music. He was pardoned years later by California's governor at the time and a future U.S. president, Ronald Reagan. Haggard returned to his hometown in 1960 and, along with Buck Owens, helped define what became known as the Bakersfield sound, a more raw country sound than the highly produced music that was coming out of Nashville at the time.

The subject matter of the songs Haggard wrote was more blunt than some of his fans were accustomed to. "Irma Jackson" was about interracial romance. And he rebelled when record company executives wanted to change his style.

"I've never been a guy that can do what people told me," he told The Times. "It's always been my nature to fight the system."

Haggard released his first independent album in 1963 and signed with Capitol Records in 1965, when he released his first number-one single, “I’m a Lonesome Figure.”

After that first success, one hit followed another and Haggard’s career soon attained epic proportions. Hits such as "Workin' Man Blues" and "If We
Make It Through December," the plaintive story of a laid-off factory worker trying to salvage Christmas for his young daughter, were likened to the populist works of Woody Guthrie.

Haggard's other hits included "Lonesome Fugitive," "Silver Wings," "Sing Me Back Home," "Daddy Frank (The Guitar Man)," "The Bottle Let Me Down," "The Fightin' Side of Me," "I Think I'll Just Stay Here and Drink" and "Pancho and Lefty," a duet with Nelson.

Haggard toured constantly with his band and once described his life as "a 35-year bus ride,"  and that was in 1996, long before his bus stopped rolling.

Haggard's fame skyrocketed in 1970 with "Okie From Muskogee," an anti-hippie song ("we don't smoke marijuana in Muskogee, we don't take our trips on LSD") that came to be embraced by conservatives. Haggard said in interviews the song started out as a joke and a character study and that it did not necessarily reflect his views.

Haggard often told interviewers he was not political but his songs showed he was certainly opinionated and a libertarian thinker. In 2003, he defended the Dixie Chicks from fans' backlash after they criticized President George W. Bush, and he wrote a song in tribute to former first lady Hillary Clinton when she was seeking the presidency in 2007. Two years later he penned "Hopes Are High'' to commemorate Barack Obama's inauguration.

In "America First,'' he opposed the Iraq War, singing "Let's get out of Iraq, and get back on track.'' But he also wrote "Crippled Soldiers and Me" to protest the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that said burning the American flag was an expression of free speech.

Stardom took a toll on the man known to his fans as The Hag, and his career waned in the late 1980s amid personal problems. He filed for bankruptcy protection in 1992 after years of hard living, four divorces, gambling and bad investments. He once estimated that he had blown $100 million.

In "My House of Memories" he wrote of a sleepless, naked, five-day drug binge on his houseboat with an unnamed woman singer.

But by his mid-60s, Haggard had settled down and spent his spare time fishing on his ranch in Northern California. Musically, he remained as active as ever into his 70s, and received strong reviews for his 2010 album "I Am What I Am.''

Many musicians expressed their condolences and paid tribute to Haggard on Wednesday.

Country singer Carrie Underwood tweeted, "Merle was a pioneer . . . a true entertainer . . . a legend," while rock pioneer Jerry Lee Lewis said, "I will miss one of my best friends over all these years."

Longtime friend and frequent collaborator Nelson told Entertainment Weekly, "He was my brother, my friend. I will miss him."

"We've lost one of the greatest writers and singers of all time. His heart was as tender as his love ballads,'' said Dolly Parton. "I loved him like a brother.''

Haggard once said in a PBS documentary. "I'm living proof that things go wrong in America, and I'm also living proof that things can go right." He was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1994, the same year he won a Grammy for best male country vocal performance in "That's the Way Love Goes.''

In 2008, Haggard underwent surgery to remove a tumor in his lung, but was back onstage performing within a few weeks. In February of this year, Haggard canceled a number of tour dates as he tried to recover from pneumonia, and he was unable to resume performing.

Haggard's son Ben, the Strangers' lead guitarist, said his father had predicted the day of his death.

"A week ago, Dad told us he was gonna pass on his birthday, and he wasn't wrong," Ben wrote on Facebook. "An hour ago he took his last breath surrounded by family and friends."

He lived his last years outside Redding with his fifth wife, Theresa Lane. He is also survived by his six children and his sister, Lillian Haggard Rea.

U.S. files suit to prevents
well service firms’ merger

 By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services
The U.S. Department of Justice filed a lawsuit Wednesday to block Halliburton Co.’s planned acquisition of oil and gas services rival Baker Hughes, Inc.

The suit, filed in a Delaware federal court, says a combination of the world’s second- and third-largest oil and gas service companies would lead to higher prices and less competition in the industry and reduce innovation. Halliburton calls itself a services and construction company with specialties that include well logging, well completion and reservoir engineering.

"The proposed deal between Halliburton and Baker Hughes would eliminate vital competition, skew energy markets and harm American consumers," Attorney General Loretta Lynch said in a statement.

Halliburton and Baker Hughes issued a joint statement saying they intend to vigorously contest the Justice Department's efforts to block the pending merger.

The companies also said that early in the process, they tried to allay concerns that the deal would dampen competition by offering to sell off or divest billions of dollars in assets to other parties. They said such a move would "facilitate the entry of new competition in markets in which products and services are being divested."

The Justice Department said it believes the two companies still would retain their most valuable assets.

The planned merger, valued at nearly $35 billion when it was announced in November 2014, would create a bigger rival to industry leader Schlumberger Ltd.

Since the plan was announced, the price of crude oil on global markets has dropped, reducing demand for services such as extracting and pumping gas and oil.

Homeland Security chief
seeks Muslim cooperation

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson called for cooperation from the American Muslim community Wednesday during a speech at a symposium on countering violent extremism.

The terrorist attack in Brussels last month has renewed debate over ways to counter violent extremism in the United States with calls by some Republican presidential candidates calling for surveillance of American Muslim neighborhoods.
But Homeland Security head Johnson said that proposal does not reflect reality.

“There is not one neighborhood or ghetto or city that one could encircle or surveil, to surveil American Muslims, contrary to some of the political rhetoric that is out there, some of the overheated political rhetoric out there.”

While last year’s mass shooting in San Bernardino, California, renewed concerns about the threat of homegrown terrorism, Johnson said Homeland Security’s efforts to prevent more attacks largely have been met with cooperation in the American Muslim community.

"The overwhelming, overwhelming majority of American Muslims, including those who serve in our United States military, by the way, and in our government, are patriotic, dedicated people who love this country and who want to help us with public safety and secure our homeland because they know it’s their homeland too," he said.

Johnson also dismissed criticism that Homeland Security's counter-terrorism efforts target American Muslims.
“The Islamic State, which is the most visible, most prominent and probably the most dangerous terrorist organization that we face right now, is targeting American Muslims," he said. "We must respond in countering that effort as a matter of homeland security.

Johnson ended his speech with a call for cooperation and bridge-building, saying American Muslim communities should not be isolated or vilified.

information ad
Louisiana State University Libraries Special Collections,  
Hill Memorial Library   
A typical information wanted ad

Freed slaves turned to ads
to find their friends or family

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

After emancipation, some African American families that were torn apart by slavery turned to newspaper ads in hopes of finding lost loved ones.

These information wanted advertisements primarily appeared in black-oriented newspapers, which sprang up after the end of the U.S. Civil War.

A series of Lost Friends ads that appeared in a New Orleans newspaper in the late 1800s into the early 1900s illustrate how desperate friends and relatives searched for loved ones who had been lost to slavery.

The Southwestern Christian Advocate was distributed to about 500 preachers, 800 post offices and 4,000 subscribers in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Arkansas. The newspaper started running its Lost Friends columns in 1877 and continued doing so well into the first decade of the 20th century.

The advertisements cost 50 cents each, about one day’s wages, and pastors would read them aloud in church to help spread the word.

“At first, all I could see was grief . . . but then I started to see hope embedded in it,” said Heather Andrea Williams, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania who wrote a book about the information wanted ads. “There’s a lot packed into these very short messages of love and grief and resilience and an ability . . . to continue to care.”

An online database shows more than 900 of these advertisements that appeared in the Southwestern Christian Advocate between November 1879 and March 1884.  The digital images are courtesy of the Louisiana State University Libraries Special Collections, Hill Memorial Library.

The ads provide insight into the dark nature of slavery, with African-American families facing the ever-present possibility of being sold away from loved ones into unknown circumstances, having names changed by new owners and perhaps forever losing track of family members.

“I think these ads really take us into the structure of slavery, the power of owners and into the emotional lives of enslaved people,” said Professor Williams. “You could be married and yet your owner could sell you . . . not everybody experienced separation but everybody could have experienced separation and they knew this. That this is looming.”

In her book, “Help Me Find My People,”  Professor Williams writes that one-third of enslaved children were separated from their parents by either being sold away or having their parents sold away. Reunions of these broken families were rare. However, when they did occur, reunited families faced difficult decisions and periods of readjustment.

There were situations where children didn’t remember their parents and had grown attached to another adult caretaker or incidents where the spouse who’d been left behind remarried.

“A husband returns to a plantation after many years away because he had been sold away and his wife is now with somebody else,” Professor Williams said, “and now she had to make a decision and sometimes the woman said, ‘The husband I’m with today knows that the reason we got together was because my real husband has gone away and I’m going back to my real husband.’”

There is no way to know how many formerly enslaved people found their loved ones, however the yearning to be reunited with lost family members lingered for decades. The information wanted newspaper ads continued to appear into the 1900s, more than 35 years after the end of the Civil War and the emancipation of all slaves in the United States.

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Dorn Home
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Lot of 2,866.33 square meters with three terraces, inside luxury house  property with 326 square meters construction. Two-story house with front porch, entry lobby, living room, dinning room, large kitchen, breakfast room, large cupboard, 3 1⁄2 bathrooms, 3 large bedrooms, the main bedroom includes jacuzzi and balcony. Playground, office, laundry area, garage for two cars, own and municipal potable water supply, electricity service, cable TV system, A/C. Located 700 meters from Las Colinas Golf Course, near the airport, Tamarindo Beach and the best beaches of the country. Excellent construction and great details. Price $349,000.   We have another extra large lot (next to the main property)  priced at $75,000.  For more information, please contact us: Emails:   or    Call Lia or Stanley phones:  (506) 2653-6417 /   (506) 7079-6577.

Negotiable price. Thirty thousand seventy square meters. The house is seven hundred fifty squared meters, built three years ago. Five bedrooms plus servant's room with bathroom. Each bedroom includes private bathroom. Master's room includes Jacuzzi and hidromassage. Two main living rooms plus visitor's parlor and hall, two furnished kitchens, all ceramic. Nineteen rooms total counting three offices, eight-car garage. Has 220-volt current with three distribution panels. First-quality water plus well, decorated stone walls, recreational area, second house eighty squared meters, hot water systems, cable, telephone, light system throughout property, river, part forest..

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ORIGINAL PRICE: $1.800.000    OFFER PRICE: $1.200.000
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Christian Arce
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San Rmon
Mountain home w/million dollar view near San Ramón
Beautiful home in the mountains near San Ramón with 180-degree view of the gulf of Nicoya. 7 miles from San Ramón, 1 mile from Interamericana highway. 3,200 foot elevation so temp is 65 to 75 year around. Electric gate, private drive. house built in 2010. 2 bedrooms, 1 bath, appliances included. High-speed internet installed,  Price for sale $179,000    Contact Mike: 
Check out slide show HERE!

Ocean View Property for Sale in San Ramón
1.5-acre lot with spectacular ocean views. Ready to build. Mild climate year round with an average temperature a cool 74 degrees. Spectacular panoramic views of
                                for sale
the ocean and port of Puntarenas during the day, breathtaking views of Esparza at night. Fully titled and owned under a Costa Rican corporation. $50,000. Short-term owner financing available. For more info: Contact: Frank

Jacó beach unique home. First time offered
This house has never been listed.  It is a 3-bedroom, 1-bath home approx. 100 feet above sea level on the only hill in Jacó one mile to the beach.  Totally remodeled to a Gringo house.Has great fenced yard for dogs and a huge screened porch with  great views all around, including a small ocean view.  New in the last two years includes: new kitchen with granite counter, cedar cabinets, all new windows, tile, water system, updated electric & plumbing, superb new AC units (low electric bill), This is half of a duplex with a platted yard.  Other side is the chief of police.  Secure & private.  $169.900. Call Glenn at 506-6214-0056 or

La Uruca condo
Situated three miles west of the capital, eight miles from the airport. Quiet, secluded area within walking distance to a commercial center including a hotel, six restaurants,  next to two 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, two bedrooms, maid's room, two bathrooms, four closets  (including walk-in), fully equipped kitchen (refrigerator, washing machine, small appliances, all necessary utensils, work tools).  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:  Mid-January to beginning of April. Contact:  USA :  585 544-4296. Costa Rica : 506 2231-0410

For sale 5,200 m2 Escazú
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Large lower lot, incredible views. Flexible zoning.
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San Ramon
Mountain home w/million dollar view near San Ramón
Beautiful home in the mountains near San Ramón with 180-degree view of the gulf of Nicoya. 7 miles from San Ramón, 1 mile from Interamericana highway. 3,200 foot elevation so temp is 65 to 75 year around. Electric gate, private drive. house built in 2010. 2 bedrooms, 1 bath, appliances included. High-speed internet installed,  Price for sale $179,000    Contact Mike: 
Check out slide show HERE!

Grecia casa
Mountain home for sale
in Grecia.
Less than a year old. Owners are motivated.  All information regarding the home as well as many photos can be found at Mountain view home for sale Grecia, Costa Rica.   Contact email:

puriscal photo
Costa Rica home for sale $163,500 / 2bedroom - 1,984 ft2

Central Valley view home: 10 minutes from Santiago de Puriscal and shopping, hospital services, and soon Maxi Pali. Only one hour to San José or Pacific beaches.
- On .55-acre lot with river on one boundary
- Area under roof, 1,984 sq. ft., Area inside walls, 925 sq. ft. Steel, recycled
      Styrofoam, and concrete construction.
- 2 ½ years old with central living room and kitchen, 2 bedrooms and 2 baths,
       ceramic tile throughout.
- Central Valley volcano and SJO airport views from every room.
- Vaulted ceilings give bright open feeling.
- Entrance from concrete road to large graveled parking area
- VERY energy efficient with VERY low property taxes.
- Covered attached carport with entrance to front door or laundry-guest bath
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- 12 foot x 14 foot storage bodega
- Security lights, And Amcrest day & night video recorder system.
- Producing banana trees, and mango, bread fruit, and guanabana trees

Includes: Refrigerator, gas stove & oven with electric grill element, microwave, electric washer-gas dryer stacked style, gas on demand whole house water heater. Other furnishings are negotiable. ICE electric service and land line phone. Bajo Burgos Water district. Metro-wireless WiFi is available. Tigo Star Satellite T.V. House is in a Costa Rican corporation, will transfer shares. Contract or call 506 2416-9324.  Additional photos are available on Flickr album

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San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, April 7, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 68
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News from the BBC up to the minute

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Latin news from the BBC up to the minute

traffic light
Ministerio de Obras Publicas y Transportes
Traffic workers installed new lights on the Bernardo Soto highway Wednesday near Juan Santamaría airport. This is a $190,000 job that is designed to provide more visibility for drivers at the intersection that is the site of many accidents.

Two hurt as fire truck overturns

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A fire truck heading to a field fire in La Cruz overturned Wednesday afternoon and two fire fighters suffered injuries.

The truck and crew were stationed in Liberia, said the Cuerpo de Bomberos. The injured men were treated at a local clinic and then at the Liberia hospital for a full evaluation, said the agency. Other crew responded to the blaze that was reported to be endangering a structure, the agency added.

Caja union to protest long wait lists today

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Today is the Día Mundial de la Salud, World Health Day, and the union that represents workers in the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social will be protesting long wait times at the Hospital de San Carlos starting at 10 a.m.

The union, the Unión Nacional de Empleados de la Caja y la Seguridad Social, is quick to point out faults in the national health system, and wait times are one of the big problems. The union said that the country faces a grave health situation with long wait lists for services, appointments with specialists and surgeries, among others.

One senior citizen in San José broke her thigh bone two months ago and spent eight days in a hospital before surgery, said her family.

Woman accused of drugging at hospitals

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A Grecia women is accused of using knockout drops to rob patients in area hospitals, mainly Grecia and México. She was detained Wednesday at her home in Barrio La Arena, Grecia, said the Poder Judicial.

Investigators have at last four complaints. They said the woman would engage patients in conversations and then offer them sweets that were drugged.

Once the victim was nearly unconscious she would take possessions, including credit cards and cell telephones. Agents said she was taped taking money from an automatic teller and being in the company of patients, including one women who was pregnant.

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From Page 7:

Foreign trade pacts again face scrutiny

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The politics of trade took center stage again this week after the Ford Motor Co. announced it would soon open a car assembly plant in San Luis Potosi, Mexico, that will employ 2,800 people by the year 2020. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump immediately blasted the automobile manufacturer for sending U.S. jobs out of the country, calling it a disgrace.

This is not a new issue for Trump. In fact, he targeted Ford’s Mexico plants when he announced his candidacy in June of last year, saying that, as president, he would tell Ford that he was rescinding the tariff-free imports established by the North American Free Trade Agreement, known as NAFTA.

“Every car and every truck and every part manufactured in this plant that comes across the border, we are going to charge you a 35 percent tax,” Trump said.

He did not explain how this could be done, since the president does not have the authority to impose a tariff in violation of a trade deal negotiated with other countries, approved by Congress and signed by a previous president. But his supporters cheered this statement, along with his promise to create more jobs.

On the Democratic side, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont has used free-trade pacts against his rival, former secretary of State Hillary Clinton, whose husband, former President Bill Clinton, signed the North American Free Trade Agreement. Sanders has said that if he is elected president, he will renegotiate that treaty and other trade agreements.

“We have got to lift up the standard of living of workers in this country and throughout the world,” he said. “Trade is a good thing, but it has got to be based on fair principles."

For her part, Mrs. Clinton has backed off from her support for President Barack Obama’s Pacific trade deal, which she endorsed when she was secretary of State.

Political analyst Mark Jones at Rice University in Houston said anti-free-trade rhetoric resonates with displaced workers, the unemployed and workers who worry about losing their jobs.

“Sanders and Trump are taking advantage of the vision held by a significant number of Americans that, while free trade may be good for the overall economy, it is not good for their individual situation,” he said.

Part of the problem, Jones said, is that the 5 million jobs economists say were created by the North American Free Trade Agreement are not visibly connected to free trade, even by many people holding those jobs.

“It is very easy to find individuals who have lost their jobs to free trade, but it is difficult and nebulous to find people whose jobs have been created by free trade,” he said.

One person who does see how free trade benefits the country is Tom Long, executive vice president of the San Antonio Economic Development Foundation.

“We are living and working in a global economy,” he noted, “so free trade, in my opinion, makes that global system of commerce more efficient and more effective.”

San Antonio has benefited directly from the North American Free Trade Agreement by being the closest large city to the major border crossing to Mexico at Laredo. Trucks travel up Interstate Highway 35 to terminals and warehouses in San Antonio. The interstate, which has been dubbed the “NAFTA highway," also passes through the Texas state capital, Austin, and the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area.

San Antonio has long-standing economic and cultural ties to Mexico, which have been strengthened by NAFTA, according to Long. But he said the city’s receptiveness to international trade has helped it gain manufacturing plants from Asian nations.

“Companies are looking at San Antonio to serve a North American market because they have realized from a manufacturing standpoint that it is more efficient and effective to manufacture certain products here than it would be in the Far East,” he said.

Long provided the example of Toyota, which has a plant making trucks in San Antonio that directly and indirectly adds thousands of jobs to the area economy. Cities like Houston and Dallas also benefit by having many foreign companies open their U.S. headquarter offices in those cities.

Other cities and states around the country have also benefited from the global economy. But because the direct impact on people’s lives is not always easy to see, some politicians tend to focus on the negative aspects of free trade, rather than the positive.