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(506) 223-1327              Published  Monday, April 9, 2007, in Vol. 7, No. 69            E-mail us    
Jo Stuart
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Statue of Jesus carried from catherdral
A.M. Costa Rica photo
Sunday climax
of Holy Week

Easter Sunday was a big one for the Catholic faithful. Processions to honor the resurrected an glorified Jesus took place all over the country.

In photo at left a statue of Jesus is carried down the steps of the Catedral Metropolitana in San José where some 500 persons paraded around the adjacent Parque Central, led by Archbishop Hugo Barrantes Ureña. There was a brass band, apostles in biblical garb, flower girls and similar statues of St. Joseph and St. Peter.

In Orosi the religious festivities began early — at 5:30 a.m. with the sound of skyrockets detonating. San Joaquin de Flores, Heredia, also is noted for its elaborate procession.

Other Christian faiths had ceremonies with less pageantry.

Ticos back to work to prepare for the next holiday
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Costa Ricans return to work and school today after another Semana Santa with relatively good weather.

With the long holiday behind them, Costa Ricans can look forward to yet another holiday a week from today. That is Juan Santamaría day or the celebration of the victory at the Battle of Rivas, Nicaragua. The actually date is April 11, but this is one of the holidays that has been moved to a Monday to provide a three-day weekend. Santamaría, the national hero died while setting fire to a strategic enemy position.

Officials still are totaling the dead, and the number certainly will be above 41. The largest number died in motor vehicle accidents, including three persons who died Sunday when a packed public bus ran off the road and plunged down a hill into a tree in Corazón de Jesús, Miramar, near Puntarenas. Officials said at least 39 persons were hurt, and nine of those were airlifted to hospitals in San José. Officials are blaming bad brakes.

A second bus collision took place on the Nicoya Peninsula near Filadelfia. A local bus collided witha bus full of tourists who were returning from 
vacation. Three persons were reported badly hurt. Both accidents happened around noon.

Water deaths took nine lives and shootings resulted in the death of six persons. These were No. 2 and No. 3 in the cause of deaths, according to unofficial statistics.

Traffic police detained more than 150 persons for driving under the influence over the holidays.

In Heredia and Alajuela riot police detains some 25 persons Saturday during the so-called  Quema de Judas or burning of Judas, meaning the turncoat apostle who fingered Jesus Christ for crucifixion.
Participants had blockaded streets and ignited fires in the San Rafael, Tuetal Sur, Desamparados, El Roble and Tambor sections of Alajuela..

In Heredia Centro, Barva and San Rafael other arrests were made. One suspect, identified by the last names of  Sánchez Pérez, was held as a suspect in torching a window construction worth nearly $1,000 on a home.

In the Santa Ana sectors of Lindora,  Pozos and Piedades local police said they removed five barriers to traffic.

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San José, Costa Rica, Monday, April 9, 2007, Vol. 7, No. 69

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Another treaty protest
planned for Wednesday

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Opponents of the free trade treaty with the United States plan another rally Wednesday in Alajuela. The day is the traditional one for celebrating the victory of Costa Rican forces over those loyal to filibuster William Walker at Rivas, Nicaragua, in 1856.  The victory pretty well ended Walker's hopes to be ruler of all of Central America.

Demonstrators plan an 11 a.m. march ending at the Fuente de Libertad. They are seeking participates with signs, costumes and banners.

The so-called Festival de la Antorcha will continue in the Plaza Acosta until afternoon, said a release.

Free trade opponents have been trying to remake the image of their opposition as a patriotic one opposing the loss of Costa Rican sovereignty to the United States.

'Greenprint for Life'
is next forum topic

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Geoffrey West, a master's degree candidate at the United Nations-affiliated University for Peace in Ciudad Colón is the next presenter at the Speaker's Forum. He will talk April 17 on a "Greenprint for Life."

His presentation aims to be a step-by-step plan for rebuilding the global socio-political structure grounded in higher energies of love, balance, harmony and honor for all that is life, said organizers.

West's work experiences include the broadcasting, airline, and computer reservation systems industries.  His travels include North America, Europe, Scandinavia, as well as Russia, Egypt, Thailand and Australia. His passion and vision have come from the challenges he has observed throughout the world, and also from his own personal experiences, said organizers.

For more information call 289-6333, 821-4708 or 289-6087. There is a 1,000-colon ($1.90) admission to the forum. The audience is encouraged to arrive at 6:30 p.m. for the 7 p.m. event.

Venue for entertainment
begun at Lake Arenal

Special to A.M. Costa Rica

Toad Hall Gallery and Restaurant, 45 minutes west of La Fortuna on the north shore of Lake Arenal, has opened a new venue for the performing arts.

The first event, Toadstock I, was held March 31 and featured Roberto Benjamin Zuñiga, a performer in Tamarindo, Ocotal, and other beach towns, and Los Acetatos, a rock band from San Jose.

More than 100 persons attended.  Dave Warner, owner of Toad Hall, said "I'm very satisfied with the this inaugural performance. We had a nice mix of Gringos and Ticos and all the towns in the area were represented." He said he plans an event every month or so. These will include musical events as well as dance exhibitions and even one act plays from local theater groups, he said.

Warner said he would develop a mailing list to keep people informed of events.

Ecuador's high court backs dismissals

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Ecuador's constitutional court has upheld a decision by the electoral tribunal to dismiss more than half of the country's legislature. The president of the tribunal said the court voted to reject the petition of a former parliamentarian on behalf of 57 ousted legislators seeking to return to their posts.

The electoral court fired the lawmakers in March after they sought to block President Rafael Correa's planned referendum on constitutional reform.

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San José, Costa Rica, Monday, April 9, 2007, Vol. 7, No. 69

Animal rescue center also serves an educational purpose
By Donna Lynn Norton
Special to A.M. Costa Rica

Retired veterinarian Jaime del Castillo of Heredia and his son, Álvaro, put their heads together and decided they wanted to contribute to being a positive influence to the community and ecology for Costa Rica and the world. 

Álvaro del Castillo was an agricultural engineer working for a major Costa Rica coffee plantation, and said he decided there was surely something better for using his time and efforts.  So the father and son bought 10 acres near the crossroads at La Fortuna/Florencia, at Cruce de Javillos.  Last month, after 12 years of work by the pair, National Geographic showed up, shot film, and will televise the results in September.   National Geographic was looking for services with family activities, and an adventure tours service in La Fortuna recommended the volunteer rescue center.

The del Castillos said they wanted a way to help the environment without government assistance  subject to on the current political situation.  They also said they wanted to avoid depending on intermittent donations from major companies that want the money spent in a direction of the company’s interest.  After brainstorming, they saw a way to give an opportunity to foreigners who wanted to learn, help, and have a great travel experience all at the same time.

In 2001, six years after purchasing the land, the del Castillos began their concept of a wild animal rescue and education center, and they named it after the patron saint of animals and ecology, St. Francis de Asis.  The Proyecto Asis became a Spanish school and volunteer center for helping wild animals. 

With a new Web site  and by word-of-mouth, in a few months, the pair began accomplishing their goal.  As they evolve, their dream is to have a veterinary clinic,and a relationship with an out-of-country university that sends students for extension and practice studies for credit, while learning a different culture and language here in Costa Rica.  They have begun the process of reaching out to universities for such a partnership, and said they hope to buy another 10 acres of land adjacent to their current property. 

Meanwhile, students from other countries are coming here.  After applying, depending on how much time they want, the students spend a certain amount of time volunteering, and a certain amount of time going to the Spanish language classes and environmental lectures that are included in their package. 

Ecology, environmental, biology, veterinary and other students searching for an alternative spring break, for example, come across Project Asis, get course credit and learn and have a vacation. Their weekends are free time, and they may go horseback riding, rafting, biking, kayaking, hiking, canopy and other exploring.

Their time with a local family gives them an opportunity in a safe environment to learn about Costa Rican culture and conversational Spanish.  Students from Florida’s Stetson University have participated in special programs 

A.M. Costa Rica/Donna Lynn Norton
Founder Álvaro del Castillo holds Nena, a howler monkey, who lost her mother to illegal hunting.

for cultural immersion and volunteer and educational courses, as will students from Texas A&M in May 2007. 

The students help with such things as building or cleaning cages, examining animals and dispensing medication. 

When they return home, they have a better understanding of the Costa Rican culture and their way of handling animals, such as workers on a dairy farm.  They learn about the destruction of natural habitat and impending extinctions connected with human development, illegal hunting and tree cutting, illegal taking of wildlife as pets, orphaned helpless animals, and other reasons for rescuing wildlife. 

Some of the animals can be reintroduced to the wild, and this is the No. 1 goal of Project Asis, said the del Castillos.  For example, some parrots whose feathers have been cut only need a few months to a year for their feathers to grow. 

In addition to the wildlife rescue services, Project Asis also contributes to the community by providing ecological road sign messages, rural construction assistance projects, and Scout Group promotions.  The Costa Rica forest rangers bring many wild animals to the rescue center, but anyone can bring a wild animal in need to their center any time. 

The del Castillos don’t ask for monetary donations, but of course will be happy to accept any. Álvaro del Castillo has lived in Fort Worth, Texas, and speaks English.

A certain agricultural produce lends its name to being crazy
Está camote.
“To be camote.”
Camote is a potato-like root that many people in Latin America eat. It’s very slightly on the sweet side, but it is not

Daniel Giannoni/peruecologico.com
a sweet potato. Many people claim that the eating camote improves the mind.

Camote is also an important ingredient in a traditional Costa Rican soup called Olla de Carne, which is sort of like a big beef stew with many different kinds of vegetables indigenous to our region.
Besides camote these include chayote, tiquizque, yucca, ñame, platano verde, tacaco, and guineo. Olla de carne is one of my favorite foods during the wet season. To me it is comfort food especially well suited to a cool, rainy Costa Rican afternoon in mid-November.
But, returning to today’s dicho: Back in the 1930s the Chapui Mental Hospital, which was then located in downtown San José between the Hospital San Juan de Dios and the Children’s Hospital, started promoting the favorable psychiatric effects of certain foods. As it turned out, the lowly camote ((Ipomoea batatas) ranked at the top of a list of comestibles beneficial to the mentally deficient. This information was widely published back in those days, and it was highly recommended that Costa Ricans include camote in their diets to help prevent mental illness.
Well, if you know anything about the Costa Rican psyche, you can easily imagine that the word camote quickly became synonymous with “crazy.” Before long anyone who acted in a strange or unusual fashion was referred to as camote: El está camote. Or if someone is just a little whacky: Ella está un poco camote. You can also turn this into a question thus: ¿Estás camote? “Are you crazy?”

way we say it

By Daniel Soto

Another way to employ this little locution is when you happen to be madly in love with someone. You might say: Estoy camote por ella. “I’m crazy for her.” Or if something goes completely haywire and you want to ask what is going on you might say ¿Que es esto tan camote? Or ¿Que camoteada es esta?

Doña Henrietta Boggs, a North American lady who was once married to Costa Rican president and legend José Figures Ferrer, wrote that Don Pepe, as her husband was known, was always falling under the spell of this or that political thinker or intellectual.

So whenever he did seemingly crazy things, his government ministers would ask themselves: ¿Ahora por quien esta camote? Who’s he gone crazy for now? So, you see, anyone can get a little camote now and then, even presidents, as I’m sure many of you would agree.
Now, a brief word of advice: Está camote is strictly a Costa Rican expression, so when outside the country, use it with caution. Probably owing to the vegetable’s elongated shape, in Spain, for example, camote is used to refer to a certain prominent feature of male genitalia. . . . I think a word to the wise should suffice here.

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Real estate
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San José, Costa Rica, Monday, April 9, 2007, Vol. 7, No. 69

Amaca bridge
A.M. Costa Rica/Donna Lynn Norton
Puente Amaca undulates beneath the tires of a four-wheel-drive vehicle
Bridge not for faint-of-heart guards road to Volcán Platanar
By Donna Lynn Norton
Special to A.M.Costa Rica

Like an ocean wave, Puente Amaca, a suspension span over the Río Caño Grande, flows and changes shape according to the location of a vehicle going over it. 

On the way to visit the back side of Volcán Platanar a motorist can encounter this bridge not far from Pueblo Viejo de Venecia de San Carlos, Alajuela.  From Ciudad Quesada, a driver would go east through Agua Zarcas to Venecia, then take a right to Pueblo Viejo de Venecia. 

Volcán Platanar is the mountain whose front side view is seen from downtown Ciudad Quesada or San Carlos,

If one is brave enough to cross the bridge in a regular
passenger vehicle, a visitor can get within about a 30-minute walking distance to the top of the mountain of Volcán Platanar, with its landmark two-horned top.  Using a four-wheel drive car, a motorist can get very close to the two horns.

The mountain has species of plants that were growing in the time of the dinosaur.  Quezals, large-size toucans, exotic orchids and spiders, the coveted Semana Santa Palmito tree, rolling hills, vistas, and birds with unique calls make their home here 

From near the top of Volcán Platanar, looking north on a clear day Lake Nicaragua is visible.

Then tourists have to go back over the bridge!  Locals say "Hold on, go slow, be brave."

Cuba's newspaper condemns release of Posada into house arrest by U.S. judge
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Cuba's official newspaper has condemned the release from jail of a Cuban-born U.S. intelligence operative who is awaiting trial on immigration fraud charges.

The newspaper Granma credited the release of Luis Posada Carriles to "Miami mafia blackmail" and accused the United States of having double standards in its war on terrorism.

A federal judge in the southern U.S. state of Texas released Posada on a $350,000 bond Friday.

But the judge said the 79-year-old Posada must remain confined to his home in the southern U.S. city of Miami and submit to electronic monitoring.
Federal prosecutors immediately requested he remain jailed while they determine if they can appeal the decision. The prosecutors said Posada could also be arrested by immigration officials who have a deportation order for him.

Posada has been in U.S. custody since 2005, when he was arrested on charges that he illegally entered the country. He is wanted in Cuba and Venezuela on charges of involvement in the deadly bombing of a Cuban jetliner in 1976. Both countries have accused the United States of protecting a terrorist.

A U.S. immigration judge had ruled that Posada be deported. But the judge ordered Posada not be sent to Cuba, where he was born, or Venezuela, where he is a naturalized citizen, because of fears he could be tortured. Posada has denied any wrongdoing.

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San José, Costa Rica, Monday, April 9, 2007, Vol. 7, No. 69

Ambulances promote
proposed special tax

Cruz Roja ambulances have become rolling advertisements pushing a proposal to provide long-term funding for the agency.

Addressed to legislative deputies, the sign says: "Cruz Roja is counting on you." In bold red letters is the number of the expediente or bill number: 16032.

The plan is to put a surcharge of 80 colons per line on the monthly telephone bills that are collected by the Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad or any other telephone companies. That's about 15 U.S. cents.
cruz roja ambulance
A.M. Costa Rica photo

Crime, poverty, corruption erode democracy, U.S. reports
Special to A.M. Costa Rica

Latin America faces a number of challenges that threaten to erode citizens’ confidence in the benefits of democracy, the U.S. State Department said Friday.  These challenges include the expanding gap between rich and poor, corruption and inefficiency in government, high rates of crime and the inability to provide adequate security to citizens.

The statements were contained in a new report on human rights and democracy covering the year 2006.

State Department official Barry Lowenkron said in releasing the report that the principal challenge for the Western Hemisphere is “democratic development.”

Lowenkron, assistant secretary of State for democracy, human rights and labor, told reporters this challenge was highlighted by President George Bush during his March trip to Latin America.  Lowenkron added that the United States helps democracies in the region “improve their capacity to deliver on the demands of their citizens for a better life.” 

The report said U.S. support for the Americas includes helping nations conduct democratic elections.  The United States helped with voter registration and education programs, technical assistance to electoral commissions and support for electoral monitoring missions.

The report hailed the “vibrant political competition” and strong voter turnout for the elections held in the Americas in 2006.  It said that in Mexico, a challenge by the losing candidate was resolved peacefully by the country’s federal electoral tribunal.

The report said that in Ecuador, a closely contested presidential race was settled through a free and fair runoff election, while in Haiti presidential, parliamentary and local elections successfully were concluded for the first time in a decade.  That election, the report said, restored elected governance throughout Haiti and helped consolidate stable and permanent democratic institutions.

With a few notable exceptions, governments in the Western Hemisphere generally respected human rights in 2006, said the report.

The exceptions included Venezuela and Cuba, which the
report said remain isolated from the region’s democratic norm.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez accelerated his drive to consolidate control in the executive branch and took aggressive actions to restrict freedom of expression, said the report.  It added that Chávez also introduced legislation to restrict the activities of non-governmental organizations.
U.S. programs in Venezuela continued to focus on strengthening civil society’s effort to promote democratic reform in the country.

Lowenkron lamented a crackdown on the media in Venezuela, and the “terrible crackdown” on non-government groups in the country.

This type of behavior by the Venezuelan government, he said, “runs against the grain” of the move to democracy in the region.

In Cuba, the report said, the transfer of authority from Fidel Castro to his brother Raúl Castro did not represent a lessening of totalitarian rule, “but did underscore that a change is under way” in the country.

The United States is taking a proactive approach to ensuring a genuine democratic transition in Cuba, said the report.  This approach includes support to independent civil society leaders and democracy advocates, “so that Cubans can, in the future, determine their government through free and fair elections.”

The report had good news about Colombia.  The Colombian government succeeded in demobilizing almost all members of right-wing paramilitary groups. The report said this represented an “unprecedented opportunity for progress in bringing peace and security” to the country.

The United States has approved $48 million from funds for fiscal years 2005-2007 to help Colombian demobilization and reintegration programs.

In Central America, the report said, the United States supported projects to strengthen civil society, including programs to advance press freedom and to encourage greater civic participation in governance.  The United States also committed $21.1 million in 2006 to help signatories of a U.S. free-trade agreement with Central America and the Dominican Republic carry out the trade pact’s labor rights provisions.

More letters from our readers
Wal-Mart and plastic bags

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

The city of San Francisco is banning plastic bags at supermarkets.   I wish it was San Francisco Costa Rica, but it was in California.

Now that Wal-Mart has taken control of Mas x Menos maybe all the A.M. Costa Rica readers can e-mail Lee Scott the head guy at Wal-Mart (ethics@wal-mart.com).  Ask him to stop the silly practice of putting a newpaper in a plastic bag.

And for groceries ask him to make Mas x Menos use bags made of paper.  Also ask him to have his stores install recycle bins for glass, plastic and paper in front of the store and challenge his competitors to do the same. Lee Scott gave an interview recently on cable where he said Wal-Mart made more profits being enviromentally friendly. This does not seem to have made any changes here in Costa Rica.

The clerks at Mas x Menos and other grocery stores seem to love to use lots of plastic bags.  They often put one small item in a plastic bag when there is plenty of room in other bags.

I wish that Wal-Mart would show the government of Costa Rica how to clean up the enviroment by starting this simple process.

Angela Jimenez Rocha

Everything depends on security

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

The “education first” mantra of Costa Rica is a noble and valid one — until a child, or his or her parents, become a victim of a heinous crime because a criminal was let go because there was no room in Costa Rica’s dilapidated detention facilities. Without security, nothing else matters, not even education.  That being said, without education, there can be no security.
A better court system, tourism police, traffic police, the OIJ, etc. means absolutely nothing without prison cells. Crime will continue to spiral out of control until this indisputable fact is dealt with effectively. Whether the Costa Rican citizenry is ready to swallow the cost of building a new prison system remains to be seen. Quite frankly, unlike investing in schools, there are downsides to building prisons. Unfortunately, there are even more downsides to not building prisons.
Finding the balance between peace, education and security is something that Costa Rica does better than any other country in Central America. I am confident that Costa Rica will continue to rise to the challenge, and that President Arias is steering the country in the right direction.
Frank Gayaldo, Jr.
Lodi, California

In support of Jack Caine

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

In regards to a recent news article that covered the fact that Jack Caine’s organization charges against the Costa Rican government’s will indeed go to international arbitration;

Here is wishing Mr. Caine and his associates all godspeed in getting a maximum arbitration settlement of the full $200 million that they are seeking for the criminal mishandeling of the case by the Costa Rican government.
Costa Rica needs to be spanked hard in the world courts of arbitration to bring a minimum of justice to this mess and to offset the additional 7 to 10 million dollars of invester money this dirty little country plans on stealing from the inuestors by way of their trial of Oswaldo Villalobos.  The only outcome of that current farce in court is that it will allow the Ticos to label the remaining investor money as “money laundering” so that they can it “legally” steal it.
Good luck, Mr. Caine. There are many of us hoping you win everything you are seeking.
David Laurence
Houston, Texas

EDITOR'S NOTE: The story said that the case had been registered with the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes. There a more steps before arbitration actually takes place, and the case may be dismissed at any of these stages.

The Osa must be protected

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

Words like saddle club, vineyards and winery, multiple golf courses, five-star luxury hotels, shuttle to cruise ships,  600-slip marina for crafts up to 250 feet, recently struck horror throughout the Osa community when e-mails circulated with a link to a Web site inviting investors and pre-sales for a luxury planned community to be the largest of its kind in Costa Rica, to be built on one of the large farms near Puerto Jiménez.

It was slick packaging that could have been selling a mega development anywhere in the world.  Anywhere, except the Osa Peninsula!

Do mega developers and government agencies really understand anything about the Osa Peninsula?  If they did, would they really want to impose such an incongruous project upon the landscape that is one of the richest displays of nature on Planet Earth, where up to 50 percent of the biodiversity of Costa Rica, and 2.5 percent of the entire world flourishes?  It is also one of the most environmentally sensitive areas on earth.

Osa represents that “100 percent Natural” idea that the marketing campaigns sell to the world about Costa Rica. It is the best of Costa Rica.  To quote President Óscar Arias, “It is a rare treasure . . . we have truly been blessed with the task of guarding this unique treasure, and we have an immense responsibility to be good stewards.”

But what will happen to the sweetness of the Golfo Dulce when golf courses and lawns are using ground water reserves and polluting creeks and rivers with pesticides and fertilizers? And how is it possible to have hundreds of cruise ships, yachts, sport fishing boats,  and 250-foot vessels emitting their petroleum residues into the water? Try to imagine more than 1,000  boats of varying size, all cruising the tiny tropical fiord all at once. How would the dolphins and whales come up for air with out hitting their heads on fiberglass?  It would look more like New York harbor than the serene gulf that it is.

And what about the garbage?  While recycling helps some, there is still a lot of non-reusable, non-recyclable trash that will accumulate in the new landfill when it finally opens. Is there a place these developments can dump their waste that will not seep into creeks and rivers and into the gulf and ultimately into the Pacific? The tiny port town of Puerto Jiménez, now bursting at the seams with some 6,000+ people, does not have the infrastructure to support such proposed rapid growth of population.

It is possible to create an environmentally conscious and socially responsible development in an ecologically sensitive area.  Several boutique, lodge-style hotels in Osa have achieved this, and retreat centers and modest rental homes and eco villages have carved their unique spaces out of this biosphere, and done so with little endangerment to the wildlife, the marine life, and the prolific fauna surrounding them. But we are nearing the saturation point.   Osa is a premiere travel destination because it is one of the few places on earth where “mega mania” has not struck.

Mega development is not compatible with conservation. Period.  How can you conserve one beach, and have a mega development 2 coves down? Marine life does not recognize invisible barriers between them. We are constantly reminded how delicate a balance there is with the countless species who inhabit this land and that the biodiversity that exists only in Osa Peninsula, which barely includes us humans.

The tender balance between man and his environment has never really been achieved.  But landowners, environmental and ecological organizations, and visitors to the Osa Peninsula see it as the proving ground for such efforts.

President Arias said, “We have come together . . . not simply because we love one mystical peninsula, but because we know saving it is part of a broader challenge, a first step to making peace with nature on a wider scale.”

Now is the time to persuade developers to shelve these kinds of plans.  We need encourage Costa Rican authorities to protect Golfo Dulce and the entire peninsula with conservative measures that rethink the impact that approving any kind of mega project would have on the on the fragile eco system. It is possible to sustain a community that can enjoy the treasure that Osa is without mega projects that are incompatible with conservation and protection of Costa Rica’s greatest resource.
Please let Osa Peninsula stand as an example to the world of man’s best attempt to live in harmony with the earth, and make Peace with Nature. Let us be the model for how to build, plant, live, with positive impact on the environment, rather than a constant threat to it. Let us secure the Osa Peninsula, from over-development, from mega projects, and from over-population and severe impact by humans.  Let Osa stay “off the beaten track” and out of mainstream marketing and development.

If the Osa Campaign is to be “at the forefront of a new presidential Initiative, Peace with Nature,” can we trust them to fight not only for conservation of the corridor between Corcovado and Piedras Blancas, but for the entire Golfo Dulce and Osa Peninsula region, to protect the clarity of the water, to protect the diversity of life? I hope so! Our future generations are counting on it.
Tao Watts
real estate consultant and
a member of Women of the Osa.
Osa Peninsula

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San José, Costa Rica, Monday, April 9, 2007, Vol. 7, No. 69

Zach Johnson outplays Tiger Woods to win Masters title
By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

American Zach Johnson has held off world No. 1 compatriot Tiger Woods to win the first major golf tournament of the year — The Masters in Augusta, Georgia.

After Woods briefly grabbed the lead early in the final round and made a charge on the back nine, the 31-year-old Johnson made three birdies in a four-hole run to finish with a three-under-par 69 Sunday. He ended the tournament with a one-over par score of 289, tying the record for the highest winning score in Masters history.

Woods ended up in a three-way tie for second place — at three-over 291 — with South Africans Retief Goosen and
Rory Sabbatini. American Jerry Kelly and Justin Rose of England were another shot back in a fifth-place tie at 292.

Johnson had failed to make the second round cut in seven of his 11 prior appearances in major tournaments. His only prior win on the PGA Tour came in Atlanta in 2004.

Stuart Appleby, who was trying to become the first Australian to win the Masters, came into the final round with a one-shot lead over Woods and Rose. But he ended the day with a three-over round of 75 to share seventh place (293) with Padraig Harrington, who was trying to become the first Irish player to win a major in 60 years.

Johnson takes home a first-place check of $1.3 million out of a total purse of $7.25 million.

Costa Rican cyclist to participate in four-day mountain bike event in California
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Federico Ramírez, the Costa Rican cyclist, was heading to California today to take part in the Sea Otter Classic, a four-day mountain bike event.

The competition plays out in Monterey Thursday thorough Sunday. The Sunday event is a 7-km. cross country event
in which racers have to confront a number of obstacles.

Ramírez hopes to gains points for world ranking via the competition, said a spokesman for his sponsor,  La Ruta de los Conquistadores, Costa Rica's own mountain bike race.

More than 10,000 professionals and amateurs will participate.

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