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Pulished Wednesday, April 12, 2017, in Vol. 17, No. 73
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Juan Santamaría parade draws kids and president
Juan Santamaria
                            parade
Municipalidad de Alajuela photos
School children stand in front of the statue of Juan Santamaría during Tuesday’s annual parade in Alajuela celebrating the hero of the 1856 Battle of Rivas. The parade was attended by Costa Rican President Luis Guillermo Solís, pictured in the left photo in grey suit, along with his longtime partner and First Lady Mercedes Peñas Domingo. The parade is a cornerstone of the national legal holiday where most Costa Ricans have the day off work. It also happens to fall during Semana Santa.


Issues important to expats are unlikely to be noted
in upcoming Estado de la Nación report for 2017

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Poder Judicial will be the focus of an extensive report that will be released a week from today.

This is another product of the Programa Estado de la Nación that is sponsored by the Consejo Nacional de Rectores and the Defensoría de los Habitantes.

The program is best known for its annual report on the state of the nation which treats, in details, the good and bad points of Costa Rica.

This judicial report will be the second. The first came in April 2015, and an internet search shows that the document caused hardly a ripple in the national media.

This year the program promises to analyze the voting patterns of the magistrates who make up the constitutional court, the Sala IV.

The eight-chapter document also is described as treating judicial politics. Magistrates are selected by the legislature so party politics enters into the selection process.

The Poder Judicial also includes the Judicial Investigating Organization, and magistrates also select the nation’s chief prosecutor.

The contents of the document came from seven workshops with 62 participants as well as 16 persons who read the drafts and made suggestions, said the program in a news release. Many individuals who provided information also were credited for their assistance.

Also among the topics reported to be in the document is a study of how the judicial administration functions and the reason for imprisonment in Costa Rica.

The document is expected to be highly technical and sociological with mountains of data, but those issues important to expats probably will not be mentioned.

These include land theft and frauds and illegal appropriate of maritime zone land.

Poder
                            Judicial
Poder Judicial graphic
Report findings may ignore expat issues.

These are issues that are mentioned repeatedly by A.M. Costa Rica readers. The newspaper has called upon the judiciary to set up special courts to resolve land issues without success.

The legislature has not acted either to end the favorable treatment afforded land thieves.

Most expats are aware that the judicial process is glacially slow and that criminals can buy their way out of conviction.

An informal assessment of the Sala IV voting by reporters has shown that magistrates are vulnerable to emotional appeals and that they frequently use decisions to create laws.

The constitutional court came to be in 1989 when lawmakers created it as a part of the Corte Suprema de Justicia. It serves as a court of last resort where residents go to solve problems with the bureaucracy.

The court handles thousands of cases each year. Some hardly reach the level of a constitutional case, but the magistrates accept them anyway.

If a resident cannot obtain records from a municipality, a Sala IV appeal is a likely result rather than adjudicating the case in a lower court, a lengthy process.

Persons who cannot receive medical treatment or special pharmaceuticals frequently go to the court, and the magistrates nearly always order the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social to provide what is needed.

But many times the court decisions and orders are ignored, frequently by government bodies.

Although there are fines and other penalties in the law, enforcement appears to be lax.

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A.M. Costa Rica's  Second news page
San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, April 12, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 73
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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.
Legal Services

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Credit card study finds fault in plans

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Credit card companies are misleading their customers with their special interest plans by not providing accurate and complete information in their contracts, monthly statements, policies and publicity.

That's the main finding of the latest comparative study in the credit card market, carried out by Ministerio de Economía, Industria y Comercio.

According to the research, the main credit card issuers offer special programs to buy certain products with reduced or no interest at all over a determined period of time ranging from one to 24 months.

These purchases are linked to the main credit account of the customers. That is the first problem, since the monthly statements are confusing and it is hard to differentiate the regular interests from the special ones and keep track of a budget, said the study report.

In terms of contracts, researchers said they found the existence of abusive clauses. Among them, those who tell the customers that they agree to abide by their contract only and refuse to take any dispute before authorities.

In fact, many of the credit card companies hide from customers their right to settle any dispute by using the free legal mediation service provided by the economics ministry, said the study report.

Information in regards to commissions, administrative fees and penalties are also unclear, it added. Finally, the document warns about how some of the banks make it hard or impossible to make extraordinary payments to the principal of a debt.

“Many cardholders do not know that in case of delayed payment, they might lose the special benefits of those plans and the bank may request full payment. This limits the possibilities of a proper debt management,” said Welmer Ramos, who was the economics minister when the study results were reported. minister.

The credit card issuers included in the analysis are: Bancrédito, BCT, Banco de Costa Rica, CrediSimán, Credix, Credomatic, Davivienda, Lafise, Banco Nacional, NovaScotia, Scotiabank y Promérica.

According to the report made by the ministry, Credix World accounts for the least compliant entity in terms of providing accurate and easy to understand information in their special programs, followed by Banco Davivienda.

As of Oct. 31, 2016, there were 31 credit card issuers in the country, providing 468 different types of them. This means 2,334,437 actual cards are in the hands of customers. The total debt in this financial instrument accounts for 1,005,000 million colons. That's 3.34 percent of the country's gross domestic product. The average debt is 430,000 colons.

According to the last comparative report released by Ministerio de Economía on Dec. 21, 2016, the lowest interest rate belonged to the Banco Popular Visa card for small businesses. Its annual interest rate is 20 percent in colons and 10.5 percent in dollars. It is followed by the Banco Nacional’s Small Business card that charges a 20 percent yearly interest in colons only.

The third lowest interest rate is offered by Banco Lafise through its Corporate Business Mastercard. It charges 23 percent in colons and 17 percent in dollars on a yearly basis.

Credit cards issued by the companies Dos Piños and ANDE have even lower rates but they are not included here because it applies only to its workers and members.

On the other hand, the cards with the highest interest rates are those issued by Banco BCT under the name Clásica, Dorada y Empresarial. The yearly interest here is 50.4 percent in colons and 33.6 in dollars.

After these, Bank of Nova Scotia charges 49.9 percent in colons and 32.2 percent in dollars each year. Similar case is Banco Davivienda, whose rate is 49 percent in colones and 30 percent in dollars in four of  its products.

The comparative study also concludes that 80 percent of all credit cards have an annual interest rate between 40 and 50 percent in colons.

Talks start on Caja pension system reform

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Talks to define the future reforms of the country's pension system are already underway after a group of 10 representatives of the civil society were sworn in last week by authorities of the Caja Costarricense del Seguro Social.

The work group will be in charge of analyzing and proposing changes to assure the sustainability of the Régimen de Invalidez, Vejez y Muerte, which is the country's pension regime that most people are enrolled in.

Members of the group come from several different backgrounds to provide a voice to a diversity of interests. Three of them are government officials, three more represent the employers, and the last three speak on behalf of three different workers associations: one for cooperatives, another one for unions and one more speak for the Solidarismo.

Solidarismo is a form of employer and employee organization whereby both parties set money apart for a common fund, out of which the workers receive extra payments or loans.

The talks will be moderated by another member picked up by the board of directors from Caja.

These are expected to go on for 90 days and after that period a general document will be filed to the board of directors which will decide what recommendations will be enforced and which will be pitched.

The talks come after a long national discussion about the financial sustainability of the pension system of the Caja, which is at risk of going broke if early measures are not applied, according to a study made by Universidad de Costa Rica last year.

The research says that the retirement age in the country should be increased up to 70 years of age and the monthly workers contributions to the regime should reach an average of 26 percent on a 10 years period.

As of today, the minimum retirement age is 65 years for both men and women, except for those who have worked for over 40 years, who may apply for retirement at 61.5 years old. Workers under the Caja regime receive a pension equal to 60 percent of the average of their best 240 salaries.

If those measures aren't applied, the system will start facing financial problems from 2022 to 2028 and slide into bankruptcy before 2034, the experts said.

The financial hardship of this regime has been caused by a sharp decrease in the fertility rates of the country in the last 35 years. According to data from the Caja, 45 years ago, there were 45 people working for each retiree. Today, there are 6.7 active workers for each retiree.    

Costa Rica also maintains three more retirement regimes. Magisterio Nacional enrolls all workers in the education field, while Poder Judicial has one for its members. The latter has also been on the spotlight for financial hardship, which could force workers to pay a 30 percent tax in their pensions.


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A.M.
Costa Rica

Third News Page
U.S. Tax
San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, April 12, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 73
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Law and society divided over abortions in Costa Rica, professor says
By Larissa Arroyo Navarrete

In Costa Rica, women have had the right to abortion since 1970. Well, more or less.

The concept of the “unpunished abortion,” established in article 121 of the penal code, permits the termination of a pregnancy as long as the procedure is consensual, performed by a doctor (or, if necessary, by an authorized obstetrician), and is the only way to protect the life or health of the woman.

This is commonly called a “therapeutic abortion”. And while it may be technically permissible, in practice the public hospitals where most Costa Ricans receive care refuse to offer the procedure except when a woman’s life is in imminent danger. As in the case of an ectopic pregnancy, for instance.

For many women whose pregnancies constitute a physical or emotional risk, including women carrying deformed fetuses that will never survive outside the womb, rape victims, and pregnant girls, abortion is never an option.

This difference between the law and social practice is now the source of a legal battle that is dividing Costa Rican society. The case in question involves a 12-year-old girl known under the pseudonym Andrea, who was impregnated by her father and prevented from terminating her pregnancy.

It exemplifies the contradictions of this Central American country.

On the one hand, Costa Rica boasts a very low maternal mortality rate, has ratified most international human rights treaties, whose requirements are privileged above its own national constitution), and decommissioned its army in 1948 to invest instead in health and education.

On the other, the majority-Catholic country is not secular. And abortion continues to be taboo for healthcare workers. As a result, the reproductive rights of women and girls are not real rights but “blue” laws, or unheeded statutes that exist on paper only.

In Andrea’s case, the lack of a technical protocol that provides legal protection to doctors who perform abortions meant that the medical procedure, which isn’t only not criminal but legally guaranteed, was never offered.

The girl’s life story started making headlines in February 2017 when her mother, using the only resource at her disposal to try to activate the judicial system, went public about the sexual violence Andrea had suffered from her father.

As Andrea’s mother put it, “After she told me about what happened with her father, she became extremely anxious and told me she didn’t want to exist in this world any longer because of everything that had happened.”

Andrea is depressed, says her mother, barely eating, suffering extreme nausea from the pregnancy and, critically, says she does not want to have the baby.

Rather than call for Costa Rican law to be enforced, the media has offered a platform for religious figures to voice their opinions.

The public debate about Andrea’s case is being approached not from a medical or legal perspective but via a Christian viewpoint.

Churches and anti-choice organizations have contacted the girl and her mother, trying to convince them not to pursue the idea of terminating the pregnancy.

But there have also been some offers of help. The Asociación Ciudadana ACCEDER, of which I am a member, offered legal counsel to help Andrea’s family make her case to the
Larissa Arroyo
Larissa Arroyo Navarrete
government.

But, in general, the public discourse around Andrea’s situation is one in which the words of religious leaders, originally published in national media outlets, have been reiterated throughout Costa Rican society.


The case demonstrates that even when confronted with a
12-year-old incest victim, who says that she wants to die and to abort her pregnancy, Costa Rica’s legal and medical establishment do not offer legal or medical responses.

The country has shown itself immersed in prejudice, stereotypes and traditional gender roles, insisting that women carry a pregnancy to term even when it is clearly affecting their life and health.


This goes completely against the recent recommendations from the Organization of American States’ Expert Committee that follows up on the Belém do Pará Convention on sexual violence and child pregnancy.

Other Central American countries, including Honduras, El Salvador and Nicaragua also violate women’s rights by outlawing abortion under any circumstances, even when a woman’s life is in danger.

In Costa Rica, we thought we were different from our neighbors who disdain a woman’s life and health. After all, national laws allow abortion to protect not just the life of the woman but also her health as defined by the World Health Organization to cover well-being in the holistic, emotional as well as physical, sense.

But it turns out that’s not enough to guarantee access to abortion for those legally entitled to it. Costa Rica is no model state in protecting women’s rights.

Strategic litigation will be abortion rights’ groups’ main vehicle for change, as it was in recent years following the cases of Ana and Aurora, two Costa Rican women denied abortions despite having dangerously malformed fetuses.

They took their cases to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and described the torture of carrying a fetus that could never survive birth; of having their wombs act as tombs for their unborn babies; and the suffering it was causing not just them but also their fetuses.

“He was drowning in my stomach for weeks,” 32-year-old Aurora told La Nación newspaper, “with his lungs outside his body, ripped open by my own organs.”

The highly visible international cases of Ana and Aurora have compelled the Costa Rican government to write a technical norm that it insists will further enshrine legal protection for medical personnel who perform an abortion to avoid endangering the life and health of a pregnant woman.

And none too soon; stories of dangerous clandestine abortions circulate. As for Andrea, she will become a mother at 13, giving birth to her father’s child.

Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared in The Conversation. Larissa Arroyo Navarrete is a professor of human rights at the Universidad de Costa Rica and at Universidad Nacional.


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Study shows 75 percent of deep-sea animals produce their own light
By the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute
press staff

Ever since explorer William Beebe descended into the depths in a metal sphere in the 1930s, marine biologists have been astounded by the number and diversity of glowing animals in the ocean. Yet few studies have actually documented the numbers of glowing animals at different depths.

In a new study in “Scientific Reports,” Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute researchers Séverine Martini and Steve Haddock show that three quarters of the animals in Monterey Bay waters between the surface and 4,000 meters deep can produce their own light.

You would think it would be easy to count the number of glowing, or bioluminescent, animals in the ocean, just by looking at videos or photographs taken at different depths.

Unfortunately, very few cameras are sensitive enough to show the pale glow of many marine animals. Below 300 meters, which is around 1,000 feet, the ocean is essentially pitch black, so animals don’t need to glow very brightly. Also most animals don’t glow continuously because making light takes extra energy and can attract predators.

Because of the difficulty in counting glowing animals at depth, most previous estimates of the proportion of glowing animals were based on qualitative observations made by researchers peering out the windows of submersibles. Ms. Martini and Haddock’s study is the first ever quantitative analysis of the numbers and types of individual glowing animals at different depths.

The researchers compiled data on every animal larger than one centimeter that appeared in video from 240 dives by remotely operated vehicles in and around Monterey Canyon.

They counted over 350,000 individual animals, each of which had been identified by video technicians using a vast database known as the Video Annotation and Reference System. The database contains over five million observations of deep-sea animals, and has been used as a source of data for more than 360 research papers.

Ms. Martini, the lead author of the recent study, compared the list of animals seen during the 240 remote controlled dives with a list of animals and animal groups that were known to be bioluminescent.

This list was based on a review of previous scientific papers, as well as firsthand observations by Haddock and others. As an indication of the lack of research in this area, the most complete source of bioluminescence information for marine animals was a paper published in 1987, 30 years ago.

Martini divided the observed animals into five categories: definitely bioluminescent, highly likely to be bioluminescent, very unlikely to be bioluminescent, definitely not bioluminescent, and undefined where not enough information was available to determine the categorization.

Because scientists know so little about deep-sea animals, 20 to 40 percent of the animals seen below 2,000 meters were classed as “Undefined.”

Looking through the data, Martini and Haddock were surprised to find that the proportion of glowing to non-glowing animals was pretty similar from the surface all the way down to 4,000 meters.

Deep sea critter
Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute photo
Deep-sea tomoptorid worm lit by lights on a remotely operated vehicle (top) and emitting its own light (bottom).

Although the total number of glowing animals decreased with depth, something that had been previously observed, this was apparently due to the fact that there are simply fewer animals of any kind in deeper water.

Even though the proportion of glowing to non-glowing animals was similar at all depths, the researchers found that different groups of animals were responsible for the light produced at different depths.

For example, from the sea surface down to 1,500 meters, most of the glowing animals were jellyfish or comb jellies. From 1,500 meters to 2,250 meters down, worms were the most abundant glowing animals. Below that, small tadpole-like animals known as larvaceans accounted for about half of the glowing animals observed.

The analysis also showed that some groups of animals were much more likely to glow than others. For example, 97 to 99.7 percent of the cnidarians (jellyfish and siphonophores) in the videos are able to produce their own light. In contrast, only about half of the fishes and cephalopods (squids and octopuses) are bioluminescent.

The finding that the proportion of glowing to non-glowing animals is relatively constant at all depths suggests that scientists may be able to estimate the total numbers of animals at specific depths just by measuring the amount of light produced by animals at each depth.

Unfortunately, researchers do not yet have instruments that can reliably measure the total bioluminescence from all animals at a given depth. Researchers concluded their paper by writing, “Given that the deep ocean is the largest habitat on Earth by volume, bioluminescence can certainly be said to be a major ecological trait on Earth.”


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  • ALL tours include a highly INFORMATIVE two-day seminar by the country’s renowned experts
Sample Video of the tour HERE

Toll Free from U.S. 877-884-2502 or 800-365-2342
Costa Rica LANDLINE 011-506-2261-8892
Costa Rica MOBILE 011-506-8849-0081
Skype: costarisa - E-mail: christopher@costaricabooks.com

All tours led by Christopher Howard
Costa Rica’s most read relocation author
See www.liveincostarica.com for details and itineraries
9168-3/17/17

HIdden Garden
                              graphic
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
Real estate rental agents
Real estate for rent
Business
wanted
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
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NOW is the time to install our new super-efficient solar hot water! New model for condos
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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.

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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)


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, Wednesday, April 12, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 73
Calendar
Opinion
Classifieds
Real Estate
Lifestyle
Food
About us
 
Spicer forced to backtrack
on Nazi Germany comments


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

There were audible gasps in the White House press room Tuesday when spokesman Sean Spicer appeared to forget about the Holocaust in asserting that the Syrian military's use of sarin gas on civilians exceeded the atrocities of Nazi Germany.

With Spicer's credibility already strained, opposition Democrats and others began calling for the White House press secretary to be removed from his position.

Spicer, known for previous incidents of clumsy wording on the White House podium, said: "You had someone as despicable as Hitler who didn't even sink to using chemical weapons," making a comparison to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's military using chemical weapons on its own civilians last week.

When a reporter subsequently asked, "What about the Holocaust?" Spicer responded that he understood the point but said Hitler used chemical weapons in what the White House spokesman termed Holocaust centers. The German dictator, Spicer said, was not using the gas on his own people the same way that Assad is doing.

Indeed, shortly after comments on other cable television news channels, Spicer issued a further written clarification saying he was in no way trying to lessen the horrendous nature of the Holocaust, but rather trying to draw a distinction of the tactic of using airplanes to drop chemical weapons on population centers.

That explanation did not mollify some.

"Sean Spicer must be fired and the president must immediately disavow his spokesman's statement," said the Democratic Party's leader in the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi of California. "Either he is speaking for the president, or the president should have known better than to hire him."

Pelosi noted Spicer's statements came on the first day of Passover, the story from the biblical Exodus celebrating the ancient Israelites' liberation from Egyptian slavery.

Late in the day, the chastened White House press secretary began making separate appearances on national news programs to apologize for his latest verbal gaffe.

“I just want to set the record straight on what was intended,” Spicer said as he shuttled outside the West Wing between live and taped appearances on several television networks.

Minutes earlier, on CNN, Spicer said that he mistakenly used an inappropriate and insensitive reference to the Holocaust. He was apologizing not only to Holocaust survivors but also to anyone who was offended by those comments. It was a mistake and that he shouldn’t have done it, he added.

The press secretary was accused of Holocaust denial by Steven Goldstein, executive director of New York's Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect.

The Holocaust was the systematic state-sponsored persecution and murder of 6 million Jews by the Nazi regime and its collaborators.


United Airlines CEO issues
new letter regarding incident


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

"No one should ever be treated this way," reads part of a new public statement issued Tuesday by United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz, following Sunday's incident when a passenger was bloodied after being dragged off an overbooked United airliner at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport.

The incident has gone viral through social media after being captured on other passengers' cell phones.

Munoz added that the company will conduct a review of how the airline handles overbooking situations and how it interacts with airport authorities and law enforcement. He said the company will release the results of its review April 30.

Munoz released two earlier statements staunchly supporting the crew, saying in a statement late Monday that United attendants followed established procedures when the passenger was forcibly removed.

White House spokesman Sean Spicer said President Donald Trump has seen what Spicer describes as the troubling video recorded on the United Airlines flight. Besides the global social media firestorm, the incident also has stirred up threats of a boycott.

Spicer told reporters at a White House briefing Tuesday the incident was unfortunate but does not necessarily need a federal response, adding there are plenty of law enforcement agencies available to conduct an investigation.

Because the Chicago to Louisville flight was overbooked, the crew asked passengers to voluntarily take another flight in exchange for financial compensation. According to media reports, the airline needed to make room for four of its employees.

No one volunteered, so the airline randomly selected four people, one of whom refused to leave, which resulting in his forced removal by three men who were identified as Chicago aviation security officers.

Video showing the man being dragged from the plane and later returning with a bloodied face was widely circulated on social media, drawing angry reactions. One passenger, Audra Bridges, who posted video of the incident, said the passenger was very upset when he was chosen and explained he was a physician who needed to get home in order to see patients the next morning. Bridges said the man appeared disoriented when he ran back onto the aircraft moments later.

Crew members eventually ordered everyone off the plane and did not let them return until the injured passenger was removed again on a stretcher.

Bridges said the passengers were shocked and appalled at the incident, which prompted threats of a boycott as the busy summer travel season begins.

The online backlash intensified when CEO Munoz used the euphemism re-accommodate in a Twitter posting Monday to describe the forcible removal of the passenger. However, he also said the airline was reaching out to the passenger to talk directly to him and further address and resolve this situation.

In the letter to employees, Munoz said the passenger raised his voice and refused to comply when he was initially asked to leave, and became more disruptive and belligerent in response to subsequent requests.

Crew members had no choice except to call Chicago Aviation Security officers to help remove the passenger, Munoz wrote.

In a statement late Monday, the Chicago Department of Aviation said the incident was not in accordance with our standard operating procedure and the actions of the aviation security officers are obviously not condoned by the department.

The statement added one officer involved has been placed on administrative leave, pending a review of the incident.

Munoz admitted to employees that the airline could learn from the incident but reiterated on his support of his employees' actions.


Russia’s alleged Taliban aid
questioned by Afghan state 


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Russia's role in Afghanistan was questioned again Tuesday when the provincial police chief in Uruzgan told Afghan media that intelligence reports showed visiting Russian generals were providing Taliban militants with weapons and training.

"Eleven Russians, including two women, dressed in doctor's uniforms and guarded by four armed Taliban, along with an Afghan translator, have been spotted in various parts of the province," Ghulam Farooq Sangari, Uruzgan police chief, said. "They have been enticing people against the government, providing training and teaching how to assemble land mines."

Russian military advisers have been spotted twice recently near Tirinkot, the Uruzgan capital, Haji Abdul Bari, a tribal elder in the province, said.

Taliban connections with Russia have increasingly come under the spotlight as Moscow seeks to increase its influence in the nation it once occupied and to counter Islamic State expansion from Afghanistan to neighboring Central Asian countries.

Mounting allegations of Russian military involvement on the ground in Afghanistan have drawn concern from U.S. and Afghan authorities that Russia is working behind the scenes to help the Taliban battle Afghan forces and militant groups in the country, like IS.

Russia has acknowledged political ties with the Taliban. But Russian officials say Moscow is not supplying Taliban militants with arms and training. They assert that their contacts with the Taliban are aimed at facilitating the peace process in Afghanistan.

Over the weekend, the Russian Embassy in Kabul issued a statement saying the Russian military was not helping Taliban militants.

"It is surprising that statesmen, deputies and high-ranking police officers, based on rumors and conjectures and without providing the public any evidence, allow themselves to publicly make irresponsible accusations against Russia in financing and supporting terrorism," the Russian statement said.

But the allegations of Russian-Taliban military ties are growing.

The governor of Kunduz province said last month that the Taliban were asking Moscow for weapons and training to counter the expanding influence of Islamic State groups in various parts of the country.

Despite the Russian denial, analysts say signs of Moscow's assistance to the Taliban have been felt in Afghanistan.

Kabul-based Taliban expert Wahid Muzhda said that Moscow had provided the Taliban with a well-equipped mobile clinic, along with a large supply of medicine to treat injured Taliban fighters in Helmand province, which borders Uruzgan.

A number of Afghan lawmakers accused Russia of allowing its military personnel to visit Taliban locations near the border with Pakistan, after a Russian military delegation visited the Waziristan tribal region in Pakistan, a sign of Moscow's deepening relations with Islamabad, which has been supporting the Taliban in Afghanistan.

The Afghan Foreign Ministry said it was investigating the reports.

Kabul and Washington, increasingly wary of the deepening ties between Russia and the Taliban, say Moscow's alliance with the militant group could complicate an already precarious security situation in the country.

"I believe what Russia is attempting to do is they are attempting to be an influential party in this part of the world," General Joseph Votel, chief of U.S. Central Command, told U.S. lawmakers last month. "I think it is fair to assume they may be providing some sort of support to [the Taliban] in terms of weapons or other things that may be there."


U.S. naval fleet moves
off North Korean coast


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Despite comments from the U.S. secretary of defense, the Navy says the USS Carl Vinson Strike Group is still participating in planned exercises with the Australian navy.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told reporters Tuesday at the Pentagon that the strike group was set to travel south for joint exercises with Australia but canceled its role there when the warships were directed north to the Western Pacific instead. Mattis said the move north was announced in an attempt to explain why the Vinson wasn't in that exercise.

"The Carl Vinson Strike Group has placed scheduled joint operations with Australia on an accelerated timeline in order to facilitate the transit north," Navy spokesman Lieutenant Loren Terry said.

The strike group includes its namesake aircraft carrier, the USS Carl Vinson, as well as three guided missile destroyers.

A military press release Saturday said the Vinson would operate in the Western Pacific rather than executing previously planned port visits to Australia. The press release did not mention U.S. participation in exercises with Australia.

Commander Dave Benham, director of media operations for the U.S. Pacific Command's Third Fleet, said the fleet operates to safeguard U.S. interests in the Western Pacific.

"The No. 1 threat in the region continues to be North Korea, due to its reckless, irresponsible and destabilizing program of missile tests and pursuit of a nuclear weapons capability," he said.

Pyongyang has repeatedly defied international warnings about conducting missile launches and testing nuclear devices.

Mattis said the Vinson group was called north to the Western Pacific without a specific demand signal, or threat seen emanating from the Korean Peninsula.

On Sunday, a North Korean Foreign Ministry official was quoted on state-run media as vowing to step up the country's defenses to protect itself from airstrikes like the one that the U.S. carried out against Syria last week.


Group says slave trade
booming now in Libya


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The International Organization for Migration says that young men from North Africa migrating to Libya or Europe in search of jobs increasingly are being caught up and auctioned off as cheap labor, in what has become a booming slave trade in Libya.

Testimony from dozens of young men who have survived their ordeals presents a shocking and destructive picture of a slave trade operated by smugglers in Libya profiting from the misery of others.

The organization reports that many young men, mainly from Nigeria, Ghana, Gambia, and Senegal, are targeted as potential victims when they arrive in Agadez, Niger, on their way to Libya.

The group says they often pay traffickers several hundred dollars to be transported to Libya and once they arrive, they are handed over to smugglers for sale. In other cases, the organization says, young men are kidnapped en route to their destination, held for ransom and then auctioned off to the highest bidder in Libya.

The group’s Chief of Mission for Libya Othman Belbeisi says the migrants are treated as commodities to be bought and sold on the slave market.

Belbeisi said the slave trade has been going on for some time, and it has become a flourishing enterprise over the last year.

“For example, if you go to the market and you can pay between $200 and $500 to get a migrant that will work with you on your daily jobs or support your work. Many of them escape. Many of them are kept in bondage, and many of them are even imprisoned inside an area where they are forced to work on a daily basis,” Belbeisi says.

The agency says that migrants often are abused, tortured, and discarded when they have outlived their value. It says women tend to be bought by private Libyan individuals, and then brought to homes where they are forced to be sex slaves.



More news of the Americas
From the Voice of America

Real estate services
Real estate for sale
Businesses for sale
Real estate for sale (paid category)


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
www.remax-oceansurf-cr.com The experts in buying property in Costa Rica, with more than 20 years experience and the largest networked team of agents in the country.  We can help you learn if investing in Costa Rica is right for you with our low-key, educational approach to sales. Our professional agents can tell you more about Costa Rica properties, including condos, homes, lots and & commercial real estate. Twelve (12) agents to serve you, from Playa Marbella to Playa Dante in the Guanacaste, through our Tamarindo and Flamingo offices. For more information, please contact our local phones: 506-2653-0073 Tamarindo / 506-2201-9056 Flamingo ~ Toll Free: 1-866-976-8898 or email:  info@remax-oceansurf-cr.com  or click here www.remax-oceansurf-cr.com
9145-1/2918

ReMax Playas del Coco
We are an award-winning Team of Professional Agents working with Costa Rica’s #1 Selling Real Estate Agency RE/MAX Prestige Ocean Properties. Get to KNOW, LIKE & TRUST us and let us help you find YOUR Pura Vida! We have over 30 years of experience to educate our buyers and sellers in all aspects of Real Estate.  For Information on condos, homes, lots, farms, ranches, commercial or development property
CONTACT US TODAY with NO OBLIGATION whatsoever.

Playas del Coco Click Here!

Playa Panama Click Here!

Playa Hermosa Click Here!
Peninsula Papagayo Click Here!

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San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, April 12, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 73
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Malakai Martinez
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Malakai Martinez rips through some waves to win the Open.

Teen surfer snags win in competition

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A 15-year-old surfer won the weekend’s Copa Lola as part of the surf circuit for Guanacaste this past weekend.

In a statement released by Tuesday, Malakai Martinez of Playa Tamarindo won the gold for the major category when his strategy of running the left waves during the final series helped his score.

With this recent victory, the young surfer climbs in the rankings that puts him as the favorite to the next title for the Circuito Guanacasteco next month in Playa Negra on May 6 and 7.  “The waves in Avellanas were very good and I’m really happy to win the Open for the first time,” Martinez said.

Meanwhile, in the women’s Open, the Nicaraguan Valentina Resano scored her second win of the season, organizers said.


Truck prohibitions to ease Easter traffic

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Trucks weighing over six tons may need to find an alternative route to enter San José on Easter Sunday.

The Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Transportes said that heavy-duty trucks will not be allowed to drive on roads such as Ruta 32 between 2 in the afternoon until 9 in the evening that Sunday. Other routes being restricted will be the Bernardo Soto, General Cañas and Florencio del Castillo highways.

According to Mario Calderón, the traffic police head, the fine for violating this rule will be around 51,316 colons. The measure is being implemented, Calderón said, to ensure a quicker return for commuters heading back at the end of the holidays from the beaches.

The public works ministry expects that many people will return to the greater metropolitan area on Sunday before the regular work and school schedules pick back up again.

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From Page 7:

Costa Rica gas prices among highest in region

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Pain at the pump is something heard throughout the United States ever since gasoline prices by the gallon were raised above $2. Now, many expats and Costa Ricans would agree that they wish that the price would go back to that.

Throughout Central America, pain at the pump station is fueled by an increasingly volatile and unstable market of petroleum products. Fostered by the wars and conflict and continued violence in the Middle East, companies have looked elsewhere for places to drill up and refine oil for vehicles. Venezuela is now out due to its own rising political crisis and an economy, reliant on oil, that is in tatters.

With that in mind, it seems a no-brainer that gas prices are among the highest of Central America in Costa Rica, which imports all of its oil. In a statement issued by the Ministerio de Economía, Comercio y Industria of El Salvador, the price for a gallon of gasoline in U.S. dollars was estimated to be an average $3.80 for Costa Rica.

This comes following a cut in the price back in November 2016 by the nation’s regulatory agency. The agency, the Autoridad Reguladora de los Servicios Públicos, said it took the steps after the Sala IV constitutional court concluded that the methodology that was being used was permissible.

At that time, the price of super was 562 colons a liter. That translates to $3.87 a U.S. gallon. Diesel was 427 a liter or about $2.94 a gallon. Now, both those prices have jumped, according to data from the Salvadoran ministry.

The price for diesel fuel was raised to about $3.16 and super fuel, for all those driving certain foreign-made car brands, came out to be a whopping $3.99 a gallon.

“Oil markets are saturated, despite efforts by the OPEC to reduce pumping and boost prices, which continue causing ups and downs in reference prices making them impossible to predict,” the ministry concludes.