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Published Thursday, April 13, 2017, in Vol. 17, No. 74
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A.M. Costa Rica photos/Conor Golden   
A.M. Costa Rica signing off for Semana Santa!
Semana Santa brings with it vacations to the coast where maybe one will catch a sunset such as the one pictured here at Guanacaste's Playa Flamingo.

Normally expats may notice some streets are filled with parked cars and motorcycles on the sidewalk during a Wednesday afternoon. For those still in the Central Valley, Semana Santa could bring a noted decrease in people and vehicles that can be seen with the image on the right.

A.M. Costa Rica is joining the Semana Santa vacationers with our own break. Readers, please be aware that there will not be a Friday edition of the newspaper tomorrow. The next installment of A.M. Costa Rica will return Monday, April 17.

Inactive corporations will get taxed if law passes
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Plenty of expats hold or formed inactive corporations to their own dwellings, motor vehicles and boats.

This is an asset protection measure, and an inactive corporation does not have to file tax returns, among other benefits.

That is because the law considers such a corporation as one without financial activities.

But many of them do. An audit by an international organization reported that between 2011 and 2013, the nation’s tax agency sanctioned in some way 3,331 inactive corporations for engaging in commerce.

Most were believed to have failed to register as a taxpayer to duck income taxes. The audit report also said that the Registro Nacional and the tax authorities were not supervising adequately corporations in general.

The study was by a team from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

Costa Rica is hoping to be invited to join the organization, and the Paris, France-based international organization is examining many aspects of government and society.

There are many forms of corporations in Costa
Rica, ranging from the well-known sociedad anomia and sociedad de responsibilidad limitada to the lesser known sociedad en nombre colectivo and sociedad en comandita simple. There also are branches of foreign corporations that are registered to do business here.

A proposed law, No. 20.327, would require the tax authorities, the Dirección General de Tributación, to register as active all the existing corporations. The Registro Nacional would be required to turn over all its data for this purpose upon passage of the bill.

Lawmakers have expressed concern that inactive corporations could be used to launder money and become involved in other illegal activities. The bill summary outlines these concerns and says that in many cases, government officials do not know where these corporations are located.

For expats with currently inactive corporations, the initial impact will seem to be be minimal. If the bill passes, corporation owners would have to file an annual tax return even if there had been no economic activity.

The bill has a good chance of passage because Costa Rican officials are working hard to meet all the requirements for membership in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

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San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, April 13, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 74
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A.M. Costa Rica's professional directory is where business people who wish to reach the English-speaking community may invite responses. If you are interested in being represented here, please contact the editor.
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I.R.S. Criminal and Civil Issues

Consult with a U.S. licensed Tax Attorney in Costa Rica concerning your I.R.S. Issues

Tax Fraud Investigation or Prosecution:
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I.R.S. Criminal Investigations, including non-filing of tax returns, tax evasion, filing false income tax returns, money laundering, currency reporting requirements, offshore banking reporting requirements, false statements, and false offer in compromise submissions.

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Costa Rica has happiest expat population, according to InterNations' new analysis

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A new survey released by the German-based InterNations placed Costa Rica in fourth place for countries that are the most-friendly to expats and their families. It also has, based on its results, the happiest expat population.

“Sunny Costa Rica has many perks besides its delightful weather. Apart from winning the gold medal as the country with the happiest expat population, it is also rated positively by a remarkable 91 percent of expat parents for a friendly attitude towards families,” the statement from the InterNations global network said.

“Additionally, seven out of ten parents (74 percent) are satisfied with the local leisure activities for their kids. Families will benefit from the great climate, too: 96 percent of all expats consider this to be an advantage of life abroad in Costa Rica.”

The top three of the group’s list are an eclectic mix of countries. Taking the top spot in the survey was the East African nation of Uganda as being the friendliest destination for expat families.

The next two were Israel and Taiwan, respectively. Behind Costa Rica in fifth place was Thailand and, despite grave security concerns and recent violence, México and Turkey also finished eighth and ninth in the survey.

This was part of the group’s annual Expat Insider survey where they asked 14,300 expatriates apparently representing over 174 different nationalities and living in 191 countries to rate and give information about expat life. The results were published Wednesday.

Here is what the results do not say, however: the questions being asked, how they were asked, in what way were they answered and how they were answered.

“Participants were asked to rate 43 different aspects of life abroad on a scale of one to seven. The rating process emphasized the respondents’ personal satisfaction with these aspects and considered both emotional topics as well as more factual aspects with equal weight,” the statement reads, “The respondents’ ratings of the individual factors were then bundled in various combinations to make a total of 16 subcategories.”

Only 46 percent of the expats surveyed had children of their own, according to the group’s own data. Moreover, the results seem to have a low pool of respondents that the group is searching for.

Only 21 percent of all expats are currently raising their children abroad, based on the data determined by this survey. It also does not provide within the data how the organization is defining an expatriate.

The press release by this organization even said that its Family Life Index only needed a sample size of 30 respondents raising children abroad per country.

In general terms, one could say that an expat is a person living outside their native country. That basic definition could account for refugees, immigrants who have not gained citizenship in the country of residency and, potentially, even a person from the U.S. who temporarily winters in the Bahamas.

The results even touted the countries, it believes, provide the worst welcome to expat families. All are in Europe: Switzerland, Russia and Austria.

InterNations declares itself the largest global network and information site for people who live and work abroad. Based in Munich, Germany, its website claims the organization has over 2.6 million members worldwide and plays host to 5,000 monthly events and activities.

Arquidiocesis de San José Costa Rica photo     
Catholic processions will be marching through most major towns.

Processions abundant for rest of the week

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Processions are a key facet during Semana Santa. Picturesque and full of elaborate design, costuming as much as solemnity or jubilation, depending on the context, these often reflect the traditional nature of these holidays. For expats or tourists, it may also be a good opportunity for photos and to understand the religious side of Costa Rican culture.

On Holy Thursday, the San José archdiocese is hosting its Procesión del Silencio. As the name may imply, this parade will leave from the Parque Central around 8 p.m. This procession will proceed to the monument commemorating the Campaign of 1856 in Parque Nacional. Good Friday will yield processions occurring through most of the day, according to the archdiocese’s schedule of events.

At 10:30 in the morning, the Procesión con Jesús Nazareno will imitate the New Testament’s description of Jesus carrying the cross. The death of Jesus will be commemorated at 4 p.m. in the Catedral Metropolitana. Then at 5:30 p.m., the Procesión con la Virgen de La Soledad y San Juan will leave from the Iglesia La Soledad to join with the Santo Entierro procession in front of the cathedral.

The weekend will have Saturday’s 4 p.m. Procesión de Nuestra Señora de la Soledad and then the Procesión con el Resucitado on Easter Sunday at 10 a.m.

Similar processions will be occurring throughout Costa Rica at about the same times. It offers to some expats a picture into the devout side of the local society. Contacting the local diocese is a good way to figure out the times and locations of the processions. Either that or simply ask someone around!

News from the Spanish-language press
Translated into English

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Third News Page
U.S. Tax
San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, April 13, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 74
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Private consumer protection agencies safeguard public from abuse
By Rommel Téllez
of the A.M. Costa Rica staff

When facing a property scam, abusive collection practices, unauthorized charges to credit cards, un-affordable fees in public services or just disagreements over goods and services; Costa Rican residents have the option to ask for support from the several private and affordable consumers protections agencies that have sprout around the country in the last 15 years.

One of the them is Asociación Pro Defensa del Consumidor, an organization run by Andrea Rojas who specializes in settling real estate-related conflicts as well as providing legal aid to victims of the financial institutions.

“Right now, we are about to win a case against a residential development company and get a compensation for a group of customers whose contracts were not honored accordingly. They have suffered moral damage.” she said.

If someone wants to approach this agency for help, they should have a first interview to explain their case and determine if its worth the battle. If so, then the association will create a technical report where economic damages are calculated, according to the criteria provided by law.

Once this step is fulfilled, a judiciary process begins and the customer pays its cost in 60 months. The association will also assure that the fees of lawyers and other professionals will be the minimum amount required by law.

“We offer this payment flexibility because we know that if we didn't, so many people could not afford access to justice.” said Ms. Rojas.

Also fighting abuse, but mostly from the banking and financial industry, the Asociación de Consumidores Libres de Costa Rica offers help for those who need a little push to walk through the complex world of consumers rights in Costa Rica.

One of the oldest agencies, it started its operations in 2003 to politically influence the conversations that would lead to the approval of the free trade agreement with the U.S.  At the time, its founding members were worried about the implications of the agreement for the consumers.

“Today we help people who find themselves in critical financial conditions because of the bank's abuses. We also seek to spot cases where many people have been affected by the same financial measures in order to file collective lawsuits,” said Juan Fernández, the president of the association.

According to Fernández, collective lawsuits allow the costs of judiciary cases to be shared between several plaintiffs and at the end share any potential compensation. 

“We dealt with a case where a humble man had been paying a loan for 12 years and he still owed more money than the original amount. He didn't know much about banking and that was the result,” said Fernández.

This association also makes a preliminary assessment of the cases. If staffers consider it should be taken to court, they will

ask the person to join the association for a flat fee and start the case.

Here, any legal cost will be covered at the minimum rate established by the Costa Rican bar association.

In other cases, this association will work on a quota litis basis, meaning the person who files the lawsuit will pay at the end of the process a predetermined percentage of the compensation granted.

From a different perspective but with a similar name, Consumidores de Costa Rica is another organization seeking to take care of the public interest by using the tools provided by the state.

However, their members do not accept individual cases and they are not lawyers but political scientists. Instead, they go to most public audiences to fight the price increases in public services such as transportation, water distribution, electricity fares and telecommunications costs. They achieve this with the help of the Autoridad Reguladora de los Servicios Públicos, which is the country's office in charge of authorizing changes in the prices and the way public services are delivered.

“Our organization was born out of a common interest in defending people's rights when we were college students. Today we try to fight for fare reductions, safety for the consumers, and verification of publicity. When we find cases to denounce we do so before the required authorities, most of the time the Autoridad and the Ministerio de Economía, Industria y Comercio,” said Erick Ulate, president of the organization.

Consumidores de Costa Rica funds itself through the revenue provided by advertising placed in a radio show it hosts every day. The show also addresses consumers rights topics. The organization also gets some funding working as consultants, the president said.

Likewise, the Asociación para la Organización de la Defensa Efectiva de Consumidores y Usuarios works on its own means protecting consumers who mostly come from the cities of Cartago, Turrialba, and Sarchí.

This has been the only agency whose opinions were requested before the approval of a law, in this case the Ley de Ferias del Agricultor.

“At some point, people going to the ferias were not really buying from local producers but from middle men. Also they didn't quite have fresh products nor the amounts they paid for. After the law was passed, we can now assure that people are getting freshness, safety and overall quality at a fair price, we can also guarantee that they're buying from local producers,” said Marco Carazo, president of the organization.

“We also provide assistance in other areas, especially helping people finding trouble from appliances in big stores. Sometimes these products are not new or do not work properly, while the seller refuses to comply with its responsibility.” he added.

Carazo explains the organization is fully run by volunteers and that anyone in need of help may approach it.

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A.M. Costa Rica's Fourth News page

San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, April 13, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 74
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Florida's manatees will survive another 100 years, new study says
By the United States Geographical Survey press staff

Florida’s iconic manatee population is highly likely to endure for the next 100 years, so long as wildlife managers continue to protect the marine mammals and their habitat, a new study by the U.S. Geological Survey and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute has found.

The study, conducted by a team of veteran manatee scientists, estimated there is less than a one-half of one percent chance that either Florida’s Atlantic or its Gulf of Mexico manatee population could fall to as few as 500 adults, the level that could imperil Florida manatees’ long-term survival.

“Today the Florida manatees’ numbers are high. Adult manatees’ longevity is good, and the state has available habitat to support a population that is continuing to grow,” said the survey’s research ecologist Michael Runge.

Runge is the lead author of the group’s report, “Status and Threats Analysis for the Florida Manatee (Trichechus manatus latirostris), 2016,” published Wednesday.

“Still, new threats could emerge, or existing threats could interact in unexpected ways,” Runge said. “Managers need to remain vigilant to keep manatee populations viable over the long haul.”

Florida’s manatee population is likely to gradually double over the next 50 years and then level off, the research team concluded. Over time, environmental and habitat changes will probably cause manatees to become less abundant in South Florida and more numerous in North Florida, but the population as a whole will remain high.

The Florida manatee is a subspecies of the West Indian manatee, one of the first creatures listed as endangered when the federal Endangered Species Act went into effect in 1973.

In the mid-1970s only about 1,000 individuals survived in Florida.  But over the last 40 years, boat speed regulations, habitat protection and other measures have helped the population rebound. The most recent count, in early 2017, tallied 6,620 manatees in Florida waters.

On March 30, 2017 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which is charged with protecting plants and animals covered by the Endangered Species Act, announced a final decision changing the West Indian manatee’s status, including the Florida subspecies, from endangered, which is the law’s gravest classification, to threatened. Information from the USGS’ new threat assessment was used by the service in making its decision.

Scientists of the Sirenia Project, based at the survey’s Wetland and Aquatic Research Center in Gainesville, Florida, have studied manatees since the 1970s, photographing more than 3,000 animals and identifying them from each individual’s unique pattern of propeller scars and other markings.

From a database of more than 750,000 manatee photographs, satellite tracking, genetic information and other data, the researchers have developed a detailed understanding of how manatees interact with their environment.

At Patuxent Wildlife Research Center in Laurel, Maryland, endangered species experts feed this information into a computer model that assesses how Florida manatee 
United States Geographical Survey photo
Looks as if manatees will be ok for now.

populations are doing and how they’re likely to fare in coming decades.

The model is updated periodically, incorporating insights from experts and new information about changing conditions.

It shows that in the coming decades, manatee populations will continue to face two longstanding, serious threats:  fatal collisions with watercraft, and the loss of warm-water habitats that provide them with refuge during the winter.

Manatees lack an insulating layer of fat, so water colder than about 70 degrees can kill them. The new analysis projects that mortality due to red tide will become an equally significant threat, if red tides are more frequent and more intense in coming decades.

The researchers tested many scenarios, some likely and some unlikely, to see whether they could find a set of circumstances that would trigger a significant statewide decline in the manatee population.

“If the rate of mortality from watercraft collisions were to double, the population’s resilience would be compromised,” said Runge. In that scenario, the risk that either the Atlantic or Gulf populations could fall to 500 animals was about four percent, he said.

“We looked at all the other pressures people have mentioned, and we did not find any combination of threats that raised the risk of a decline to fewer than 500 animals on either coast above nine percent.”

The next 100 years are likely to see manatee populations shift around the state in response to regional environmental changes, the analysis finds. For example, some southeast Florida power plants are expected to shut down over the next 40 to 50 years, and if they do, manatees will lose the warm water refuges created in the plants’ discharge canals.

Manatees in southwest Florida are likely to be increasingly affected by red tide and may also lose some warm water refuges. So southeast and southwest Florida may see their manatee populations decline.

Those losses will be balanced by increased manatee numbers in northeast and northwest Florida, where warm natural springs are capable of hosting more manatees, the analysis concludes.

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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 for photos, pricing and contract details.

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 or contact us at or call at (506) 2654-5442

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

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A.M. Costa Rica's
Fifth news page
Salsa Lizano
San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, April 13, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 74
Real Estate
About us
Scientists make discovery
that could lead to HIV cure

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Scientists are touting a discovery that they think might cure HIV infection. They’ve engineered an antibody that blocks the virus from entering and infecting key immune system cells.

The process, developed at the Scripps Researcher Institute in California, involves tethering an antibody, which fights infection, directly onto T cells, the immune system cells that are targeted by the AIDS virus. Eventually, if enough immune cells become infected and destroyed by HIV, the disease progresses to AIDS, which leads to certain death. The antibodies, however, block the receptor on the T cells that HIV uses to enter and destroy them.

It’s what immunochemist Richard Lerner called a form of cellular vaccination. He said the genetic alteration of the T cells with tethered antibodies does not interfere with the immune cells' ability to fight other pathogens.

Lerner is the senior author of a study describing the work in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Experimental HIV vaccines attempt to stimulate an immune response, creating HIV-specific antibodies to attack and destroy infected cells. But Lerner says the concentration of antibodies flowing freely in the bloodstream is too low to reach every infected T cell.

This approach is different, protecting only some healthy T cells.

"You don’t really care about the rest of the body," Lerner explained. "You would just like to shield those cells from viruses and a virus attack. So that’s the chemical principle. Never mind immunizing the whole body. Just immunize the cells that are the real victims."

His team added a gene to T cells which instructed them to synthesize antibodies that would bind with the cellular receptor called CD4. That is the doorway to the cell for HIV. Having antibodies hanging on to the cell surface blocks that doorway.

It's hoped that eventually in humans, these HIV-resistant cells will multiply into the millions, passing on the protective gene, as the unprotected, infected cells die off, eradicating the AIDS virus from the body and affording a long-lasting cure.

At least that’s what experiments in the laboratory suggested when both genetically engineered and unprotected human T cells were exposed to HIV.

Lerner said the engineered T cells would be introduced into a patient’s bone marrow, which would produce protective cells en masse.

It's an approach that Lerner calls a Darwinian "survival of the fittest."

Scripps investigators are working with City of Hope, an independent research and comprehensive cancer treatment center in Duarte, California, that has a lot of experience with bone marrow transplantation. The center will carry out clinical trials of the engineered, HIV-resistant T cells with an eye toward advancing what scientists hope will be a cure for AIDS.

Russia vetoes U.N. criticism
of chemical weapons usage

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Russia deployed yet another U.N. Security Council veto Wednesday to protect Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad from international condemnation for last week's deadly chemical weapons attack.

"With its veto, Russia said 'no' to accountability, Russia said 'no' to cooperation with the United Nations' independent investigation, and Russia said 'no' to a resolution that would have helped promote peace in Syria," U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley told the council. "Russia has once again chosen to side with Assad.”

In a vote of 10 in favor, two against and three abstentions, Moscow blocked the measure put forward by Britain, France and the United States. China, in a rare break with Russia, abstained, while non-permanent members Bolivia voted no, and Ethiopia and Kazakhstan joined China in abstaining.

The draft resolution sought to condemn the gas attack and strengthen an international investigation into what happened. An earlier, similar draft resolution failed to make it to a vote last Thursday.

"If the regime is innocent, as Russia claims, the information requested in this resolution would have vindicated them," Ms. Haley said. "By its failure, Russia will continue to be isolated."

Ms. Haley also had a warning for the Assad regime in Damascus: "The United States is watching your actions very closely. The days of your arrogance and disregard of humanity are over," she said. "I suggest you look at this vote very carefully, and heed this warning."

The Trump administration believes the Assad regime launched the April 4 gas attack on the town of Khan Sheikhoun from the Shayrat airfield. After seeing images of dying children in the chemical attack, President Donald Trump said he decided a military response was necessary. The United States launched a targeted missile attack against the airfield two days after the chemical attack.

Russia's U.N. deputy envoy Vladimir Safronkov rejected the Western draft resolution, saying it appointed the guilty party prior to an independent and objective investigation.

At an earlier session of the council Wednesday, also about Syria, Britain's U.N. Ambassador Matthew Rycroft said his government shares the U.S. assessment that it is highly likely the Assad regime was responsible for a sarin attack on the town last week.

"Chemical weapons scientists at Porton Down, in the United Kingdom, have analyzed samples obtained from Khan Sheikhoun, and these have tested positive for the nerve agent sarin, or a sarin-like substance," he told council members.

"We need to find out the facts, conduct a comprehensive investigation," Russia's Safronkov told the council. He questioned how foreign experts already could have concluded that Damascus is responsible. "I am amazed this was the conclusion. No one has yet visited the site of the crime. How do you know that?" he asked.

Syria's Ambassador Bashar al-Jaafari said it is all lies and accusations against his country, and Syria no longer possesses chemical weapons, as confirmed by the United Nations in June 2014.

Council members also were briefed by U.N. Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura, who is tasked with trying to bring the opposing Syrian sides together in a political settlement.

He recently completed a fifth round of intra-Syrian talks in Geneva, the first time the two sides have spoken directly instead of through him. De Mistura said that while there were no breakthroughs, there also were no breakdowns, and that the parties held substantive talks for nine full days on all the issues.

Ultimately, de Mistura said there is a choice: Either the killing and destruction continue, or there is a shift to serious discussion and real de-escalation and a cease-fire to reach a political settlement.

Many Haitians applaud
departure of U.N. troops

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

As the U.N. Security Council prepares to vote Thursday on whether to end its peacekeeping mission in Haiti in favor of a smaller police detail, the prospect of international troops departing has evoked concern about security gaps. But there's also widespread enthusiasm to send off the peacekeepers, who've been accused of everything from indifference to sexual predation.

"We face insecurity at night. There is a lot of shooting after 5 p.m. when MINUSTAH troops are not present in the streets," Menard Eliphete, 54, a mason in Hinche, said. He used the acronym for the U.N. Haiti stabilization mission.

"My message for the peacekeepers is bon voyage, good riddance," said Marleine Bastien, executive director of the Haitian Women of Miami.

The Florida-based nonprofit advocates for Haitian women in the diaspora and in the motherland, said Ms. Bastien, a native of the Caribbean country.

Speaking by telephone from her office Wednesday, Ms. Bastien said she'd collaborated for years with Haiti-based rights groups complaining of peacekeepers not intervening to halt acts of violence and, in some cases, of sexually exploiting vulnerable women and children themselves.

"Women were abused over and over, then impregnated, and they refused to pay child support," Ms. Bastien said.

Ms. Bastien's comments echo the findings of an Associated Press expose released Wednesday. Its review of U.N. peacekeeping missions over the past 12 years revealed roughly 2,000 allegations of sexual abuse globally that were perpetrated by peacekeepers or other U.N. staff. Some 300 of those accusations involved child victims. But few people were ever prosecuted.

The AP also noted a U.N. report acknowledging a child sex ring in which nine Haitian children were victimized by 134 Sri Lankan peacekeepers from 2004 to 2007. Most were deported to their home country. None spent time in prison.

As AP reported, the United Nations has no jurisdiction over peacekeepers, leaving punishment to the countries that contribute the troops.

More than 2,300 peacekeepers currently are in Haiti, coming from 53 countries. More than 900 have come from Brazil alone, with contingents from other Latin American countries, especially Chile and Uruguay, as well as India, Jordan, Nepal and Pakistan.

Peacekeepers have maintained a steady presence in Haiti since 2004, when they were sent in to quell violence after then-President Jean-Bertrand Aristide was overthrown and exiled. They have stayed through deadly natural disasters, including a 2010 earthquake and last fall's Hurricane Matthew. They also have been accused of introducing a cholera epidemic that has killed at least 9,300 people.

Those 2,300-plus troops would be pulled out over the next six months if the mission is pared, and its current budget of $345 million would decline, too.

Pakistani pleads guilty
to smuggling people to U.S.

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A Pakistani national has pleaded guilty to helping smuggle dozens of people from Pakistan and Afghanistan into the United States.

Sharafat Ali Khan, 32, who U.S. officials say also is a legal resident of Brazil, pleaded guilty Wednesday in a Washington courtroom.

Prosecutors say Khan was part of a human smuggling ring that brought an unspecified number of people north by plane, bus and on foot through the Colombian jungle. Court records show the travelers paid between $5,000 and $12,000 each before their journeys.

"The average traveler took approximately nine months to get from Brazil all the way to the United States. During the voyage from Brazil through South and Central America, aliens were subjected to harsh conditions that caused a substantial risk of serious bodily injury or death," court records stated.

Khan is set to be sentenced in July.

Trump offers a grand deal
to Chinese head Xi Jinping

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

President Donald Trump appears to be offering a grand bargain to Chinese President Xi Jinping in which each would get something he dearly wants: an assurance of economic stability ahead of a critical Communist Party Congress in exchange for Chinese help in halting North Korea's nuclear programs.

The offer has come in a burst of television interviews and social media posts. In a pair of Twitter posts this week, Trump suggested he would agree not to launch a threatened trade war with China, helping to ensure a strong domestic economy as China's ruling party reviews Xi’s achievements and determines whether he should stay in power. All Xi has to do, Trump says, is to solve the Korean problem.

The second post was seen as a variation on the old take it or leave it negotiating ploy.

In a news conference Wednesday, Trump hailed the rapport he developed with Xi during last week's Florida summit. North Korea conducts some 90 percent of its trade with China.

In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Trump was more specific and backed away from a campaign promise to tackle China for manipulating its currency to gain a trade advantage.

Trump had promised to label Beijing a currency manipulator on his first day in office, a designation that could have ended with punitive tariffs and a potential trade war between the world's two largest economies.

"They're not currency manipulators," Trump said flatly, adding that Beijing has not been manipulating its currency for months.

Balbina Hwang, who served as a State Department special adviser on East Asian affairs in the George W. Bush administration, says Trump’s overture seems to be striking a nerve in Beijing.

A post-summit analysis in Hong Kong’s influential English language South China Morning Post argued that the real importance of the meeting for Xi was in building his portfolio ahead of the Communist Party congress, where he not only hopes to extend his term in office, but to cement his place in the pantheon of Chinese leaders.

The article quoted political commentator Zhang Lifan as saying Xi’s target is to stabilize the Sino-U.S. relationship at all costs.

“A trade war with the U.S. would affect the Chinese economy badly, and a military clash on the Korean peninsula would trigger a political crisis in China and put the leadership under challenge from inside the Party,” Zhang said.

Trump’s diplomatic overture seems to have caught the Chinese leader’s attention. The U.S. president followed up Tuesday evening with a phone call to discuss the latest developments on the Korean peninsula.

Chinese state media reported that during the call, Xi called for peaceful resolution of tensions over North Korea.

The latest Trump-Xi phone conversation comes as a U.S. aircraft carrier strike group heads to the waters off the Korean peninsula.

Pyongyang said Monday it would hold the U.S. wholly accountable for the catastrophic consequences after Trump dispatched the USS Carl Vinson and an accompanying battle group to the region.

More news of the Americas
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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

Johnny Lopez
Phone: (506) 8945-5820 / (506) 2643-3356

Puriscal home
REDUCED $40K - $355,000
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:
Community Web Site:
Photos: HERE!
Costa Rica # 506-8985-6705 or from the States call # 561-740-0651 or email

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

In Costa Rica, Jeffrey Sandi Murray:
In the USA and Canada contact Jim Day: or call 517-484-3675

For more information Click Here:

                                      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 and photo album can be found at

                                      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  Call Darin Ricco, phone +619-846-8249 or email:


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:

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 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 

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  Owners U.S. cell phone: 813 310-7402  Email

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:

Real estate brokers and agents (paid category)

                                        Tamarindo 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:  or click here

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

Playas del Coco Click Here!

Playa Panama Click Here!

Playa Hermosa Click Here!
Peninsula Papagayo Click Here!

Playa Matapalo Click Here!
Toll Free 1-877-293-1456


Real estate-related services (paid category)

SMALL and LARGER jobs welcome !!!. We can build from any plan you bring us all work done by USA codes master electric and plumbing Better quality and lower prices than USA. We do it all Right  + Reasonable.
Call us: Toll Free 877-778-8515   
     Text from US: 804-313-6382 
     CR phone: 506-8307-0164
     For more info also see our sites: 
Browse timeshares for sale and rent by owner in Costa Rica at bargain prices. We connect existing timeshare owners with those looking to buy or rent a timeshare on the resale market. Timeshares on the resale market are up to 50% cheaper than those sold through the resort. Buy, sell or rent a timeshare at 

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news page

San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, April 13, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 74
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News from the BBC up to the minute

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Latin news from the BBC up to the minute

Volcán Poás erupts again and spews ash

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The  Volcán Poás has another major eruption Wednesday night and produced a flood of water and ash.

The Observatorio Vulcanológico y Sismológico de Costa Rica said the eruption happened between 6 and 7 p.m. Guards in the Parque Nacional Volcán Poás reported seeing volcanic ash in the area around the visitor overlook, said the Observatorio.

The volcano has been producing phreatic eruption this week, that is steam mixed with solid materials.

The Observatorio said that the water produced reached the  Río Desagüe and caused it to run out of its banks. Some ash was reported outside the area of the volcano.

Upala cattle rustling case set to begin

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The district attorney’s office for Upala is requesting that three men, suspected of stealing 16 head of cattle, receive precautionary measures.

The measures are not that punitive. If the court accepts the request from the prosecution, two of the three suspected cattle rustlers must maintain a fixed address and appear for the court date as well as agree not to flee the country. The third man, a Nicaraguan national, may go to jail as the case develops.

The cattle, valued at approximately $17,117 in colons, were apparently stolen last Monday. The three suspects in custody allegedly herded them into a truck and left the ranch until being stopped by officers of the Judicial Investigating Organization about two kilometers away.

Cattle rustling has been described by A.M. Costa Rica as the quiet plague affecting ranchers.

Usually the cows are slaughtered in the field and the choice cuts are carried away for sale in meat markets in the various cities. Police also have raided, in the past, underground slaughter houses where stolen cattle were prepared for market.

Mercado Nicoa
Municipalidad de Nicoya photo    
Producers and entrepreneurs gather at the market.

Mercado Nicoya open on Holy Week

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Stores and markets shut down during Semana Santa are a common sight throughout Costa Rica, but one store is said to be open throughout the rest of the week.

According to the Municipalidad de Nicoya, the Mercado Nicoya will be open for business from 6 in the morning to 6 at night. The building housing the comida y bebidas típicas was remodeled about two years ago, the municipality said.

An interesting quality to note, aside from it being open still during this week, is that the market is apparently exclusive to only Nicaraguan producers and entrepreneurs, the municipality said. Officials said that a visitor should be able to find tamales, cajetas, donuts, cheese, tamarind, organic coffee and other dishes.

The market is located just a few steps north of the Tribunales de Justicia in Nicoya.

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From Page 7

Scotiabank agrees to $15 million OPEC loan

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries’ international development fund signed a $15 million loan agreement with Scotiabank de Costa Rica Wednesday.

This transaction represents the fund’s first-ever trade finance loan to the country. According to a statement issued by OPEC’s Fund for International Development, this loan is intended to help Scotiabank address the demand for short-term financing within the Costa Rican economy. The goal, officials said, would then be to also boost employment.

“We are pleased to work hand-in-hand with Scotiabank, one of the largest private banks in the country,” said the fund’s chief for private sector and trade operations, Tareq Alnassar.

“After more than three decades, we are happy to re-establish our presence in the country with the firm aim of supporting its development. This agreement will enable OFID to channel resources to the financial sector in line with SDG8, to promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth, employment and decent work for all.”

The fund’s website stated that Costa Rica has, in recent years, seen a variety of industrial and specialized agricultural products which broadened the country’s international export trade beyond traditional exports like bananas or coffee. Scotiabank said that the agreement will allow the bank to expand availability of resources to meet the needs of its clients.