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Published Thursday, April 20, 2017, in Vol. 17, No. 78
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BREAKING: Guardacostas rescue U.S. family
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff
Updated Thursday at 3 p.m.

Four U.S. family members, two of them young girls, were rescued Wednesday afternoon at Guanacaste’s Playa Flamingo.

Guardacostas said their rented Kayak flipped over and forced them to swim over 200 meters to nearby La Penca Island.

According to Rodolfo Coto, director of the local Flamingo coast guard unit, they received an anonymous alert from a foreign caller warning them about the accident.

The team of coast guards looked for the Kayak but could not see it. After more searching they spotted the castaways already on the spit of rock and proceeded to the rescue.

The four rescued gringos were Paul Pinta, aged 42 and former coast guard from Massachusetts, and also Eric Wales also 42.

Wales is the father of Summer and Skyler, aged five and three respectively.

According to the rescuers, none of them were seriously injured. Pinta did have some bruises on his left arm.

“They were not expecting the strong winds and that's why they flipped over. Currents are very strong in some of these areas,” said Coto.

Coast Guard
Ministerio de Seguridad Pública photo 
Survivors of kayak incident on rescue boat.

The Kayak itself was already towed by the time coast guard officers arrived to the island. According to Coto, the renters of the boat took care of it before taking care of the passengers. The four visitors said to officers they were renting a house in neighboring Playa Danta.

Extraterrestrials aren't cattle rustlers in Costa Rica
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Costa Rica seems to have been spared the hysteria over cattle mutilations, perhaps because there are real predators and real rustlers here.

Still, expats should be aware that there is another wave of cattle mutilation claims that have been translated into a book, and a movie is in the works.

What are called mysterious mutilations of livestock are blamed on aliens of the space kind, secret government programs and other characters made popular by the television series “X Files.” This has been going on since the 1950s with periodic peaks.

Newspapers like such mysteries because they are well received by readers. And it is in the dull summer months when newsmakers are on vacation that abominable snowmen and less hairy chupacabras are reported roaming the hills.

The motives for promoting belief in strange doings usually are the obvious financial ones. But there is a man in Trinidad, Colorado, who has devoted 20 years to tracking down what he considers to be alien mutilation of cattle.

He is Chuck Zukowski, who styles himself as a UFO researcher. He is featured in the book, and the book by opportunistic writer Ben Mezrich is the source of the movie. New Line Cinema has purchased the rights to turn the book into a movie.

This is not the first movie. In fact, Discovery Channel, the firm whose name is being applied to a giant series of adventure resorts here, has been known to run so-called documentaries on cattle mutilation.

The firm also does so on yeti and other mysterious creatures.

In Costa Rica, the problems with cattle are more down to earth, so to speak. Ranchers here are more interested in the havoc caused by rustlers and animal predators.

Aliens and
A.M. Costa Rica graphic
Aliens haven't abducted cattle yet.

One rancher reported that a jaguar brought down a 350-kilo steer and that coyotes can harass the young, weak and sick stock.Those who study seriously cattle mutilations blame the so-called evidence of aliens on nature. The mutilation stories go that cattle are found dead with the soft tissues, eyes and ears missing with surgical incisions on the skin.

Predators, including eagles and buzzards are quick to remove such body parts from animals that have died naturally, the skeptics argue.

One police department left a dead cow on the range for a short time, and the carcass displayed many of the same wounds.

Still, people like Colorado’s Zukowski say that the space aliens are particularly interested in the 37th parallel of latitude. That happens to be where he lives. That claim has made its way into the book title: “The 37th Parallel: The Secret Truth Behind America's UFO Highway.”

The movie company seems to be taking some liberties with the book. The movie will be an action thriller with the story line, as reported by Zukowski, “after investigating the unexplained mystery of cattle mutilations in Colorado’s San Luis Valley, the crew from a paranormal reality series fights to escape the clutches of a bloodthirsty alien.”

A student researcher some 20 years ago may have come closer to the truth. He discovered that insurance companies holding livestock polices pay off if the critter is a victim of space aliens. But if the cow just sickens and dies, there is no financial payout even if predators and scavengers tear off parts of the body.

Ranchers face mutilations and theft along border
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Cattle rustling is less of a tale from old Western movies and more of a reality for many ranchers, particularly along the northern border of Costa Rica.

Since January of this year, border police and members of the Fuerza Pública have turned up to 339 cattle back to their owners, according to the Ministerio de Seguridad Pública.

Most of these include catching the thieves in the act as they attempt to cross the border into Nicaragua or by virtue of ongoing investigations. Police made most of the seizures along that northern border.

The most recent reported incident took place
Tuesday during Semana Santa when members of the border police and the Judicial Investigating Organization arrested four men caught in the act of attempting to steal around 16 cattle worth around $21,000 from a ranch in Upala.
Authorities said this group is notorious for being the longtime local crooks who float back and forth with stolen cattle to Nicaragua.
Official reports designate them as the so-called cuatreros. Investigators believe they are responsible for the theft of more than 46 cattle.

That is simply stealing and an act of theft. Ranchers in the northern reaches of Costa Rica have equally complained of rustlers coming on their property and slaughtering some poor cow for its meat, and the only thing ranch staff find the next day is a mutilated carcass.

Last year, public security forces seized around 1,272 of livestock.

Often times, many of these types of crimes go unreported to authorities, investigators back in 2012 said.

Branding, tattoos and ear clipping of the stock does not often help in cases of theft considering rustlers often quickly reduce the stolen animal to unidentifiable pieces of meat.

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San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, April 20, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 78
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Protest against shrimp trawling bill today

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A mass protest of fishermen is scheduled to take place today at 10 a.m at Avenida Segunda, in San José. According to the Frente Amplio party, the march will gather 600 people mostly from Puntarenas, Guanacaste and Golfo de Nicoya. They are all united in their mutual opposition to trawling for shrimp and fish.

Marchers will walk all the way to Asamblea Legislativa along with environmental activists and academics. They all oppose bill 19.838 that seeks to reinstate trawling as a fishing technique. They also claim that there are no scientific grounds for such reinstatement and it will worsen conflicts between big shrimping vessels and those of a more artisanal nature.

In August 2013 the constitutional chamber of the Supreme Court ordered the Instituto Costarricense de Pesca y Acuicultura to hold new licenses for this technique and not renew the existing ones.

In October last year, the economics school at Universidad Nacional de Costa Rica presented a study of the consequences of semi-industrial shrimp trawling.

According to the research, this type of fishing generates 590 direct jobs and 80 percent of those are shrimp peelers who earn less than the minimum salary and 37 times less than the licensed owners.

On the other hand, the research shows that the artisanal fishing creates 15,000 jobs and that trawling affects the amount of shrimps those workers depend on.

“Allowing trawling is just like cutting a forest completely," said Haydee Rodríguez, manager of Political Advocacy at the MarViva Foundation,
"The state must promote productive alternatives to support and train the shrimp fishing sector to generate their own productive projects and also provide financial support for their investments."

New anti-corruption bill hits legislature

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A new bill proposing the loss of credentials for legislative members who use their position to seek personal benefit was accepted for discussion Wednesday in a special legislative committee.

Essentially, this bill proposes that anyone caught violating such stipulations would not only be made a political pariah within the chambers of the Assemblea Legislativa, but also thrown out of the legislature itself and be stripped of the title of deputy.

The bill number 19.117 was presented by Ottón Solís, legislator from the Partido Acción Ciudadana. It will now be discussed for 20 days in committee before being sent for review before all 57 lawmakers.

"It is necessary to establish strong and clear sanctions before the acts of corruption committed by legislators,” Solís said, “It is crucial to end shameful privileges, which do not correspond to the principles of our democratic system.”

The loss of credentials would be achieved through a constitutional amendment to Article 112.

Currently, the article clearly states that legislators may not contract, directly or indirectly or by representation, with any government entity. Neither can they obtain a concession of public assets nor intervene as directors, administrators or managers in companies that have a contract with a government entity.

The amendment would add some extra paragraphs saying:  “Violation of any of the prohibitions contained in this article or in the previous one, will result in the loss of the credential of the legislator. The observance of the principle of probity is mandatory compliance. The proven violation of said principle, in accordance with the law, will result in the loss of the credential of the legislator. The law may establish new grounds that cause the loss of the credentials of the legislators.”

The committee in charge of analyzing the change includes Ottón Solís and nine other lawmakers.

Book Day
Ministerio de Cultura y Juventud photo     
Libraries welcome everyone to get out and read.

Costa Rica readies for World Book Day

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

With public readings, exhibition, storytelling, barter and book releases, this coming Saturday Costa Rica celebrates the World Book Day with a kickstart of the activities beginning today.

The Biblioteca Nacional commemorates the Costa Rican writer Carmen Naranjo. Her memory will be honored with a public reading of her works from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m Friday.  It will be held in front of the library.

"Carmen Naranjo was chosen for her great contribution to Costa Rican literature, politics and culture; Moreover, this year marks the fifth anniversary of her death," said Laura Rodríguez, director for Biblioteca Nacional.

At the end of the public reading, the national library, in partnership with the Lehmann Library and the Editorial Costa Rica, will release a book on various subjects in San José’s Parque Nacional.

For the book lovers from Alajuela, the Bibioteca Pública de Grecia will host several activities starting today until April 23.

Today at 3 p.m. The local library will broadcast the film "The Incredible Boy that Eats Books" by Oliver Jeffers, aimed at children from 7 to 10 years old.

Friday at 2:30 p.m., the Costa Rican author José León Sánchez will present the book  “Por quien las rosas madrugaron.” Then, at 6 p.m there will be a meeting with the Alajuelan historian, Marlon Ocampo, author of the book “El carnaval del diablo y otros cuentos.”

Sunday at 3 p.m. Rodolfo González, a storyteller from Alajuela will present a show based on the works of the famous Costa Rican writers Carlos Luis Fallas and Aquileo Echeverría and his own versions of stories based on historical events in the country. Friday the Biblioteca Pública de Cartago will have the following activities:

From 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. will be tales for children. Then from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m, an exhibition will display old books. Afterwards a book exchange will take place. More information can be found at the Ministerio de Cultura y Juventud’s website.

World Book Day is celebrated every 23 of April because on that date three well-known authors in history passed away: Miguel de Cervantes, William Shakespeare and the Spanish poet Garcilaso de la Vega.

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Third News Page
U.S. Tax
San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, April 20, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 78
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Prison officials gather to tackle issues facing penitentiary system
By Conor Golden,
News Editor for A.M. Costa Rica

Some members of the prison police are getting together for a three-day seminar to discuss the criminal justice system and the role of the penitentiary guards in Costa Rica.

The topics for discussion are obvious: transnational crime, drug trafficking, prisoners and the Costa Rican jail system that is run by the Policía Penitenciaria. The goal in all this is to contribute a new vision as to what the prison police should be and to modernize them as an effective force. At least that is the hope for officials in the police section and from the Ministerio de Justicia y Paz, which the prison guards fall under.

Beyond the platitudes, however, is a prison system that seems to be in desperate need of some reforms and change in conditions. Back in 2016, the Organization of American States selected members from its Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to visit Costa Rica around mid-February.

According to a statement by the commission, it represented its first visit to Costa Rica to examine the situation of prisoners. The group found that, as of January 2016, the penitentiary system had a total of 35,543 people within. This includes the inmates serving sentences, pretrial detainees and the people released on what some expats may relate to being parole-like supervision programs.

According to the report’s findings, 13 detention centers in the country had a capacity of 9,130 inmates. However, the commission discovered that nearly 13,157 persons were within.

That represents an overcrowding by almost 44.1 percent, the commission said in a statement. Even figures that the group took from the justice ministry noted that prison overcrowding is in a critical state.

In a report issued by the U.S. State Department in 2010: “Although the government continued to improve prison conditions during the year, overcrowding, poor sanitation, lack of health services, and violence among prisoners remained a problem in some prison facilities.”

The State Department report also yielded that the population in pretrial detention was experiencing the worst overcrowding and that some of those detainees were housed together with convicted prisoners already facing long-term sentences.

This was affirmed six years later with the commission weighing in: “According to official figures, in January 2016 there were 2,530 persons in pretrial detention in Costa Rica, representing 18 percent of the total detainee population.”

That may not seem like much to some examining this issue but the commission did take into consideration the effects this was having on overcrowding.

Despite calls for pretrial detention to be used less overarching, “in many cases the permanence of the inmates was ‘indefinite,’ even exists people who had been in prison for more than eight years,” the statement said.

One of those previously in pretrial detention was a Jacó businessman named Patrick Hundley. Hundley wrote a letter back in June 2014 describing the poor and horrid conditions facing him and his fellow inmates at the time of his detention at  a jail cell in Pérez Zeledón. Hundley was later released two months later.

Within the contents of that letter, Hundley related back the issues of overcrowding, but also cited inadequate food, lack of drinking water and unsanitary situations that sometimes lead to violence. Much has been said earlier in A.M. Costa Rica by others who have experienced time in prison.

Also, in June of 2010, the Defensoría de los Habitantes, the Costa Rican ombudsman, conducted an investigation to find that an average of three corrections officers oversee 100 inmates.

A.M. Costa Rica has reported also of previous characteristics of a prison system that seems to be rife with corruption as inmates are often found being able to obtain cell phones, drugs and weapons. 

Like many prisons across the world, criminal organizations and gangs often call the shots on the inside.

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A.M. Costa Rica's Fourth News page

San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, April 20, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 78
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Volcano knowledge doesn't include much on eruptions, study says
By the National Academies of Science, Engineering
and Medicine press staff

Despite broad understanding of volcanoes, our ability to predict the timing, duration, type, size, and consequences of volcanic eruptions is limited, according to a new report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 

To improve eruption forecasting and warnings to save lives, the report identifies research priorities for better monitoring of volcanic eruptions and three grand challenges facing the volcano science community.

Volcano monitoring is critical for forecasting eruptions and mitigating risks of their hazards. However, few volcanoes are adequately observed, and many are not monitored at all.  For example, fewer than half of the 169 potentially active volcanoes in the U.S. have any seismometers, an instrument to detect small earthquakes that signal underground magma movement. 

And only three have continuous gas measurements, which are crucial because the composition and quantity of dissolved gases in magma drive eruptions. 

Enhanced monitoring combined with advances in experimental and mathematical models of volcanic processes can improve the understanding and forecasting of eruptions, the report said.

The committee that conducted the study and wrote the report also highlighted the need for satellite measurements of ground deformation and gas emissions, drone observations, advanced seismic monitoring, and real-time high-speed acquisition of data during eruptions. 

New approaches in analytical capabilities to decipher magma history, and conceptual and experimental models of magmatic and volcanic phenomena, will provide new insights on the processes that explain how magma is generated and erupts.

“There have been great improvements in conceptual models of volcanic phenomena, compared with those used a few decades ago, but the volcano science community is not yet adequately prepared for the next large eruption,” said Michael Manga, professor in the department of earth and planetary science at the University of California, Berkeley, and chair of the committee.

“There are fundamental challenges that need to be addressed and require a sustained effort from across disciplines. By working toward these grand challenges, the volcano science community can help quantify the global effect of eruptions and mitigate hazards, ultimately benefiting millions of people living in volcanically active areas.”

The committee outlined several key questions and research priorities in areas such as the processes that move and store magma beneath volcanoes; how eruptions begin, evolve, and end; how a volcano erupts; forecasting eruptions; the response of landscapes, oceans, and the atmosphere to volcanic eruptions; and the response of volcanoes to changes on Earth’s surface.

Based on these research priorities, the committee identified three overarching grand challenges for advancing volcano science and monitoring: Forecasting the size, duration, and hazard of eruptions by integrating observations with models

Current forecasts are based on recognizing patterns in monitoring data. These approaches have had mixed success because monitoring data do not capture the diversity of volcanoes or their evolution over time.

Volcan Poas
Red Sismológica Nacional photo
Photo taken of Volcán Poás Wednesday morning.

An approach based on models of physical and chemical processes, informed by monitoring data, as is done in weather forecasting, could improve the accuracy of eruption forecasts.  Such an approach requires integrating data and methodologies from multiple disciplines, the report says.

Current understanding of a volcano’s life cycle is skewed because only a small number of volcanoes are studied.  Extended monitoring from the ground, sea, and space can overcome some of these observational biases, the report says.

Expanding and maintaining monitoring capabilities and supporting the infrastructure to make historical and monitoring data available are critical for advancing understanding of volcanic processes and assessing volcanic hazards.

The committee noted that emerging technologies such as inexpensive sensors, drones, and new micro-analytical geochemical methods are promising tools to provide new insights into volcanic activity.

Close to 100 volcanoes erupt somewhere on Earth each year.  Strengthening multidisciplinary research, domestic and international research and monitoring partnerships, and training networks can help the research community maximize scientific advances that result from the study of eruptions around the world, the committee said.

The report cites the ongoing eruption at Bogoslof volcano in Alaska as an example that highlights these three challenges.  A remote, initially submarine volcano in the Aleutian Island arc, the eruption started in late December 2016 and the activity has been continuing as of February 2017.

In just one month, the volcano produced numerous explosions with plumes rising 20,000-35,000 feet, posing a significant hazard to North Pacific aviation. 

The U.S. Geological Survey Alaska Volcano Observatory has been relying on distant seismometers, satellite data, infrasound, and lightning detection to monitor the activity because there are no ground-based instruments on the volcano. 

The committee said the observatory has been able to provide early warning for only some of these hazardous events. 

This eruption also underscores the limited understanding of magma eruption.

In more than 20 discrete events, the emerging volcano has reshaped its coastlines repeatedly, providing snapshots of volcano-landscape interactions.

The study was sponsored by the National Science Foundation, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the U.S. Geological Survey, and the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.

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Meet many Expats who are willing to share their experiences and how the tour has value long after the “lust” wears off.
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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.

George Lundquist

experience Costa Rica
Costa Rica Travel In Paradise Group Tours

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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

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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!

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

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

    Push this BIG RED BUTTON:  (O) and Learn ​details about your deal with ICE     
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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 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 20, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 78
Real Estate
About us
Voice of America photo
Demonstrators stage massive protest in Caracas.

Thousands pour into Caracas
against Maduro government

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Thousands of Venezuelans poured into the main streets of Caracas on Wednesday, with rival camps demonstrating support for and against President Nicolas Maduro and his socialist policies.

Two Venezuelan students and a National Guard sergeant died after being shot during protests, according to Reuters. The deaths mean eight people have now been killed during protests in Venezuela this month.

In Washington, administration officials are worried the Venezuela government is working to suppress the opposition.

"We are concerned that the government of Maduro is violating its own constitution and is not allowing the opposition to have their voices heard, nor allowing them to organize in a way that expresses the views of the Venezuelan people," U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Wednesday at the State Department.

One protester, Helma Mendoza, said she joined the mother of all marches, organized by leaders of the center-right political opposition, because of Venezuela's tattered economy and the resulting strain on her family and the broader society.

"We are living in a dictatorship, we are living in oppression," opposition protester Karina Ivone said. "This cheating government has betrayed us, the people, the children in the family."

But Yoneici Paredes, a youth leader supporting Maduro, took a different view: "Today, this youth is convinced that socialism is the way for us to build Venezuela's power and the message is to contribute our grain of sand to be a better country in Venezuela."

Maduro rallied his supporters to participate in a counter march, and thousands turned out Wednesday wearing red clothing that marked them as Chavistas.

Chavez launched the leftist movement carried on by Maduro, who succeeded him as president in 2013. In recent protests, security forces have fired rubber bullets and tear gas, as well as using a water cannon.

The demonstrations erupted after the Venezuelan supreme court's March 30 announcement that it would strip the opposition-controlled national assembly of its legislative powers. The court, stacked with appointees of Maduro and Chavez, reversed its position in the wake of domestic and international outcries about an attempted power grab.

Maduro's opponents converged Wednesday on central Caracas to pressure his administration to respect the assembly's autonomy, schedule long-delayed elections, free political prisoners and restore other democratic norms.

Unidad Venezuela, a coalition of opposition parties, also organized marches in each of the country's 24 states. In addition, a demonstration took place at the Venezuelan embassy in Washington.

The National Socialist Party has ruled Venezuela for 17 years. Economic pressures have mounted in recent years, especially since the price of oil, Venezuela's chief export, began falling in 2014. Venezuelans face chronic, severe shortages of food, medicine and other basics in what once was Latin America's wealthiest country.

Wednesday's mass protest fell on a significant date for Venezuelans: On April 19, 1810, Venezuelans began their quest for independence from Spain.

In recent days, Maduro ordered troops to fan out around the country on high alert, and he encouraged his backers, including civilian militia members, to defend against alleged plans to overthrow his government.

The U.S. State Department issued a statement Tuesday warning that the international community would join in any Venezuelan response to the criminal repression of peaceful democratic activity.

Maduro rejected the statement, saying the State Department had, in essence, announced a coup against Venezuela.

On Monday, 11 Latin American countries, including Brazil, Argentina and México, called on Venezuela's government to respect the constitutional right to peaceful protest.

On Tuesday, the Venezuelan penal forum, a nongovernmental organization, said security forces in the country have carried out 538 arrests since early April. It said that as of Monday, 241 people were being detained. It also reported multiple instances of torture and cruelty to detainees.

$812 million pledged
to support tropical disease

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Governments and private donors have pledged $812 million to control and eliminate neglected tropical diseases at a five-day summit convened to advance efforts to fight river blindness, sleeping sickness, schistosomiasis and other disabling diseases of poverty.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation kicked off proceedings Tuesday at a special event. The champagne was flowing as leaders from governments, pharmaceutical companies, and charitable organizations gathered to celebrate the achievements of the 2012 London Declaration.

That landmark agreement produced a road map for the control, elimination and eradication of 10 of the world's 18 neglected tropical diseases by the end of the decade.

These diseases affect 1.6 billion people in 149 countries, including more than one-half billion children. They kill about 170,000 people yearly and cause untold suffering for millions of men, women and children who are disfigured, disabled, stigmatized and unable to work their way out of poverty.

In keeping with its commitment to tackle neglected tropical diseases, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is contributing $335 million in grants to support programs over the next four years focused on "drug development and delivery, disease surveillance and vector control."

While goals for eliminating NTDs have not all been met, Gates said great progress has been made over the past five years.

Since 2012, pharmaceutical companies have donated 7 billion treatments, an incredible commitment, which Gates said was cause for celebration.

The World Health Organization cites what it calls remarkable achievements in the fight against neglected tropical diseases.

It reports that nearly 1 billion people annually have been receiving drugs to prevent one or more of these types of diseases.

In sub-Saharan Africa, where more than 40 percent of these diseases are concentrated, the WHO notes the development of non-toxic drugs for African sleeping sickness have reduced the number of cases of the deadly disease from 37,000 in 1999 to well under 3,000 cases in 2015.

Other successes include the elimination of trachoma, the world's leading infectious cause of blindness in Oman, Morocco and Mexico. Guinea-worm disease is on track for eradication as only 25 human cases of the disease remain.

U.S. naval strike group continues toward Korea

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The U.S. sought to assure allies Wednesday that the USS Carl Vinson naval strike group is indeed headed to the northern Pacific as a deterrent to North Korea's nuclear weapons program. But this came after days of misleading statements that the aircraft carrier and other ships had already been headed there.

"We're sending an armada, very powerful," President Donald Trump declared April 11, three days after the strike group left Singapore.

Adm. Harry Harris, commander of the U.S. Pacific Command, had announced April 9 he was ordering the strike group to sail north after leaving Singapore and that it would not be making previously planned port visits in Australia.

However the strike group instead stayed in the western Pacific and conducted an abbreviated set of exercises with Australian forces. By last Saturday, the Vinson was sailing through the Sunda Strait, which separates the Indonesian islands of Java and Sumatra, thousands of kilometers from the Korean peninsula.

On Wednesday, U.S. officials attempted to clarify the conflicting statements about the strike group's whereabouts.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, on a visit to Saudi Arabia, told reporters, "The Vinson, as I’ve said on the record, was operating up and down the western Pacific. And we’re doing exactly what we said. And that is, we’re shifting her, instead of continuing one direction as she pulled out of Singapore she’s going to continue part of our cruise down in that region but she was on her way up to Korea."

The mixed messaging is being viewed by some as undermining the United States' credible threat of military force against North Korea.

‘Duped by Trump: U.S. Taunted Over Carl Vinson Aircraft Carrier Tale,’ was the headline in the conservative business daily Wall Street Journal, which noted “ridicule in some corners of Asia and wariness in others.”

The headline in China’s Global Times read ‘Tricked Badly,’ while the Korea Times in Seoul bluntly declared ‘US lied about carrier strike group.’

After the initial U.S. Pacific Command announcement on April 9 stated that the Carl Vinson Strike Group was headed north toward the Western Pacific Ocean, a spokesman for the command said this was motivated by North Korea’s reckless, irresponsible and destabilizing program of missile tests and pursuit of a nuclear weapons capability.

This raised concerns that Trump might launch a unilateral military strike to prevent or retaliate against a possible North Korean nuclear test on April 15, the birth anniversary of the nation’s founder Kim Il Sung, often marked by a provocative weapons test.

North Korea did not conduct a nuclear test that weekend but held a massive military parade and attempted a missile test at or near its key submarine base at Sinpo.

The Vinson and its strike force is believed to still be in the Indian Ocean, engaged in training exercises with Australia and is now expected to arrive in waters off the Korean peninsula around April 25, when North Korea marks an important holiday: Military Foundation Day.

It is now confirmed that the aircraft carrier’s crew will spend at least an extra month at sea.

The perceived communications mix-up discredits some of the tough rhetoric coming from the Trump administration.

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence did not mention the delay in sending the Vinson group Wednesday when he addressed American military forces aboard the USS Ronald Reagan, a Nimitz class aircraft carrier undergoing maintenance in Yokosuka, Japan.

Judge fines cruise line
$40 million for dumping

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A federal judge in Miami fined Princess Cruise Lines $40 million Wednesday for illegally dumping oil waste into the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of México, and for falsifying records.

It is the largest such water pollution fine in U.S. history.

The Miami Herald newspaper said the British engineer who reported the dumping to the U.S. Coast Guard will get a $1 million reward.

Engineers aboard the Caribbean Princess in 2012 and 2013 were ordered to dump the oily water straight into the sea and avoid the ship's filtration system, in order to save money. It said the ship's two senior engineers falsified the vessel's records.

The British engineer recorded the dumping on a cellphone.

Four other Princess ships also were involved in the illegal dumping off the East Coast, and near Florida and Texas.

Komodo dragons may be
new source of antibiotic

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Komodo dragons, fearsome giant lizards found in Indonesia, may be a source of a potent antibiotic. If so, researchers say the agent could be an answer to the growing, global health problem of antibiotic resistance.

Huge, toothy and aggressive, Komodo dragons are surrounded by filth in their daily lives. As a result, Barney Bishop, a biochemist at George Mason University near Washington, said Komodo dragons have developed what he called a robust immune system.

Bishop studies molecules produced by the immune system as a front-line defense against infection. That, he said, is the reason for the interest in Komodos.

"They are known to eat carrion; they live in an unsanitary environment; they have been recorded to have up to 57 bacterial strains in their mouths," some of which can cause disease, he said. "Yet the reptiles themselves are not harmed by these bacteria, whether it's in their mouths or wounds inflicted by other lizards."

Bishop and his colleagues, working with blood from Komodos, isolated peptides, or small proteins, produced by the reptiles' immune systems. The peptides, Bishop said, seem to have remarkable anti-bacterial properties.

Researchers made artificial versions of these peptides and tested the most promising one, DRGN-1, or DRAGON-1, in wounded mice and human skin cell cultures. They found the protein molecules exhibited three outstanding properties: They destroyed the outer layer of bacteria, dissolved biofilms, which is a sticky colony that microbes form to shield against antibiotics and speeded up healing.

The work with Komodo dragon peptides was published in the journal “Biofilms and Microbiomes.”

Bishop said the three-pronged action of DRGN-1, if made into an antibiotic, would make it unlikely that disease-causing bacteria could become drug-resistant.

The Defense Threat Reduction Agency, an agency of the U.S. Defense Department, paid for the research. The military is interested in the work because it may relate to bioweapons.

Samples of blood for the study were taken from a 100-pound male Komodo dragon named Tujah who lives at the St. Augustine Alligator Farm and Zoological Park in Florida.

Bishop said only a one-time sample of blood was needed because the peptides were artificially reproduced, so no animal was harmed for the study.

More news of the Americas
From the Voice of America

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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 

solar one

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

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

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

    Push this BIG RED BUTTON:  (O) and Learn ​details about your deal with ICE     
    SEE our new PACKAGE DEALS.
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Office: 506-2446-0543
Andre 506-8314-8090
Paul 506-8898-9398

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news page

San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, April 20, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 78
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About us

News from the BBC up to the minute

BBC news feeds are disabled on archived pages.
Latin news from the BBC up to the minute

trans class
Casa Presidencial photo  
Lessons for jobs for transgender persons is goal in this classroom.

Transgender persons head to classroom

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A group of 16 students learning lessons in a classroom is not exactly breaking news but these 16 students all share a unique characteristic: They are all transgender.

Transvida, a Costa Rican-based association that caters to the needs of the transgender community, partnered with the Instituto Nacional de Aprendizaje to create a 216-hour course in introductory English. The course, held every Tuesday and Thursday for two hours each, is specifically geared towards learning English in the commercial sector, according to Casa Presidencial.

It also represents the first course that the institute is conducting exclusively for transgender people. “These courses are taught in order to provide opportunities to this population since they are mostly excluded from the formal education system, which limits them considerably to insert in the labor market,” the statement from Casa Presidencial said.

The institute, under the framework of the gender equality policy and a presidential directive, was declared a non-discriminatory institute on the basis of sexuality and gender identification.

Two men arrested on a bus with an axe

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Tuesday morning, police officers in La Cruz, Guanacaste, arrested two men who were supposedly preparing to rob a bus with a knife, a gun and an axe.

A woman called 911 when she saw them at a La Cruz bus station. She did so after recognizing them as the same two men who had allegedly robbed and physically assaulted her Sunday night, according to a report from the Ministerio de Seguridad Pública.

Apparently, the woman intended to ride the same bus but declined to do so out of fear they were going to rob the passengers, police said.

Once Fuerza Pública was alerted, police officers deployed a traffic control point to stop the bus and look for the individuals inside. They found the bus in front of Parque Nacional Santa Rosa and discovered the two individuals. They were taken into custody and the weapons were seized.

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From Page 7:

Expotur events remain closed to the public

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The 2017 edition of Expotur will be held next May 11 and 12, and the organizers are expecting more than 5,000 business appointments to take place at the event. Unfortunately, this year will only allow registered business owners and buyers to attend.

Expotur is the main tourism fair in the country and it works as a networking point for the industry's business people. It will take place at the Kölbi Business Center inside the Parque Viva complex located in La Guácima, Alajuela.

According to a release sent by the organizers, the place will be crowded with representatives of over 290 Central American tourism companies and buyers coming from at least 34 different countries.

This year's show will also offer services in different areas that the Costa Rican tourism industry has started to develop, according to the document.

“In addition to nature, eco-tourism, adventure and beach tourism, this year we will emphasize cultural, birdwatching, wellness, and business tourism."said Massi Devoto, the president of the Asociación Costarricense de Profesionales en Turismo.

"As an organization, we are partnering with the Costa Rican tourism board to adapt  Expotur to the demands of tourism sector," he added.

Participants to the fair will enjoy performing arts and have a taste of local gastronomy in order to provide a more sensory experience of what the country really is.

Expotur fair has been organized for 33 years by an alliance between the private sector and the government.