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(506) 2223-1327         Published Monday, April 21, 2008, in Vol. 8, No. 78         E-mail us
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And an employer could be just a homeowner
Employers are getting pounded in labor court cases

By Garland M. Baker
Special to A.M. Costa Rica

Employers are suffering heavy losses in their labor court battles with employees.  Judges are also clobbering employers with hefty awards to the employees to serve as a warning to bosses to stay out of court.

In one labor case, a court decree Friday surprised a retired couple. A judge ordered them to pay thousands of dollars to a guard service. The judge ruled that the proprietor of the service really was an employee and not an independent contractor.   The homeowners have contracts between themselves and the guard firm to prove otherwise, but the judge discarded the documents as rubbish.

Another case is unbelievable but true. An employer fired a worker after giving the worker three letters of reprimand for disobeying orders.  It is law that an employer must give a worker three letters before firing the individual for disobedience.   In this case, the worker sued and won.  The worker said the third letter should have read, “We are calling your attention for disobeying an order for the third time, so you are fired,” not what it read: “It is the third time we call your attention for disobedience, and since we have called your attention twice before, you are fired.” 

The judge ruled each letter is a punishment and the third letter should not mention the first two.  One Costa Rican lawyer calls this kind of law kindergarten jurisprudence.

Why do employers lose and employees win in labor court?  Here is an analysis: 

There are three elements that make a person working for another an employee in Costa Rica: prestación personal, remuneración, and subordinación laboral.

Prestación personal means a worker must do his or her work personally. They cannot hire others to do their work.  Remuneración means payment. Workers receive payment for their work. Subordinación laboral means the worker takes orders.

So in the case of the homeowners, the judge put a lot of weight on the fact that the operator of the guard service did most of the work himself and that the couple contracted directly with him as an individual and not as a third-party corporation.

So the guard was entitled to be reimbursed for overtime, vacation, the Christmas bonus, social security charges and other employee benefits. Usually corporations can only collect the contract amount.

Legally speaking, certain inherent principles apply to legal matters with employees, and these principles are the reason workers win most of the time in labor court.

The protector principle grants workers social protection.   Courts act in dubio pro operario. When in doubt regarding the circumstances and evidence of a conflict between an employer and an employee, the court must rule in the favor of the employee.  In addition, many times different laws can be applicable to the same situation.  In theses cases, the law most favorable to the employee applies.

The non-renounce principle grants employees non-renounceable rights.  This means workers cannot renounce their rights under any circumstances.  The nature of labor law in Costa Rica guarantees worker rights over any private agreement.

The continuity principle views all labor contracts as indefinite.  This means labor law contemplates that contracts with workers do not have an end. They go on forever.  This is why when one company buys out another, the law guarantees the employees all
pounded in court

their rights under the new administration.  This principle also gives employees the benefit of the doubt when they do something wrong.  If a worker breaches any rules, and the employer does not take immediate action to correct the situation, the lack of discipline turns the breach into a right.

A perfect example of this principle is cellular telephone use in the workplace.  Nowhere in the labor law is there an article that states employees have the right to use cellular telephone at work.  However, most employers do not curb their use, turning the use into a right.

The primacy of the reality principle guarantees workers — no matter what any contract or agreement states, whether it be for an indefinite or definite term, outsourcing or for professional services — that the reality of the circumstances will rule.  Therefore, if a judge believes a freelancer is an employee, regardless of an existing contract to the contrary, the contractor will lose in a dispute and have to pay the freelancer all the benefits of an employee with interest and costs.

The reasonability principle gives the benefit of the doubt to the employee.   In many cases, employees do not know for whom they work for in a job.  They know who gives them orders and who reprimands them, but they do not know the legal entity responsible for their rights.  In these cases, the employees can sue everyone they think is responsible and request everything they believe they are due.

In many situations — one example is construction — many companies work together on a job.  A construction worker in a labor dispute can sue the construction company that hired him or her as well as the owners of the project individually.

Recent changes to the labor law extended the statute of limitations from six months to 12 months to file a claim against an employer.   The statute of limitations is suspended when an employer denies the worker a letter specifying the reason for dismissal or when a worker files a claim at the labor ministry.  When an employee files a lawsuit within the proper period, the worker can file for up to 10 years worth of benefits.

The moral of this article is a simple one.  Do not play games with labor relationships in Costa Rica.   The labor courts are ruthless in dealing with employers who try to skirt the rules. 

Garland M. Baker is a 36-year resident and naturalized citizen of Costa Rica who provides multidisciplinary professional services to the international community.  Reach him at info@crexpertise.com.  Lic. Allan Garro provides the legal review.  Reach him at crlaw@licgarro.com.  Baker has undertaken the research leading to these series of articles in conjunction with A.M. Costa Rica.  Find the collection at http://crexpertise.info, a complimentary reprint is available at the end of each article.  Copyright 2004-2008, use without permission prohibited.


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San José, Costa Rica, Monday, April 21, 2008, Vol. 8, No. 78

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Business people at Chirripó
seek OK for more visitors


By Helen Thompson
of the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Local business people who rely on Parque Nacional Chirripó for their trade are compiling a report that they hope will persuade park chiefs to allow more tourists to stay at the mountain's sole refuge each night.

The Camara de Turismo of San Gerardo de Rivas, the small town situated at the entrance to the park, has paid up much of the money for repairs to the failing septic tank which has recently been finished at Refugio de los Crestones.

Comprised mostly of small business owners, the camara has worked in co-operation with the Ministerio de Ambiente y Energía and the Asociacion de Desarollo de San Gerardo y Herradura to raise the 5 million colons ($10,000) necessary for the project. The chamber has also donated time to the project, with many members hiking the day-long trip up to the refuge in order to carry out repairs with their own hands.

A report on the work and a petition is due to be presented Tuesday at 4 p.m. to Oscar Esquivel, the park administrator, at the park office in San Gerardo de Rivas.

Within the peition will be a request that the park be opened to a larger number of tourists, filling 75 percent of the 70 available beds in the refuge each night. This would mean that around 54 beds would be full each night, while currently the figures stand at around 40 beds.

Local business owners have complained that the difficulty that tourists encounter when trying to obtain spaces in the refuge often discourages them from staying in San Gerardo de Rivas for the length of time they would otherwise have spent there, meaning that restaurants, hotels and tour agencies lose custom.

“The relationship between the park and the business owners has been strained in the past due to what is perceived to be a lack of cooperation with the local businesses and residents who depend upon the park for tourism,” said John Titan, owner of hotel Casa Mariposa and member of the Camara de Turismo.

“It is hoped that this great gesture of accomplishing the repairs and saving the ministry hundreds of millions of colones and, perhaps 10 months of work (and potential park closure) will demonstrate to the ministry that cooperation is in the best interest of the administration.”
 
Esquivel has previously said that the repairs do not necessarily mean that he will be able to allow more people into the park, as to fill the refuge to capacity would require a new septic tank with greater capacity. However, he made the journey to the refuge himself last week and is said to have approved of the repairs.

Representatives of the Ministerio de Salud were also due to review the repairs Friday.

Opponents continue to fight
against passed veggie bill


By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Legislators may have passed the so-called veggie bill, but opponents are not giving up.

The Grupo Costa Rica en Acción claims that the measure lacked the required number of votes when lawmakers considered the measure last week. The controversial measure passed 32 to 11. This is the bill that allows those who create or discover new species of plant and micro life to patent the results. The measure is considered a key element of the enabling legislation for the free trade treaty with the United States.

The bill is called UPOV from its name in Spanish, and the Central Valley has been covered in signs and graffiti urging defeat of the measure. The English title is the "International Convention for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants."

The Grupo Costa Rica en Acción now claims that the measure needed 38 votes, or two-thirds, to pass because it is related to a treaty. The bill was approved on first reading in late February. The vote last week was the second and final one.

The bill provides that anyone who develops a new variety of plant has the rights to market it exclusively for 20 years. The term is 25 years if the plant is a perennial. There are some exceptions for others doing research and small and mid-size farms. The penalty for infringement is a jail term. In February the Sala IV high court voted that the measure did not have constitutional faults.

The bill has been opposed by environmentalists,those opposed to the treaty in general and also Talamanca Indians who fear First World scientists will plunder the traditional medicine and seek patents.  This is the same measure that opponents sought to subject to a national referendum. They did get 70,000 signatures, they said, and presented them to lawmakers last week.

What opponents will do is not clear. They may file another Sala IV case. They also seem to be developing grounds to challenge many more aspects of the free trade treaty, including the extension Costa Rica got for other countries involved to pass enabling legislation.

Stadium plan approved

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Chinese construction employees will work three shifts a day to build a $72 million soccer stadium as a gift to Costa Rica, according to Casa Presidencial. President Óscar Airas Sánchez was reported to have approved the preliminary plans provided by a group of Chinese engineers. The stadium will seat 35,000 and will be on the site of the existing stadium in Parque la Sabana. Work could start in July.

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San José, Costa Rica, Monday, April 21, 2008, Vol. 8, No. 78

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Alice on horseback
Natasha Hudson Montero, 6, was a perfect Alice.

Dress-up was the order of the day for some at the Queen's Birthday Party, a charity event staged by the British Community at Ambassador Tom Kennedy's residence in Escazú Saturday.

The weather cooperated and the event was getting rave reviews from those who attended, in part because of the wide range of foods, but mostly from the warm reception given those from the community who were not British.

Alice character Rose Elias
A.M. Costas Rica photos/Saray Ramírez Vindas
Rose Elias of England was the Queen of Hearts



Senate committee vote on Cianchette is set for Tuesday
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Like his predecessor, ambassador-designate Peter E. Cianchette has promised to protect American citizens here.

"Security concerns already affect the hundreds of thousands of U.S. citizens who visit and reside in Costa Rica each year. If confirmed, I would have no greater priority than protecting American citizens," Cianchette told the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee last week according to a text of his speech.

Under the U.S. Constitution the Senate must consent to Cianchette's  nomination by President George Bush. A vote of the committee is expected Tuesday. If he is approved, the vote will send the nomination to the Senate floor and almost certain confirmation.

Cianchette gave his presentation to a committee that also was hearing from ambassador nominees from a number of other Latin countries. These included Robert J. Callahan, nominated to serve in Nicaragua; Heather M. Hodges, Ecuador; Hugo Llorens, Honduras; Stephen G. McFarland, Guatemala; and Barbara J. Stephenson, Panamá.

Promising to protect U.S. citizens here is somewhat of a ritual in speeches by nominees,

John Danilovich, who eventually was confirmed in September 2001, said this: "Ensuring the protection of Americans in Costa Rica will be one of my priorities if I am confirmed."

However, Cianchette, a Maine politician, had a personal touch. He used the committee appearance as a way to introduce his wife, Maria, children Bud and Priscilla, as well as his parents, Bud and Priscilla Cianchette. They were in the audience.

"My service in the Maine state legislature gave me valuable experience that I believe will be useful if I am confirmed," said Cianchette. "Legislative work requires the ability to demonstrate leadership and build consensus. An effective
legislator listens to the citizens he serves and responds to their concerns, as well as those of colleagues and the many other stakeholders in any particular policy.
"Everything I’ve learned suggests that an effective ambassador must lead the embassy staff in the country, but build consensus as a team player within the interagency community so that all U.S. equities are represented."  He said that his experience as an executive with a Spanish-owned manufacturing company has prepared him to take advantage of the opportunities presented by working in a different cultural context.

Both Danilovich and the most recent U.S. ambassador Mark Langdale had limited cultural exposure. Embassy security officials kept them under wraps, and many of their public appearances were before groups of U.S. businessmen.

In his talk, Cianchette did show he was aware of some of the challenges. "Costa Rica, the United States, and other countries in the region face shared security threats from human and drug traffickers, terrorists, and other criminals." he said.

He also promised to use his professional experience to foster stronger trade, tourism, and investment ties between the two nations and to help Costa Rica become a full partner in the free trade treaty with the United States and other nations in the region.

Cianchette is a partner at CHK Capital Partners, LLC., according to the White House. In addition to legislative experience in Maine, he was the 2002 Republican candidate for governor in Maine but lost to John E. Baldacci, a Democrat. He served as Maine chairman for the Bush reelection campaign in 2004.

The former ambassador, Mark Langdale, left the post in January to become the head of the Bush Library in Texas. He is a Texan.  Danilovich left Costa Rica to become ambassador in Brazil and then became head of the Millennium Challenge Corp., a Bush plan to aid underdeveloped countries, on Nov. 7, 2005.

Despite his 2001 promise, Danilovich did nothing to ease the burden of thousands of U.S. citizens here and elsewhere who were victimized by the Villalobos brothers ponzi scheme that collapsed July 4, 2002, and several other high interest schemes that went bottom up that year.


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San José, Costa Rica, Monday, April 21, 2008, Vol. 8, No. 78


Bush says Congress makes error delaying Colombian pact
By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

President George Bush says opposition Democrats in Congress are making a serious error by refusing to vote on a free trade agreement with Colombia.

Bush wants Congress to ratify a free trade agreement with Colombia because, he says, the status quo is unfair to American businesses that still pay stiff tariffs in Colombia while almost all of Colombia's exports to the United States enter duty-free.

"The situation is completely one-sided," he said.  "Our markets are open to Colombian products, but barriers that make it harder to sell American goods in Colombia remain. If the free trade agreement were implemented, however,
most of Colombia's tariffs on American goods would be eliminated immediately."

In his weekly radio address, Bush said there is also a strategic reason. He says lawmakers' refusal to ratify the trade deal would send a signal to allies in the hemisphere that America cannot be trusted.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has indefinitely delayed a vote on the deal.  Many opposition Democrats in Congress oppose the free trade agreement because of Colombia's human rights record and the government's past efforts to suppress trade unionists.

Bush said Colombian President Alvaro Uribe has addressed those concerns and Congress is making a serious error.


Former Roman Catholic bishop wins presidency in Paraguay
By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Opposition candidate Fernando Lugo has won Paraguay's presidential election, ending six decades of one-party rule.

Ruling party candidate Blanca Ovelar conceded defeat Sunday night. With about 70 percent of the polling sites counted, Lugo was leading Ovelar 40 to 32 percent.

Retired Gen. Lino Oviedo had 22 percent of the vote.
Lugo is a former Roman Catholic bishop who heads a center-left coalition that includes the main opposition party, trade unions, farm groups and Indians. They call themselves the Alianza Patriótica por el Cambio or patriotic alliance for change.

Lugo, once called the bishop of the poor, vowed to help Paraguay's poor and indigenous people. He grew up in southern Paraguay, was ordained into the priesthood in 1977, and went into politics in 2006.



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San José, Costa Rica Monday, April 21, 2007, Vol. 8, No. 78

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A.M. Costa Rica

users guide

This is a brief users guide to A.M. Costa Rica.

Old pages

Each day someone complains via e-mail that the newspages are from yesterday or the day before. A.M. Costa Rica staffers check every page and every link when the newspaper is made available at 2 a.m. each weekday.

So the problem is with the browser in each reader's computer. Particularly when the connection with the  server is slow, a computer will look to the latest page in its internal memory and serve up that page.

Readers should refresh the page and, if necessary, dump the cache of their computer, if this problem persists. Readers in Costa Rica have this problem frequently because the local Internet provider has continual problems.

Searching

The A.M. Costa Rica search page has a list of all previous editions by date and a space to search for specific words and phrases. The search will return links to archived pages.

Newspages

A typical edition will consist of a front page and four other newspages. Each of these pages can be reached by links near the top and bottom of the pages.

Classifieds

Five classified pages are updated daily. Employment listings are free, as are listings for accommodations wanted, articles for sale and articles wanted. The tourism page and the real estate sales and real estate rentals are updated daily.

Advertising information

A summary of advertising rates and sizes are available for display and classifieds.

Statistics

A.M. Costa Rica makes its monthly statistics available to advertisers and readers. It is HERE! 

Contacting us

Both the main telephone number and the editor's e-mail address are listed on the front page near the date.

Visiting us

Directions to our office and other data, like bank account numbers are on the about us page.

Happiness seems to grow
as individuals get older

By the University of Chicago news service

Americans grow happier as they grow older, according to a University of Chicago study that is one of the most thorough examinations of happiness ever done in America. The study also found that baby boomers are not as content as other generations, African Americans are less happy than whites, men are less happy than women, happiness can rise and fall between eras, and that, with age the differences narrow.

“Understanding happiness is important to understanding quality of life. The happiness measure is a guide to how well society is meeting people’s needs,” said Yang Yang, assistant professor of sociology and author of an article published in the April issue of the American Sociological Review.

The research relies on data that social scientists consider the gold standard of happiness research — responses to questions about contentment with overall life gathered in the General Social Survey of the National Opinion Research Center, which the National Science Foundation supports at the University of Chicago.

Since 1972, the General Social Survey has asked a cross section of Americans the same question: “Taken all together, how would you say things are these days—would you say that you are very happy, pretty happy, or not too happy?” The question was administered in face-to-face interviews of population samples that ranged from about 1,500 to 3,000.

Ms. Yang charted happiness across age and racial groups and found that among 18-year-olds, white women are the happiest, with a 33 percent probability of being very happy, followed by white men (28 percent), black women (18 percent) and black men (15 percent).

Differences vanish over time, however, as happiness increases. Black men and black women have just more than a 50 percent chance of being very happy by their late 80s, while white men and white women are close behind.

The increase in happiness with age is consistent with the “age as maturity hypothesis,” Ms. Yang said. With age comes positive psychosocial traits, such as self-integration and self-esteem.  The length of the survey also helped determine how different people in the same generational group fared. The baby boom generation (born from 1946-1964) were the least happy among those surveyed.

“This is probably due to the fact that the generation as a group was so large, and their expectations were so great, that not everyone in the group could get what he or she wanted as they aged due to competition for opportunities. This could lead to disappointment that could undermine happiness,” Ms. Yang said.

On another measure, Ms. Yang found that happiness in the country is not static. Looking over the study’s 33-year period, she noticed definite upticks when the nation flourished economically. For example, she found that 1995 was a very good year on the happiness scale.


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San José, Costa Rica, Monday, April 21, 2008, Vol. 8, No. 78



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San José, Costa Rica, Monday, April 21, 2008, Vol. 8, No. 78


school play







Country Day School pupils Roberto Camacho, Josh Slowiczek and MJ
Esquivel rehearse the play "Story Theatre"
High school actors re-invent the traditional fairy tale
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A comic reworking of the familiar fairy tales and moral warnings by Aesop and the Brothers Grimm will be acted out by the students of Country Day School High School in their annual theatrical production.

Called “Story Theatre,” the English-language play includes such well-known characters as “Henny Penny,” “The Fisherman and His Wife” and “The Master Thief,” adapted by Paul Sills so each contain their own comic twist.
Lisa DeFuso and Kathryn Smith direct the cast in a show of singing, music, dancing, and story-telling.

The American international school, which is attended by many children of expatriates in Costa Rica, will be holding the performances from Thursday to Sunday in the school's cafetorium from 7.30 p.m.

Tickets cost 3,000 colons ($6) for adults and 2,000 colons ($4) for children, and can be bought at the Country Day School High School office, in central Escazú, between 2.30 and 4.30 p.m. Monday to Friday.

Be careful playing small pairs before the flop
I recently spent two weeks doing commentary for the new Asian Pacific Poker Tour.  The quality of play was surprisingly good, but I did notice that many players tended to misplay small pairs before the flop.

There are few steadfast rules in poker but general rules abound.  Here’s one general rule that applies to no limit hold’em tournaments:  Avoid playing coin flip situations for all of your chips.

An example of a coin flip situation is when one player has a pocket pair while the other has two overcards, like pocket sixes against 10-J, or the classic confrontation between pocket queens and A-K.  Even though the pair would typically be a small favorite in these races, it would be a mistake to overstate their value.  And while pocket sixes would be a favorite over the seemingly more powerful A-K, that same hand would be a huge underdog to any higher pair. 

You can never be certain whether your opponent has a hand like A-K or pocket jacks before the flop, so take the cautious route and avoid playing big pots with small pocket pairs.  It doesn’t make sense to risk all of your chips when the most likely best case scenario is a 50/50-ish coin flip against two overcards, and the worst case is competing as a 4-to-1 underdog. 

Despite the fact that pocket sixes are a heads-up favorite against Big Slick, I’d feel more comfortable playing big pots with the A-K.  That’s because in the best case, A-K would be a substantial favorite over an opponent who didn’t start with a pair.  In the absolute worst case, an opponent might have pocket aces or kings.  That, however, would be very unlikely since I already hold one of each card.  In all other situations, my A-K would only be a small underdog against other pairs.

So, you can play a bit more aggressively with a hand like A-K before the flop.  If another player comes in for a raise, consider reraising all-in.  It’s unlikely that you’ll be up against pocket aces or kings. You’ll be a big favorite against A-Q, and even if your opponent calls the reraise, there’s still a reasonable chance that you’ll be in a winnable race against a smaller pair.  That’s not all that bad.



Keep in mind, though, playing small pocket pairs can be dangerous.  Yes, you might occasionally decide to reraise all-in before the flop, especially if you sense that your opponent is bluffing.  Your overall prospects to win, however, just aren’t very good.  The only time to consider that play is when there’s a reasonable chance that your opponent would fold before the flop.  That probably won’t happen, though, if he’s already committed a large percentage of his chips.  Similarly, if your all-in reraise would only cost him a few extra chips, you can be pretty certain that he’ll make the call.

Here’s the bottom line:  Avoid confrontations when playing small pocket pairs.  Don’t call large bets or all-in bets.  The only time to consider calling an all-in bet with a small pocket pair is when your opponent is severely short-stacked and the call won’t do too much damage to your stack.  

Now, if you’re the one playing on a short stack and another player has raised the pot in front of you, it’s reasonable to fold your small pocket pair.  However, if you’re the first player to enter the pot, don’t hesitate to move all-in.  Be aggressive in this situation because you’ll have a chance to win the blinds and antes without having to see a flop.  Even if you do get called, you’ll often find yourself in a winnable race to the finish.

Visit www.cardsharkmedia.com/book.html for information about Daniel Negreanu’s new book, "Hold’em Wisdom for All Players."
© 2008 Card Shark Media.  All rights reserved.


Food...

Mini-mall comes to the rescue of the not-rich-but-hungry

food court

For those in the know, there is a clean, affordable, relatively quiet gastronomic surprise off the pedestrian mall in downtown San Jose.  Between Arenas clothing store and the Patio Restaurant, behind a perfume counter and a Pops Ice Cream sits a food court without a McDonald's, Wendy's, Subway or Church's Chicken in sight. 

Tropical Food is a counter selling relatively healthy food.  While their batidos aren't as delicious as the ones found at FrutiLand in Mall San Pedro, the water-or-milk-
blended-with-fruit drink is a refreshing treat to carry during your walk along Avenida Central.  A batido with the fruit of your choice mixed with water costs 650 colons, with milk, 750 colons.  That's from $1.30 to $1.50.

Adding honey or granola takes you up to a still-reasonable 900 colons ($1.80).  The store also peddles fruit salads, ranging from 700 to 1.600 colons ($1.40 to $3.20).

Marisqueria produces delicious looking and smelling seafood dishes.  A customer-friendly hanging chalkboard lists their menu and respective prices.  A small corvina ceviche will set you back 1,950 colons ($3.90).  Get a small rice with shrimp for 2.150 colons ($4.30), 2,800 ($5.60) for a larger serving.  Or try one of the fish filets prepared several different ways, the cheapest being with oil and garlic for 2,600 ($5.20) colons, the priciest fish filet dish is 3,600 colons ($7.20) for relleno with ham and cheese.

Click here to read more

Festive season proves troublesome even for established restaurant

vealBeing a chef in a busy kitchen must be a pretty stressful job, but around Christmas stress is something any successful restaurant should factor in as inevitable.

On a second visit to well-reputed French restaurant Le Chandelier, it soon became obvious that the staff were poorly equipped for the onslaught of Christmas party diners on a Tuesday night, leaving the usually decent food to deteriorate into a procession of almost inedible starters and bland entrees.

Set in an old San Pedro house with brick ceilings and wooden beams that was converted into a restaurant around 15 years ago by Swiss owner Claude Dubuis, Le Chandelier purports to offer French cuisine that has been developed over generations of experience.

Click here to read the full review

A great meal is not all in the presentation

musslesandfondue120407With a vaulted glass ceiling, palm trees lining the pathway and posh lighting, one would not expect Saga restaurant to be settled behind a dull parking lot in Escazú.

Although this restaurant may look out of place, it doesn't deviate much from the norm in Escazú, an area many would classify as suburban sprawl.


The majority of the cuisine at Saga seems to fit with the setting: classy presentation, yet lacking any profound flavors. Although the restaurant boasts itself as an “international food restaurant” on its Web site, much of the inspired cuisine is lacking the depth which would be found in authentic dishes.

Click here to read the full review


Film and Dramatic Arts ...
Costa Rica's cinematic heritage shared with all at public libraries

All over the country, film lovers are being given the chance to learn a bit more about Costa Rica through cinema screenings in public libraries.

Viewers will probably be surprised to find out there are so many Costa Rican films in circulation, and although none is famous, they deal with issues close to the country's history.

Subjects range from the nation's love of guaro and documentaries on influential figures such as Francisco Amighetti and Juan Santamaría, to racial issues, lighter animated films, and even how to fish shrimp responsibly.

Margarita Rojas, director of the Sistema Nacional de Bibliotecas, initiated the project, making copies of the works that she considers essential to Costa Rican cinema to send around the country.

Read more - click here
Festivals ...

International acts to make rare festival appearance in Costa Rica

Excitement is rising over the announcement of headline acts for Festival Imperial, Costa Rica's most highly anticipated music festival of the year.

Costa Rica is often missed off the list when world-famous bands are compiling their top international touring spots, but the second edition of the beer-backed festival is set to attract a few top names.

Two years ago, the first Festival Imperial brought Sting and Jamiroquai to Costa Rica, while also promoting national bands such as Gandhi and Malpais, and April 2008's edition of the event promises similar quality.

Read more - click here

Duran Duran in concert

British group Duran Duran will headline Festival
Books ...

Land use in Costa Rica documented by Fulbright scholar

Forty years of living in the jungle, moving between secluded forestry stations and research labs, has led Louisiana resident and NASA veteran
Armond Joyce
Armond Joyce
Armond Joyce to write a book about the changing uses of land in Costa Rica.

After winning a presitgious Fulbright scholarship in 1998, he came back to Costa Rica to revisit forest sites that he worked on over three decades earlier as a graduate student. 

Some of the earliest satellite technology available was used in 1966 to take arial photographs of Costa Rica's countryside, and the
book compares these black and white shots with up-to-date images.

Click here to read more

New book dwells on the social aspects of food

Food is not just a selfish pleasure or a way to stifle hunger, but is central to the evolution of art, according to a new book published by Museos del Banco Central.

Artworks by Costa Rican painters are the main content of the hardback book, “Imagenes para Comer,” which follows the representation of food in art since still life painting became popular in the Renaissance.

Full-color pictures of both traditional and modern works are far more common than recipes, as the author Marjorie Ross only provides seven recipes within the book.

All are traditional Costa Rican dishes showing influences from different sections of the community, such as corn fritters, white beans and chorizo and fruit salad.

The book focuses on the meanings that food has within society, and how these are portrayed by art.

Click here to read more


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