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Published Thursday, May 4, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 88
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Municipalidad de Carillo photo
The municipality is ushering in its own demolition crews.
Demolition day begins for some local properties
By Rommel Téllez
of the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Walls, pools, shacks and even houses are set for a massive demolition operation to be carried out by the Municipalidad de Carrillo, in the northeast area of Guanacaste.

Some expats received quite a shock when they found that those constructions were reduced to rubble. The local government is cracking down on what it claims to be illegal constructions using some heavy-duty muscle that tractors and backhoes provide.

It expects these actions will encourage residents to pay a visit to the municipality and put their stuff together, according to Nelson Cascante, its legal director.

The demolition will continue until the end of the week, with at least 20 properties being partially or totally destroyed for not having the proper permits, he said.

“The municipality has started the first phase of demolitions by targeting constructions that will cause the least social impact possible,” Cascante said. “That's why we have not started demolishing illegal residencies yet.”

Although the director recognizes that many of the constructions lacking permits do not constitute an urban or cosmetic problem, they do constitute a legal fault.

Unfortunately, this fault is one in which the municipality must take measures or else he, Mayor Carlos Cantillo or other public officers may end up in jail for not enforcing the law.

“We don't enjoy doing this but we are obliged to,” Cascante said.

“Unfortunately, it has become a Costa Rican sport to not do things properly and then cry when someone has to face the consequences.”

According to him, there's still more than 100 demolitions to be executed and many of them could be halted if people shows up to the municipality with their respective paperwork.

Cascante said that most of the people affected are missing the environmental permits issued by the Secretaría Técnica Nacional Ambiental.

When asked why the municipality didn’t proceed with the demolitions before, Cascante said that many people turned to tribunals and appeals, which delayed the processes. Today, they are getting rid of the alleged illegal constructions that have exhausted all means of appeal.
Municipality officials will also evaluate certain cases where they will ask the property owners to pay demolition costs.

The legal director said that this is done since the work takes a lot of resources from the annual municipal budget.

“We are telling people to either request or update their permits or do the demolitions themselves,” Cascante said.

“If they do it themselves at least they are able to recycle the materials and we don’t have to pay the expensive price of renting the machinery.”

John Quinian, a United States citizen who owns a condo in Vista Hermosa between Playa Hermosa and Playa del Coco, holds a different point of view.

There, the municipality has demolished three out of five swimming pools, leaving the place full of debris and in unsafe conditions, he said.

According to Quinan, his building did not require those permits when it was built about 10 years ago. He also said that every time the owner got a notification, someone from the municipality told him that everything was going to be ok.

“What they are doing is horrible,” Quinan said. “I understand permits are needed but seeing a tractor coming here without notice is horrible. Something like that would never happen in the United States.”

“This is not about the law, this is about someone who wants to hurt people,” he said.

The municipality’s lawyer confirmed that, in some cases, owners did not know they bought a property with legal problems and they are just finding out.

In those scenarios, the victims may approach the municipality to check the status of the property and get a bit of legal support in case they need it.

“Everybody knows we are doing this and for years were properly notified,” Cascante said.

“We invite everyone in doubt to approach us to reach a friendly agreement, however we can’t go to each person’s place and tell them what to do.”

The Municipalidad de Carrillo has jurisdiction over the Filadelfia, Belén, Palmira y Sardinal districts. It amounts to a population of over 40,000 people, according to the Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Censos. The canton includes Playa Hermosa and Playa del Coco.

Health ministry says higher zika rate in 10 cantons
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The health ministry has noticed that 10 cantons in Costa Rica have seen an increase in the rate of reported cases of zika virus.

According to data provided by the Ministerio de Salud, there have been a total of 741 cases reported of zika within the country during the first 16 weeks of 2017. Of those cases, over 151 were confirmed as zika, the ministry said.

The data shows that Siquirres canton had the highest amount of cases at 132 yet the canton of Orotina to the east of the capital showed the most rapid rate of cases. Expats living near Jacó may be relieved to know that there have been only 17 cases of zika reported to the health ministry from Garabito.

Likewise, those living near Limón centro have reports of 57 cases. The ministry has been engaging in a widespread campaign to eliminate breeding grounds of zika. To that end, they have been destroying things such as unused tires and fumigating close to 12,000 residences.

Cases of other chikungunya are not as high as the data given about zika. With this mosquito-borne disease, 2017 has yielded around 130 cases so far, according to Salud.

By comparison, the first 16 weeks of 2016 had 1,563 reported cases.

The current statistics measure to about 2.6 cases per every 100,000 people, according to the data.

Meanwhile, dengue cases are topped at 1,111 with the highest numbers reported in Matina, Siquirres and Pococí. That is still down from similar data compiled at the same time in 2016 where cases reached as high as 6,819.

The most impressive regression has been in the reports of malaria disease. The health ministry reached a peak of recorded cases back in 2006 at 2,913. This year, only four cases of malaria have been reported.

Officials have not yet determined the impact of these mosquito-borne diseases on tourism.

Fumigations, visits by health officials to hotels and other businesses are thought to be improving the situation related to the elimination of breeding grounds.

The effort began picking up back in November and December following a late rainy season.

Many countries require visiting tourists entering the country to show proof of vaccinations against such mosquito-borne viruses.

Such vaccinations are highly recommended by most foreign ministries advising travelers as well as the U.S. State Department.

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541 LSD doses seized by tourist police

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Police officers found over 541 doses of LSD in the middle of Montezuma Tuesday night.

According to a report from the Ministerio de Seguridad Pública, the drugs were possibly thrown into the street after the individuals carrying it noticed police coming. The drugs were recovered by the new sector of the Policía Turística who are apparently active along coastal communities mainly in seizing various drugs.

Officials caution that LSD is a powerful and dangerous chemical created in makeshift laboratories in the United States. Dealers sell the hallucinogen and others in small tablets wrapped in absorbent paper, police said.

The security ministry reported no arrests in regards to the case. Montezuma is a town in Puntarenas province.

OCDE gives low marks to schools

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Costa Rican school system has a long way to go if it wants to catch up with more developed countries, according to the latest survey on education carried out by the Programme for International Student Assessment, part of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, or OCDE.

According to the study, examining the results of mainly Costa Ricans aged 15, local students showed poor performances rates in mathematics, science and reading. They scored behind the average performance of students coming from countries who are members of the organization, the data concluded.

Another finding is that Costa Rican boys out perform girls in regards science and mathematics by a bigger margin than those of the organization. In terms of whether a student’s social background determines the success rate of students, the Costa Rican system did rank close to the group’s average, meaning that there is a high chance that students coming from under-privileged backgrounds will be subject to a similar quality of education of those who are better off.

Costa Rica does excel with a low immigrant students gap. In other words, the country’s capacity to absorb foreign students and provide them with equal education as those born in its own soil is considered above average, according to the study.
With life satisfaction, Costa Rican students are above the OCDE average, below in sense of belonging to a school and at the peak of schoolwork related anxiety. It should be noted that, even with the best efforts on the part of the compilers and gatherers, those results are often glaringly relative and cannot be compiled so easily into hard data.

The results come from an assessment applied to approximately 540,000 students in 2015, representing about 29 million 15-year-olds in the schools of the 72 participating countries and economies.

The assessment included computer-based tests in science, reading, mathematics and collaborative problem solving. Students also answered a background questionnaire, about themselves, their homes and their school and learning experiences. At the same time, school principals completed a questionnaire that covered the school system and the learning environment.

Our reader’s opinion
Let owners use system to sell properties

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

"The Cámara Costarricense de Bienes Raíces is working to propose a new bill that would require mandatory licensing for anyone working in the real estate business.”

To the legislature of the Costa Rican government, and the people they represent, the establishment of a national agency of realtors is a bad idea. It creates a monopoly for the realtors, providing their cottage industry with what amounts to a mandatory fee structure.  The idea is sold on the bogus premise that this will make it safer for both parties to a real estate sale or lease. This is nonsense.  

Relators do not have the legal education to make any sale or lease of real estate safer.   Only lawyers specializing in real estate law possess that ability. Realtors do nothing but bring a buyer and seller together and for that, they charge a fee. However, with a national Multiple Listing System, or MLS, in place and a mandatory licensing program, the realtors will then have a monopoly over almost all sales and leases of property, which is what the realtors pushing this new law want.

What mandatory licensing will do is make it very difficult to sell or lease properties without a Cámara-licensed realtor as these relators have an interest in putting up road blocks to any real estate transaction that fails to include their agents. They will create and use a national database of property listings that excludes any property owner who declines to use their relators.  

This is the experience in the U.S. These realtors actively work to freeze out any selling party that does not use their agents. It is all done with a “ wink and a nod,” under the table agreements between their agents.  The realtors acquire clients who wish to buy or lease a property.  Realtors will then refuse to show their clients any property not listed with them or another licensed agent as they want to force property owners to use their agents who will pay a fee to belong to their association. 

If, as Ana Seidy López maintains, the goal is simply to make it safer for the parties of any real estate transaction, the solution is a national database open to all property owners.  

Create the database of listed properties and make it available to all thru the internet for a small transaction based fee. Allow owners to list their properties on the MLS directly without use of a realtor and their percentage fees. 

Whatever safety is afforded by this listing is better accomplished by letting all property owners use the system, and NOT just the realtors who create the database thru the properties of their clients.  It is the property owners who should own the MLS not the realtors for their own monopolized financial interest. 

The other suggested reason this system is now needed is to track drug or illegally acquired money. Again, this is a bogus premise. In this age of technology, all governments are now espousing the need to track monies from one country to another.  The fact that money already in the U.S. banking system is “clean” money is lost on the bureaucrats and bank regulators in other countries who buy into this U.S. government-generated scam.

Transferring “ clean” money to Costa Rica to invest in real estate is not the issue.  Currently it has Costa Rican banks jumping thru hoops to show all historical sources of funds being transferred.  This is a fool’s errand. 

The money from U.S. banks or security brokerage companies is clean money. Dirty cash is what drug lords want to put into the U.S. banking system to launder it.  The sole real reason the U.S. Treasury imposes these tasks on the banks of other countries is to track and tax!

People should fear our government’s attempts to track and tax every financial transaction anywhere in the world.  That is the real reason behind the current push to track funds transferred from the U.S. to Central American countries. That is also the reason the U.S. government is trying to eliminate its $100 bill and, ultimately, all cash transactions. Big brother is getting bigger with technology and that should alert everyone to its growing dangers. But, the safety of a property owner's sale or lease is a laughable fake reason to support a monopoly.

Gary Keenan
San José

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Costa Rican ecologist praised for work with native communities
By the Smithsonian Institute press staff

The indigenous Emberá townspeople were taking advantage of the arrival of Javier Mateo-Vega, an ecologist with the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, to air grievances.

A man in the back complained about new houses that the government was building, sterile, zinc-roofed concrete shacks, that were quickly wiping out the town’s traditional wood-and-thatched-palm huts.

Others cursed the colonos, non-indigenous farmers and ranchers who were invading the community’s land from other parts of Panamá. The village chiefs struggled to keep order.

The people of Ipeti were at a crossroads. The Emberá have long lived in the forests of eastern Panamá, but ever since a group of Emberá migrated west and founded Ipeti a few decades ago, they have grappled with outside threats to their forest-based livelihoods.

On paper, the work was intended to conserve tropical forests, crucial yet increasingly vulnerable bastions in the fight against global climate change. But Mateo-Vega and his colleagues also hoped it would also do something arguably just as important: empower indigenous communities to take charge of their environmental future, and even reclaim their identity as forest people.

The story begins in the mid 1990s, when Ms. Potvin, Mateo-Vega's advisor, ventured for the first time to the Darién. She had heard that the remote, roadless Darién region in far eastern Panamá, the Emberás’ homeland, and where most of the roughly 30,000 group members still live. Getting there required a flight from Panama City and 14 hours in a dugout canoe.

Ms. Potvin worked with the community to study and grow four species of palm: chunga, wagara, giwa and sabal. That work paid off: With palms growing and providing materials, Ipeti was able to continue their traditional house-building.

Around this time, high-level politicians and environmentalists began eyeing tropical forests like the Darién as part of global efforts to combat climate change.

At the 2005 UN climate conference in Montreal, a program emerged for reducing carbon emissions from burning or clearing of standing forests, which accounts for 10 to 15 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions. The program was christened with the acronym REDD, which stands for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation.

Tropical forests grow in dozens of mostly poor countries, whose governments often lack the will or ability to protect them from the myriad threats they face: illegal logging, mining, cattle ranching, farming and more.

A widely cited 2013 analysis of satellite data collected between 2000 and 2012 found that forested areas shrank in nearly every tropical country besides Brazil, often by staggeringly large amounts.

Then there is the fact that indigenous communities often have uneasy relationships with their national governments.

They have rarely been included in discussions where the mechanics of REDD+ were developed nor received recognition or compensation for protecting their forests.

The 2015 Paris agreement mentions indigenous peoples in several places, but does not guarantee them a role in countries’ climate action plans.
Today, Ms. Potvin and Mateo-Vega see their work as a case study in how science could support the kind of protection Mezúa envisions.
Javier Mateo-Vega
Smithsonian Institute photo
Javier Mateo-Vega working with local native tribes.

More than half of the country’s primary forests are in indigenous territories, according to an analysis by Ms. Potvin’s group. But before the UN talks, they had never had a reason to think about how much carbon their forests hold.

Leaders asked Ms. Potvin to help them measure how much carbon their forests contained. She agreed. Starting in Ipeti, she trained community members to record the diameters of trees in community-managed forest, agroforestry plots, plantings of fruit- and materials-providing trees, and cow pasture.

They then used standardized equations and statistical methods to convert individual tree data into estimates of carbon stored in a given area.

They found that Ipeti’s forests contained about twice as much carbon per area as agroforestry plots, whereas the pastures, unsurprisingly, contained little carbon. Because the study was the first to quantify the carbon stored in Ipeti’s forest, it provided a crucial foundation for the community to explore getting involved in the emerging carbon market.

Equally important was the attention the study brought to Ipeti’s remaining forests, says Pacheco. At the rate Ipeti residents and colonos were clearing trees, half the remaining forest would be gone within a decade, the researchers found. Community members took note and dramatically slowed the rate at which they cleared forests for agriculture. As a result, about half their territory remains forested today.

A few years later, Ms. Potvin, Mateo-Vega and Emberá leaders began planning a forest carbon measuring campaign in the Darién, with support from the Environmental Defense Fund and the World Bank. The mutual trust Ms. Potvin and Mateo-Vega had spent years building would be essential.

For their efforts, Mateo-Vega and his crew got access to forests that virtually no scientists had ever studied. They discovered a tree that shattered the record for the largest in Panamá. The crew’s measurements revealed that some of its forests were far more carbon-rich and replete with biological diversity than anyone had documented.

In addition to collecting valuable data, Mateo-Vega’s team proved a larger point: that community members with proper training but no prior science background could take forest measurements just as well as scientists.

And they could do it at a fraction of the cost. Similar success stories from collaborations elsewhere suggest REDD+ could be widely implemented and monitored directly by communities that own much of the world’s forests.

Editor's Note: This story has been edited to match A.M. Costa Rica's formatting and heavily trimmed for space purposes. The original story can be viewed HERE.

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Cultural ministry continues more data-gathering in Alajuelita canton
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The cultural ministry is mapping out a database of cultural activities and resources for its own record starting in 2017 with Alajuelita.

The community is frequently known for its associations with criminal activity rather than cultural events, but the Sistema de Información Cultural is approaching municipal and community leaders to obtain useful information for the public. This compiling of data began back in 2013 with the Santa Ana canton.

Based on information provided by the Ministerio de Cultura y Juventud, this project began back in 2013 with the Santa Ana canton as a sort of cultural compiling and inventory check.

Officials with the ministry believe that gathering this data may help improve the ministry’s efforts in providing cultural activities based on the characteristics of the varying communities.

This data-compiling is apparently being extended into December, the ministry said. To carry out this type of inventory, the ministry explained that there are eight stages completed within a time frame of eight months. The process and the characteristics of the ministry’s data compiling have not been brought forward.

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Ministerio de Cultura y Juventud photos
Cultural ministry seeks data on Alajuelita culture sites.
The officials merely announced a series of meetings happening with community leaders at various days and times in May without actually listing the topic of discussion nor an explanation as to what a community leader is.

Compiling data on cultural significance can be a difficult process as hard data versus relative opinion is an ever-present worry for any collector.

Aspects of a community such as historical buildings or parks and landmarks can be compiled as hard data however determining events or the cultural aura community is not frequently based on such methods.

Compiling people such as artisans or craftsmen or others is equally hard to determine as far as cultural significance goes. It remains to be seen what the full results of the cultural ministry’s work will be.

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The Hidden Garden Art Gallery near the Liberia airport is the perfect place to find quality Costa Rican and international art for your home or office.  With over 60 artists and 15 rooms full of paintings, prints, sculptures, and diverse artistic expressions, we have been your source for fine art since 2010.  We also offer commissioned pieces so you can create your own unique masterpiece to cherish forever. Located just 5 kms west of the Daniel Oduber International Airport (towards the beaches).

Visit our Web site at:
Contact us by email:  
Find us on Trip Advisor, Facebook, Twitter,
Moon Travel Guides & Frommer's

Gallery hours: Tuesdays-Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Tel.  8386-6872 / 2667-0592; U.S. telephone 702-953-7073
International shipping available.

George Lundquist header

The Relocation/Retirement tour with the

 (as reported by the moving companies)
Visit many rental options to actually experience the price/amenity options available in more of the areas chosen by Expats for security, comfort, and quality of life.

Meet many Expats who are willing to share their experiences and how the tour has value long after the “lust” wears off.
See how to choose a Retirement tour video by past guest!

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

Looking for easy booking process for a smooth Costa Rica trip?   We customize wonderful trips to Costa Rica.  We offer you our wealth of knowledge for a great experience . . . a trip of a lifetime!!!

* FAMILY VACATIONS. Our travels take into account the different ages of your family enjoy the most from your Family vacations. Click HERE!

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Here's reasonable medical care
Costa Rica's world class medical specialists are at your command. Get the top care for much less than U.S. prices. It is really a great way to spend a vacation. See our list of recommended professionals HERE!amcr-prom

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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!

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

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Andre 506-8314-8090
Paul 506-8898-9398

Real estate rentals (paid category)

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
Published Thursday, May 4, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 88
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Caracas protest denounces
plan to rewrite constitution

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Minutes after Venezuelan lawmakers led off thousands on a march Wednesday to protest President Nicolas Maduro's plan to rewrite the nation's constitution, government security forces stopped them short with clouds of tear gas and other demonstrations of force.

The marchers, some carrying handmade white shields emblazoned with red crosses, were en route to the National Assembly building in the capital city of Caracas.

"We were the deputies in front with credentials in hand, intending to arrive at the Assembly, and we have been repressed," said Franco Casella, a lawmaker in the South American country's opposition-led congress. He said the government uses force to violate the rights of its citizens.

Opposition leaders have vowed to keep up the protests, which have been sustained for more than a month and left 32 people dead. They're calling on Maduro to step down, blaming him for the country's failing economy.

The president accuses his opponents of trying to overthrow him and says the protests, with their accompanying violence, require him to shake up the Venezuelan government.

"I see congress shaking in its boots before a constitutional convention," Maduro said of the legislature, speaking to supporters gathered Wednesday outside the National Electoral Council.

Maduro's call for a constituent assembly has drawn condemnation from several Latin American leaders and the United States, which warned it might impose more sanctions on Venezuelan officials in response to the move.

On Wednesday, a group of U.S. senators led by Democrat Ben Cardin and Republican Marco Rubio introduced bipartisan legislation to provide humanitarian assistance for the Venezuelan people and to defend democratic governance and combat widespread public corruption in the South American country, according to a Senate news release on the bill.

"It is in the strategic interest of the United States to support the restoration of democracy in Venezuela," Cardin, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee's ranking member, was quoted as saying.

The bill includes funding for vital medicine and food supplements, along with technical assistance to improve distribution. Among other things, it also calls for an intelligence report on corruption and drug trafficking by Venezuelan government officials.

In remarks to U.S. State Department employees about the Trump administration's foreign policies, Secretary Rex Tillerson called the situation in Venezuela a real tragedy and spoke of coordinated efforts to help restore democracy there.

Maduro announced plans for the constituent assembly on Monday night, ostensibly in an effort to foster peace in a country that has been racked with triple-digit inflation, food shortages and surging crime numbers.

Maduro didn't reveal many details about how the assembly would be selected, leading opposition members to speculate that the president would fill the government body with friendly socialists.

They called Maduro's move a scheme to delay regional elections scheduled for this year, which polling suggests would hand big losses to Maduro and his socialist allies.

"This constituent assembly seeks to impose a Cuban electoral model," said opposition lawmaker Jorge Millan. "We Venezuelans are not going to allow fraud."

U.S. House passes budget;
goes to Senate for approval

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The U.S. House of Representatives has passed a budget bill to fund the government through September, one without funding for the border wall President Donald Trump's promised during his campaign.

The $1.16 trillion spending bill passed with bipartisan support, 309 to 118. The bill now goes to the U.S. Senate, which is expected to approve it later this week before Trump signs it into law.

The spending bill averts a short-term crisis by authorizing federal spending through the end of the fiscal year, which is Sept. 30. But it must be signed by the president by Friday to avoid a government shutdown.

Trump, after failing to win congressional approval for many of his spending and policy priorities for the next five months, said Tuesday the government needs a shutdown in September when lawmakers will be debating the 2018 funding plan.

In a Twitter comment, Trump blamed the result of his first fight over federal spending on lawmaking rules in the Senate, where Republicans hold a 52 to 48 majority. But most major legislation requires a 60-vote supermajority in the 100-member chamber for approval, effectively requiring Republican and Democratic lawmakers to reach compromises.

Trump said the reason that Republicans could not prevail on all of his priorities in the trillion-dollar budget plan that pays for government spending through Sept. 30 is that we need 60 votes in the Senate which are not there!

The president said his party either needs to elect more Republican Senators in 2018 or change the rules now to 51 percent to fix the mess.

The U.S. government has not shut down since October 2013, when many agencies were closed for 16 days in a policy and funding dispute over then-President Barack Obama's national health care reforms, popularly known as Obamacare.

Scientists discover bio clock
causing waistline increases

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

As they get older, most people tend to gain weight. But it’s not their fault, according to scientists who have discovered a biological mechanism that causes peoples’ waistlines to expand in middle-age.

Endocrinologist Jay Chung says the average weight gain is 13 kilos or more between the ages of 20 and 50.

Chung, head of the laboratory of obesity and aging research at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute near Washington, DC, led a team of scientists that discovered the role of an enzyme called DNA-PK in middle-aged spread. Chung said it becomes overactive as we age.

“It’s like trying to accelerate with a foot on a brake,” said Chung. “And what it does is prevents fat release from our belly and it prevents fat burning by our tissues like skeletal muscle.”

Chung explained that overactive DNA-PK causes people to gradually lose a tiny structure inside their cells called mitochondria that act as powerhouses to fuel the body, at the same time burning fat.

In a paper published in the journal “Cell Metabolism,” Chung and colleagues described the role of DNA-PK in weight gain among aging adults. They reported testing a compound that inhibited the enzyme in mice.

After discovering the biological pathway in middle-aged monkeys, investigators fed older mice high fat diets. Half of the mice were given the DNA-PK inhibitor while the others were not.

Chung said the treated animals didn’t gain as much weight as the untreated rodents, about 40 percent less weight and they were protected against type 2 diabetes. They also ran on a treadmill significantly longer than control mice.

In addition to reducing the risk of diabetes, Chung said the DNA-PK inhibitor could potentially bring down rates of heart disease and other illnesses that tend to occur in older adults.

The finding could address what Chung called the middle-age paradox. As people grow older, they usually gain a significant amount of weight even though they tend to eat less, and they are blamed for their condition.

“Our society attributes middle age weight gain, lack of exercise, to lifestyle choices, and lack of willpower and discipline. But what our study shows is that there’s actually a genetic program that makes us the way we are in middle age,” Chung said.

Chung said the DNA-PK inhibitor is unlikely to work in younger people who are obese because they eat a poor diet, rather than experience a reduction in mitochondria.

More animal studies are needed before the DNA-PK could be tested in humans, according to Chung, who said drug approval could take many years after that.

Observing close star system
confirms similarity to ours

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A relatively nearby planetary system is structured remarkably like what ours probably looked like when it was young, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration confirms.

The system around the star Epsilon Eridani, or eps Eri, is just 10.5 light-years away and astronomers say it provides an excellent example of how planets form around stars in systems like ours.

Previous studies of the system using the Spitzer Space Telescope led to two theories about how the system formed. One suggested a wide debris disk made up of gas, dust and small rocky and icy bodies. Another suggested several thin debris disks similar to our system, which has an asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, and the Kuiper Belt of mostly icy objects beyond the dwarf planet Pluto.

Using the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy, astronomers found eps Eri has two narrow bands like our system. Furthermore, they detected a Jupiter-sized planet roughly the same distance from its star as Jupiter is from the sun.

The mobile observatory, which is a larger telescope than Spitzer, is mounted on a Boeing 747. It previously found oxygen in Mars’ atmosphere, offered close-up looks at Jupiter and has documented the formation of new stars.

If the name eps Eri sounds familiar, you may have already heard of it as the setting for the science fiction television series Babylon 5.

The description of eps Eri was published in the “Astronomical Journal” on April 25, 2017.

Wild bison thundering
across reclaimed habitat

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Bison once thundered across the North American plains by the millions. But they were hunted to near extinction in the 19th century for their hides. Today, their numbers are growing again, thanks in part to the important role they can play in land restoration.

The 429-hectare Kankakee Sands Nature Reserve is a sea of tall dried grass, with bits of spring green filling in here and there, but it once was Beaver Lake, the largest body of water in Indiana. Pioneers drained it for farmland in the 19th century. While the Indiana chapter of the Nature Conservancy can’t bring back the lake, it can restore the prairie.

This spring, a dozen or more fuzzy bison calves, notable for their orange hue and tiny stature, will gambol across the landscape.

That’s good news, says Ted Anchor, the program manager for this Nature Conservancy project, because although they are very young, they and their herd are responsible for fixing a very old problem: more than 100 years of environmental damage. "By creating this large-scale restoration project, we’ve been able to harbor all those species that were just barely hanging on."

The Indiana Chapter of the Nature Conservancy has been working for 20 years to restore the prairie at Kankakee Sands. Late last year, they took the final step, bringing in 23 bison, including 16 pregnant cows. The Conservancy now owns 13 herds, in preserves from México to North Dakota.

Unlike domestic animals, the wild herd basically takes care of itself. The only thing Conservancy members do is make sure there’s enough water on the land and provide salt licks.

While farmed bison are raised for meat, these animals exist solely for environmental management. In addition to grazing on prairie grasses, which allows wildflowers to grow and provides habitat for rare birds, the bison wallow. The depressions they create fill with rainwater, which attracts amphibians and other small animals.

The animals are also a tourist attraction, bringing new sources of revenue to the community. Some visitors return again and again.

It’s expected that the Kankakee Sands herd will eventually grow to between 55 and 75 animals, and return the landscape to resemble what it was when herds numbering in the thousands roamed here.

Haiti’s main airport flooded
after heavy downpours

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The terminal at the Haitian capital's international airport has been flooded after a sustained downpour transformed some low-lying Port-au-Prince streets into brown rivers.

Videos circulating on social media show passengers up to their ankles in water inside Toussaint L’Ouverture International Airport in Port-au-Prince.

Irving Mehu is director general of Haiti's airports authority. He says the Tuesday downpour flooded Port-au-Prince airport’s arrival and departure zones.

In a statement, Mehu apologized to travelers for the "disturbing situation." He indicated that the deluge grounded no flights, saying all services of the airport operate as usual.

It wasn't immediately clear if there were any deaths or injuries in the crowded capital from the latest spring rains.

African countries spending
less on military, report says

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

African military expenditures have finally slowed down after more than a decade of steady increases, according to a new report on global defense spending. The main reason, the report found, is a drop in oil prices.

“The sharp decreases in oil prices have affected quite a number of African countries, namely South Sudan and Angola. This has kind of driven almost the entire regional trend,” said Nan Tian, a researcher at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute’s Arms and Military Expenditure Program, the organization that authored the report.

The report found military spending in Africa in 2016 was down by 1.3 percent from the previous year and totaled about $37.9 billion.

Despite the drop, Africa’s military spending remains 48 percent higher than it was a decade ago.

Some of Africa’s biggest spenders in recent years have included oil-rich Angola, which has sought to modernize its air force and navy, and Algeria, which has tried to preserve its stability amid the collapse of Libya and the rise of extremism in North Africa. Both of those countries have slowed spending recently, Tian said.

Tian said that perhaps the most important question to ask is whether military spending in Africa is at appropriate levels.

Ten African countries have military expenditures greater than 3 percent of their GDP. The highest are the Republic of the Congo where military expenditures totaled 7 percent of GDP in 2016, and Algeria where military spending totaled 6.7 percent of GDP.

Globally, military spending is 2.2 percent of GDP or about $227 per person.

Not all African countries saw a decline in military spending. According to the report, Botswana’s military spending grew by 40 percent, or about $152 million. Botswana is regularly noted for having a long record of peace and good governance, and is undergoing a military modernization program.

Nigeria increased its military spending by 1.2 percent to $1.7 billion as it strives to defeat the radical Islamist group Boko Haram. Similarly, Kenya and Mali increased military spending due to extremist threats in their regions.

More news of the Americas
From the Voice of America

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Real estate for sale (paid category)

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:

Etlinger Farm
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

horse ranch
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 

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

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)

A-1 graphic
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. Already own a timeshare and looking to sell? Stop saying “sell my timeshare” and let help you find a buyer or renter.

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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Andre 506-8314-8090
Paul 506-8898-9398

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Published Thursday, May 4, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 88
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Prisoners Makeup
Miniterio de Justicia y Paz photo   
Don't worry, it's just a makeup design

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Twelve women graduated as makeup artists this Tuesday and to celebrate the occasion, a runway was created at the Centro de Atención Institucional Vilma Curling. The women are currently inmates at the prison.

According to the Ministerio de Justicia y Paz, the makeup course took place over a period of three months with classes happening five days a week. Instructors administered the course from the Instituto Nacional de Aprendizaje. Officials from the prison said that the goal is to rehabilitate these inmates back into society by offering courses like these.

Embassy donates 50 computers

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The United States Embassy donated what it defined as 30 military-grade laptops and 20 tablets to the traffic cops, a gift worth about $148,000, according to Mario Calderón, head of Policía de Tránsito. 

Military-grade computers are specially designed against hard shocks, high and freezing temperatures, dirt, direct sunlight and splashes. Some of them can even be immersed in water or other liquids. Each device costs somewhere between $2,500 and $4,500, according to estimates from Amazon and Best Buy websites.

The United States Ambassador Fitzgerald Haney and Christopher Harris, director of the embassy’s Office for Anti-Narcotics Affairs, attended the delivery of the appliances.

The donation seeks to strengthen the security programs both Costa Rica and the United Sates have been working on together, the Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Transportes said in a statement.

According to Calderón, this equipment is fundamental to assure the proper work of police forces, especially when they not only have to work in controlled environments but also in extreme conditions as part of their job.

As an example, Calderón mentioned car chasings in motorcycles, where there is a high risk that a conventional computer may fall and break apart.

"Our gratitude to the Government of the United States and its representatives in Costa Rica is huge,” the commissioner said. “The value this kind of tools provide to our police forcers is priceless and of great help to better perform our duties.”

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Real Estate
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What we published this week: Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Earlier
The contents of this Web site are copyrighted by Consultantes Río Colorado S.A. 2017 and may not be reproduced anywhere without permission.
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From page 7:

Transperfect call center coming to Alajuela

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Another call center is arriving in Costa Rica with the company constructing it anticipating 120 new jobs from the greater San José area.

TransPerfect, which calls itself the world’s largest privately-held provider for translation services in international business, is planning to build the company’s first center in Alajuela. In a statement, the company decided to establish its center here due to what it called the impressive reputation in the sector and the economic stability. The company made the announcement Tuesday.

“We are very proud to now that companies of the caliber of TransPerfect, find here the appropriate human capital, infrastructure and economically-stable conditions to provide highly complex and sophisticated global services,” said Jhon Fonseca, the vice-minister for Comercio Exterior.

Company officials said that Costa Ricans knowledge of English and higher level of education were reasons why the group decided to begin business here.

“By expanding our support into Costa Rica, we are able to onboard up to 120 additional interpreters within the first year who will help us achieve our goals on behalf of our clients around the world,” said CEO Liz Elting.

The company plans to hire at least 20 interpreters each month. The center will be located to Alajuela’s City Mall.