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Published Friday, May 13, 2016, in Vol. 17, No. 94
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Jacó moves to reduce pollution in its beach water
By Rommel Téllez
and the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The community of Jacó, which is hosting an international surfing championship in August, is facing a double whammy. The problems are similar but not as grave as that facing Brazil which is hosting the Olympic Games this year: The zika virus and pollution.

Jacó on the central Pacific coast is in the Municipalidad de Garabito. Officials learned this week of an outbreak of the zika virus. So far there are 16 confirmed cases in one section of Jacó.

Health workers are responding to kill mosquitoes which carry the disease.

The pollution is a long-standing problem well known to municipal officials.

The municipal mayor said just before he took office May 1 that a modern sewerage system was one of his priorities.

Jacó beach waters exceed by far the maximum amount of fecal coliform contamination for safe human recreation, according to data from the Laboratorio Nacional de Aguas at the Instituto Costarricense de Acueductos y Alcantarillados.

The state water company routinely checks the water at beaches as well as drinking water.

The problem is not unique to Jacó. Many beach communities have similar problems. Pollution always has been Costa Rica's dirty little secret, something infrequently discussed in a country that depends for much of its income on international tourism.

Jacó officials plan short-term and long-term efforts to solve the problem, the mayor, Tobías Murillo, said. He is the mayor of Garabito, the canton in which Jacó is located.

He said Thursday that the municipality will be sending inspectors to all those houses that do not have a septic tank.

“We are giving the owners 15 days to build them,” he said. “Otherwise the property might be declared inhabitable and prone to demolition. There are about 480 houses in this situation and most of them belong to slums. These people send their waste water directly into the sea and help increase the pollution levels.”

The long-term strategy is to pressure the state water and sewerage institute to put in a modern system.  Murillo said he wants to see this completed in two years.

“At the municipality, we are already demanding these works to be done,” he said. “It is a commitment of AyA that should have been accomplished 15 years ago,” he added referring to the water company by its common short form.

The state water company is the same entity that checks beach water and drinking water for bacterial content.

The most polluted areas in Jacó are the mouths of ríos Madrigal, Naranjal and Copey, as well as the estuary. These areas show a major
contamination increase during rainy season and much less in the dry one.

The problem is no secret to the water company officials. An academic article in 2009 by Darner Adrián Mora Alvarado, a water company lab employee reported on water samples from 2002 to 2008 and looked
aco beach
Google Maps image
Jaco and its popular beach.

at results from 1986 to 1987 and from 1996 to 2000.

Mora reported on a system that has categories ranking the sanitary conditions of the beach water. The scale ranges from AA with an average of 10 fecal coliforms per 100 milliliters to D with 500 fecal coliforms or more per 100 milliliters of water.

Tests showing water in the highest two categories, C and D, are considered unsuitable for swimming, the paper says. Historically, tests in Jacó have produced results as high as 91,000 fecal coliforms per 100 milliliters, Mora said in his academic paper.

Still, Acueductos y Alcantarillados experts warn that evaluating bacterial content in beach water is complex. The state firm did provide a summary of tests to a reporter. Samples taken in Jacó Feb. 25, 2015, show the fecal concentrations of 13,000 coliforms  per 100 milliliters at the Río Madrigal mouth, 4,900 at Río Naranjal, 13,000 at Río Copey, 7,900 in the estuary and 35,000 in the river next to the Centro Vacacional Bancosta S.A.

About five months later, on July 22, the data showed an increase. Río Madrigal showed 35,000 coliforms per 100 milliliters, Río Naranjal 33,000, Río Copey 79,000, the estuary 43,000 and 24,000 in the mouth next to Bancosta.

Finally, the samples from last Feb. 15 show much lower yet unsatisfactory pollution levels: Río Madrigal 1,100, Río Naranjal 2,400, Copey 1,700, estuary 2,800, and 170 in the mouth next to Bancosta.

Murillo said he considered the polluted waters a risk for the organization of the upcoming World Surfing Games taking place in Jacó from Aug. 6 to 14.  But he said he did not trust the results from the Acueductos y Alcantarillados lab.

“I mean, they granted Puntarenas an ecological blue flag award and, if you know the place, you would agree with me that the estuary is basically an open sewer,” he said. “I know there is pollution in Jacó, but to be honest, I don't find those studies to be 100 percent reliable.”

There has been a major positive development. A sewage facility in La Carpio in San José has gone online treating waste from about 35,000 homes. The water otherwise would flow untreated into the Río Tarcoles and empty into the Gulf of Nicoya upstream from Jacó. More hookups are scheduled.

The surfing games are expected to bring thousands of spectators and many participants to Jacó where there are frequent competitions.

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A.M. Costa Rica's professional directory is where business people who wish to reach the English-speaking community may invite responses. If you are interested in being represented here, please contact the editor.


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Ministerio de Seguridad Pública photo
Confiscated avocados are removed from the truck.

Now they are smuggling avocados!

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The avocado trade war has been elevated to smuggling.

The Policía de Fronteras stopped a truck coming from Panamá in Guaycará de Golfito Thursday afternoon and confiscated 20,000 avocados.

Police said that the Ministerio de Agricultura y Gandería ordered that the agricultural products be destroyed because they had not been inspected and entered the country illegally.

Costa Rica has forbidden the entry of  hass avocados from México and the United States over a concern about avocado sunblotch, which is caused by a viroid, a small piece of genetic material that can reduce production of the avocado trees.

The prohibition has affected the avocado market.

As A.M. Costa Rica has reported, the viroid cannot be transmitted except through pollen or by physical contact to trees by diseased plant material. In the case of pollen, the viroids cannot be transmitted unless the infected avocado seed is propagated and the subsequent plant comes in contact with other trees.

México has brought the situation to the attention of the World Trade Organization after the ministry's Servicio Fitosanitario del Estado forbade the importation of the fruit.

Saturday is a day for American football

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

There is an American football doubleheader Saturday at the Ernesto Rohrmoser Stadium in Pavas, and at the top of the card is the Tropic Bowl VI that pits Costa Rican All Stars against a U.S. Semi-pro team.

The organizer, Athletes Without Borders, said it is a non-profit organization dedicated to the development of initiatives that cultivate youth empowerment.  Through the efforts of athlete mentors, community leaders, and volunteers the organization strives to create programs that reinforce the importance of young people making healthy decisions for today and for their tomorrows, it said.

Football begins at noon with a youth and women’s training clinic with an international women's game at 2:30 p.m. The Costa Rican All Stars meet the Honduras Vikings F.A. The Costa Rican players are from the Pérez Zeledón  Angels F.A. And the San José Olympian Goddesses CR F.A.

The men’s game pits players from both Costa Rican leagues against the North East All Stars from the United States. More information is HERE!

News from the Spanish-language press
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Legal Notice
The State of Utah To:  Richard Lydenberg you are summoned and required to file an answer in writing to the Petition of Divorce filed in the case number: 164900117 within 30 days after the last day of publication, which is May 26, 2016, you must file your answer with the clerk of the court at: Third Judicial District Court of Salt Lake County, State of Utah, 450 South State Street, Salt Lake City, UT 84114 and serve a copy of your answer to the Petitioner, if you fail to file and serve your answer on time, judgment by default will be taken against you for the relief demanded in the Petition. The Petition is on file with the clerk of the court. You can obtain a copy of the Petition by requesting one from the clerk of the court.

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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, May 13, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 94
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Criminologist expected to intensify protest against prisoner release
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Criminologists are expected to assert today that the justice ministry is violating the penal code with its plan to release prisoners to reduce overcrowding at correctional institutions.

The Colegio de Profesionales en Criminología de Costa Rica said Thursday that it would explore in a press conference today article 64 of the penal code. That article established the legal requirements for releasing prisoners.

The article says in part that a judge has to approve conditional liberty and that the prisoner must have completed half of the sentence dictated by a court.

The plan by the Ministerio de Justicia y Paz to release more than 300 prisoners might not be consistent with the criminal code.

The criminologists are expected to ask that the decree to release the prisoners be voided because it is contrary to the law.

The Judicial Investigating Organization has been quick to say that none of the agents there has been involved publicly in the campaign by the criminology professional group to prevent the release of the prisoners.

Members of the colegio have staged public protests. There are more than 1,500 members, and many are lawyers. The central government says the releases are needed to cut down on the prison population because the overcrowding and poor conditions are human rights violations.

The 300 or so prisoners are just a start. Government officials in the past have talked about releasing as many as 5,000 convicts before the expiration of their sentences.

Turrialba volcano surprises everyone with a dusty ash emission
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The surprise volcano eruption early Thursday will be remembered mostly by the ashfall on neighborhoods in northern San José. There was no advanced warning that the Turrialba volcano was going to shoot out ash and gas for as much as 11 minutes.

Parque Nacional Volcán Turrialba
This cow will be immortalized as an icon of the ashfall from the volcano Thursday.

In fact, the national emergency commission suggested that life around the volcano would return to normal today.  School children who attend classes near the mountain did go to school as scheduled Thursday even after the 1:18 a.m. eruption.

The ash fell in large quantities in the vicinity of the volcano and than a cloud of ash dusted places like Coronado, Ipis, San Pedro de Montes de Oca, San Isidro de Heredia, San Pablo de Heredia, Tibás, Pavas, Uruca, Sabana Norte, Santa Ana and Alajuela.

The amount was not the largest in the last 18 months. The Tobias Bolaños airport in Pavas shut down until 11 a.m., but the international airport, Juan Santamaría, continued in service.

The Ministerio de Seguridad Pública reactivated the control posts at La Pastora, Virtudes in Turrialba and Guarumos in Alvarado. Travel is restricted.

The control posts had been removed Wednesday on advice from the Comisión Nacional de Emergencias, said the ministry.

Two experts from the Red Sismológica Nacional went to the summit of the volcano Thursday to maintain the sensing equipment there.

They are Wilfredo Rojas and Luis Fernando Brenes. They said there was a vigorous plume of gases coming from the crater.

Staffers at the Parque Nacional Volcán Turrialba released a series of photos showing the ashfall close to the volcano.

The scenes appeared to resemble a light snowfall.

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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, May 13, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 94
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Mealworms prove to be an ecologically friendly protein source
By the Wake Forest University news staff

Biology students at Wake Forest University are using mealworms to solve two global problems, food sustainability and plastic pollution.

Four graduating seniors and a junior, all biology majors, were chosen to team up for an annual competition that addresses critical sustainability issues using nature as a guide.

Professor Bill Connor, the faculty adviser, said the students were excited to learn that mealworms eat Styrofoam, and other forms of polystyrene foam, a finding published last year by a Stanford University research team.

“That’s pretty exciting science and the students grabbed onto that concept and developed their idea,” he said.

Using the Stanford Styrofoam findings as a springboard, the team designed a vertical mealworm garden to raise mealworms for three sustainable uses: to breakdown plastic, provide food for humans, and use waste as fertilizer.

Sumi Mahajan said her team started doing research on mealworms, which are the worm-like larvae of darkling beetles. “We found they are high in protein and already a food source, so we decided to combine their plastic-eating capability with a vertical garden to come up with a contained, sustainable project that would be affordable and easy to duplicate,” she said.

Mealworms are “found globally and can be easily used as a sustainable resource,” said student Meagan Rosenberg, adding that a vertical mealworm garden doesn’t take up much space and can be made out of a variety of materials.

Another student, Chirag Patel said the project could be an affordable resource in Third-World countries for several options. “People can use the collected frass as a fertilizer and consume the mealworms as part of their diets. This project has real-world applications and has taught us to learn how to be creative in problem solving.” Frass is insect excrement.
mealwrom condo
Wake Forest University photo
Student team members admire their worm condo.

The vertical garden has four parts that follow the insect through its brief life cycle. The students used clear plexiglass containers stacked on top of each other. Adult beetles inhabit the top section and mate. Their eggs fall into the second section, hatching into larvae to eat the Styrofoam. The team tried several types before finding that the mealworms prefer packing peanuts.

The mealworms then go into the third section where they mature and eat flour which helps to clean their palates, or guts. As they mature in the third section, their frass falls to the bottom section and can be collected for fertilizer. At this stage, they are either used as a food source or allowed to develop into the pupae stage and become beetles, completing the life cycle.

Student Pascal Dangtran said working on the project has been interesting because of team members’ differences overall and in their areas of study, chemistry, finance, entrepreneurship. “As a team we have such different backgrounds and we’ve been pulling knowledge together to come up with creative solutions.”

His colleague Andrew Barth said it’s been cool to work on a project that could address food insecurity and help the environment at the same time.

Vacation, travel and hospitality

                        Garden 2016
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Drop in to see some of Costa Rica's finest art
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The Hidden Garden Art Gallery near the Liberia airport is a great place to find quality remembrances of Costa Rica to take home or to decorate your home or office in Costa Rica.  We also offer commissioned pieces so you can create your own unique masterpiece to cherish forever.  With more than 60 artists on exhibit and fine art in 15 rooms full of paintings, prints, sculptures, and diverse artistic expressions, we are easy to locate just 5 kms west of the Daniel Oduber International Airport. Visit our Web site at
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Click photo for another video

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.


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Real estate rentals (paid category)

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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 
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Real estate for rent (paid category)

Puriscal rental
A peaceful place near Puriscal.
Property is a small house on a 16-acre farm in Desamparaditos, a small village located 5K NW of Santiago de Puriscal. 15 minutes to Puriscal, 1 hour to San José and the airport, all paved roads. House has 2 bedrooms and 1 bath, large  open kitchen/dining/living area and is fully furnished. Nice veranda with great views. Many fruit trees. Private but not isolated with all utilities. Rent $550/month long term, short term negotiable. Tenant pays for electricity and phone. Landlord pays water. No pets, please. In Costa Rica call Liz Guegan at 7187-8577, in the USA call Pete Todd at 970-221-1457 or 720-951-7928.
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A.M. Costa Rica's
Fifth news page
Salsa Lizano
San José, Costa Rica, Friday, May 13, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 94
Real Estate
About us

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Obamacare subsidies voided
in suit brought by GOP

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A U.S. judge in Washington ruled Thursday that the Obama administration has been improperly funding a part of the president’s national health care program that is aimed at helping low-income people pay for their doctors' visits and other health care costs.

Judge Rosemary Collyer, in a decision favoring Republican opponents of President Barack Obama's signature health care reforms, said the government could not reimburse health care insurers $175 billion over a decade to help the patients because Congress never specifically appropriated the money.

The Obama administration has said that it is using other previously approved money to pay for the cost reimbursements.

Judge Collyer blocked further subsidies to the insurers, but said the program could continue pending an expected Obama administration appeal to a higher court.

The Republican-backed lawsuit against the 6-year-old health care law, popularly known in the United States as Obamacare, is the latest effort by opponents of the law to undermine what Obama, a Democrat leaving office next year, considers to be the most important domestic legislative achievement of his presidency.

Millions of previously uninsured people in the U.S. have been able to buy health care insurance under the law. The Republican-controlled House of Representatives has voted more than 50 times to repeal Obamacare, but its efforts have either been rejected by the Senate or vetoed by Obama.

Opponents of the law consider it to be an overreach by the national government because it forces Americans to buy health care insurance or pay a fine based on their salary.

There’s little to report
on Trump’s Ryan meeting

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Members of Congress fought their way past a bagpiper, a horn player and a group of protesters to reach the building where presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump held a highly anticipated meeting with House Speaker Paul Ryan.

Thursday's raucous scene outside Republican National Committee headquarters that featured an impersonator wearing a giant Donald Trump head mirrored the unpredictable presidential election campaign that has fractured the identity of the party.

Dennis Rodriguez led a group of undocumented immigrants called United We Dream that was holding a mock funeral for the Republican Party. He said the meeting between Ryan and Trump changes nothing about the party's attitude on key issues.

"The Republican Party has always been this way," said Rodriguez on Trump's views. "Now they are finally showing their true colors."

Trump has won nearly 11 million votes from Republicans in the state-by-state nominating contests, even with his call to deport 11 million illegal immigrants living in the United States, a vow to build a wall along the Mexican border to keep out more migrants, and a proposal to temporarily stop Muslims from entering the U.S.

For the horde of national and international reporters waiting outside Thursday's meeting, the wait was long and substance limited.

Trump refrained from his usual propensity for making comments to the media, eluding the cameras when he departed after the meeting. He issued a joint statement with Ryan shortly afterwards calling their first meeting a positive step towards unification.

Democrats dismissed Republican attempts at unification, suggesting Trump’s views do align with the rest of the Republican Party.

“The speaker saying he doesn’t want to be associated with Donald Trump because of his comments?” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat from California, said at a news conference Thursday.

“I’ve never heard him make one comment about the comments, the outrageous vitriolic comments made by Republicans in Congress.”

Senate Democrats suggested the similarities between Trump and Ryan harm Americans.

“The idea that there is a massive gulf on policy between Donald Trump and Republicans in Congress is pure fiction,” said Sen. Chuck Schumer, a Democrat from New York.

“The policies of both candidate Trump and the Republican Senate majority are way out of touch with the middle class and what we need to get America going,” he said.

But not all House Republicans have endorsed Trump. Many hedged their bets in the days leading up to the Trump-Ryan meeting, offering tepid endorsements of supporting their party’s nominee and talking of how Trump’s commanding lead in the Republican primary had caught them by surprise.

Rep. John Duncan, a Republican from Tennessee who endorsed Trump in April said Thursday he expects that meeting to happen and said Trump would receive a very good reception from House Republicans despite possible policy differences.

“I believe he would give answers that would alleviate most of those concerns,” Duncan said.

Duncan downplayed concerns about party unity, noting Ryan didn’t openly criticize Trump in his initial statement. “The Republican Party is in the best shape of my lifetime,” he said.

While Trump may be seeking the endorsement of some Capitol Hill Republicans, he should be worried about the approval of voters across the country, said political analyst Stu Rothenberg.

“I don't think it's likely that Donald Trump can visit with every Republican who is unhappy with what Donald Trump said and the way he said it," he remarked.

Rothenberg said the meeting does not fundamentally change the 2016 race. “Trump still has a lot of work to do in swing states and states he thinks he can carry and he starts off behind,” he said.

Ryan, who said last week he was just not ready to endorse Trump's campaign, again did not fully embrace his candidacy. But Ryan declared that he was very encouraged about working with Trump.

"I do believe we are planting the seeds to get ourselves unified," Ryan said. "But this is a process. It takes time. It's very important that we don't fake unification."

Ryan is expected to eventually come around to support his party’s nominee. Anything less would be an unprecedented move in an election season that has already held numerous surprises.

He recognized as much in his joint statement with Trump, writing "The United States cannot afford another four years of the Obama White House, which is what Hillary Clinton represents. That is why it's critical that Republicans unite around our shared principles, advance a conservative agenda, and do all we can to win this fall."

But quietly and behind closed doors, Republicans will have to decide if it is worthwhile to show enthusiastic support for a nominee who could come out any moment with a surprising and possibly indefensible statement.

"It's not simply a case of do I endorse or do I not endorse,” said Rothenberg, “It's do I go out there enthusiastically and support him."

In that sense, the Trump-Ryan meeting did little to change the values the two men said they would need to agree upon for party unity.

The assembled media packed up and headed home without a sound bite from Trump and the protestors were still left wondering who ultimately leads the Republican Party they oppose.

Facebook releases guidelines
for posting trending articles

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Facebook has made public its internal editorial guidelines, in the latest attempt to fight charges of political bias in the news stories it promotes to its 1.6 billion users.

Technology news Web site Gizmodo Monday reported that a former Facebook employee said workers routinely suppressed news stories of interest to conservative readers, while artificially adding other stories to the trending list.

A 28-page internal document offers details on how Facebook chooses material that appears in its popular news box. It shows how a combination of computer algorithms and human editors determine what should be a trending topic on a Facebook page. Algorithms first detect stories that are being widely shared on the platform, then human editors cross-reference the stories to see if they're being covered by 10 major news outlets, including The New York Times, CNN, BuzzFeed and Fox News Channel.

Stories covered by those outlets gain an importance level that may make them more likely to be seen.

Justin Osofsky, vice president of global operations, said the guidelines ensure that stories in trending topics represent the most important popular stories, regardless of where they fall on the ideological spectrum.

The Gizmodo report triggered a reaction on social media, with several journalists and commentators raising concerns about alleged bias, and Republicans calling for a congressional investigation.

Sen. John Thune, a Republican and chairman of the Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, said Tuesday that Facebook needed to respond to "these serious allegations."

Immigrant advocacy groups
campaign for more citizens

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

With six months to go before the U.S. presidential election, several immigrant advocacy groups are coalescing in a campaign to help as many eligible permanent residents as possible become naturalized citizens and register to vote in time for Election Day.

The organizers, who include the Service Employees International Union, Mi Familia Vota, the National Partnership for New Americans, the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union and the Latino Victory Foundation, say the goal is to see at least 1 million green card holders become citizens this year.

The push is part of a national campaign called Stand Up to Hate, which organizers say started as a result of rhetoric on the U.S. presidential campaign trail, particularly comments by presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump. 

A record 27.3 million Latinos are projected to be eligible to vote in the 2016 election, and of that number, 44 percent are Hispanic millennials, the Washington-based Pew Research Center said in an analysis published in January.

Pew also said that from 2012 to 2016, an estimated 3.2 million young U.S.-citizen Latinos will have reached adulthood and become eligible to vote. Pew said Latino voters have leaned toward the Democratic Party in presidential elections for decades, and that the Latino electorate is among the nation's most demographically dynamic groups.

Advocates said Wednesday that the number of people filing naturalization applications climbed almost 14.5 percent in the first three months of the year, and they estimated it would go higher. They said the surge has been driven in part by immigrants feeling threatened by negative comments from Trump about Latinos and other groups. Trump has a 77 percent unfavorable image among U.S. Hispanics, according to a recent Gallup poll.

Trump angered Latinos after he accused Mexico of allowing criminals and rapists to illegally enter the United States. Trump has vowed to build an impenetrable wall along the border if elected and has called for Mexico to pay for it. 

Trump also said on national television that if he became president, illegal immigrants would have to leave the U.S.  Anywhere from 11 to 35 million undocumented immigrants live in the country. In December, following terrorist attacks in Paris, Trump also called for a ban on Muslims entering the U.S.

“There is something going on here, and the way Donald Trump and other Republicans have been talking about immigrants, refugees, Latinos, Asians and Muslims is frankly scaring people into becoming citizens,” said U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez, an Illinois Democrat who is involved in the effort to see legal permanent residents naturalized.

“We could literally hold a citizenship workshop every weekend and still not satisfy the demand” about the naturalization process, he said.

Stand Up to Hate said that in the past two months, it had reached out to 500,000 people about the naturalization process by conducting more than 300 workshops across the country.  Currently, 8.8 million permanent residents in the U.S. are eligible to become naturalized citizens, according to campaign organizers.

To apply, an eligible green card holder currently must pay $680 upfront to cover the cost of naturalization forms and biometrics, said U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Officials, however, have proposed raising the fee to $725 to cover costs.

“People are still sending in their applications, but the fee sometimes stands in the way,” said Astrid Silva, director of Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada, an immigrant rights group. Silva, however, noted that a fee waiver program is available for permanent residents living at or below the poverty line. "Many of the people coming in had never heard of the fee waiver."

A family of four earning between $36,450 and $48,600 would qualify for a partial fee waiver, organizers said.  Each green card holder must apply separately. In a family where two people meet the requirements, the cost doubles, they said. Individuals whose income is below the federal poverty guideline can be eligible for a full fee waiver.

The lengthy application process would be followed by an interview with immigration officials, a citizenship test and a swearing-in ceremony at a determined date.

The advocates also said that even if this were not an election year, they would still encourage new Americans to become civic-minded.  "Not becoming citizens is not good for our democracy," they said.

Senate approves zika money
but lower than the request

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The U.S. Senate is set to vote on a bill to provide $1.1 billion in emergency funding to fight the zika virus. The deal fell short of the $1.9 billion requested by the Obama administration.

The administration requested emergency funding to battle zika in February, but Republicans controlling Congress have been slow to react, and that prompted the administration last month to tap more than $500 million worth of unspent ebola funding to battle zika.

Senators are scheduled to vote Tuesday.

The White House said it welcomes any progress made on the issue.

"I think at this point, given the delays and given the heightened stakes, we welcome any sort of forward momentum in Congress," White House spokesman Josh Earnest said at a briefing Thursday.

But top Senate Democrat Harry Reid gave the proposal a frosty reception, saying it is "not enough, especially when the amount will likely be reduced further by House Republicans.''

The first death related to a zika virus infection on U.S. soil was reported late last month in Puerto Rico. U.S. officials believe the zika-carrying mosquito could spread to at least 30 U.S. states.

The disease has been linked to the birth defect microcephaly and other severe brain abnormalities. It also is suspected of causing a rare neurological disorder, Guillain-Barre syndrome, which can result in paralysis.

World growth expected
to be sluggish this year

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

U.N. economists project that world economic growth will be sluggish this year.

In a report issued Thursday on the global economic situation and its prospects, experts said weak economic growth was likely to linger. They said lower oil prices, severe weather effects from El Niño, and political instability were contributing to 2016’s below-average showing.

“We are forecasting growth of just 2.4 percent this year, which is the same weak rate of growth which we saw in 2015,” said Dawn Holland, an economist with the U.N.’s Department of Economic and Social Affairs, which published the report.

She said the average annual rate of growth in the decade preceding the international financial crisis of 2008 was a full percentage point higher.

“We are not expecting that gap to close very soon,” Ms. Holland added. “Next year, the world economy is expected to grow by just 2.8 percent, still remaining well below that historical average level.”

“The report underscores the need for a more balanced policy mix to rejuvenate global growth,” said Lenni Montiel, assistant secretary-general at the U.N. Agency.

Corruption summit puts
blame on U.S., Britain

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Thursday’s world summit on fighting corruption was a time for Britain and the United States to look at their own policies and their role as shelters for billions of dollars stolen by corrupt politicians in developing countries.

The London summit shifted the focus on global corruption, turning the spotlight of blame away from African generals, oligarchs and corrupt dictators and toward the rich countries, whose banks and real estate brokers have been the benefactors of the stolen wealth of nations.

British Prime Minister David Cameron announced measures, including a public register intended to force companies to name their real owners, a step that British government officials claim will be the first of its kind.

“Why I think this matters so much is that I believe that corruption is the cancer at the heart of so many problems we need to tackle in our world. If we want to see countries escape poverty and become wealthy, we need to tackle corruption,” Cameron said.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said tens of billions of dollars in stolen money, funds that could be used for education or building bridges in underdeveloped lands, instead are hidden in banks “in countries including ours.”

“We are fighting a battle, all of us, for our states, for our countries, for our nation state. Corruption is as much of an enemy because it destroys nation states as some of the extremists we are fighting,” Kerry told delegates at the summit.

"The extremism we see in the world today comes in no small degree from the utter exasperation that people have with the sense that the system is rigged," the top American diplomat said. "And we see this anger manifesting itself in different forms in different elections around the world, including ours."

The one-day meeting drew leaders from Afghanistan, Colombia, Nigeria and other countries. British officials said the aim was to step up global action to expose, punish and drive out corruption at all levels of society.

“If we were having this anti-corruption summit 10 years ago, we would have been talking about African kleptocrats, the theft of state assets from the people,” said Alex Cobham of the Tax Justice Network, a British advocacy group. Now, he said, the world has changed. 

“We’re really thinking about the providers of the financial secrecy that don’t just facilitate but actively drive corruption of different sorts all around the world,” Cobham said.

In the background of the summit are the so-called Panamá Papers, leaked documents that reveal where some of the world’s powerful hide their money.

For Cameron, the revelations hit home, showing how his late father ran an offshore fund to avoid paying British taxes. The prime minister eventually said that he, too, had a stake in the dealings.

The Panamá Papers disclosures fueled calls for reforms in Britain’s offshore possessions after it was learned that more than half of the 210,000 companies exposed were registered in the British Virgin Islands.

The Panamá Papers named relatively few Americans and no high-ranking public officials.

But anti-corruption advocates see the United States as a major area of concern about tax evasion and money laundering, in states such as Delaware, Nevada and Wyoming, which have been criticized for allowing corporations to be formed inexpensively and secretively.

Kerry said a proposed law will force companies formed in the U.S. to report complete information about their owners, and a rule will require banks to keep records on the true owners of their corporate customers.

Washington and London see combating corruption as a matter of legitimacy and security, analysts say, especially in the wake a decade of financial crises that have reduced millions of people to poverty, unemployment and frustration.

Tim Evans, a professor of political economy at London’s Middlesex University, sees the summit and, more broadly, the drive to combat corruption as a sign of concern among the elite nations.

“They’re worried at the loss of legitimacy that will come from rich and powerful people being able to evade taxes and get away with it. So, I think there’s huge pressure on elites to be seen to be engaging the subject and to be doing something about it," Evans said.

“Given some of the things, some of the riots and problems we’ve seen in Europe and in the United States in recent years, the politicians are fearful, and they’re becoming focused on trying to rebuild trust and transparency,” he said.

New, quicker cheaper way
seen against resistant TB

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The World Health Organization is recommending a new easier and cheaper treatment for multidrug resistant tuberculosis that it says will save the lives of tens of thousands of people.

Every year, nearly 500,000 men, women and children worldwide develop multidrug resistant tuberculosis. And, each year, 190,000 of these people die.  World Health says the death rate is high because fewer than 20 percent of the patients are being properly treated.

Mario Raviglione, director of World Health’s Global TB Program, said a new test and a new treatment regimen could be a game changer for those with multidrug resistant TB.

These two new recommendations from World Health enable resistant TB patients to benefit from a test that will quickly identify who is eligible for the shorter treatment regimen and also complete treatment in half the time at nearly half the cost of today, Raviglione said.

The new diagnostic test yields results in just 24 to 48 hours, down from the three months or longer currently required.   

The shorter treatment regimen costs less than $1,000 per patient and can be completed between nine and 12 months. Conventional treatment programs for people with multidrug resistant TB take between 18 and 24 months to complete at a cost of $1,500 to $3,000. 

Raviglione says that globally about 50 percent of those following this lengthy, costly treatment are cured. He said the other 50 percent either die or continue to live with this illness for years.

He said about one-quarter of the patients become discouraged and abandon the treatment regimen before it is ended.

They “abandon treatment because the treatment lasts, as you probably know, up to two years . . . with drugs that we all know are fairly toxic in a way. They have side effects and they are not really liked by patients who have to take them,” Raviglione said.

There are about 400 labs in developing countries that are able to conduct the new test and treatment programs. World Health said it believes most people with multidrug resistant TB will be able to access the new options.

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Office phone: 506-2446-0543
Cell phone: 506-8898-9398
or 506-8314-8090


Real estate brokers and agents (paid category)

If you are looking for information on condos, homes, lots, commercial real estate or development properties our award-winning team of professional agents are ready to help you buying property in Costa Rica. We have over 18 years of experience to educate our buyers in all aspects of purchasing property. Call us or email us today for more information on how to purchase that perfect piece of Costa Rica Real Estate.

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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 sCosta Rica properties, including condos, homes, lots and commercial real estate.  Call us: Ocean Surf and Sun Int. Realty Ldta at 011 (506) 2653-0073 or send us an email at:

Axiom one

Sierra Collection. Meridian House or Chateau Montage.
Near Parque Nacional Marino Ballena,
Pacific Coast. 
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Axiom two
The Terraces at San Martin.  Discover the essence of Costa Rica on our Luxury Ocean View Villas . Near Dominicalito Beach and Parque Nacional Marino Ballena.
For more information
Click HERE!

Axiom three
Ellan At Ballena Beach.  Welcome to a world of endless adventure on our beachside condominiums at Ballena Beach, Pacific Coast.  For more information click  HERE!
We will be happy to give all the information you need. Contact:

Costa Rica Office: +506.4001-2343
Mobile: +506.8367-2466
USA Office: +1.786233-1579

Rich Coast
Costa Rica Real Estate
    2.47 acre ocean view property w/ 2 houses & 2 unfinished apartments $249k!!!
    2 houses and pool furnished, great rental potential walk to the beach $327k w/ owner financing
    2-bedroom furnished condo 400 feet from Jacó beach $179,000

and lots of other great properties! Property listings in Escazú, Herradura, Jacó, Manuel Antonio, Dominical and beyond. We offer efficient, personalized service always protecting our client’s interests. Contact us today with your questions about buying property in Costa Rica. With 11 years experience in Costa Rica real estate.

Have a Property For Sale? Contact Us!
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Real estate for sale (paid category)

House for Sale in Escazu Downtown
Condo near downtown Escazú Centro, Country Day School and Paco Shopping Center. 2 floors, 3 bedrooms and 2.5 bathrooms. Maid's quarters, patio, 24-hour guard,   clubhouse and pool  Price $170,000 or best offer Call Lewis at 506 2288-2250 or 506 8828-6749.
Email: or

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.  More information
go to  Call Darin Ricco, phone +619-846-8249 or email:


Luxury condominium apartments for sale in Escazú
The property located in Trejos Montealegre, has three apartments for sale. Excellent location, 400 meters east of Avenida Escazú, next to Village (new commercial and office project), Plaza Tempo, Wal-Mart, CIMA Hospital. To enter and exit Trejos Montealegre no need to pay toll. The condominium is few minutes from San José

♦ Apartment No. 1: 180 square meters, 3 bedrooms, cement walls, two floors, 1 utility room, 3 bathrooms, TV room, living room, kitchen with breakfast bar and island kitchen furniture, garage, electric gate.
♦ Apartment No. 2: 180. square meters,  3 bedrooms, cement walls, two floors, 1 utility room, 3 bathrooms, TV room, living room, kitchen with breakfast bar and island kitchen furniture, garage, electric gate.
♦ Apartment No. 3: This is the largest one. 250. square meters,  3 bedrooms, cement walls, two floors, 1 utility room, 3 bathrooms, living room, kitchen with breakfast bar  island kitchen furniture, 2 garages, electric gate. Total property measures 529 square meters.  Unique opportunity to buy it for $ 750,000 (Seven hundred and fifty thousand dollars).  For more information contact Adrian, cell phone  506-8598-9898  Email:

Pavo onr
FOR SALE - $270,000
Exceptional 3-bedroom, 3-bathroom, fully furnished luxury apartment for sale at the exclusive Terrazas de Escazú highrise complex in Escazú near La Paco Commerical Center.  Situated on the third floor, this apartment has an exceptional layout with stunning views of the Central Valley. 140 m2 bright and spacious floor plan with open sky terrace with 180-degree unobstructed view of the Escazú mountains and Central Valley.  One covered parking spot with additional guest parking available. HOA fee:  $250/month. Held in Costa Rica corporation for easy property transfer. Building features: 12-meter atrium with controlled access entrance to the building, surrounding landscaping, lower level pool, communal rooftop terrace and small rooftop gym. 24-hour security. Contact: José Granados in Costa Rica, phone 506- 6051-5249  email:
paco two

first image
B&B for sale in Costa Rica $650,000

I believe this is the finest area of Costa Rica in which to live and, with a lock on 80percent of all tourists visiting Costa Rica, to invest. There are birds and flowers of every description, terrific neighbors, incredible views, wonderful weather with a healthy climate, visits by sloth, deer, monkeys, a very good business that can expand and grow, if desired, or simply a beautiful place to live. Please look at my Web site and the guest reviews, the people's reaction to the property, and you'll see just what a wonderful opportunity this is

There is about 7,000 square meters of land included (over 1 3/4 acres) as well as another smaller home and an apartment above the carport, designed as maid's quarters but usually rented out to tourists. The rear of the property is bordered by a small and very clean spring-fed creek/river. Across the river there is jungle, which makes for a great deal of all around privacy and which will never be developed. Restaurants, a supermarket, services, and many natural attractions are just a short distance away. The property was appraised at over $1.7 million (US) a few years ago, which might indicate what an incredible bargain this is.

It can also include a franchise for Best Western Hotel, if interested in growing with the tourism business, and a small hobby farm bordering Arenal National Park with spectacular views of Lake Arenal, is also available. All is available at an excellent price for the right person (people) and a package price can certainly be arranged. Email me at: For more photos and info click HERE!


Negotiable price. Thirty thousand seventy square meters. The house is seven hundred fifty squared meters, built three years ago. Five bedrooms plus servant's room with bathroom. Each bedroom includes private bathroom. Master's room includes Jacuzzi and hidromassage. Two main living rooms plus visitor's parlor and hall, two furnished kitchens, all ceramic. Nineteen rooms total counting three offices, eight-car garage. Has 220-volt current with three distribution panels. First-quality water plus well, decorated stone walls, recreational area, second house eighty squared meters, hot water systems, cable, telephone, light system throughout property, river, part forest..

For health situation, the owner make a INCREDIBLE DISCOUNT!!!!

ORIGINAL PRICE: $1.800.000    OFFER PRICE: $1.200.000
 For more information click HERE!
To see more photos click HERE!  To see house video click HERE!

English language contact:
Christian Arce
Phone: (506) 2494-0016
Cell phone: (506) 8309-0173

Spanish language contact:
Luis Gustavo Jiménez
Phone: (506) 2494-0016
Cell phone: (506) 8707-4016

A beautiful American style suburban home just reduced.

A beautiful American style suburban home, 2,700 sq. ft. of living space with 5 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, front and rear living rooms, laundry area, kitchen and small attached library nook, arched windows and doors and connected hallways, exotic wood interior ceilings and trim, tile floors thru-out. The lot is 835 m2 with mature landscape and orchid nurseries surrounding the house. There is an enclosed workshop and BBQ area in the backyard with lots of storage under roof, plus a nursery for an herb/vegetable garden. This is a very well-kept property with many upgrades, a private feel but yet only 5 minutes from the center of town. Pérez Zeledón is the commercial hub of the southern zone and considered to be one of the best places to live in all of Costa Rica, the perfect size town, not too big and not too small. The beach is 45 minutes to the west and a short drive to the cool mountains is to the east. In between, this large valley has a moderate climate. Pérez has plenty of modern goods and services, an excellent farmers market, private schools, private doctors and clinics, all you need without having to go to the crazy madness of San José. Just reduced to $199,000. Call Jeff: 8725-8176. Email:


San Rmon
Mountain home w/million dollar view near San Ramón
Beautiful home in the mountains near San Ramón with 180-degree view of the gulf of Nicoya. 7 miles from San Ramón, 1 mile from Interamericana highway. 3,200 foot elevation so temp is 65 to 75 year around. Electric gate, private drive. house built in 2010. 2 bedrooms, 1 bath, appliances included. High-speed internet installed,  Price for sale $179,000    Contact Mike: 
Check out slide show HERE!

Ocean View Property for Sale in San Ramón
1.5-acre lot with spectacular ocean views. Ready to build. Mild climate year round with an average temperature a cool 74 degrees. Spectacular panoramic views of
                                for sale
the ocean and port of Puntarenas during the day, breathtaking views of Esparza at night. Fully titled and owned under a Costa Rican corporation. Price reduced to $45,000. Short-term owner financing available. For more info: Contact: Frank

Jacó beach unique home. First time offered
This house has never been listed.  It is a 3-bedroom, 1-bath home approx. 100 feet above sea level on the only hill in Jacó one mile to the beach.  Totally remodeled to a Gringo house.Has great fenced yard for dogs and a huge screened porch with  great views all around, including a small ocean view.  New in the last two years includes: new kitchen with granite counter, cedar cabinets, all new windows, tile, water system, updated electric & plumbing, superb new AC units (low electric bill), This is half of a duplex with a platted yard.  Other side is the chief of police.  Secure & private.  $169.900. Call Glenn at 506-6214-0056 or

For sale 5,200 m2 Escazú
Fantastic location for condo, hotel, restaurant.
Large lower lot, incredible views. Flexible zoning.
Easy to get liquor license. Low interest financing.
Toll free US phone 877-778-8515
In Costa Rica 8307-0164

San Ramon
Mountain home w/million dollar view near San Ramón
Beautiful home in the mountains near San Ramón with 180-degree view of the gulf of Nicoya. 7 miles from San Ramón, 1 mile from Interamericana highway. 3,200 foot elevation so temp is 65 to 75 year around. Electric gate, private drive. house built in 2010. 2 bedrooms, 1 bath, appliances included. High-speed internet installed,  Price for sale $179,000    Contact Mike: 
Check out slide show HERE!

Grecia casa
Mountain home for sale
in Grecia.
Less than a year old. Owners are motivated.  All information regarding the home as well as many photos can be found at Mountain view home for sale Grecia, Costa Rica.   Contact email:

puriscal photo
Costa Rica home for sale $163,500 / 2bedroom - 1,984 ft2

Central Valley view home: 10 minutes from Santiago de Puriscal and shopping, hospital services, and soon Maxi Pali. Only one hour to San José or Pacific beaches.
- On .55-acre lot with river on one boundary
- Area under roof, 1,984 sq. ft., Area inside walls, 925 sq. ft. Steel, recycled
      Styrofoam, and concrete construction.
- 2 ½ years old with central living room and kitchen, 2 bedrooms and 2 baths,
       ceramic tile throughout.
- Central Valley volcano and SJO airport views from every room.
- Vaulted ceilings give bright open feeling.
- Entrance from concrete road to large graveled parking area
- VERY energy efficient with VERY low property taxes.
- Covered attached carport with entrance to front door or laundry-guest bath
- 2 carport storage bodegas.
- 12 foot x 14 foot storage bodega
- Security lights, And Amcrest day & night video recorder system.
- Producing banana trees, and mango, bread fruit, and guanabana trees

Includes: Refrigerator, gas stove & oven with electric grill element, microwave, electric washer-gas dryer stacked style, gas on demand whole house water heater. Other furnishings are negotiable. ICE electric service and land line phone. Bajo Burgos Water district. Metro-wireless WiFi is available. Tigo Star Satellite T.V. House is in a Costa Rican corporation, will transfer shares. Contract or call 506 2416-9324.  Additional photos are available on Flickr album

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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, May 13, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 94
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Latin news from the BBC up to the minute
San Ramon
Ministerio de Cultura y Juventud photo
Dancers give a preview of their free performance scheduled for 2 p.m. Saturday with the ballet group Cosecha de Oro Fino and other musicians. The event will be in the communal hall at Concepción de San Ramón, Alajuela.

Two former Golfito politicians convicted

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff
Two former Golfito officials have been convicted of engineering a bribery scheme, but they will not spend time in prison. Daylon Arroyo, the former municipal mayor, got a three-year sentence, and Rodolfo Delgado, a former president of the municipal council, got two years.

As usually is the case the politicians who are convicted, the men are being given the benefit of a previous clean police record. The Tribunal Penal de Hacienda where the trial was held awarded the men conditional execution of the sentence. If they are not convicted of other crimes, they will not go to prison. However, they were told they cannot hold public office for five years.

The trial court determined that the pair hatched their scheme after the Tribunal Contencioso Administrativo voided the beach concession held by a local couple. The land involved was in Pavones de Golfito and the concession had been awarded by the municipal council.

At first, the court said, the pair of public officials wanted $150,000 to keep the couple from being evicted from the land. Later they dropped their demand to $75,000.

The couple agreed to pay $5,000 in advance, and at a third meeting with the men, that sum changed hands. The couple had told investigators, and the two men were detained as they left the meeting with the couple in 2011. The bills had been marked by a judge.

Another former councilman accepted an abbreviated process in 2014 and was sentenced, the Poder Judicial noted Thursday. Yet a fourth public official, also a councilman, was absolved in the trial, and the prosecutor is expected to appeal.

The former mayor and the former councilman also were ordered to pay 6.5 million colons in civil damages and costs, said the Poder Judicial.

Motorcyclist tangles with stray croc

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Police said a motorcyclist was surprised by a crocodile on the highway and struck the creature early Thursday.

Police managed to keep the animal’s mouth closed while they took it to experts for evaluation and perhaps relocation. The croc did not seem to be hurt badly, they said.

The croc seems to have lived in a nearby lake in Turrúcares and at the time of the 1 a.m. mishap the meter and a half animal was on the prowl, perhaps for food.

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From Page 7:

Survey says U.S. firms are uncertain on future

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Bank of America's 2016 survey of small business owners indicates there is widespread uncertainty and anxiety about the country's economic future. Some of the concern of business owners is over economic policy statements by the leading presidential candidates.

Small businesses account for a significant part of America's economic activity.

Confidence by the owners of these stores and factories is down as election year anxiety rises, according to a Bank of America survey. 

“The election is really important because small business owners walk a very fine line around profitability, and if you think about what some of the biggest expenses can be for a small business owner, it can be taxes, it can be the minimum wage that can have a huge impact, and health care costs.  When you think about those three items, it could actually make or break a business,” said Sue Lonergan, a Bank of America executive.

The call by both the leading Republican and Democratic presidential candidates to increase the minimum wage is especially worrying for small businesses, which are defined as companies having 100 employees or less.

Steve Hong, who owns a garment factory in Manhattan, opposes the city's mandate to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour by the end of 2018.

“I tried to give my workers a little bit of a raise every single year and most of my workers average between 11 and 13 dollars and that’s probably, in this industry, one of the higher ones.  But now with the new law of 15 dollars an hour minimum, you’re raising the minimum from $8.75 to $15 in three years which is 80 per cent.  I don’t know how to sustain that," said Hong.

Nearly three-quarters of small business owners also worry about rising health care costs.  In fact, the survey shows 22 percent are postponing hiring, citing uncertainty regarding the election and health care policy.

Chief Economist Tara Sinclair of the employment search engine said radically different policies from the left and right create challenges for business.

“I do think that employers are really struggling to get a sense of how to make their hiring plans for the long term in the current political environment because they are hearing very different economic policies and that makes it more challenging than any specific policy.  It’s not knowing what the policy will be,” said Ms. Sinclair.

And with some small businesses still struggling to recover from the recession, the stakes for the 2016 presidential election loom especially large.