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(506) 2223-1327                       Published Tuesday, May 15, 2012, in Vol. 12, No. 96                           Email us
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Chicken fighters say they are facing descrimination
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Chicken fighters went on the offensive Monday with a full page newspaper ad equating their sport to a long-running Costa Rican tradition. The ad also said that these chicken fights were being singled out for prosecution while there were many other sports or activities with animals that were not.

The ad in the Spanish-language newspaper La Nación was placed by the Asociatión Nacional de Criadores de Gallos, which in English would be the association of rooster breeders. They are the people who breed the birds that are faced off in mortal combat in a small ring called a gallera. Naturally there is betting. The roosters are aided by sharp metal spurs attached to their legs. And one or both of the birds die.

Fuerza Pública officers have raided a handful of such locations and confiscated a number of birds. The raids usually are under the direction of the  Servicio Nacional de Salud Animal. Just last month a national lawmaker lost his chance to head the Asamblea Legislativa after news reports showed that he was a fan of such chicken fights.

“A people without traditions is a people without a history,” said the ad headline.

The ad attributed a love of chicken fights to conquistador Hernán Cortés and a litany of former presidents of the country ranging from the 19th century. The ad also said that George Washington was involved in such activity and that Abraham Lincoln, when a lawyer in private practice, made extra money on the weekends as a chicken fight judge. The ad even cited Julius Caesar.

The association claimed that the animal health service and the Fuerza Pública were treating the breeders of the birds as if they were narcotics traffickers and dangerous criminals. They also claimed that the goal was genocide of the fighting birds because some 3,000 have been slaughtered by officials.

The group cited other abuses of animals, such as the uniquely Costa Rica bull baiting that takes place at major fiestas and is televised from the Zapote Christmas fiesta each year. The ad also cited topes, those parade of horse owners, cabalgatas (trail rides) and even the tradition of hunting down a
roosters fighting
Most fights are quick.

Osa spurs
A.M. Costa Rica archive photo via the Ministerio de Gobernación, Policía y Seguridad Pública.
 These spurs were confiscated when police raided a
 gallera in the Cantón de Osa last month.


crocodile each year, tying it up and putting it on display at town festivals. These are called a largateada.
All these sports and activities mistreat animals, said the group, asking why officials are picking on those who raise and fight roosters.

The ad may mark the beginning of an effort to legalize such rooster fights. They now are illegal.


Manuel Antonio park gets another trail for visitors
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Park and environmental officials inaugurated another trail at Parque Nacional Manuel Antonio Monday.

The trail is to Punta Catedral and has a 10-year life expectancy. The Ministerio de Ambiente, Energía y Telecomunicaciones said that environmentally friendly materials were used for the rebuilt trail. In some sections where erosion was anticipated, concrete was used. The cost of the project was 58 million colons or about $116,000.

One purpose of the trail is to take pressure off existing routes, which are much used by tourists. The project was under the jurisdiction of the  Sistema Nacional de Áreas de Conservación.
Manuel Antonio trail
Ministerio de Ambiente, Energía
y Telecomunicaciones photo
Dignitaries head off to check out the trail Monday.

The project was designed to have a minimal impact on the environment, officials said.

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Bill O'Reilly
Bill O'Reilly gives his commentary

Another TV commentator
sets sights for Costa Rica

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The country got a small boost Monday night when Fox Network commentator Bill O'Reilly said “I am going to move to Costa Rica and get out of everyone's way.”

His on-air comments shortly after 6 p.m. got a quick reaction from some Costa Ricans who said the country would benefit from rich persons like O'Reilly moving here.

The right-wing commentator was addressing a Gallup Poll report that said 36 percent of the U.S. public and 46 percent of those who say they are Democrats said that rich people are of no benefit to the United States.

O'Reilly said that he was rich, thanks to his television success and that “class envy is being stoked by the Democratic Party.”

Then he had a one-sided debate with Mary Anne Marsh, former adviser to Sen. John Kerry, and Kirsten Powers, a USA Today contributor. Both are Democrats. Ms. Powers, at least believed in equal distribution of wealth.

That's when he made the comment that if he was no good for the country he would move to Costa Rica.

“We are seeing less people with enough funds to survive coming to Costa Rica from the States, so please ask more people like O'Reilly to move here quickly,” said Angela Jiménez Rocha of Escazú almost immediately via email.
 
“In all seriousness, Costa Rica is on the mind of many people in the States,” she added. “If we could convince the government to make our country (like Panamá has done) more friendly to seniors with funds coming from the States, real estate values would move up.” She is a real estate appraiser.

Costa Rica seems to be the destination of choice for right-wing commentators. More than a year ago, Rush Limbaugh said he would go to Costa Rica if President Barack Obama's health care plan were passed.  Press notices called the country a center of offshore medical care for U.S. citizens.

 
Find out what the papers
said today in Spanish


By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Here is the section where you can scan short summaries from the Spanish-language press. If you want to know more, just click on a link and you will see and longer summary and have the opportunity to read the entire news story on the page of the Spanish-language newspaper but translated into English.

Translations may be a bit rough, but software is improving every day.

When you see the Summary in English of news stories not covered today by A.M. Costa Rica, you will have a chance to comment.

This is a new service of A.M. Costa Rica called Costa Rica Report. Editor is Daniel Woodall, and you can contact him HERE!
From the Costa Rican press
News items posted Monday through Friday by 8 a.m.
Click a story for the summary











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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, May 15, 2012, Vol. 12, No. 96
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Watson remains in jail while Costa Rica mulls response
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The foreign ministry is backing away from the arrest of Capt. Paul Watson in Germany.

Carlos Roverssi, vice minister of Relaciones Exteriores y Culto, said Monday that Costa Rica is a leader in the fight against shark finning. But he declined to address the case of Watson, detained in Germany on a Costa Rican warrant.

Roverssi noted the incident that resulted in Watson being detained happened in 2002 long before the Chinchilla administration took office. He also noted that the case is in the hands of the Poder Judicial and not the executive branch.

The Poder Judicial did not respond to emailed requests for specifics. The foreign ministry would be involved in any extradition.

Watson's Sea Shepherd Conservation Society said their founder and president remained in a German jail Monday after a judge there declined to release him. German officials want to determine if Costa Rica is ready to extradite Watson, the organization said.

“Sea Shepherd operatives continue to work around the clock in Europe and Latin America in order to determine the true reasons behind Costa Rica’s warrant,” the organization said suggesting hidden motives.

Meanwhile the International Police Agency explained in a news release why it did not issue a red notice on Watson. It did not do so, it said, because its Office of Legal Affairs was not satisfied that the request was in compliance with the agency's constitution and rules. The agency noted that a red notice was just an alert and not a warrant. That decision took place March 2 and was conveyed to all 190 country members of the police network, it said.

The warrant was issued in Costa Rica after Watson failed to show up for a court hearing in 2006. A reporter talked to Watson via email that day, and he said he had no knowledge of the court proceeding and that he never had been served with any legal papers.

The case stems from an encounter with a Costa Rican shark fishing boat. Sea Shepherd says the encounter was in Guatemalan waters. The shark fishermen seem to claim the encounter took place on the high seas. Watson's crew on the “Ocean Warrior” sprayed the smaller fishing boat with high pressure jets of water to interrupt their efforts.

The entire incident was recorded by a documentary filmmaker who used some of the footage in what became an
Water stream
Sharkwater Productions photo
 'OceanWarrior' crew member sprays water toward the
 'Varadero I' that Watson said was fishing illegally in
 Guatemalan waters during the 2002 encounter.


award-winning feature film, “Sharkwater.” A reporter who
viewed much of the footage concluded that the Costa Rican captain and crew got wet but that there was no damage when both boats bumped.

Watson has a reputation as an aggressive defender of sea life and has battled the Japanese whaling fleet for years.

That is why Sea Shepherd came out with suspicions of a conspiracy Monday.

“The warrant for Captain Watson’s arrest was issued in Costa Rica in October of 2011, curiously close to the time that the Institute for Cetacean Research filed their civil suit against Sea Shepherd Conservation Society in the United States,” the organization said. “The question remains, what prompted Costa Rica to issue an arrest warrant for Captain Watson in October of 2011?” When the warrant actually was issued could not be verified independently. The Institute for Cetacean Research was set up in 1987 by Japanese whaling interests to provide a scientific veneer to the annual whale hunt.

“As Sea Shepherd becomes increasingly more effective at protecting marine wildlife globally, the enemies of the oceans are using all their resources to stop us,” the organization continued. “Currently Sea Shepherd is under legal attack from all parts of the globe and each case represents the very biodiversity we strive to protect. In the UK Sea Shepherd is currently battling a lawsuit brought by seafood brokers Fish & Fish regarding bluefin tuna. In the United States we have the civil suit brought forth by the ICR concerning anti-whaling activities in the Southern Ocean, and now with Captain Watson’s detainment in Germany (via Costa Rica’s arrest warrant) which we believe stems from Sea Shepherd victories in curbing shark finning on the high seas. No matter the country or the court system, Captain Watson will not be intimidated, and he will not stop until marine life and ecosystems are given the protection they deserve.”


Readers comment on the Watson case and other situations

Dysfunctional government
is root cause of problems


Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

What does an embarrassing incarceration of an "angel" ocean conservationist, ongoing environmental stress on the countries rivers and waterways, i.e. constant need for clean-up crews, daily armed robbery reports, and shootings, archaic "squatters" laws, and a government awash in debt all have in common?

They were the main articles in today's A.M. Costa Rica, and they are indicative of a pretty dysfunctional government with a crisis of leadership. It seems to many, that Costa Rica has highly skilled and intelligent personnel capable of tackling the grave issues that are holding it back. The problem appears to be that the legal system is mired in archaic pastoral laws, bureaucracy, and procedures that are out of touch with today's realities, and facilitate corruption.

Costa Rica has always had a dark side. Most of the land and wealth is in control of a very few. They control large swaths of countryside where commercial "plantations" operate as virtual fiefdoms with their own"rules" often with virtual slave labor, and damaging environmental practices, as well as various "monopolies" that result in the meager selection of beer, dairy, and other staples (canned tomatoes, olive oil, to name just a few that are harshly taxed and out of reach of the average household budget) that North Americans and Europeans are unaccustomed to.

This small group of elites are used to operating with impunity here, and whose interest it is in maintaining the archaic and inefficient legal system which they are so adept at manipulating for their own gain, and at the expense of everyone else,
Honest and brave people such as Sheldon Hazeltine and "angels" like Paul Watson who inadvertently have bucked up against the "powerful elitist structure" need as much publicity and support as they can get, for it is high profile cases like these, providing exposes of the archaic and draconian darkness which for so long has been the underbelly of Costa Rican society, that is it's main anchor in preventing the country from moving forward in transforming the machinations of government to achieve a higher level of effectiveness for the common good.  

Hari Singh Khalsa
Cóbano


People should oppose
prosecution of Watson


Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

After reading your article in today's newspaper, concerning Mr. Paul Watson of the Sea Shepherd, and his plight with Costa Rica, I was shocked and horrified. Paul Watson is a "saint" to the other creatures that we (humans) share this planet with.  Sometimes many of us forget that we (living things) are all inter-connected and interdependent. Paul is a constant reminder to all of us; or at least he should be.

His work is an inspiration to us all. To learn that Costa Rica, a country with its rich biodiversity and "claimed" concerns for the ecosystems within its borders, would press ahead with a warrant against Mr Watson, is yet another blow to the international community's image of Costa Rica.

What has happened to Costa Rica? With so much negative publicity of late, I hope the current government administration has the ability to recognize that Costa Rica is also linked to the rest of the world. That link can either work for Costa Rica, or work against it.

This is an excellent opportunity for Casa Presidencial and the Chinchilla administration to show the world that it truly is concerned about the world's ecology and is supportive of those that literally lay their life on the line to protect it.

Today I donated money to Mr. Watson's campaign in the hope that in a small way, I can help in redeeming Costa Rica's image. This warrant is an insult to the Costa Rican people, and the foreigners who call Costa Rica home.

I am writing you to ask if you could entertain the idea of placing a note in your newspaper, encouraging your readers to donate whatever funds they can to help Mr Watson defray his legal expenses, to fight the warrant, and to write the wrong that Costa Rica has made in going after the one man who stands for the one thing that Costa Rica is "supposed" to be about.

Another idea would be an electronic petition, hosted on AM Costa Rica's domain server, where people can click their opposition to the warrant, and have the petition delivered electronically to Casa Presidencial.

This would cost relatively nothing, but would hopefully garnish sufficient attention from the President to "do the right thing".

David Lema
La Garita
Winner in land grab case
likens life here to 'Survivor'


Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

Regarding Mr Chilton’s reasonable editorial:
 
Mr. Chilton, I applaud your stance. However, you make a big assumption that Costa Rica has a functioning “justice” system. At best, it has a dysfunctional “legal” system. Costa Rica justice is an oxymoron. What about the guy that has around 100 arrests for robbery and never seems to do time. Can you say career criminal as in the three-strikes law? I should know as I was caught up in the gears of the Costa Rica legal system for years.
 
You speak of “rights” and what Ticos “should” do. Ticos do exactly what they should do because the powerful make money at it and it seems to please them just fine as far as rights go. Example: under the Costa Rica “legal” system you have the right to buy your way out of a crime. Yes, if the bad guy thinks he is going to be convicted of property fraud, he/she can make the plaintiff a financial offer and if accepted, drop the case. Hey, Costa Rica has rights. It has the right to perpetuate an archaic system that facilitates a criminal status quo. What do you mean no human rights? Isn’t it humane to forgive and Costa Rica has an outstanding forgiveness record. To forgive is divine, and the national divinity has proved itself by not convicting 90 percent (not a typo) of those arrested.
 
Just a note but, in Costa Rica a wealthy individual who operates with impunity are known as politicians.
 
You speak of sanity. Oh you mean like the transit laws that go from a $20 speeding ticket to a $450 speeding ticket (for a while at least) and then back to $20. A sane amount of maybe $125 would not have been reasonable.
 
Stealing from foreigners happens every minute of every day. Wake up, Mr. Chilton, and smell the café con leche.  Have you ever heard of the Gringo price? Squatting and adverse possession is just another form of that. When it comes to impregnating teenagers and money, Ticos condone double standards: one for Ticos and one for Gringos. Even Ticos who charge the same price to everyone usually don’t object that their compadres charge foreigners more for the same. It's part of the national divinity, and the price foreigners pay to be here in the divine surrounded by intrinsic wisdom. There are many teenage mothers in my town and never once are the 20-something taxi drivers ever charged with rape. Now if a Gringo knocks up a teenager, it's major trouble.
 
Perdone, Don Trevor, y con todo respeto, but property fraud cases take time. It’s like “The Amazing Race.” First you have to ride the district attorney merry-go-round, afterward you receive a clue that leads to your next task: then you have to fire your first and then second attorney, next you have to actually find the people to subpoena and then do the Judicial Investigating Organization's work for them and much more! No, I don’t think it would take 12 years to deal with some property fraud. Other cases have shown it would take much longer.
 
There is a simple reason why the laws remain the same regarding squatting. Attorneys derive power and make a load of money litigating these cases. It’s a big time game of “Survivor” where the sole survivor makes a million dollars – just like on TV! So, If it ain't broke, don’t fix it and ruin the drama, fun and prizes. Just like in “Survivor” attorneys say and do all kinds of deceitful things, like cutting deals with the opposing side or take retainers and do nothing. All kinds of self-enriching schemes and if you know Costa Rica then you know there is no shortage of criminal ingenuity.
 
If God is willing, then Costa Rica will change its laws. Because it is a divine country God must not be willing to change its laws or obviously the laws would be different. Only logical right?

You refer to justice and honesty and deputados, yet my property fraud case involved the wives of an ex-presidential candidate, the mayor of San Jose and the wife of a Puntarenas deputado. The same level of politicians you say should remedy the laws… hmmmm. There have been many cases in the press and courts and the message has been purposely muffled and muddled.
 
Mr. Chilton, I am encouraged by your logic, and I support your position 100 percent, but in absence of divine national logic I will just maintain my divine right to sarcasm to humor myself rather than lament that I love to live in an absurd, dysfunctional country full of false pride, deception and dishonesty… just like “Survivor.”

Come to think of it, I won  a version of the real Costa Rica Survivor when my property title was restored and it only cost me about $45,000.00, my hair line, stomach lining and a marriage. I would like to know about others who have won the game of Costa Rica squatter Survivor. To this day, I am the only one I know of in this elite club. Everyone else has been voted off the island. Some day you may be a contestant too! Hey, buen suerte! “The tribe has spoken.”

Phil Baker
Costa Rica


Hong Kong protesters seek end of official shark fin soup
By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Shark fin has been considered a luxury in Chinese cuisine since the Ming emperors first demanded the delicacy more than 400 years ago.

However, unsustainable and barbaric methods of harvesting the fish mean shark populations are increasingly endangered.

More than 150 activists braved oppressive heat Sunday to deliver a letter calling on the new head of the Hong Kong government, Leung Chun-ying, to ban the use of shark fin at official government banquets.

According to Rachel Vickerstaff of the Hong Kong Shark Foundation, the southern Chinese city is the destination for over half the shark fin traded globally, a market worth more than $500 million a year.

“Our objectives are to get some public awareness of what we’re trying to do and to let CY know why he needs to see why sharks need saving,” said Ms. Vickerstaff using the leader's nickname.
 
Sharks are afforded some protection by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, known as CITES. However, Ms. Vickerstaff calculates that up to 70 million sharks are killed each year to feed the growing demand for shark fin among increasingly affluent Chinese consumers.

“The Hong Kong government has hidden behind CITES, which is pretty ineffective. CITES only has international trade restrictions on three species of shark. But the International Union for the Conservation of Nature lists well over 100 species as threatened or near threatened with extinction,” added Ms. Vickerstaff.

Nowadays, shark fin is served in soups at business and wedding banquets as a symbol of status. Depending on a specimen’s quality, a bowl of shark fin soup can cost more
Shark finning opponents
Voice of American photo
 Activists present 'Shark Fin Letter' to the governor's house
 in Hong Kong.


than $100, while a dorsal fin of the prized whale shark can retail for up to $20,000.

Conservationists say the over-fishing of apex predators has a negative effect on the ocean ecosystem. But they say there is some good news. Younger generations in China are increasingly reluctant to partake of shark fin.

Nina Whittaker, a student at Li Po Chun United World College, says this is not just for conservation reasons, but also because of the brutal way fishermen harvest the fin.

“They’ll take sharks on board and cut their fins off; then throw the live sharks overboard. They can’t swim without them so it’s a painful, unpleasant death," said Ms. Whittaker. "So piles and piles of fins, and hundreds and hundreds of shark carcasses in the sea. It’s such a waste.”

What is more, says Ms. Whittaker, shark fin soup actually tastes pretty bland.

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A.M. Costa Rica's Fourth News page
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Jailed lawyer says he is in the county's best, drug-free facility
By Arcelio Hernández*
Special to A.M. Costa Rica

I had always heard that in Costa Rica anyone can end up in jail if a prosecutor wants you there.  When in my case the Fiscalia de San Joaquin de Flores denied me access to the case file, I made the terrible mistake of filing a complaint with the
Arcelio Hernández
Arcelio Hernández
constitutional court, which issued a reprimand to the prosecutor.

From that moment on, I got not only access to the file, but also the "special treatment," which has included my being detained without a trial for more than the minimum penalty established in the penal code for "fraudulent administration," that being six months.

But I am grateful to have been sent to Costa Rica's "best jail" located in San Ramón.  I say "best jail"
because contrary to most other prisons in this country no drugs are allowed in, and the penitentiary police is in charge, rather than some bully.

This is a prison where police officers, jail guards, judicial agents and other law enforcement officials get sent.  The food is decent, and because drugs are not tolerated, there is generally a peaceful environment and inmates respect each other.  The total population is about 75 and everybody has a bed.  The scenario is very different from other prisons where there is overpopulation and because of drugs you basically have to sleep with one eye open as there are also knives and other weapons in the hands of prisoners, especially those who control drug distribution which they do with the help of corrupt guards who take a share of profit.

Here, as in all other prisons in Costa Rica, there is no segregation of inmates according to the nature of the crime being investigated. Therefore, I share a cell with other inmates whose alleged crimes include murder, kidnapping, rape, drug trafficking as well as non-violent crimes such as the one for which I am patiently awaiting trial, and basically amounts to a dispute over money.  This means that if I wanted to, I could
now start my career in the underworld as I now have contacts
who have offered me their services should I want to get involved in their criminal activities.  This is a serious problem, and the government should try to not to mix people under like this.

San Ramón has a lot of good people, and you can sense the difference of folks from this rural area as they are more representative of the old Costa Rican kindness and noble heart.  Most guards are from nearby towns and they treat people with a gentle and polite spirit unlike other prisons.

When somebody starts creating problems they are immediately warned that if they continue causing trouble they will be transferred elsewhere with "La Reforma" being the most feared place.  While I wait for our constitutional court to decide on my most recent writ for Habeas Corpus, I thank God that I was I lucky enough to have been sent to this particular jail.

I had never treasured freedom as much as I do now, and I am trying to take advantage of my detention by reading a lot, praying, and learning from other people.

Not having a cell phone or an Internet connection is difficult at first, but this has helped to lower my stress levels, and I am seriously considering saying goodbye to cell phones when I get out, which will hopefully be soon.

My clients can still communicate with me via email as my family brings me documents for review on weekends.  Some clients also call me via telephone.  Since I have not been tried, I am innocent and can still practice law. In fact, I have helped many people in the recent months here in jail mainly pro bono.  My email address is emailthelawyer@yahoo.com

To all those who believe in me my most sincere gratitude for your continued support and prayers.  This has been very difficult for me and for my family but I know that the sun will shine again.
 
Arcelio Hernández Mussio is a lawyer, who has worked for A.M. Costa Rica's parent company and is facing a fraud charge involved in a dispute over the purchase of a hotel. He is a Desamparados native and worked in both San José and Jacó. A story about his case is HERE!


Bandits invade homes in Calle Blancos and in Guachipelín
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Judicial agents reported two home invasions Sunday, one at 5 p.m. in Calle Blancos and another at 9 p.m in Guachipelín de Escazú. No one was injured seriously.

At 5 p.m. four armed men arrived at a home in Lotes Volio in Calle Blancos and somehow entered the home. There they threatened and tied up the occupants and sacked the dwelling.
They fled with a portable computer, jewelry and four firearms owned by the home occupant, said judicial agents.

In Escazú the story was pretty much the same except there were three intruders. The homeowner had left a door open which made it easy for the bandits to enter, said judicial agents. They took a portable computer, a guitar, a television set and other items, said agents. The value of items take was about 10 million colons or about $20,000, according to the report.

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U.N. experts promoting
global financial tax


Special to A.M. Costa Rica

A group of United Nations independent experts today called on the European Union to take the lead in promoting the adoption of a global financial transaction tax that would offset the costs of the current economic crisis and protect basic human rights.  

“Where the world financial crisis has brought about the loss of millions of jobs, socialized private debt burdens and now risks causing significant human rights regressions through wide-ranging austerity packages, a financial transaction tax is a pragmatic tool for providing the means for governments to protect and fulfill the human rights of their people,” said the special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Magdalena Sepúlveda.  

According to a news release by the U.N. office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights, estimates suggest that at its lowest rate the financial transaction tax would yield about $48 billion across the Group of Twenty  major economies, with higher rates offering up to $250 billion per year to offset the costs of the enduring economic, financial, fuel, climate and food crises.   

The call from U.N. experts comes a day ahead of the Group of Eight summit of industrialized countries, which will take place in Camp David in the United States.  

“EU countries must take bold leadership now to pave the way towards what should eventually be a global FTT,” the U.N. experts urged, welcoming recent EU proposals to implement the financial transaction tax across the Eurozone.  

Countries such as the Republic of Korea have implemented similar taxes in non-discriminatory ways to raise resources to achieve the right to development. The transaction tax, experts argue, would also help stabilize financial markets by discouraging speculation, and therefore mitigate the type of volatility which led to the 2008 financial and food crises.  

“Food prices have twice spiked dangerously over the past five years, and could easily do so again,” stressed the special rapporteur on the right to food, Olivier De Schutter. “The FTT will likely reduce hot capital flows that fuel speculation, drive price instability and wreak havoc on the right to food worldwide.”  

“A global FTT is not a silver bullet, but it would help relieve sovereign debt load stemming from the financial crisis, shift the burden from ordinary citizens to the private sector which caused the crisis, and significantly enlarge government fiscal space for spending on desperately needed economic and social rights programmes.” said the special rapporteur on foreign debt and human rights, Cephas Lumina.  

The financial transaction tax would provide governments with an opportunity to act on their commitments to sustainable development and to take a step to advance development and include marginalized populations, said the special rapporteur on human rights and international solidarity, Virginia Dandan.  

“When the financial sector fails to pay its share, the rest of society must pick up the bill,” Ms. Sepúlveda emphasized. “It is high-time that governments re-examine the basic redistributive role of taxation to ensure that wealthier individuals and the financial sector contribute their fair share of the tax burden.”   


Press group decries attack
on newspaper in México

Special to A.M. Costa Rica

The Inter American Press Association Monday expressed outrage at an assault on Mexican newspaper El Mañana, whose plant located in the city of Nuevo Laredo, in the northern state of Tamaulipas, was attacked Friday by assailants shooting and hurling an explosive device of a type not immediately identified.

In the attack, carried out by a group of unidentified persons Friday evening, there were no reported injuries. But the front of the building and cars parked outside were damaged.

The chairman of the press group's Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information, Gustavo Mohme, condemned the assault and declared, “This event, and the violence unleashed against four journalists in recent weeks show that the government must act urgently to implement and apply the protection law that was passed recently in congress.”

Sunday, in response to the lack of safety felt by media and journalists, El Mañana executives said in an editorial that their newspaper would abstain from publishing “any information deriving from the violent disputes that our city and other parts of the country are undergoing.” According to the editorial, the decision was taken due to “the lack of conditions for the unfettered practice of journalism”

Mohme, editor of the Lima, Peru, newspaper La República, said, “These days the understandable attitude of self-censorship is what is really weakening the institutions and democracy itself.” He added, “It is for these reasons what is ever more urgent is for the government to defend press freedom and the public’s right to access to information.”

In 2006 El Mañana suffered a similar attack. On that occasion journalist Jaime Orozco Tey was seriously injured when a group burst into the newsroom, hurling an explosive device and shooting a burst of machine-gun fire. Two years earlier, on March 19, 2004, Roberto Mora García, El Mañana editor-in-chief, was murdered.

Two incidents in less than 10 days left four journalists dead in Veracruz.

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Latin America news
Typical rainy season weather
predicted for entire week

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The traditional start of the rainy season in the Central Valley is today, May 15. But nature jumped the gun Monday with heavy rains in some sections of the valley.

More of the same is predicted for today and for the next few days, perhaps as long as Saturday.

The Instituto Meteorológico Nacional said that both the Pacific coast and the Central Valley will see partly cloudy skies in the morning followed by the skies opening up in the afternoon with thunderstorms and downpours. There might even be some light rain on the coast in the morning.

There will be less rain in the northern zone and on the Caribbean coast, the institute said.

In general for the next few days there will be typical rainy season weather. There is a tropical storm, Aletta, off the Pacific coast of Central America, but it is heading west. Still the system is pumping humidity into the skies over Costa Rica, said the institute.


Legion Post 10 announces
its Memorial Day picnic


Special to A.M. Costa Rica

American Legion Post CR10 located in Escazú is holding its third annual Memorial Day picnic on Monday, May 28, at Villa Amira, which is located in Santa Ana on the old road from Escazú. The picnic will be from 1 to 5 p.m.

This old fashion home style picnic will feature half pound burgers and extra long hot dogs right off the charcoal grill. There will be potato salad and baked beans, both homemade, along with all the traditional toppings and condiments. Beer and soft drinks will be available at a cash bar.

Music will be provided by Jairo Gonzales, who was so popular last year that the post said it brought him back.

 The cost is 6,000 colons per person, about $12, and tickets are limited, the organization said. Information on obtaining tickets is available on the post Web site www.amlegioncr10.com or by emailing post10costarica@gmail.com or by calling 2232-1680, 8737-3160, 2249-0446.

The post will also be holding a ceremony to honor veterans who have passed away since last Memorial Day. This ceremony is held at the Cementerio Campo de Esperanza in San Antonio de Escazú and begins at 11 a.m.

Come observe the real meaning of Memorial Day and then join us at our picnic, said post officers.






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