free webpage hit counter
Ship Costa Rica alternate

Costa Rica

Your daily

news source
Monday through Friday

Tico Travel
(506) 2223-1327               San José, Costa Rica, Monday, May 24, 2010,  Vol. 10, No. 100         E-mail us
Jo Stuart
Real Estate
About us
Foshing promo

New type of tax status would spare expats pain
By Garland M. Baker
Special to A.M. Costa Rica

There are several types of company structures in Costa Rica. The two most common are the sociedad anónima and the S.R.L. 

However, there are only two types of tax statuses, active and inactive.  This fact complicates tax filings for expats and is becoming more of a problem every day due to the enforcement of the country's new banking regulations.  There should be another status offered to filers by the tax department.  This status could be called something like "nonoperational,""static" or "passive."

Active companies, in theory, exist to make revenues and after deducting legal costs and expenses end up with a profit, which is taxable.  Inactive companies exist to hold assets but do not have revenues, costs or expenses.  Active companies need to file several types of returns including, but not limited to, sales tax, education and culture tax and income tax forms.  Inactive companies only need to file the education and culture tax form each year.

Here is the problem.  If a household of an expat has a large domestic staff, it is recommended the employees be on a payroll in the name of a company and not the name of a person.  In this case, the company whether it be a sociedad anónima or an S.R.L. has no other purpose but to exist to meet the payroll of the employees.  In other cases, all the expenses of the household are paid out of the inactive company.

This is not really an active company using the rules of the tax department because the company does not have revenue.   However, it is not an inactive company either because the payroll of the employees are, in theory, expenses for the company. 

All companies have accounting requirements, whether they be active or inactive.  In accounting there are always debits and credits. 

Now in a company that is active revenues are received to pay the expenses.  But where does the money come from to pay the payrolls and other household expenses in a company that has no revenues.  Well, it comes from the owners of the company but not as revenues but as loans or capital inflow.

On tax returns, this kind of company will never have a profit, only losses.  However, the tax departments still wants all the forms filed each year as if the company is active. This includes form D-151 and D-101.  In the past, the tax department was not very careful in auditing the D-151 form.  This form is an informational document that is filed by active companies as a cross checking mechanism to catch tax cheaters.  The tax department was trying hard to make the filing of this form a quarterly endeavor, but after a big fight, it remained an annual filing due Nov. 30 of each year.

Now, the tax department is doing a much better job checking the D-151 form and even in companies that exist only to pay employees or other incidental expenses need to file this form.  Recently, an expat couple was fined heavily because they did not file the D-151 form. They also were using their company to pay their telephone bills as well as their employees and did not report the expenses on the form.

Here is the other problem.  In the past most
gitl screaming over taxes

expats left these kinds of companies as inactive but had bank accounts open to pay the bills.  Most

banks in Costa Rica are updating their records due to new banking regulations.  One of the many requirements to have a bank account is to submit a form proving the company is an active company.  This fact means that an inactive company with a bank account will be closed by the bank unless the owners of the company go to the tax department and signs up as an active company.  Once the company is active, all the other forms need to be filed or fines, and penalties will result.  In addition, once a company is active, it also needs to keep a set of books, including accounting, which can be inspected at anytime by the tax department.

The good old days are gone where managing a company and maintaining a bank account was easy.  Now days, it requires a lot of work and probably the services of an accountant.  If many expenses are being paid out of one of these companies, an accounting program to keep track of the information needed to fill out the D-151 return will probably also be necessary. 

It would be nice, but probably is only a pipe dream and will not happen, that the tax department start another tax category other than active or inactive which would facilitate the use of a company structure to pay payrolls and expenses of an activity that does not produce any revenue like a domestic household.

This would ease the tax filing requirements on expats on these kinds of companies and also alleviate the big headache of opening and maintaining a bank account.  As it stands today, if an expat currently has a bank account for a company that is inactive, it will probably be frozen or closed shortly unless the owner makes the company active.

Citibank is currently in a major updating process and calling all of their customers to come bring their accounts up-to-date.  Customers are being told that if they do not do so immediately, their bank accounts will be frozen, put in an inactive status, or closed.

Garland M. Baker is a 38-year resident and naturalized citizen of Costa Rica who provides multidisciplinary professional services to the international community.  Reach him at  Baker has undertaken the research leading to these series of articles in conjunction with A.M. Costa Rica.  Find the collection at, a complimentary reprint is available at the end of each article.  Copyright 2010. Use without permission prohibited.

exchange rate
to our
daily digest

our site

Send us
a news story

Real estate ads

Tourism and

ad info

ad info

Contact us

Del rey announcement

GLC rolloaver
Oscar Vargas, dentist

Poderco Solar Costa Rica

new Ship to Costa Rica ad

New Montana ad

Resiudency in Costa Rica
Costa Travel

laser olas

New White House ad
Pura Vida Driling

Smile 90210

Association of Residents of Costa Rica

Guy Murphy, real estate

Grecia Real Estate

Chris Howard relocation

Pachamama for 5/4/10

find us on facebook


RSS feed lnk

Rio Mar rollover

Jo Stuart
Real Estate
About us
What we published this week: Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Earlier

The contents of this Web site are copyrighted by Consultantes Río Colorado 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007  and 2008 and may not be reproduced anywhere without permission. Abstracts and fair use are permitted.  Check HERE for more details

90210 dental clinic

Costa Rica
Second newspage
Vision 20/20
Real estate
About us
San José, Costa Rica, Monday, May 24, 2010, Vol. 10, No. 100

Costa Rica Expertise
Costa Rica Expertise Ltd E-mail Tel:506-256-8585 Fax:506-256-7575

Quintas del Toro
Click HERE for great hotel discounts

Professional Directory
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.

Real estate agents and services

with Great Estates of Costa Rica

20 years Costa Rican
real estate experience

Member of the Costa Rican Real Estate Association, Lic. #1000

Member of
Costa Rican-American Chamber of Commerce
(506)  2220-3729 &  (506)
8333-8391 cell
(506)  2232-5016 (phone/fax)
Latitude Nine real estate graphic
Latitude 9
Real Estate, Development, Investments.

Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica
506 2777-1197

Over 25 years experience in Costa Rica

CENTURY 21 Jacó Beach Realty
A Name You Trust & Professional Service

Buying? Selling?
We Can Do It!
1 (877) 746-3868
  Tom Ghormley - Owner/Broker - in CR since '79

Beachfront, Views, Mountains, Lots, Farms, Beaches, Houses, Condos. Hotels, Restaurants, Projects, Commercial, Investments

Collection services

The collection agency you’ve been searching for
• Receivables     • International Debt
• Comercial Collections     • Portfolio Collections
• Bad Debt Collections     • Condo HOA Collections
• Bad Check Collections     • Recovery solutions
Start early, recover more. Free quotes at
collection services
We are an attorney-based collection agency and specialize in the recovery of delinquent accounts nationwide. We work on a contingency basis or fee structure depending on the type of debt, but always fees that you can understand with no hidden costs. We recover your lost revenue quickly & professionally. Tel: 2253-3705/2283-8712   E-mail:

Legal services

Lic.Gregory Kearney Lawson.
Attorneys at Law and real estate brokers
Relocation services, Wedding Planning
Greg Kearney
*Investments  *Corporations
*Tax Shelters *Immigration
*Real Estate Sales in Costa Rica
*Name & Product registration
*Business procedures 
*Family and Labor Law
*Locate People   *Private Investigations
Phone/Fax: 2290-8117, 8841-0007
New location on Rohrmoser Blvd.
 Phone: (506) 2232-1014

Burke Fiduciary, S.A.
Registered Escrow and Legal Services
Glenda Burke
Glenda Burke, LL.M
Thomas Burke
Thomas Burke, LL.M

Core services: real estate due diligence, real estate escrow services, residency status, business corporations, estate planning. English, Spanish, German and French spoken.

More about us at
Ph. 011 506 2267-6645 

The registration of Burke Fiduciary S.A., corporate ID 3-101-501917 with the  General Superintendence of Financial Entities (SUGEF) is not an authorization  to operate. The supervision of SUGEF refers to compliance with the capital legitimization requirements of Law No. 8204. SUGEF does not supervise the
business carried out by this company, nor its security, stability or solvency.
Persons contracting its services do so for their own account and at their own risk.

Attorneys & Notaries
 Tel.  2280-9692 / 2225-9322
       We offer the highest professional standards with very competitive rates. All our official documentation and Notary deeds are always translated in English for better comprehension, client satisfaction and safety.
consultoria logo
• Immigration Law.
• Real Estate Law.
• Corporations, Foundations
       and Associations. 
• Trademarks & Intellectual
• Notary public services
• Criminal Law
•Civil & Commercial 
Our Law Office is conveniently located near Mall San Pedro,  350 meters south from the Subaru dealer, Los Yoses, San José.


Angela Jiménez
ask Angela Jiménez
Architect/Certified Appraiser
23 years experience
for Costa Rica Banks
• building inspections
•¨property management
• construction advice and design
• remodeling advice
• certified appraisals

Residency experts

Residency in Costa Rica
A full service immigration agency
U.S. and San José offices
Getting and authenticating documents can be a chore —

we know how to do it. Experienced with many nationalities. Up-to-date on
Costa Rica's evolving immigration law.
Pensionado and rentista. Your first stop for smooth, professional service and a positive experience. Javier Zavaleta
Tel: (323) 255-6116


James Brohl, C.P.A. & M.B.A.
US Income Tax,  US GAAP Accounting
& Business Consulting

• US Tax return preparation  for
individuals and businesses
• eFile returns: secure with faster refunds
• Assist with back reporting and other filing issues
• Take advantage of the Foreign
Income Tax Exclusion (up to $
91,400 in 2009)
• Business Consulting to facilitate working in Costa Rica
• Accounting for US and International Financial Reporting

Telephone 8305-3149 or 2256-8620

U.S. Tax International

Plus Costa Rican taxes, accounting, and legal services
Over 15 years in Costa Rica
(English Spoken)
C.R. 2288-2201   U.S 786-206-9473
FAX: 2289-8235
Web page with vital U.S. tax info HERE!

Hearing consultant

Allan Weinberg
your American hearing consultant
Now offering the smaller, better and less expensive hearing aid
from Widex, their best ever.

A fraction of U.S. prices. No more background noise, feedback or echoing and a lifetime of service.
We service U.S. veterans
Clinica Dinamarca 10 clinics
Weinberg 070709
Allan Weinberg


Marco Cavallini & Associates
Dental Implants $500, Crowns $250

Dr. Marco A. Muñoz Cavallini has placed and restored
DR. Cavallini
Dr. Marco A. Muñoz Cavallini
over 12,000 dental implants since 1980. The Dr. Marco Muñoz Cavallini Dental Clinic, is recognized as one of the best practices in Dental Reconstruction, Dental Implant placement and Cosmetic Dentistry in Costa Rica and the World. For more information, visit us today at:
Our readers' opinion
Calderón and Obama try
to divert public attention

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

Having lived in México, Perú, Guatemala, Honduras, and for the past 12 years in my new home, Costa Rica, I have been watching the political charade going on with our Neighbors to the North.

Have you ever been to México?  As you drive down any highway in Mexico there are checkpoints.  At these checkpoints
the Mexican officials, with very large guns, use RACIAL PROFILING, to throughly check the immigration status of every white skinned person, GRINGOS, who happen to pass by.  Better have your passport and papers in order in México or you will be hassled.  At the very least a large bribe will be in order before you are allowed to go on your way.

These checkpoints occur every 50 to 100 kilometers. They have been stopping people ever since my first trip in 1968.

The exact same RACIAL PROFILING takes place in every Latin American country in the hemisphere, including Costa Rica. It is normal for the immigration officials to raid a tourist hangout and check the visa and immigration status of everyone in the location.

I say no big deal. Every country and state has the right to control who is in their jurisdiction, including ARIZONA.

The disgraceful speech by the president of México in front of the American Congress was one of the most hypocritical displays of political theater I have seen since I was old enough to watch "Howdy Doody." Shame on the Democrats for that standing ovation.

If President Obama, Eric Holder, Napolitano, and the rest of the Chicago gangsters running things in Washington D.C. bothered to read the Arizona law, they would find out, as I have, that it is less intrusive then the federal Immigration laws that are already on the books.

I predict it will win any legal challenge by the Supreme Court.

They are not interested in facts, they are not interested in the truth.  They are only interested in one thing, POWER and how to keep it.  The easiest way to keep it is to divide and conquer.

What is going on up there? Has everyone gone completely nuts?  This president is grasping at straws and attempting to do whatever he can to divert the publics attention from the real problems facing the average American, THE ECONOMY, STUPID. Where are the JOBS? He has no clue how to fix things. All he cares about is polarizing the American
electorate and getting re-elected. 

I am afraid that this president has not learned his history lessons very well.  Remember what happened after President Johnson? NIXON.  Remember what happened after President Carter? Reagan.   The backlash from these two presidents and their moderate socialistic policies is nothing compared to what is about to occur in the U.S.

Where does the President of Mexico get off lecturing the U.S. Congress, and the American people about discrimination, racial profiling, and illegal immigrants?  Mr. Calderón needs to take a long hard look at his failed narco state and concentrate on fixing the problems of Mexico.   He has found a partner in President Obama, in the tactics of diversions.  Have you been to México lately?  No wonder why they are fleeing by the thousands to the North.

Every day that I wake up in Costa Rica I thank God for the opportunity to live and work in this tolerant society. I feel sorry for those in Arizona and the U.S. who have to listen to their politicians calling them racist and lighting the fires of racial tension. They are playing a very dangerous game.

Leo Plumley
Playa Hermosa

México should take care
of its own citizenry

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

While I can agree with much of what Mexican President Calderón said about the U. S. straightening out its immigration laws, and while I certainly do believe the U. S. needs to do something to control firearms, and needs to truly stop the so-called war on drugs (maybe legalize them, and tax the hell out of them), why is it that Mexico has never once taken responsibility for their own inability to feed, clothe, educate, and care for their own?

Instead of pointing fingers at their neighbor, why doesn’t Mexico end its own corruption, and provide for their own citizens so that those citizens don’t continue their exodus from their homeland?

Maybe if all those poor people who want to work could find work in their homeland, they wouldn’t be so attracted to the
U. S.
John G. Dungan,
Aguacate de Tilaran

Chayote is good substitute
for local apples in pies

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

Regarding "In praise of the chayote."

Despite assertion of the author, the person from whom I learned about chayote passed on her tradition of sharing the delicate, soft, delicious inner seed with the nearest person to you. My family have benefited from the experience, though, I admit it is not universally appreciated.

Also, readers may be interested to know that the chayote makes a better  "apple" pie than the bland, soft apples found in Costa Rica. It can be sliced, mixed with cinnamon, sugar, butter, and some tarter fruits like dried cranberries or blueberries and other ingredients for an interesting, tasty treat. Next time I will try mixing it with cerambola (star fruit).
Jerry Ward

Have you seen these stories?

Top story feeds are disabled on archived pages.

A.M. Costa Rica guide

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

newspaper maskthead
Del Rey casino

classified ad

Real estate
About us

What we published this week: Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Earlier
The contents of this page and this Web site are copyrighted by Consultantes Río Colorado 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007  and 2008 and may not be reproduced anywhere without permission. Abstracts and fair use are permitted.  Check HERE for details

Del Rey casino

Costa Rica
third newspage

Real estate
About us
San José, Costa Rica, Monday, May 24, 2010, Vol. 10, No. 100

Cliffs along major highways crumble as downpour hits
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The first strong dose of the rainy season revealed deficiencies in the major highways. Boulders as big as a volkswagen fell on a motorcycle and other vehicles on the new Autopista del Sol.

Similar problems resulted in the closure of Ruta 32, the main highway from San José to Guápiles and Limón. That road was closed in early afternoon.

The Instituto Meteorológico Nacional registered 51.8 millimeters, about 2 inches, at its Barrio Aranjuez headquarters. Nearly all fell between 2 and 5 p.m., according to the automatic weather station there. Some 37.4 millimeters, about 1.5 inches, were recorded at Juan Santamaría airport.

Other parts of the metro area and elsewhere in the country reported no or small amounts of rain.

Officials knew that a heavy rain would cause problems on the San José-Limón highway. This is an area of frequent rainfall between 22 and 24 kilometers north of San José in Parque Nacional Braulio Carrillo. A major slide took place in late April, and the traffic had been restricted to daytime only so observers could see the start of any landslide.

The Autopista del Sol is the San José-Caldera highway that
 is being run by a concession holder. That road, too, had steep slopes that were bound to give way when rain hit. The concession holder hung up some chain link fencing in critical spots, but the boulders that fell Sunday could tear through that easily. They also demolished a concrete wall.

Closing the highways is an economic body blow to the country. Limón-bound truckers are detoured through Turrialba, a narrow road where several accidents already have taken place because of the lumbering semis. The Caldera highway was billed as a boon to Pacific tourism and real estate.

Earlier this month investigators from the Defensoría de los Habitantes toured the new road in the company with a geologist from the national emergency commission.

The Defensoría reported that in one area the geologist went to the top of a hillside and saw cracks in some rocks that indicated the danger of future landslides. The visitors also saw vehicles trying to evade rocks falling from hillsides. And that was not a rainy day. In addition to the immediate danger, the maneuvers drivers have to take can cause an accident, the Defensoría said at the time.

To eliminate the problem would be costly. Mountainsides would have to be trimmed back and contoured.  Much of the land on the Caldera route that would need work is privately owned.

All eyes beginning to turn to South Africa and FÚTBOL
By Christopher Howard*
Special to A.M. Costa Rica

With the World Cup just 18 days away the interest in soccer here is really heating up. The Cup is contested every four years and is the Super Bowl of soccer. This year’s edition of the cup will be held in South Africa. Retirees in Costa Rica are bound to become interested in soccer or fútbol as it is called in the Spanish-speaking world. The game is almost a religion.

Whenever there is a major soccer game, everything comes to a stop and the party begins. Children of all ages can be seen playing soccer on the weekends. Adults even play informal games during their lunch breaks called mejengas.

Recently I watched a clasicazo (classic) soccer game with my son. It was between perennial powers Real Madrid  and Barcelona. The latter won 2-0, marking the second time the team has defeated Real Madrid at home. Barcelona is led by the superhuman Lio Messi, who is considered the best player in the world, and Real Madrid is led by Cristiano Ronaldo, the “Pretty Boy” of world soccer. In Costa Rica we have a clasicazo which refers to games played between arch rivals Alajuela, known as La Liga, and Saprissa, known as El Monsturo.

Basically, here is how soccer is played:

Using a round ball, a soccer match is played by two teams wearing different colored shirts. Each team consists of not more than 11 players, one of whom is the goalkeeper. An official match may not start if either team consists of fewer than seven players.

Up to a maximum of three substitutes may be used in any match played in an official competition organized under the auspices of the world governing body, the Federation Internationale de Football Assocation.

In other competition, the rules must state how many substitutes may be nominated, from three up to a maximum of seven. The duration of an official match is 90 minutes played in two halves — each half lasting 45 minutes.

The aim of the game is for one team to score more goals than the opposing team.  The winning team is the team that has scored the most goals at the end of the game. Players score a goal when they succeed in moving the whole ball over the opposing team’s goal line, between the goalposts and under the crossbar. Players may use any part of their body except their arms and hands (unless they are tending goal).

The ball is out of play when it has wholly crossed the goal line, or touch line — whether on the ground or in the air, and when play has been stopped by the referee.

The game is controlled by one referee on the playing field and two assistant referees placed on opposite sidelines. The field (or pitch) of play must be rectangular.  The length of the touch line must be greater than the length of the goal line.

Length: minimum 90 meters (98.4 yards), maximum 120 meters (131.2 yards). Width: minimum 45 meters (49.2 yards), maximum 90 meters (98.4 yards).

International matches: Length: minimum 100 meters (109.4 yards) maximum 110 meters (120.3 yards) Width: minimum 64 meters (70 yards) maximum 75 meters (82 yards).

The field of play is marked with lines. These lines belong to the areas of which they are boundaries. The two  longer boundary lines are called touch-lines. The two shorter lines are called goal lines. The field of play is divided into two halves by a halfway line. The center mark is indicated at the midpoint of the halfway line.   A circle with a radius of 9.15 meters (10 yards) is marked around it.

A goal area is defined at each end of the field. A penalty area is defined at each end of the field. Goals must be placed on the center of each goal line.

Soccer vocabulary:

árbitro — referee

banda — sideline

cabezazo — header

cancha — field

defensa - The defense taken as a whole is la defensa. The back four is also termed la zaga
ellis Park
Federation Internationale de Football Assocation photo
Ellis Park in Johannesburg is one of 10 sites where the matches will be played.

defensores — defenders

delantero — forward

empate — tie

entrenador — coach

expulsión – expelled from the game

equipo — team

extremo - Winger – Easily remembered as a winger plays on the extremes of the pitch.

falta — foul

fuera de lugar — offside

fútbol — soccer

jugador — player

“Gooooooooooool! — Goal! — Said when someone scores.

guardameta, portero, arquero — goalkeeper

hincha – a fan

juez de línea – line judge

marcar — to score

medio tiempo – half time

mediocampista — mid-fielder

mejenga — an informal pick-up game

mejengear — to play an informal pick-up game

partido, juego — game

pelota — ball

penal — penalty kick

penales— shoot out

primer tiempo — first half

referee - árbitro

saque — kick off

saque de banda — side throw-in

saque de esquina – corner kick

saque de puerta or meta – goal kick

segundo tiempo— second half

tarjeta amarilla — yellow card (warning)

tarjeta roja — red card (expulsion)

técnico - coach

tiro de esquina — corner kick

tiro libre — free kick

travesaño — cross-bar

* Christopher Howard, who has a master's degree in linguistics and Spanish, is the author/publisher of the 16th edition of the perennial  bestselling  "The New Golden Door to Retirement and Living in Costa Rica," "Guide to Real Estate in Costa Rica" and the one-of-a-kind "Official Guide to Costa Rican Spanish." He also is a relocation and retirement expert who conducts custom and group retirement/relocation tours every month.  For information: Articles similar to the above may be found at

Make a statement

You need to see Costa Rican tourism information HERE!

classified ad

Real estate
About us

What we published this week: Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Earlier
The contents of this page and this Web site are copyrighted by Consultantes Río Colorado 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007  and 2008 and may not be reproduced anywhere without permission. Abstracts and fair use are permitted.  Check HERE for details

A.M. Costa Rica
fourth news page

Brenes law firm
Real estate
About us
San José, Costa Rica, Monday, May 24, 2010, Vol. 10, No. 100

Costa Rica online daily shakes up president of Panamá

By Eric Jackson
editor of The Panamá News

Nuestro Pais, the less than two-year-old Web site of a small news organization aligned with Costa Rica's leftist Frente Amplio party, which holds one seat in the national legislature, has all of a sudden made a big international splash. Its editor and publisher, veteran reporter Carlos Salazar, claims that he started out looking at suspicions that Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli was funneling money to right-wing candidates in Costa Rica's elections earlier this year, and came across something else. Thus, he claims, results a series of stories to the effect that:

    * The relationship between Ricardo Martinelli and his cousin, Ramón Martinelli, the latter now in prison in México on charges that he laundered drug money for the ultra-vicious Beltran Leyva Cartel (whose enforcers are the notorious Los Zetas) was closer than many people here ever expected, to the extent that the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration  believes that it involved Ramón funneling drug cartel money into the 2009 Martinelli presidential campaign via Ricardo's supermarkets and a private foundation.

    * U.S. relations with Panama are strained because of Martinelli's ties with the underworld because when he was a prosecutor one of Martinelli's high court appointees, José Abel Almengor, blew the cover on an international investigation that had the president's cousin as just one of many targets; that Martinelli replaced U.S. security advisors with Israeli ones "to evade U.S. vigilance over the mafia management of the government;" because the presence of the Israeli Mossad and its associated contractor companies compromises the neutrality and security of the Panama Canal; because Martinelli's acting attorney general has dropped cases against Colombian racketeer David Murcia Guzman and other high-profile organized crime figures; and because Washington does not like Martinelli's "dictatorial style."

Martinelli and his spokespeople issued furious denials, which by and large did not match the specific allegations. The president said that his cousin was the "black sheep" of the family and had not had anything to do with his political party, Cambio Democratico, for nine years. Any and all associations with the drug offenders, real or alleged, around Ramón were denied. It was claimed that relations with the United States are excellent.

Nuestro Pais, by and large, did not name its sources, but it said that they included Panamanians with close relationships with the Drug Enforment Administration, Mexican officials and U.S. diplomats. On the face of it, some of those Panamanian sources appear to be Partido Revolucionario Democrático-leaning people in the courts and prosecutors or former prosecutors who are not happy with the new management of acting attorney general Giuseppe Bonissi.

The American Embassy here had no comment about the stories. But from various sources, the late April and early May visits of former U.S. diplomat John Maisto and Arturo Valenzuela, the U.S. assistant secretary of State for Western Hemispheric affairs included meetings with Martinelli and other top Panamanian officials that were in the nature of riot act readings. Nevertheless, when Vice President and Foreign Minister Juan Carlos Varela visted Washington for a meeting of the Council of the Americas, Hillary Clinton referred to Varela and his Colombian counterpart as "my friends." But afterwards, Varela met with  U.S. Deputy Secretary of State James B. Steinberg — not someone of equal rank like Joe Biden or Hillary Clinton, but a fourth- or  fifth-string official. Their joint communique stated that Varela and Steinberg "reaffirmed the strong friendship between the United States and Panama, as well as our mutual commitment to continue working closely on a broad range of bilateral and multilateral issues."

The Palacio de las Garzas and Don Winner, a Web site publisher, took this to be a ringing U.S. endorsement of the Martinelli administration. Those who know much about diplomacy saw it as a snub and an indication that there are indeed problems in the Washington-Panamá relationship.

Meanwhile in Costa Rica, Nuestro Pueblo devastated the Martinelli administration's denials by publishing a series of photos taken during last year's election campaign, featuring Ricardo Martinelli embracing every one of the Panamanians arrested in Mexico along with his cousin.

Panama's labor/left FRENADESO coalition chimed in with a detailed history of Ramón Martinelli's relationship with Cambio Democratico, which included his tenure as
Martinelli campaigns
Cambio Democratico photo
Martinelli grasps the hand of a voter on a campaign visit before his election

Nuestro Pais logo

party treasurer and his 1999 to 2004 term as one of his cousin's hand-picked Central American Parliament deputies (complete with diplomatic passport) and his participation in the 2009 campaign. So much for not having had anything to do with the guy for nine years.

President Martinelli's team blamed the Partido Revolucionario Democrático for being the source of the stories, which the opposition party denied. Although most of the mainstream media ignored the stories — largely because the oligarchs who run them are loathe to admit the validity of any story that a left-wing medium breaks — La Estrella and El Siglo were the main exceptions, while Telemetro provided a TV forum in which Martinelli fumed against Nuestro Pais.

Then Carlos Salazar gave an interview over KW Continente radio, with journalist Adelita de Coriat. He was stumbling, rambling and sometimes evasive, but basically defended his stories. He seemed at one point to imply that the Israelis were actually doing security for the Panama Canal. Given that the Institutional Protection Service is, more than just the presidential guard, also Panama's national security intelligence agency, there might be reason to suppose this but there is no direct evidence of this on the public record.

President Martinelli and Minister of the Presidency Jimmy Papadimitriu counter-attacked, calling Salazar a liar who's endangering the security of the Panama Canal and promising to send lawyers to Costa Rica to charge him with defamation  — not about the gangland charges, but about the broadcast claims about Panama's security relationship with Israel. On Friday a delegation of lawyers representing the Martinelli adminstration went to Costa Rica to file charges.

That, of course, brought in many international news agencies and most of Panama's corporate mainstream media around to covering the controversy.

Now Panamá faces the prospect of defending its relationship with Israel and explaining the Panama Canal's defenses and why they are compromised by Carlos Salazar's reporting in a foreign courtroom. Nuestro Pais is calling Martinelli's bluff and journalists across the region are starting to rally to the Web site's defense.

The appearance is that Martinelli doesn't want to litigate about his cousin or his campaign finances, but thinks that the truth is on his side about a detail of the Israeli role in Panama's security apparatus, and that he made a rash and impulsive legal decision that's likely to come back to haunt him.

For one thing, he has set up an international spotlight on his government and created an opportunity for the controversy to be replayed for months and years to come. And consider the alternative, if the decision to take action in the Costa Rican courts was not a foolish mistake committed in the courts of a manic "gotcha" euphoria. If the decision to magnify and extend the publicity about this unpleasant set of stories by way of foreign litigation was deliberately made in cold blood, what desperate facts prompted that?

— Used with permission.

classified ad

Real estate
About us

What we published this week: Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Earlier
The contents of this page and this Web site are copyrighted by Consultantes Río Colorado 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007  and 2008 and may not be reproduced anywhere without permission. Abstracts and fair use are permitted.  Check HERE for details

Costa Rica
fifth news page

Real estate
About us
San José, Costa Rica, Monday, May 24, 2010, Vol. 10, No. 100

Medical vacations in Costa Rica

Legion plants tribute
to mark Memorial Day

Special to A.M. Costa Rica

The American Legion Post 10 of Escazú will conduct a Memorial Day ceremony honoring United States military veterans who have passed away in Costa Rica, since last Memorial Day. There will also be a Post Everlasting ceremony transferring members of The American Legion posts in Costa Rica who have passed away this past year to the American Legion Post Everlasting.

The ceremony will be held on Sunday at 11 a.m. at the San Antonio de Escazú cemetery where the post has three mausoleums. The ceremonies are open to the public, and a post spokesman encouraged everyone to participate in this final tribute to the departed military veterans.

The post is also holding an old fashioned Memorial Day picnic following the ceremony. Final day to purchase tickets for this event is Wednesday.

For further information or to purchase tickets residents can contact John Moran 2232-1680 or Rich Sulzer 2249-0446.

Fugitive Zoo Ave operator
says famous site is open

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The operator of Zoo Ave, said that despite his personal problems involving a divorce the non-profit zoo and bird rehabilitation center remains open.

The operator is Dennis Jenik, who quickly admits that he is wanted on a criminal charge that stems from the divorce. He predicts that he will be exonerated.

The man is in flight but sent a message through an intermediary because some expats suggested in online discussion lists that Zoo Ave was closed.

"The Zoo has never looked better and more interesting than it does today," he said. "The release programs in Guanacaste and Osa continue, and to date more than 7,000 animals have been released.  Whilst it is true that cutbacks have had to be made and morale is low, loyalty and enthusiasm remain buoyant.  The hardships imposed by these unfortunate events will make Zoo Ave stronger and more resilient and we look forward when the law takes its rightful course and I can return to what I love and do best…the reintroduction of animals to the wild."

 The zoo is currently being well managed by a former assistant.  The quality of care for the animals has been maintained in spite of all these problems, he said. The Zoo in La Garita is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

news archives
News from the BBC up to the minute

BBC news and sports feeds are disabled on archived pages.
BBC sports news up to the minute

Casa Alfi Hotel

classified ad

Real estate
About us

What we published this week: Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Earlier
The contents of this page and this Web site are copyrighted by Consultantes Río Colorado 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007  and 2008 and may not be reproduced anywhere without permission. Abstracts and fair use are permitted.  Check HERE for details

A.M. Costa Rica
sixth news page

Real estate
About us
San José, Costa Rica, Monday, May 24, 2010, Vol. 10, No. 100

Latin American news
Please reload page if feed does not appear promptly
burned boat
Ministerio de Gobernación, Policía
y Segurisdad Pública photo
Law enforcement officers check out a presumed smuggling craft that was burned after the cargo was unloaded.

Burned boat is evidence
of shift in smuggling routes

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Servicio Nacional de Guardacostas located the burned hulk of a fastboat on the Caribbean coast near the mouth of the Río Pacuare early Friday. The discovery prompted a series of searches over the weekend because trained dogs sensed traces of cocaine on the partly sunken craft.

The boat probably was destroyed to eliminate clues. Also burned were the 200-horsepower outboard motors attached to the craft.

The discovery underscored the shift in strategy of drug smugglers who now are using the coastal Caribbean more than in the past. The Guardacosta is reinforcing its operations there to counter the new threat.

Drug smugglers are reported to be constructing storage facilities in lightly populated eastern Nicaragua. In the past Caribbean smuggler routes took boats with illicit cargo far to the east well out of Costa Rican waters.

The drugs that the burned boat carried probably were taken by vehicle to a storage area where smugglers will make an effort to ship the goods north via a land route. There was a litter of food packages and other items around the boat that suggested the crew stayed in the mangroves for awhile.

Latin American news feeds are disabled on archived pages.

classified ad

Real estate
About us

What we published this week: Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Earlier
The contents of this page and this Web site are copyrighted by Consultantes Río Colorado 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007  and 2008 and may not be reproduced anywhere without permission. Abstracts and fair use are permitted.  Check HERE for details