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These stories were published Wednesday, June 8, 2005, in Vol. 5, No. 112
Jo Stuart
About us
A.M. Costa Rica/Saray Ramírez Vindas 
Last week the photo was of a big beetle. Today the subject is a really big ant, perhaps 3 cms. in length (a bit more than one inch). The chubby camponotus seems to be infected by  the Cordyceps fungus that attacks insects. Note threads coming from inside the body. The ant is displayed on an emery board used for filing fingernails.

Being banned from here is a surprise to Fowlie
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Danny Fowlie said Tuesday that he has not been notified of any efforts taken by Costa Rica to bar him as a visitor. He said that he would use peaceful means to recover a vast amount of property that he said was stolen from him.

The land is located in Pavones, south of Golfito, and Fowlie is just now returning to active ownership after an 18-year stint in a  U.S. prison on a marijuana conspiracy charge.

Sunday night Marco Badilla, director general de Migración y Extranjería, issued a statement that said Fowlie would be turned away the next time he tried to enter Costa Rica. Badilla’s statement came after La Nación, the Spanish daily, reported that Fowlie had made a visit to Pavones and that some residents there were frightened of him.

Fowlie, in a telephone conversation from California, disputed much of what was contained in the La Nación article. He said that he plans to recover his property by peaceful means using the court system.

Fowlie is perhaps the best known foreigner to have land title problems, although many foreigners who are absentee owners have been outraged by falsified deeds conveying their properties and squatters simply taking up residency.

Fowlie was a paternalistic resident in Pavones for years. He said he purchased the land along the Pacific coast mainly to save the trees from the slash-and-burn culture that was eroding the forest there.

He made a lot of donations to village infrastructure and schools before he was arrested in México in 1987 and extradited to the United States.

He still professes good feelings for the local Ticos. He said that those who took over parts of his land to live probably would not experience legal problems from him. However, the opportunistic individuals who took over his land in order to resell it would be the target of his efforts. "I’m not going to take that lying down," he said.

"I care more about the Costa Rican people than making money,’ he said.

Fowlie says he is no longer a rich man but that he has sufficient property in Costa Rica still in his name to bankroll efforts by his lawyers.

One foreigner who falsified deeds and made land transactions using land he did not own has left Costa Rica, Fowlie said. However, the legal mess remains.

The 15-miles of beach concession land claimed by Fowlie has a value today of many millions of dollars. He said he has continued to pay taxes on his land to the Municipalidad de Golfito.

When Badilla announced that Fowlie, now 71, would be barred from returning, the immigration chief said he was doing so under a section of the law that allows officials to reject persons whose pasts compromise the national security, the public order or the style of life.

Badilla said that officials were alerted to Fowlie by the newspaper story. The article also said that some Costa Rican residents of the area — particularly those on property claimed by Fowlie — were frightened. That situation presumably generated the concern about the breach of public order. Fowlie, his son and granddaughter entered the country May 24 and left Thursday, Badilla said.

Tuesday Fowlie said it was he who should have been frightened. He said he was accompanied on his trip to the southern zone by "someone with the government." He would not elaborate.

He said he received warm welcomes by many Pavones residents who knew him. "I had just a great time."

Many foreigners like Fowlie report that someone has falsified legal papers and sold their properties. Such cases have flooded the prosecutorial offices, in part due to the increasing value of land here.

Historically, the Sala III, the supreme court for criminal appeals, has protected the legal owners and returned scammed property. But the Sala I, the civil supreme court, has protected third parties who are subsequent buyers in property fraud cases. 

In many situations, the third parties are the same thieves or accomplices who swindled the piece of property in the first place. 

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San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, June 8, 2005, Vol. 5, No. 112

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A rose by any other name
might be computer virus

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Some of those virus spams carry the name of RACSA, Radiográfica Costarricense S.A. And that irks the Internet provider.

The company said Tuesday that massive amounts of messages were circulating as e-mail bearing the RACSA name.

The messages — in English— say, among other things, that the recipient’s e-mail account has been suspended and ask that the user open an attachment to find out why. The attachment, of course, contains a virus.

The various types of viruses can steal data or simply corrupt a hard drive.

What the RACSA statement did not say is that thousands, perhaps millions, of messages are floating around with every other Internet address.

A.M. Costa Rica staffers routinely get virus messages purporting to come from fake addresses like  "," "" or ""

Advanced Internet inaugural
will be this coming Monday

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The official launch of the advanced Internet network will be Monday as part of the celebration of the Internet 2005 congress, according to the Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad.

The company known as ICE is the parent firm of Radiográfica Costarricense S.A., previously the nation’s Internet monopoly. However, ICE is in competition with RACSA.

The advanced network uses an IP protocol to integrate voice, data and video with a high capacity based on fiber optic lines, said ICE.

The hookups are available in Alajuela, Cartago, Ciudad Quesada, San Ramón, Coronado, Curridabat, Desamparados, Turrialba and the principal section of the Metropolitan area, including San Pedro, said ICE.

The advanced internet or ADSL has been in a trial stage with downtown San José customers for years.

Accord on airport reached
by Alterra, government

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Alterra Partners, the firm that has the concession to run and remodel Juan Santamaría airport, has come to an agreement with the government on payment.

The Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Transportes had threatened to take over the airport if an accord was not reached this week.

The agreement calls for a payment of $15 million by the government for delays and for suspending the contract two years ago.

Alterra will resume its $120 million renovation of the airport, the primary entry point for tourists and others.

Gold firm gets capital
for arbitration, projects

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Vannessa Ventures Ltd., the parent company of the firm that is developing the Crucitas open pit gold project, has issued 4 million shares of stock and gained $1.6 million.

John Morgan, president of the Canadian firm, said part of the money will be used to continue the process of international arbitration seeking return of or compensation for the Las Cristinas property in Venezuela.

The company’s project here, near the San Juan River in northern Costa Rica, is controversial.

Our readers’ respond

He’s no fan of weekly column

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

I strongly agree with the letter and opinion of C. K. Hobbs regarding the column written by Jo Stuart. Please, please stop with the boring drivel. Obviously you have nothing to do and all day to do it in. Take up gardening or another past time. What you are writing is an insult to any intelligent reader. If you wish to write a column, do some research and write something with meaning. 

John Frederick
Vista, California

Prophecy backs Jo Stuart

First of all, Mr. Hobbs, my response to you will play right into the hands of Ms. Stuart BECAUSE I am a RED-Republican ALL THE WAY-who has to laugh at your pathetic attempt to make Ms. Stuart look ignorant. 

Have you read the Book in the Bible called Revelation? I doubt it. But if by some chance you are intelligent enough to read the Greatest Book Ever Written, can you tell me where the U.S. is in that prophecy? Oh, what? It's not mentioned? Well, something must happen to the "great" U.S. before the end comes, huh? Or maybe we come to our senses long enough to align with Israel in the end? 

Either way it goes, in God's eyes, in the end, we are not important enough to mention. So, guess what? Maybe you'll be looking up an address for Jo Stuart when you realize that the "run-down-corrupt-third-world-sinkhole" will be in the same horrible place the rest of the world will be in — ushered in by the great "Blue-State-Liberal-Democrats" no doubt! 

Could you forgive him when the end is near, Ms. Stuart? He may need one of your yummy Costa Rica bugs for a snack while he watches the enemy armies coming in to declare the end of this world as we know it! 

Donna S. Chavez 
Little Rock Arkansas 

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Housing protest

More than 600 poor citizens marched through the streets and protested outside Casa Presidencial Tuesday. They demanded the government build them modern homes.

The government responded by saying officials would do just that after having moved around some budget items.

One sign directed to ailing President Abel Pacheco says, in part: "With the aid of God and you we shall have a house."

A.M. Costa Rica/Saray Ramírez Vindas

The world stops again tonight at 8 p.m. for fútbol
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Tonight is another soccer fútbol night as Costa Ricans hover around the television sets as the national team takes on Guatemala. 

At stake is a chance to go to the World Cup finals in Germany next year, although there still is a long road to go.

The United States men's national soccer team also has a World Cup qualifier at Panamá tonight.  A win would bring the Americans another step closer to securing a trip to the 2006 World Cup finals in Germany.

The hemispheric North, Central American and Caribbean Confederation that includes both the United States and Costa Rica gets to send three teams to the World Cup finals. A fourth team battles for a berth with an Asian rival.

Right now Mexico leads with 10 points, and the United States is second with nine points.

Costa Rica is tied with Guatemala and Trinidad and Tobago for third place with four points each. A win tonight would advance the Tico team. A loss would 

advance Guatemala. The game is at 8 p.m. at Ricardo Saprissa stadium in Tibás.

Panamá trails the division with just two points. When the United States and Panamá met at RFK Stadium in Washington Oct.13, the Americans romped to a 6-0 victory.  But in Panamá City one month earlier, the home side held the U.S. to a 1-1 draw.  The United States barely managed to salvage the tie, getting the 91st-minute equalizer from midfielder Cobi Jones.

This is the first time that Panamá has ever reached the final round of qualifying.  The United States is attempting to qualify for its fifth consecutive World Cup.

After beating Costa Rica 3-0 in Salt Lake City Saturday, coach Bruce Arena's team will try to do something which it was unable to do in the previous round of qualifying, take all three points with a victory in Panamá City's Rommel Fernandez Stadium. 

In tonight’s game, Carlos Ruiz, Guatemala’s best player is a question mark, having injured his ankle. Tico star Paulo Wanchope says he is in great condition. The Tico squad practiced Tuesday morning but were rained out in the afternoon.

Immigration law gets its first OK from legislators
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Asamblea Legislative approved a new immigration bill on first reading late Tuesday night.

Among other changes, the measure would penalize those who hire illegal workers.

Those who smuggle people, so-called coyotes, could face as much as six years prison time. The country does not now have a clear law penalizing this form of trafficking.

The measure also sets up new rules for foreigners who marry Costa Ricans. The couple would have to show a year of married life outside the country before the foreign spouse would be admitted as a resident.

The measure also may have contained a clause increasing the amount of money that must be posted by a rentista resident who brings a spouse or family. That amount now is $60,000 posted in a bank account. The money is to be spent at a rate of $12,000 a year and converted into colons.  Many expats are rentistas.

Under the new law, $60,000 would still be the amount for a single person. But a married couple would have to post $60,000 more and $30,000 for each dependent.

There was no way to determine Tuesday night if that clause survived a committee review and was part of the measure given preliminary approval.

The latest draft did not change rules for pensionados.

Demonstrators continue to clog Bolivian capital
By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

LA PAZ, Bolivia — Tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets of the Bolivian capital Tuesday demanding more power for workers. 

Demonstrators clogged the streets of La Paz for the second day since President Carlos Mesa resigned, saying he could no longer lead the poor South American nation. 

This is his second attempt to resign this year, but his previous offer was rejected by Congress. The legislature is expected to consider his second offer to resign today.

For weeks, Bolivia has been paralyzed by demonstrations that blocked highways and access to cities, causing food and fuel shortages. Protesters are calling for the nationalization of all gas companies and demand a constitutional assembly to rewrite Bolivia's laws to give indigenous people more representation.

They are also demanding greater autonomy for some of Bolivia's wealthier gas-rich provinces in the east. 

Yielding to public pressure, Mesa approved a controversial bill last month that drastically increased taxes on foreign-owned oil and gas companies, even though he had repeatedly spoken out against such a move. But protest leaders said the measure was insufficient, and demanded total nationalization of the industry.

Last week, Mesa went further and announced that the constitution would be rewritten by a specially elected assembly. He said a referendum would be held on the autonomy request for the eastern provinces.

For many ordinary Bolivians, like Antonio Aguilar, Bolivia's whole system is rotten. Auguilar says Bolivians are serving a few rich people because of the system. He says changes must be made in a society where few are rich and the majority is poor. 

Anne Bancroft, remembered for role in 'The Graduate,' dies at 73
By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

American actress Anne Bancroft, best known for her role as the seductive "Mrs. Robinson" in the 1967 movie "The Graduate" has died of cancer.

A spokesman for Bancroft's husband, film director Mel Brooks, said the 73-year-old actress died Monday of cancer at a New York hospital. 

Bancroft was born Anna Maria Italiano in 1931 in New 

York. Her lengthy film and theater career included an Oscar-winning performance in the 1962 movie "The Miracle Worker," in which she portrayed a teacher. 

Bancroft also won a Tony award for her performance in the same role in the stage version of work.

But she remains best known by the general public for her role in "The Graduate," in which she played a wealthy housewife who seduces her daughter's friend — played by Dustin Hoffman. 

General Motors will cut 25,000 jobs and close factories to save money
By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

DETROIT, Mich. — The world's largest automaker says it will slash at least 25,000 jobs and close some factories over the next three years.

General Motors officials say they hope to save $2.5 billion a year when the cost-cutting effort is complete. 

Chief Executive Rick Wagoner told shareholders Tuesday that he must take action in light of the first quarter's $1.3 billion loss. 

GM profits have been hurt by high costs for employee medical care, rising materials cost, and a shrinking market share.  GM's stock price rose after the announcement.

Jo Stuart
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