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These stories were published Tuesday, June 21, 2005, in Vol. 5, No. 121
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A.M. Costa Rica/Jesse Froehling
A gigantic church window is completed. The story is HERE!


Those moving here might stumble on job laws
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Professionals and semi-professionals from all over the globe are exploring Costa Rica as a possible new home.

They contact news outlets like A.M. Costa Rica to find out how easy they would find a transition into a career here.

In most cases, they are out of luck. First the law prohibits employment while someone is a tourist or in one of several types of residencies favored by foreigners. But here too, there are the laws that closely control professionals and certain job categories.

For example, a tour guide must be a Costa Rican national, according to a 2003 law. And anyone who wants to be a trucker has to have a registration from one of the Central American nations. No motor vehicle, trailer, or tractor-trailer with foreign license
plates outside of Central America may transport goods within the territory of Costa Rica.

The summary of Costa Rican employment and occupational laws is part of an annex negotiation between the government and the United States as part of the free trade treaty. The annex summarizes existing Costa Rican laws, and the United States agrees to respect the measures.

For example, according to the annex, foreign nationals who wish to act as captain of a vessel with Costa Rican registry must post a bond equivalent to at least half of the value of the vessel under his/her command. And only Costa Rican nationals or enterprises may supply domestic air transport services, whether regular or non-regular.

And only Costa Rican nationals may act as customs brokers, according to the law.

The law also said that directors and administrators of enterprises supplying radio and television services must be Costa Rican by birth or must have been naturalized Costa Ricans for at least ten years.

A lot of foreigners who are considering Costa Rica are members of recognized professions. But simply being a professional does not mean
a person can work in Costa Rica. Each profession is governed by legislatively sanctioned professional societies or colegios.

To join the professional associations of public accountants, pharmacists, geologists, agricultural engineers, physicians and
surgeons, veterinarians, dental surgeons, journalists, medical and surgical technicians, computer and information technology, nurses and official translators and interpreters, foreigners must be residents in Costa Rica at the time of applying for membership,
as well as have a certain minimum number of years of residence, said the summary.

There are special rules for medical personnel. All physicians and surgeons, dental surgeons, microbiologists, pharmacists, nurses, and nutritionists must perform the equivalent of a one-year continuous, for-pay mandatory social services requirement, the annex text notes. In other words, work for the government.

Foreign professionals in political sciences and international relations specialists may only be hired by public or private entities
when they are active members of the professional association and there are not enough Costa Rican professionals, said the annex.

Being a university teacher might be difficult, too. No less than 85 percent of the faculty, administrative faculty, and administrative staff of a private institute of higher education must be Costa Rican nationals, according to the laws here. And mass media and advertising services may only be provided by enterprises incorporated in Costa Rica under Costa Rican law, the summary notes.

Foreigners might also find difficulty in going fishing. Catching shrimp or fish commercially is only allowed in Costa Rica with vessels built in the country with wood obtained in Costa Rica and made by Costa Rican nationals, according to the law.

Of course, laws are enforced irregularly and usually when there is some economic pressure. And some professions can give temporary licenses for those who seek to work here. Still the legal hurdles are substantial and different for each profession.

 
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A.M. Costa Rica

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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, June 21, 2005, Vol. 5, No. 121

 
Costa Rica Expertise
Costa Rica Expertise Ltd http://crexpertise.com E-mail info@crexpertise.com Tel:506-256-8585 Fax:506-256-9393

 
Or call us at 305-3965  or 370-2189
Click HERE for great hotel discounts

 
Canada Day picnic
is charitable event


By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The annual Canada Day picnic held by the Canadian Association of Costa Rica is scheduled for July 3rd from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.  Proceeds will be donated to schools and communities throughout Costa Rica, said Fred Boden, vice president of the association and coordinator of the event. 

The picnic is scheduled to take place at the Pedregal complex in San Antonio de Belén, and everyone is invited, said Boden. A Canadian passport is not mandatory. 

Tickets are 2,500 colons ($5.25) for adults and 500 for children under 12. Specialties include pancakes with real maple syrup, hamburgers, hot dogs, and a slice of the pig roasting on a stick, as well as a chance to see the scheduled entertainment.  Last year the association's outreach program — with the help of the Canadian Embassy — donated more than $48,000 to schools and communities throughout Costa Rica.   

The proceeds this year will be donated in much the same way, said Boden, and four groups of past beneficiaries are scheduled to perform at the picnic.  Each group will perform once in the morning  and once in the afternoon. 

Tickets are available at the Canadian Embassy or at the entrance. 

Dengue fever hitting
coastal areas hard

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Health officials are bracing for a tough dengue season. Incidents of the mosquito-born disease are already troubling on the Pacific coast and along the Caribbean.

Readers have reported local outbreaks of the disease, but the Ministerio de Salud did not provide hard figures until Monday. The report showed more than 5,000 cases already this year, some 70 percent higher than the figures last year.

2004 was the year in which officials engaged in a massive cleanup of breeding spots for the Aedes aegypti mosquito.

Francisco Cubillo, vice minister of health, called the statistics troubling when he met the press Monday. He said the outbreak was because citizens had relaxed their guard against the insects and permitted standing water to remain near their homes and businesses. The rainy season encourages mosquito breeding because the larva grow in water.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control point out that the mosquito is a day feeder:

“International travelers are at risk for dengue infection, especially if an epidemic is in progress. Cases of dengue are confirmed every year in travelers returning to the United States following visits to tropical and subtropical areas. Travelers to endemic and epidemic areas, therefore, should be advised to take precautions to avoid mosquito bites. The principal vector mosquito, Ae. aegypti, prefers to feed on humans during the daytime and most frequently is found in or near human habitations.

“There are two peak periods of biting activity, in the morning for several hours after daybreak and in the late afternoon for several hours before dark. The mosquito may feed at any time during the day, however, especially indoors, in shady areas, or when it is overcast. Mosquito breeding sites include artificial water containers such as discarded tires, uncovered barrels, buckets, flower vases or pots, cans, and cisterns.”

Symptoms of dengue are fever, severe frontal headache, and joint and muscle pain, said the centers, adding that many patients have nausea, vomiting, and rash.

Cuibillo said only one case of hemorrhagic dengue, the worst form, had been reported. Hemorrhagic dengue can be fatal and can occur the second time a patient contracts the disease.
    
Priest and businessman
to trial in Medina killing


By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

As expected, a judge in Heredia has ordered a trial for those suspected of murdering radio commentator Parmenio Medina Pérez, Among the suspects is the Rev. Minor de Jesús Calvo Aguilar and businessman Omar Chavez Mora.

A spokesperson for the Poder Judicial confirmed the decision Monday. In all, nine persons are involved. Officials said three gang members shot Medina, four men functioned as intermediaries and that Calvo and Chavez were the intellectual authors.

Both Calvo and Chavez were involved with Radio María, a Catholic radio station, but Medina on his Saturday show, La Patada (The Kick), raised serious questions about Calvo's personal life and the financial situation at the station.

Medina was gunned down as he drove to his Heredia home after taping a show in 2001. The case has gained widespread international interest.

Charges of fraud and conspiracy against Calvo and Chavez were not upheld by the judge in Heredia.

No date has been set for the trial.
 
Jocote will have day
with fair in Aserrí


By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The jocote will have its day in Aserrí July 30 and 31.

The area produces more than 10 million of the small, green fruit each year, but producers complain of overproduction and falling prices.

So producers in conjunction with the Ministerio de Agricultura y Ganadería will kick off the fair with the goal of introducing more consumers to the fruit. For most, jocotes are a small, green snack with a large seed that can be gnawed, frequently with a little salt or lemon. However, producers are prepared to show jocote jam, jocotes in syrup, jocotes cut up in  encurtido and jocotes in vinegar.

Visitors also will have a chance to go into the fields and pick jocotes from trees, perhaps using a special tool, a bag hung on a stick, to avoid damaging the fruit.

Organizers also promise a full range of typical foods, including tamales, homemade bread and other treats. There are even plans for a jocote dance.

The event will be in La Uruca de Aserrí, south of San José. 

Taxi theft ends in chase

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Two teens, 15 and 17, are accused of taking off with a taxi cab Monday.

The paid were stopped in Pavas in connection with the hijacking of a taxi in Rohrmoser earlier Monday morning.  The two were captured after a chase.  The taxi driver presented himself to reclaim his vehicle, and the police arrested the two juveniles.
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


MARGARET SOHN
formerly with  Carico and now with Great Estates
15 years Costa Rican
real estate experience

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

Member of
Costa Rican-American
Chamber of Commerce

margaret@greatcre.com
samargo@racsa.co.cr
www.realtorcostarica.com
(506) 291-2825 & (506) 291-2826
fax (506) 296-6304   (506) 382-7399 cell
1321-11/23/05


CENTURY 21 Jacó Beach Realty
Selling? Buying? We can do it!
Lic. Tomas Ghormley H., MBA - Owner/Broker
Beachfront, Views, Mountains, Lots, Farms, Beaches, Houses, Condos. Hotels, Restaurants, Projects, Commercial, Investments
www.c21jaco.com
643-3356
Info@c21jaco.com


First Costa Rican Title & Trust
Protecting your interests since 1994
  Purchase contracts
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Call us for your real property legal and investment needs at 225-0501 or send us an e-mail at amcr@firstcr.com

Title Guarantees issued by First American Title Insurance Co., one of the oldest and largest title companies in the world. The First American difference in protection is that the policies cover unrecorded matters and unknown risks.

www.firstcr.com
1334-11/25/05


Accountants


James Brohl C.P.A, M.B.A


U.S. Income Tax 
U.S. GAAP Accounting, 
Business Consulting
Providing U.S. Tax return preparation including back reporting and all other filing issues, accounting services 
and business consulting.

Telephone 305-3149 or 256-8620
E-mail jrtb_1999@racsa.co.cr


Dentists


Williams Dental & Associates
Integral dentistry
Dr. John Williams
¥ General dentistry 
¥ Endodontics
¥ Oral rehabilitation
¥ Prosthodontics
¥ Periodontics
¥ Dental prevention
¥ Maxillofacial surgery implants

Guachipelín, Escazú
228-2914/289-9809
e-mail: jwdental@amnet.co.cr
www.jwdentalcostarica.com

U.S. prevention of infection and sterilization protocol


Legal services


KEARNEY-LAWSON & Asoc.
Lic.Gregory Kearney Lawson.
Attorney at Law
Villalobos and Savings Unlimited Collections
*Investments  *Corporations *Tax Shelters
*Real Estate Sales in Costa Rica
    *Immigration  *Intellectual Property
*Business procedures  *Family and Labor Law
*Locate People   *Private Investigations
        Ph/Fax: 221-9462, 841-0007
costarica@attorneykearney.com
www.attorneykearney.com
1299-11/9/05

Adolfo Rojas Breedy
Breedy Abogados S.A.
ÑAttorneys-at-LawÑ
Since 1957. Best experience in: 
¥ Real Estate Transfer of Title and Title Search
¥ Business       ¥ Investments 
¥ Commercial & Civil Litigation
¥ Corporate Law & finance
¥ Capital markets Law
¥ International Taxation
(506) 233-7203/221-0230   breedy@racsa.co.cr
Web page:  www.breedy.com
902-9/14/05


Bufete Hernández Mussio 
& Asociados
Lic. Arcelio Hernández Mussio
Tel. 218-0829                Cell 365-3088
E-mail: legalxpt@racsa.co.cr
www.forovial.com
   ¥ real estate law   ¥ due dilligence 
¥  criminal & constitutional law
¥ Purchase and sale agreements
¥ Purchase option agreements
¥ title guarantee, 
¥ fraud protection
 ¥ Constitution of condominiums
¥ Property Management
¥ Notary public services in general
Offices in San José and
Century 21, Jacó Beach
Authorized Representative
Stewart Title Attorney Referral System

229-8/9/0
A.M. Costa Rica
Consultantes Río Colorado S.A.
James J. Brodell........................editor
Saray Ramírez Vindas...associate editor

Avenida 11 bis, Barrio Otoya, San José 

Voice: (506) 223-1327
FAX: (506) 223-1190

   In Costa Rica:                       From elsewhere:

     A.M. Costa Rica                     Consultantes Río Colo.
     Apartado 12909-1000            SB 11
     San José, Costa Rica               P.O. Box 025292 
     (506) 223-1327                     Miami, FL 33102-5292


 
Our new five-star food and restaurant page
with the observations of Dr. Lenny Karpman
Click HERE!

 


A wall of glass tells a sacred story at San José church

A.M. Costa Rica/Jesse Froehling
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Artist Sylvia Laks has finished one of the largest stained glass windows ever created as one piece for the Templo Votivo del Sagrado Corazón de Jesús.  It took her and 50 others over a year and a half to design and complete.  Its 19,000 pieces are connected in 252 panels that show Saint Margarita Maria de Alacoque receiving light rays from the heart of Jesus.

The window at the base is more than 63 feet long and over 64 feet tall.  Altogether the whole structure weighs 22,000 pounds. 

The church is at Calle 25 and Avenida 10 on a hill overlooking the city.


Employer group offers a 7.26 percent pay hike
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The organization representing private employers in Costa Rica has suggested a 7.26 percent increase in salaries for the second half of 2005.

Salaries are raised twice a year to compensate for the programmed devaluation of the colon. The increases affect the minimum salaries paid to employees, which are established by law for each occupational category.

The proposal was made to the Consejo Nacional de Salarios, which will make a final decision. Employees will be compensated if negotiations go past July 1.

Organizations and unions representing workers want more, from 10 to 12 percent.

The employers' organization, the Unión Costarricense de Cámeras y Asociaciones de la Empresa Privada, said that its suggested adjustment would mean an annual increase of 14.6 percent because workers got 6.8 percent for the first half of the year. The organization said it was speaking for employers who provide jobs for 1.4 million Costa Ricans, some 86 percent of the workforce.
The union said that inflation continues with the percentage estimated at 6.37 percent in the first half of the year, despite a Banco Central estimate that inflation would remain within 10 percent. Inflation in 2004 was 13.1 percent, the highest since 1995 and one of the highest in Latin America, said the union in a statement.

The union of employers also said that when raising salaries officials must bear in mind the estimated 30 percent additional that companies pay for social charges to the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social and other costs.

Many employees work for the minimum salary in Costa Rica, and they would be affected by the increase. A salary schedule for popular categories of workers is usually available wherever legal books are sold. A list of four letter-size sheets stapled together costs from 100 to 300 colons, from 20 to 60 cents. More detailed information is available from the consejo.

Minimum salaries for those other than domestic help range from 117,014 colons ($246) to 327,856 colons ($690).


Employer group offers a 7.26 percent pay hike
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The organization representing private employers in Costa Rica has suggested a 7.26 percent increase in salaries for the second half of 2005.

Salaries are raised twice a year to compensate for the programmed devaluation of the colon. The increases affect the minimum salaries paid to employees, which are established by law for each occupational category.

The proposal was made to the Consejo Nacional de Salarios, which will make a final decision. Employees will be compensated if negotiations go past July 1.

Organizations and unions representing workers want more, from 10 to 12 percent.

The employers' organization, the Unión Costarricense de Cámeras y Asociaciones de la Empresa Privada, said that its suggested adjustment would mean an annual increase of 14.6 percent because workers got 6.8 percent for the first half of the year. The organization said it was speaking for employers who provide jobs for 1.4 million Costa Ricans, some 86 percent of the workforce.
The union said that inflation continues with the percentage estimated at 6.37 percent in the first half of the year, despite a Banco Central estimate that inflation would remain within 10 percent. Inflation in 2004 was 13.1 percent, the highest since 1995 and one of the highest in Latin America, said the union in a statement.

The union of employers also said that when raising salaries officials must bear in mind the estimated 30 percent additional that companies pay for social charges to the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social and other costs.

Many employees work for the minimum salary in Costa Rica, and they would be affected by the increase. A salary schedule for popular categories of workers is usually available wherever legal books are sold. A list of four letter-size sheets stapled together costs from 100 to 300 colons, from 20 to 60 cents. More detailed information is available from the consejo.

Minimum salaries for those other than domestic help range from 117,014 colons ($246) to 327,856 colons ($690).


U.S. moving against what it says is disinformation
Special to A.M. Costa Rica

The U.S. State Department is on the offensive against what it says is disinformation.

According to the State Department’s website, disinformation includes urban legends, conspiracy theories and deliberate misinformation. For example, an urban legend debunked by the Web site claimed that Americans and Europeans were kidnapping children from Latin America and elsewhere, and murdering them to use their body parts for organ transplants. Other conspiracy theories cited and rebutted by the State Department include claims that the United States was involved in the assassination of Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri in February, and had foreknowledge of the tsunami disaster in Southeast Asia.

This type of conspiratorial thinking is neither new nor specific to any particular region of the world. Many analysts attribute it to factors ranging from human nature to regional politics. Ehsan Ahrari, an expert on information warfare, says disinformation is due in part to the clout the United States has as a major player on the world stage,

"Our interests in different regions of the world are part of our larger global interest. So the regional actors have a predilection to look at the issue from their regional perspective. And to them, regional perspectives are very important. For us, regional perspectives are part of our global perspective. That is part of our problem.”

Other analysts say cultural misunderstandings bolster conspiracy theories, while acknowledging that foreign policy differences between the US and other countries play a role in shaping people’s perceptions.

Former Assistant Secretary of State Edward Walker, who served on the Clinton administration, says misconceptions also play a role.  He adds, “It’s not altogether just the foreign policy. For example, we have a democracy program. What we think we’re doing is trying to help countries to establish a strong, stable base for economic development.  And what a lot of people think we’re doing is trying to establish hegemonic rule over [them], [that] we’re trying to change people to fit our mold and our model.”

Ambassador Walker, who is currently president of the Middle East Institute in Washington, adds that disinformation is often based on false assumptions and miscommunication between cultures.

In the war on terrorism, some analysts suggest that these misconceptions are helping to drive anti-American sentiment abroad, especially among factions that hate the United States to begin with. But this kind of thinking, argues analyst Ehsan Ahrari, is widespread and pervades democratic societies as well
as developing ones. He adds, “conspiracy theories are part of human existence. If we think that a democratic society is going to do away with conspiracy theories  . . . no, it’s not going to happen.”

Other analysts say that people tend to be more skeptical when extraordinary events take place. A case in point would be the conspiracy theories in the United States surrounding the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. Most Americans believe Kennedy was the victim of a conspiracy.

In addition the popular television show “X Files” and similar movies stoke the public mistrust of official statements.

University of Southern California communications professor Nancy Snow says people are generally fascinated by larger-than-life events that they cannot explain.  She says, “it gives some people a sense of empowerment, a sense of power and also control, if they think that they know something that others don’t know. The whole nature of conspiracy literally goes back to ‘breathing together,’ co-inspire means to breathe together.”

But some of the people named by the State Department as sources of disinformation argue that their stories are supported by well-documented facts. Among them is investigative journalist Wayne Madsen, who is cited as the source for the story on Lebanese Prime Minister Hariri’s assassination.  He says, “I would put my sources up against the U.S. government any day of the week and feel very confident that what I am being told is absolutely truthful.”

On its website, the State Department denies any U.S. role in the murder, citing an executive order dating back to 1976 that prohibits assassination by anyone acting on behalf of the United States government.

To counter disinformation, many analysts suggest that a review of U.S. foreign policy may be necessary.

Some propose a more aggressive public policy to counter ideological warfare. Others, including former Ambassador Walker, say the State Department Web site is a good start.  “This is not the kind of thing you can solve with one vehicle. You have to have a complex of messages going out there. Some from the government, some coming in public statements by our leaders, some coming by other people in this country who have credibility, and then using the support of respected people outside the United States.”

Some analysts believe that building better relations with other countries may help overcome suspicions and separate fact from fiction. But ultimately, many concede that conspiracies and legends are part of the human psyche, and will always exist.


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