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(506) 2223-1327       Published Monday, June 22, 2009,  in Vol. 9, No. 121       E-mail us
Jo Stuart
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Gender inequalities in family laws are rampant
By Garland M. Baker
Special to A.M. Costa Rica

The inequities in Costa Rica's family laws are in large part the fault of men.  This is especially true in cases of domestic violence where men now have little or no rights.  Women are now in control in this country, and they know it.  Some find expeditious ways of doing in their male companion.

Cases of violence by women on men are usually not reported to the authorities because of fear by men to be labeled as weak. In Costa Rican culture — as in many other cultures — admitting to being victimized by a woman means a man has lost his maleness, his superiority over women.

The fact that men do not protect themselves via this law has created a trap for them as well.  By not reporting abusive females, men have set the precedent that women are victims and men are abusers by default, which has in turn given a legal advantage to women.

Due to an increase of family legislation in Costa Rica aimed to protect women, Ticas are now taking advantage of the sexism in the legal system, which allows them to get away with and profit from cruel lies about their male counterparts.

On another front, many women in Costa Rica have a multitude of children to live off the child support.  Men believe having children is what they should be doing with their manhood and do not take contraceptive precautions. Therefore, men end up trapping themselves into child support payments many have a very difficult time paying.

Here is a summary of Costa Rica's family, financial support and domestic violence laws past and present:

Before the new domestic violence laws, the family code set forth some ways for a spouse to boot out a companion and to protect children.  However, only in extreme cases was a spouse forced from the household.  In a divorce, women were given priority with the home because of the cultural establishment of the woman as a domestic worker and the man as the breadwinner.  Usually, there is no such thing as a permanent alimony except in cases where a spouse is up in years or handicapped in some way.  So this is the reason, in a marriage — and out of marriage — women usually strive to have children because they know having children is the best way to get the most money from a husband or boyfriend in a divorce or separation. 

The financial support law is strict in Costa Rica. Not only are parents and children mutually liable for financial support (in the case of elderly parents and adult, financially stable children), so are adult siblings to minor or disabled siblings, grandparents to grandchildren and vice versa. Therefore, an elderly expat who marries a Tica and has children or adopts her children, if he fails to support the children, his adult American children (if any) from previous marriages may have to pick up the tab for their father. However, it is easier said than done, since in order for the latter to happen, the suing mother would have to provide sound proof that she cannot provide a dime for the child and that they are literally starving.

The law against domestic violence punishes any physical, sexual, verbal and psychological violence among family members of any gender.  As a rule, it has only been enforced by women who report abuse by their husbands or boyfriends.

To make it worse, it turns out that most of the judges in family courts are women, and some do not even request or accept physical or psychological evidence of the alleged abuse before they rule in favor of the woman. In fact, the law states that after all testimony and evidence have been analyzed in court, if there is still room to believe the occurrence of violence, the judge must lean towards the victim’s testimony.  This in legal terms is called "In dubio, pro victima," or "when in doubt, favor the victim."

The bite to the domestic violence law is its protective measures.  A woman can go in front of a judge and within a few hours get an order to toss her husband, boyfriend or lover out on the streets.  In addition, the alleged abuser is then given a restraining order that prevents him from going into his house or have any contact with the presumed victim or their children.

Child support can be requested at the domestic violence hearing or by filing a separate case with the family court.  Once they notify the man about the case, he has three business days to pay the provisional amount set by court under penalty of going to prison. In a divorce process, the judge,
women dominate

upon request, can also set child support and alimony for the woman.

Women in court — especially domestic violence cases — are totally and utterly given everything on a silver platter. No questions asked.  Law officers say false abuse cases happen daily, and they cannot question them or fail to enforce the order to evict because protective measures are mandatory and immediate, regardless of any suspicious circumstances.

After applying protective measures, both the alleged abuser and victim are called for a hearing to which witnesses are also called. In false accusation cases, women can still easily get away by lying during the hearing. They just need two witnesses willing to lie for them. They know that even if the lies are noticeable, the system still leans towards them and "In dubio, pro victima" rules the game. There have been countless instances in which the whole court can see the alleged victim is lying and the judge still rules in the alleged victim's favor. Even if the defense appeals the case, it can take years.

Expats have fallen victims to false domestic violence claims.  As expected, as in the case of an elderly U.S. expat thrown from his house, the hearing did not go very well and the court ruled in favor of the alleged victims and their false story, even after the defense called the female housemaid to testify in favor of the innocent, elderly and disabled expat. Now he is at the verge of declaring bankruptcy, has no place to live and is on the verge of having a criminal record in Costa Rica.

After the domestic violence law was created, other female-oriented laws followed. The responsible fatherhood law empowers women whose children have been abandoned by their father to request a blood test to confirm the relationship and a child support amount.

Another legal tool for women is the sexual harassment law. Even though the law protects both genders, it is used mostly by women.  This law, however, is not as lenient towards women as the violence law is, since the complainant has to provide sound proof that incriminates the accused man and plenty of witnesses to support the claim.

The latest addition to the female legal combo is the anti-discrimination law for women, which states that women should be treated as equal and not denied the same privileges men enjoy in any cultural sphere. The ironic aspect about this law is that even though it advocates the removal of any oppressive preconception about the female gender, it should also advocate for eliminating and condemning the favoritism and leniency towards women in courts, especially when the defense provides irrefutable evidence that shows the woman is lying.

Women have the upper hand in Costa Rica when it comes to family matters.  Men are probably the culprits in this case because most men do not stand up for their rights as women do, thus tipping the scales against them.

The fact today is that the laws are so stacked against men here that the prudent male should never get married, live in the same place as the significant other or have children without full understanding of the legal consequences. 

Garland M. Baker is a 36-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 2004-2009. Use without permission prohibited.

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Promised days of summer
blindsided by depression

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

So much for the Veranillo de San Juan, that is the little summer of St. John.

This was the period when high pressure over the Caribbean was supposed to push away rain clouds for a couple of days in San José and in Guanacaste.

Someone forgot that St. John is more correctly called John the Baptist. And both areas got a little baptism by water both Saturday and Sunday, according to the Instituto Meteorológico Nacional.

The rain was lighter in Guanacaste, but in both locations the showers were enough to spoil any picnics.

The problem was a tropical depression off the coast of México which had an indirect effect here.

The weather institute said that the rest of the week will be seasonal in the Central Valley and on the Pacific coast. That means sun in the morning and rain in the afternoon.

The Caribbean coast and the northern zone will experience less rain, and most will be in the mountains, the institute said.

accidentally dead
The new novel and its author, Mary Jay

Mystery novel arrives
after 20 false starts

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

An Alajuela expat has published her first novel after a 10-year effort with an estimated 20 false starts, she reported.

The author is Mary Jay, and the book is "Accidentally Dead." Unlike many expat efforts, the book is not set in Costa Rica. The mystery plays out in Calgary, Canada, and the Cayman Islands.

Adam Salviani's Raider Publishing International selected Mrs. Jay's book. He is a well-known author who started his own publishing house in 2005.

Mrs. Jay reports that like many new writers she purchased many books on the art of writing. She said that in reading Stephen King’s “A Memoir of the Craft: On Writing” she realized she had the skills to complete a major novel.

And major it was. Thanks to the discipline of writing 2,000 words a day, seven days a week, Mrs. Jay ended up with a giant manuscript.

"My first draft had something like 130,000 words and I set to work chopping ruthlessly to produce a concise, tight style," she said in an e-mail exchange.  The final draft was 90,000 words.

The plot involves the "mysterious death of a beautiful dental hygienist," and revolves around a dental assistant and a detective for the Calgary Police Service.

The book was published in April, and it is available at Barnes & Nobel and Amazon Web sites.

Mrs. Jay, who is Canadian, came to Costa Rica with her husband in 1995.

Puerto Jiménez access
gets $30 million face lift

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The nation's highway agency says it has invested $30 million and erected eight bridges to make an all-weather road of the 33-km (20.5-mile) stretch between Rincón south to Puerto Jiménez.

This is Ruta 245 that runs along the east side of the Osa Peninsula.

The Consejo Nacional de Vialidad said the improved highway will be good for tourism because motorists can use it to reach roads that go to Parque Nacional Corcovado.  The highway, which was finished earlier this year was not passable in wet weather. Those who traveled it also complained of numerous potholes and ruts.

Police visiting nightspots
close one massage parlor

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Police, immigration agents and other law enforcement officers detained 12 persons and closed one massage parlor during a weekend sweep of San José establishments.

This is part of a continuing effort by police and code enforcement officers to put pressure on the sexually-oriented businesses.

Immigration agents detained six women and four men for being in the country illegally. Two persons were detained because they had outstanding warrants, including one to face an allegation of sexual abuse of minors, said the Fuerza Pública. Agents also cited 35 persons to show they are in the country legally.

The Fuerza Pública said that one massage parlor was closed because agents discovered sexual activity taking place there.

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San José, Costa Rica, Monday, June 22, 2009, Vol. 9, No. 121

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Flags for deceased veterans mired in embassy bureaucracy
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The last honor that the United States government can bestow on a veteran is to provide a flag to drape the former warrior's coffin.

Thanks to stubborn officials at the U.S. Embassy, a veteran in Costa Rica has to be buried on a weekday to receive the honor.

The tradition in Costa Rica is for fast funerals, often within 24 hours of the death. Embassy officials have been reluctant to consign a flag to one of the veteran organizations for use during a weekend funeral.

Melvin J. Goldberg, a retired U.S. Navy commander, and first vice commander of American Legion Post 10 in Escazú, has been lobbying to get this tradition changed.

Any change will be too late for Ernest Familier, 80, a Korean war U.S. veteran who died Saturday. The Pavas expat was buried Sunday. And there was no flag.

"I was dismayed to learn that a veteran who has the misfortune to die after the embassy closes on Friday and has their funeral held before the embassy opens for business on Monday morning will not be able to be accorded the honor of a flag-draped coffin ceremony." Goldberg wrote in a letter.

It could be worse. For a time the embassy workers insisted on a U.S. death certificate and the veteran's DD Form 214,
which is issued at the time of separation from the service and often misplaced. Goldberg noted that a U.S. death certificate can take as long as a week. A Costa Rican death certificate also might be delayed.

A reasonable person might suggest that Goldberg simply get a couple of flags from the embassy for weekend use. But he said that embassy workers refuse to part with a flag until a specific service member can be listed as the recipient. At one time a widow or surviving spouse had to approach the embassy and fill out a form. Goldberg said he is able to obtain a flag using the name of the service member with details to be provided later. But only during normal business hours.

". . . unfortunately the embassy will not issue a flag until the veteran actually passes away," Goldberg said. Once an embassy worker suggested that funerals simply be postponed, he added.

"The purpose of this letter is to alert all U.S. military veterans and their families that should you have the misfortune of passing way and scheduling your funeral service during a period the embassy is not open for business, you will not be accorded the honor that you are entitled to," Goldberg, a physician, said.

This was one of the topics that members of the veteran organizations want to discuss with U.S. Ambassador Peter Cianchette. Goldberg said the veterans wrote the ambassador a letter seeking an appointment. That was in August. They still are waiting for a reply, he said.

A reader essay on current topics
A developer comments on high-rise projects in Jacó

By Leo Plumley
Special to A.M. Costa Rica

Those of us who have lived and prospered in Jacó and Hermosa over the past decade have seen this pueblo change from a sleepy Old West frontier town to a beach in search of an identity as the good people here have sought to pick themselves up and keep moving along with their plans. This is made more difficult by the visible traces of those who have exploited our resources and tested our patience.

There are those who sought to buy up Jacó beach with little concern for the good of our community or for Costa Rica in general. In 2004, beach-front prices were $150 per square meter. Within 18 months prices were driven up to $1,000 or more per square meter, it being obvious to any person with knowledge of the market that this was and is unsustainable. These powers that be, seemingly had unlimited sources of funds, as they threw their money around as though there was an endless supply. It appears that their well has run dry.

Through driving the prices to record highs and paying these prices for their own properties, the only way for them to earn a return on their investment was to build Miami Beach-style high rise towers, and cram as many units into the space as possible. In doing this, the beauty and laid back personality of Jacó beach that has attracted the surfers
and tourists here for decades has become confused.

As of this writing, there are approximately 58 high rise projects planned for Jacó and the surrounding beaches; 30,000 units and only 10,000 have rights to water. Projects presold now sit idly while the ongoing/well capitalized/titled developments see evidence of work stoppages and well intentioned investors relieved of their hard earned money.

Innocent bystanders have daily views of garbage piled high and unfinished high rise buildings in various stages of construction wondering if they will ever be completed.

How can responsible members of government, citizens and businessmen sit idly by?  

Yes, there is a smell in Jacó and it is not the fish, but a blight on the local landscape, which must be purged. This stench continues to damage legitimate developers who are building sustainable beachfront resorts with well financed projects and structural designs which blend well with the beauty of the beach front and surrounding area. These projects deserve success and commendation for limiting the density of their projects which respect the environment and are a credit to this wonderful community.

* Mr. Plumley is CEO of Tres Regalos in north Jacó.

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San José, Costa Rica, Monday, June 22, 2009, Vol. 9, No. 121

Readers respond with comments on tourism and drug war
Column was just promotion
of marijuana and its use

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

Ms. Stuart's latest column is nothing more than a thinly veiled attempt to promote her approval and apparently continuing use of marijuana as a medical necessity, although she admits using it as her "recreational drug" back in the 70s.

One can only imagine being a student in college being taught by someone high on the illegal stuff, and possibly having her in not one but two different classes!

She suggests that marijuana was the lesser of two evils "it was too easy to accidentally drink too much and very difficult to overdose on pot."

She fails to say that while one is legal here in the U.S.A., the other was and still is illegal, except in places like San Francisco, a beautiful city overrun by stoned
miscreants. Granted you can't proficiently drive a car drunk, but I doubt it's any better stoned out of your mind either.

Why is it that while some of us can get by without the use of drugs (I'm 66), others seem to need to get high just to get through the day?

The only difference between Costa Rica and the U.S. when it comes to growing food is that we are able to feed much of the world while you can hardly feed yourselves. As far as organic foods, there is plenty available here if you are willing to pay twice the price, with no proven benefits over frozen or canned produce. If Ms. Stuart feels that there are vitamins and minerals in the marijuana leaves, maybe she should eat them instead of smoking them!

She editorializes about the "growing debate about whether or not legalize marijuana, at least for medical use," claims of death, crimes, damage to health, as the result of marijuana use has subsided...". I couldn't disagree more. In fact it's just the reverse. Marijuana will never be legal here nationally, only allowed in states like California, where it's been used for decades — hardly a "growing debate." Concerning the medical uses of marijuana, the debate has grown more and more intense as people are now allowed to go into "drug" stores and get marijuana with a "doctor's Rx" for conditions as mundane as a headache.

Some of these same people are then observed lining up on sidewalks alongside parks selling their drugs to any man or woman with cash in their pockets! Does that sound like marijuana claims of crime etc. have subsided?

Ms. Stuart is correct comparing drug use to gambling and prostitution in that all are for the most part illegal here in the USA, with the exception of such states as Nevada, Indian reservations, and cruise ships outside the three-mile limit. Marijuana for medical use is permitted only in states like California with a doctor's Rx.

Just because they have been "universally present in almost all cultures in the world through time and space" doesn't make them any more acceptable. Cancer, heart disease, arthritis and a myriad of other diseases have plagued the world as well, but the human race is still trying to eradicate them as well.

Like most sane Americans, I'll take a good juicy American hamburger over marijuana any day! And it smells alot better too.
Donald Thom
Richardson, Texas

Tourism institute needs
to redefine its roles

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

This is in response to the article by Ms. Tessa Borner of Posada Mimosa in Grecia.

I take issue with the Instituto Costarricense de Turismo being accused of promoting a “false image” and positioning Costa Rica as a “paradise.” What else should they be promoting? Costa Rica’s crime statistics? Costa Rica’s increasing role as a transit and storage country for drugs? You can’t be serious, really! Do you see the United States national or state tourist authorities advertising crime-infested inner cities? I don’t see Indonesia touting Bali as having the occasional terrorist attack. Are you suggesting the ICT should be promoting Costa Rica with a warning label attached to it like a cigarette pack?

And, no, is not the first time that any of the media has ever clearly questioned the tourist arrivals in this country. The Costa Rican national press do the same. I do agree that the statistical data available are laughable and that relying on figures from Migración doesn’t work. Also, why shouldn’t the ICT focus on promoting Manuel Antonio, Monteverde, Guanacaste, and Arenal? These are major tourist magnets! Furthermore, I don’t see the ICT promoting large hotels over small ones. The Marriotts of this world don’t need that service since they’re perfectly capable of attracting guests themselves.

Whereas a decade ago people typically booked their vacations through travel agents, today they mainly book themselves using the Internet. This is a major opportunity for smaller businesses like bed-and-breakfast hotels, restaurants, and tour operators to stand out. As an expat in Costa Rica, I observe that many fellow foreigners move here and open small hotels and restaurants but they can’t cook, can’t plan, can’t market, can’t host, and can’t manage people. This hardly constitutes a contribution to quality tourism in Costa Rica.

The way I see it that the ICT, like any other national tourist authority, needs to redefine its role. On the normative level, it needs to have an increased focus on certifying small businesses and providing them with training and operating licenses. On the communications side, it needs to make more use of the new technologies and use micromarketing rather than the broad-based general approach it has taken so far.

My conclusion is that it is too easy to set up shop here without any prior qualification. For some, that is a terrific opportunity, and I have seen many expats excel. Sometimes, however, it just doesn’t work and it is up to the market to weed out the good from the bad and the ugly. Blaming it all on the ICT, however, is not the answer.

Marcel M. Pfister
War on drugs lacks will
for victory over narcos

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

With all due respects to the editors of A. M. Costa Rica, cocaine trafficking isn't about temptation as much as it is a symptom of a war, the war on drugs, that is hypocritical and largely illusory.

Does anyone honestly believe that a country that can put a man on the moon, that spends a quarter of a trillion dollars annually on its military, and can fly said military half way around the world to chase radical Islamists up and down goat trails in Afghanistan couldn't eradicate the drug cartels in short order if it was so directed? Cocaine and heroin come from PLANTS! Plants need light! This means they have to be out in the open and therefore visible from planes or even from satellites! Every coca farm and poppy plantation in Colombia and Afghanistan could be located and destroyed in a matter of months if the will to do so existed.

The stated purpose of the military action in the Middle East is to protect the national security of the U. S. from terrorists, yet there are literally hundreds of thousands of heavily armed, ruthless, narco terrorists loose on the streets of the United States whose murderous violence is fueled by profits from the sales of cocaine and other illegal drugs. They are referred to as "gangs," but in truth they are the foot soldiers of the cartels and their numbers are growing every year.   

Damage to the economy of the United States over the last 20 years can be counted in the hundreds of billions of dollars. This money could have and should have been spent on social programs instead of on the expenses of law enforcement, the judiciary and the penal system, not to mention the agencies who direct the alleged war on drugs. Loss of life directly/indirectly attributable to the drug trade is in the hundreds of thousands in the U. S. and likely in the millions worldwide.

It has been proven unequivocally that profits from cocaine and heroin fund terrorist organizations in Latin American, the Middle East and elsewhere. So why does the U. S. continue to fight a half hearted drug war? There have been many rationalizations stated over the years: the economic damage to countries like Colombia and Afghanistan should the cocaine and heroin fields be eradicated, sovereignty issues and the "that's not our department" claims by the military.

The military prefers instead to fight the terrorists who use weapons paid for in part by the drugs the U. S. allows to be produced. Apparently they feel it's beneath them to fight poppy fields and coca farms. This is preposterous!  This defies logic!
America's failure to eradicate the source of the drugs, and of course it's continuing failure to address CONSUMPTION, which is the engine that drives the drug trade, has turned countless towns and neighborhoods in the U. S. and Latin America into corrupt, narco controlled ghettos where people are prisoners in their own homes.

Now "people in high places" are beginning to refer to Mexico as a "failed state" because the cartels have taken control of entire regions and control the governments there, using high power, automatic weapons smuggled south from the U. S. and paid for with drug profits.

So forget about the sharks. It's not about fish, it's about failed policies and a lack of will on the part of the only people who can put and end to the narco madness. One has to wonder why, given the monumental economic loss, human tragedy and national crises, there isn't a constant drumbeat of criticism and demands for change all over the world.

I blame the media as well. Six Pakistanis in a mud hut are vaporized by a missile fired from a Predator drone and it makes national, front page news like it was a great, national victory. But every night on the streets of Oakland, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and Chicago people are blown away with automatic weapons by drug gangs and it hardly gets LOCAL mention. But before the drugs ended up in Philly, they wound there way through Latin American countries like Costa Rica, leaving a deadly trail of corruption, fear and violence along the way.

There seems to me to be an ongoing, large scale capitulation on the part of media all over the world to the inevitability of continued drug violence. (Thanks to A. M. Costa Rica for continuing to put the issue up front where it belongs.) Maybe it's because people just don't want to hear about it anymore unless their kids have to sleep on the floor at night for fear they'll be blown away by stray bullets fired from the guns of narco terrorists.

Dean Barbour
Manuel Antonio

Legalize recreational drugs
and tax them for health care

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

The new U.S. president, Obama, who campaigned  on "change," seeks to forge consensuses in Congress on  health care initiatives that have failed over the past three "prosperous" decades.

Now when there's no $$ left in the till to pay for it, and stress — the leading cause of illness — more prevalent than ever during these down times, it would seem the time to break with old failed approaches that are no longer sustainable, is at hand.

With the U.S. prison system draining the coffers to the point of meltdown from costs related to warehousing non-violent drug offenders, corruption at every level of society due to the failed war on drugs all through the hemisphere, zapping economic vitality, and eroding confidence in governments,. doesn't it seem obvious that it is time for change here?

By regulating and taxing recreational drugs the same as alcohol, and tobacco, there'd be more than enough revenue available to pay for health care in the U.S.

Here in Costa Rica and throughout the rest of the "delivery route" there'd be a real chance to break from the cycle of corruption that the "war on drugs" has helped foster.

Hari Singh Khalsa

Casa Alfi Hotel
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San José, Costa Rica, Monday, June 22, 2009, Vol. 9, No. 121

A.M. Costa Rica

users 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 week day.

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.


A.M. Costa Rica makes its monthly statistics available to advertisers and readers. It is HERE! 

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.

Televised robbery suspect
also faces rape allegations

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Agents have detained a 23-year-old man who is suspected of being the robber-rapist who was featured on local television.

The robber approached his women victims on a bicycle and then pulled a gun. In two cases he is believed to have raped the women after escorting them to a desolate place. Other times he committed lesser sexual crimes while taking the belongings of the women.

A surveillance camera caught the robber approaching one woman and escorting her away. The video was shown last week on local television.

The man, identified by the last names of Montenegro González, was detained in his León XIII home. He faces at least five complaints.

U.S. universities designated
as new school for U.S. spies

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The Obama administration is proposing a new program to train students in U.S. colleges and universities to become intelligence officers.

The Washington Post reported that Dennis Blair, director of national intelligence, has already sent a description of the program to Congress. The Post quotes Blair as saying the idea is to prepare first-and second-generation Americans, who already have critical language skills and cultural knowledge, for careers in intelligence agencies.

The program aims to cultivate qualified recruits who can work the streets of the Middle East and South Asia to penetrate terrorist groups and criminal enterprises. 

Under the proposal, the Post says schools would apply for grants to create or expand courses that would provide the background needed for intelligence work. These would include classes in foreign languages, analysis and scientific and technical fields.

Students would apply to the national intelligence director to get into the program and would also go through a selection process for financial assistance.

The idea is similar to a curriculum already in place for the military services, known as the Reserve Officers' Training Corps or ROTC.

The Post credits an unnamed official as saying the students' participation in the intelligence program would likely be kept secret to prevent foreign intelligence services from identifying them.

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San José, Costa Rica, Monday, June 22, 2009, Vol. 9, No. 121

Latin American news digest
U.S., Switzerland agree
to exchange of tax info

Special to A.M. Costa Rica

As part of its efforts to enforce U.S. tax laws and reduce offshore tax evasion, the U.S. Department of the Treasury has announced the conclusion of negotiations with Switzerland to amend the U.S.-Switzerland income tax treaty to provide for increased tax information exchange.  Official signing of the protocol is expected in the next few months.

“This administration is committed to reducing offshore tax evasion to help ensure that all U.S. taxpayers are playing by the same rules,” said Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner.  “This treaty will increase our ability to enforce our tax laws and will help bring an end to an era of offshore accounts and investments being used for tax evasion.”

The protocol would revise the existing U.S.-Switzerland income tax treaty to allow for the exchange of information for income tax purposes to the full extent permitted by Article 26 of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development Model Income Tax Convention.  Switzerland has been known for its strong bank secrecy laws.

At the G-20  Summit, the U.S. strongly supported efforts to ensure that all countries adhere to international standards for exchange of tax information.  In the 2010 fiscal year budget, the administration delivered a detailed reform agenda to reduce the amount of taxes lost through unintended loopholes and the illegal use of hidden accounts by well-off individuals, the Treasury Department said. 

The department recently concluded Gibraltar's first-ever tax information exchange agreement and also signed an agreement with Luxembourg to provide for greater exchange of tax information.

Costa Rica also has agreed to pass legislation that will open bank accounts to routine study by tax officials. The United States is presumed to benefit from this access.

Latin American news feeds are disabled on archived pages.

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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