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Published Wednesday Edition
July 19, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 142
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Sisters sentenced for 2015 murder of U.S. expat
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Two sisters were sentenced to 25 years in prison each, after a tribunal found them guilty of the murder of U.S. citizen Brian Lynn Hogue, whose body was never found.

Hogue, a 67-year old Californian had retired permanently to Costa Rica after several annual visits. He moved into the country and settled down at Parrita, in the province of Puntarenas.

Once in the country, Hogue bought two properties with their respective houses and started a successful realtor career by selling one of them in small pieces known as Quintas in Spanish. Not long after, the pensioner decided to buy a third property in Guápiles, in the province of Limón.

At this time, two sisters aged 21 and 23 became close friends to Hogue. The sisters also learned about Hogue's state by word of mouth from their cousins, who happened to work for him in construction.

According to the investigation carried out by prosecutor Paul Fuentes, Hogue started a romantic relationship with one of the sisters and allowed them to move into one of his houses. However, a third man, who also dated one of the sisters got involved in the story and planned a way to steal the old man's property with the help of the sisters and a fourth accomplice.

All of them allegedly went to meet a notary public. The fourth man provided false arguments and created fake paperwork to transfer the properties to the sisters and one man.

However, according to the prosecutor, the clan did not expect Hogue to find out so fast about the hoax, which he came to realize when he tried to mortgage one of his  properties to buy another one of his interest.

On June 1, 2015, one of the sisters realized they were all getting caught, so she headed to Hogue’s hotel at Moín in Limón  and asked him to meet. Hogue was never seen ever after.

"The homicide was an unreasonable plan with the sole purpose of depriving a human being of his life and his property,"said one of the judges during the hearing.

Brian Lynn Hogue
A.M. Costa Rica file photo      
Brian Lynn Hogue.

"It was not that he disappeared because he decided to leave the country, he was made disappeared so that he could not make the criminal complaint and the case remained silent,"added the judge.

The man who falsified the documents was sentenced to three years for fraud but he will not see jail time because that amount of time is served on parole for first time felons, according to Costa Rican laws.

The other man’s case was dismissed as the Tribunal could not find conclusive evidence to make him the head of the plan, Ministerio Público explained on a press release.

"While the two women who plotted my father's murder have been sentenced to jail, it is very painful that the men involved are all walking free, said Jeff Hogue, son of the victim. "The man who probably killed him on behalf of the sisters is free and one the men who conspired with them and would have gotten one of the properties is free."

"We hope that Prosecutor Paul Fuentes will continue his important work, appeal the court's decision, and seek justice for our family." he added."The work is not done."

Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Transportes photo     
Officer notes down license plates of vehicle for the corresponding ticket.
New traffic reforms offer harsher penalties
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The owner of the vehicle no longer needs to be personally present for the Policía de Tránsito to issue a ticket for bad parking and there is now a fine attached to those who refuse to take a breathalyzer test, according to the new reforms to the Ley de Tránsito published Monday.

According to Mario Calderón, the director for the traffic police, anyone who refuses to perform the test is now subject to a fine of 306,850 colones, or around $540, in addition to incurring six points on their license. Calderón clarified that a person is legally allowed to request another test in a laboratory but if the test returns positive again then the fine and the fees for the test will be added on to the bill.

Other reforms are also coming into effect today, the Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Transportes said. These reforms have yet to be published in La Gaceta, the government’s gazette that allows all laws to be officially enforced, but are expected to be in the upcoming days. These laws relate to noise control on vehicles, said Mario Durá, a vice-minister with public works.

Parking a car in a yellow zone, in front of a commercial garage, at a corner or on the sidewalks has been illegal for some time but rarely enforced due to the traffic officer needing to wait for the driver or the owner of the vehicle to present themselves to receive the ticket. Calderón hopes that with the new changes, the road epidemic of congestion cause by parked vehicles blocking passage could be alleviated.

The improper parking fine is around 51,316 colones, or about $90, but the price an offender would have to pay may be higher as they would be charged for all the costs of impounding the vehicle.

The new reforms are also penalizing anyone disobeying the instructions of a traffic policeman or does not adequately protect debris or dirt from coming out of their flatbeds.

Public works also said that the new reforms free it of any responsibility for damaging the emergency brake in the event of impounding a vehicle.

Aside from these, two more fines are now coming in place. The first is 103,679 colones fine to anyone with an excess amount of passengers in a vehicle. The sanction is not being directly applied for that reason, however, but under the parameters of not having all passengers wearing a seat belt.

The last main reform was on banning the use of B-1 licenses for the driving of low-volume motorcycles. Durán said that this is intended to combat motorcyclist deaths on the road since it constitutes the most amount of auto-related deaths.

"While the original idea of driving licensed motorcycle type B-1 was to help tourism, so that people were covered by the policies when using motorcycles and rental bicycles, the truth is that the objective was distorted and many people began to travel in motorcycle by all the roads, without really being prepared for it,” he said.

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Published || Wednesday Edition, July 19, 2017 || Vol. 17, No. 142
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Electric company raising rates by 9%

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Autoridad Reguladora de los Servicios Públicos approved an increase of 42 and nine percent in the electricity generation and distribution prices for customers of the Compañía Nacional de Fuerza y Luz.

A customer commonly has be paying both these types of prices--the distribution and generation. The difference is: at what rate? For regular customers, the increase comes at nine percent. For industrial and corporate customers, the increase comes at 42 percent total.

Originally, the increases were to be 26.33 percent for power generation and 13.75 percent for distribution, according to a statement by the Autoridad. 

The Compañía had asked for the first increases to come into effect as of July 1, while the second would come into effect on January 1, 2018. However, the Authority refused to recognize the Compañía more than $200 million in investment made at the hydroelectric projects Balsa Inferior and Eólico Valle Central.

Thus, rates for residential customers will increase 9.46 percent beginning Oct. 1, 2017 and for the following five months. The authority refused to include the company's investments in the rate increase because those projects did not comply with some of the analyses required by law.

In addition, the authority said that it did not charge the costs of the worker's collective agreement to the Compañía, as such agreement is being challenged before the Constitutional Chamber in the Corte Supreme. The Autoridad said that it may refuse to recognize any excessive or disproportionate spending or investment, in order to protect the interests of users of public services.

A case for 0.3 grams of marijuana

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

This Wednesday a man filed a complaint against the Fuerza Pública for aggravated deprivation of liberty and abuse of authority. The reason for how this all started apparently seem unclear.

It is either 0.3 grams of marijuana or obstruction.

 The events took place in Barrio La California near 8:30 p.m. At that time the man was consuming cannabis on the street. 

When the man asked why he was being paddled down,, the head of the police group immediately called a patrol for alleged resistance to police work.

The man carried only 0.2 grams of cannabis within an apple.

 In the complaint number 000-17-020046, the man claims that the group of officers threatened him with denouncing him before the university if he resisted arrest.

"They took away my cell phone and wallet with the purpose of cutting my means of communication, since I told them I was going to report the incident," the man said.

 Inside the patrol car, the man apparently suffered psychological and physical aggression during the three hours he was arrested.

"At that time I was the only person who was inside the patrol and then the police went started hunting people with criminal records," says the official complaint. 

According to the man, one of the officers explained that he was being arrested for using drugs on the street but later changed the explanation and said the arrest was due to obstruction of authority.
 Apparently, the police officers also did not issue any written document to avoid the evidences of the case.

"My client was in an altered psychological state and vomiting, because he was locked up with five homeless people," said Monserrat Pérez, the man's lawyer.

According to article 79 of Law 8204 there are no penalties for drug consumption on public spaces. 
Likewise, the prosecutors office cannot file a denunciation for similar reasons since it is not considered a felony.

Canadian claims patent is not expired

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Darren Hreniuk, the Canadian citizen who has claimed intellectual property over the zip-line trips popularly known as the Canopy Tour at the end of May, continues his legal battle over the patent his lawyers consider to be valid.

In a statement sent yesterday, the businessman said it is not true that his invention is already expired, as his detractors within the tourism industry have claimed. According to his lawyer, the Registro Nacional office of Costa Rica had just taken more time than usual to make the patent valid again.

“The patent validity shows as expired since 2004 and that's precisely the reason why we are fighting for it and it has taken 12 years for authorities to prove us right,” explained Jorge Marín, one of Hreniuk’s lawyers.

The legal dispute over the invention of canopy could imply possible charges local to entrepreneurs. However, the Cámara Nacional de Turismop has urged Canopy tour operators to not pay or negotiate with the Canadian. The chamber filed an appeal last Thursday before the Registro Público against the validity of the patent. The Cámara believes that it has been expired since 2010.

Hreniuk's lawyers say that a ruling by the Tribunal de Casación brought back the patent on the "Canopy Tour" and thus, the right to profit from that activity which, he claims, was invented by him in 1990 in the cloud forest of Monteverde. In October 1998, the Industrial Property Registry granted the Canadian businessman the patent for the invention of the canopy for a term of 20 years, according to the Canadian's lawyers.

"The inventor makes a call to reason to operators that could be harmed  by not respecting a firm judicial decision. It is cheaper and reasonable to sit down and negotiate than to venture into uncertain demands,” they said on a press release.

Ruta 2 mistake
Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Transportes photo          
Some drivers had a problem with avoiding the wet paint.

Ruta 2 experiences paint problems

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The general directorate for traffic engineering said that it was not their fault that the lines painted along Ruta 2 got messed up.

According to a statement from the Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Transportes, officials corroborated spots on certain stretches of the road caused by truck traffic ignoring the total closure that was applied in the area at the time. “The drivers did not respect the closing and they went through the route where the paint on the asphalt was still wet causing damage,” a statement from public works said. “The ministry is working on erasing these spots and correcting the defects caused by these unscrupulous drivers.”

Work on Ruta 2 began earlier in the month along a 27.5 kilometer stretch between El Empalme and intersection with with Ruta Nacional 228 in El Tejar. The ministry urged drivers to respect road closures to maintain the safety of workers and drivers alike.

It is expected that the line painting will continue through July from Monday thru Friday beginning at 8 in the morning until 2 in the afternoon. The road will be limited to one lane, officials said. Total closures could be possible for an hour as well.

Country will need more power plants
for diverse electrical grid, study says

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A study published by the Banco Interamericano de Desarrollo claimed that if the country seeks to integrate more wind and solar sources into the electrical grid, then it will need to have more plants regulating energy generation in the country.

The study was published by the bank last February, however in light of the recent nationwide power outage, the Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad highlighted the importance of adding wind and solar power plants to complement its hydroelectric facilities already installed and generating a significant amount of the country’s power. This action could be costly for the institute.

The document elaborates that the increasing in the share of varying renewable energy sources above the expectations of the institute’s expansion plans could lead to a doubling in the total investment costs over the next six years. The institute currently operates with seven hydroelectric plants that are supplemented during the dry season with other forms of power sources like wind and solar.

The institute insists that the development of the El Diquís hydroelectric project will strengthen the electrical grid’s regulatory capacity and allow for better integration of other energy sources by 2026, when it is expected to enter operation. The project is based in the Zona Sur of Costa Rica. The hope for institute officials is that it can also be used for potable water along with irrigation.

It is currently awaiting the necessary approval from the indigenous communities living in the region.

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Third News Page
U.S. Tax
Published || Wednesday Edition, July 19, 2017 || Vol. 17, No. 142
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20-year water contamination problem apparently solved at Zarcero
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

After almost 20 years, the contamination problem plaguing the water sources at Palmira and Laguna de Zarcero appear to be finally receiving a solution.

Under a joint partnership between the Instituto de Desarrollo Rural and the Instituto Costarricense de Acueductos y Alcantarillados, the land encompassing the water sources will now be deemed for conservation purposes rather than through the use of agriculture.

A statement from INDER said that for 23 years, Asociaciones Administradoras de los Acueductos Rurales, or Asadas for short, had been struggling to protect their local water sources and were scared of contamination from agrochemicals being used on the crops.

With a new agreement reached, six plots of land will be gifted to the Asadas for Palmira and Laguna de Zarcero for their monitoring and protection. The plots are located within a peasant settlement known as El León de Palmira. The land was acquired by INDER back in 1998 but compensation was apparently needed to compensate the families on the properties.

Fo several years, INDER had been looking for a way to solve the problem up until October 2015, when a public bid for the purchase of the property was made to move the parceleros, a Spanish word for someone who works a parcel of land. They later refused because the proposal received did not meet the needs.

Zarcero signing
INDER photo    
Yamileth Astorga, the head of AyA, signs agreement.

The only way, it seemed, was for the Asadas to receive the properties on the basis of conservation, INDER said.

INDER said that it will support management with 200 million colones as part of the compensations carried out by AyA. The total investment will be about 248 million colones.

“That’s the best news I’ve been able to give in almost 20 years since beginning this fight,” German Blanco, a spokesperson with the Asada in Laguna, said.

“We know that it has been tedious, both for us and for the different institutions that have participated in the solution but it has been valid. We are very satisfied because we can now provide quality drinking water.”

Police and Caja officials prep for the annual Romería pilgrimage
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Police and Caja officials are preparing for the upcoming Romería pilgrimage with operations starting this weekend.

The pilgrimage is an annual walk toward the Basilica de Nuestra Señora de Los Ángeles in Cartago Centro. Many walk from San José ao Cartago in a display of solemn faith toward the Catholic faith in Costa Rica.

It usually draws thousands. Over 1,100 officers of the Fuerza Pública will be part of an operation lasting until August 3 that includes the mounted police units, motorcycle units and the air surveillance unit.

According to the Ministerio de Seguridad Pública, the operation will be divided into four phases with the first being maintaining patrols and the reinforcement of any police unit in case of a large presence of people on rural roads and the Inter-American highway.

This is to provide security for the people beginning the pilgrimage to the basilica in the days leading to August 2, police said.

The weekend of July 29 will see an expected increase in the pilgrims, called romeros, so the patrols will expand to include the General Cañas, Bernardo Soto, Ruta 32 and Florencio del Castillo. By Aug. 1 that will expand to a citizen security device on the traditional route of the pilgrimage from Calle 42 in San José to Cartago police said. Aug. 2 and Aug. 3, police officers will be providing security for the pass of the Virgen de los Ángeles.

Meanwhile, the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social issued a Tuesday statement urging people over 60, children and those with chronic diseases not to attend the Romería.

Basilica de Nuestra Senora de Los Angeles
A.M. Costa Rica photo/Conor Golden   
During the Romería, this plaza will be packed.

The Caja said it would like to reduce the transmission of viruses as well as reducing the number of severe respiratory infections. María Eugenia Villalta, the medical manager for the Caja, said that the institution has a plan ready to attend to any emergencies but that it requires the support of the population.

Specialists were blunt in stating that people with chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertensive and cardiac problems should not attend this pilgrimage.

However, if they do, they should take their daily medications, protect themselves from the weather, wear comfortable shoes with rubber soles, use waterproof clothing, and be accompanied by someone. They also advised that the amount of walking should be shorter to avoid health issues.

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A.M. Costa Rica's Fourth News page

Published || Wednesday Edition, July 19, 2017 || Vol. 17, No. 142
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Costa Rica's democracy does not tolerate dissent, according to forum
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Democracy that does not tolerate dissent was how one professor at the Universidad de Costa Rica described the country’s state of democracy.

The university held its first Foro Institucional dedicated to issues of freedom of expression, communication and democracy this past month. Nora Garita Bonilla, a professor of sociology, claimed that the country’s state of democracy is one that does not tolerate dissent except this form of intolerance is not expressed in the form of exclusion nor is deliberative.

At the same time, however, there are practices of discrimination, exclusion and omission applied by the media to conceal that the country does live in a society crisscrossed with inequality.

“In that context, Costa Rica will give way to digital television,” a statement from the university on the topic said.

The forum consisted of eight roundtable discussions that summoned more than 30 expert testimonials and diverse opinions that showed a lackluster media reality and a lack of democratic quality. The university established the forum as an attempt to provoke a necessary reflection and attempt to move in a correct direction.

The first thing they discussed was that, by Dec. 15, there would be a blackout of analog television as the switch to digital will occur. While this improves the quality of image and sound, it should also improve the state of cultural diversity as much as ideological pluralism, the forum participants said.

“The concentration of media in Costa Rica is a complex subject, politically very delicate, almost untouchable, because the big media companies have their agents and their conditions and their censors too,” Fernando Cruz Castro, a magistrate of the Sala Constitucional, said.

The forum discussed how media was exclusive, absolutely commercial and discriminatory. By 2016, the largest concentration of radio and television frequencies available was under the control of the Representaciones Televisivas, or Repretel, that had eight TV channels and 13 radio frequencies in its arsenal. The Catholic Church and other Christian churches as well as Otoche SRL and the Worldwide University Network Radio also having stake augment this.

Digitization of
Universidad de Costa Rica photo     
Experts believe that democracy is being compromised by television and other forms of monopolized media.

“The same voice in many channels poses a risk to democracy, denying the right to freedom of expression and information to those who do not have the means to speak,” the university statement said.

“Not guaranteeing a pluralistic media pool would weaken democracy, transparency and accountability in a country.”

Another forum participant, Carolina Carazo who is a researcher at the university, said that the deep proposals made by each political party are benched in favor of superficial arguments of “he said, she said.”
"Very often the most important thing the media say is what they do not say," said Carlos Sandoval García, an academic at the communications department and researcher.

Of course this forum was not just a free-for-all bashing of the media.

The university’s participants recognized the need for laws and greater protections to actually give permission to journalist’s to do their jobs properly.

“It is clear that: there is a need to create public policies that promote critical thinking; that legislation governing the right of expression and information should be strengthened, especially in the context of the move to digital TV and the distribution of frequencies; that it is important for citizens to be vigilant and guarantee their rights against the media agenda, the education system, protest repression and other cases,” the university concludes.

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Tropical Homes of Costa Rica is offering the best selection of vacation homes, condos and long-term rental homes in Playa Flamingo, Playa Potrero and Playa Brasilito on  the Pacific Gold Coast of Guanacaste. A wide selection of private residencies is providing an excellent choice for  your stay in this beautiful part of Costa Rica.We are offering homes for every budget and every need. Please visit our Web page at or contact us at or call at (506) 2654-5442

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A.M. Costa Rica's
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Salsa Lizano
Published || Wednesday Edition, July 19, 2017 || Vol. 17, No. 142
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Venezuela dismisses threat
of new sanctions from U.S.

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Venezuela's foreign minister said Tuesday the country is moving forward with plans to elect members of a constitutional assembly despite threats of new sanctions by the United States, and plans to review its relations with Washington.

"The constitutional assembly is happening," Foreign Minister Samuel Moncada said on state television. He also said Venezuela is "conducting a deep review of relations with the U.S. government because we don't accept humiliation from anyone."

White House officials on Tuesday stressed they are ready to follow through on President Donald Trump's threat to take strong and swift economic action if Maduro goes ahead with a vote for the special assembly on July 30.

Reuters reported Tuesday the U.S. is preparing sanctions against several senior Venezuelan officials, including the country's defense minister. The U.S. is also considering wider economic steps.

It was not clear whether the U.S. administration might act to ban oil imports from Venezuela.

The sanctions threat comes after Venezuela's opposition launched what it says is a final offensive on Maduro to call for early presidential elections.

In a nonbinding national referendum Sunday organized by opposition groups, more than seven million Venezuelans, nearly one-third of the national electorate, called on Maduro to give up the idea of electing a special assembly to put together a new constitution.

The opposition group also called for a daylong general strike Thursday, hoping to pressure Maduro into calling off plans for a new constitution.

Maduro called the opposition referendum illegal and is continuing to push ahead with plans for a July 30 vote for the special assembly. Changing the constitution is the only way to pull Venezuela out of its deep economic and social crisis, the president said.

The opposition says the assembly will be rigged in Maduro's favor. It says rewriting the constitution is nothing but a Maduro ploy to dissolve state institutions and turn Venezuela into a socialist dictatorship, leaving the opposition-led national assembly irrelevant.

Daily street protests against the government frequently blow up into violence. Nearly 100 people have been killed over the last three months.

Far-Right group plans patrol
to prevent sea migrations

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A pan-European far-right group with a history of violent direct action has charted a 422-ton ship and says it plans to confront people-smugglers and turn back migrants it finds in the waters off Libya.

Humanitarian organizations say the planned intervention is a PR provocation by the Defend Europe group, which is part of the continent-wide, anti-Islam identitarian movement. Identitarians advocate the preservation of national identity and a return to traditional Western values.

They warn lives could be endangered, if the far-right activists impede refugee-rescue operations in the Mediterranean, something some of the group’s leaders have vowed they will do.

Humanitarian groups are highlighting the shadowy background of the owner of the ship the far-right activists have chartered, 49-year-old Swedish businessman Sven Tomas Egerstrom, who has provided private maritime security services in Africa.

In 2015, a court in the Seychelles ordered the seizure of a cargo of automatic weapons worth $2 million found on one of Egerstrom’s ships in a case brought by the crew of the vessel, Ocean Bounty, who accused him of abandoning them.

Defend Europe leaders have been contradictory about what they intend to do with chartered ship, the C-Star.

Lorenzo Fiato, head of Defend Europe’s Italian branch, said the activists will coordinate their actions with Libyan authorities and coast guards in Tripoli. But he admitted Defend Europe has been unable to establish firm contacts in Libya and he appeared unknowledgeable about the militia and trafficker connections of Libya’s coast guards.

"I don’t think there are any legal problems as we are going to cooperate with the authorities. We want to make everything legal. We are protecting our countries from illegal immigration," he says.

Martin Sellner, co-leader of the Austrian identitarian branch and a key figure in Defend Europe, vowed in an online video the group would block NGO ships from going to the Libyan coast.

Europe’s identitarian movement, which is often dubbed "the hipster right," is a network of social media-savvy young activists mainly operating in France, Germany, Austria and Italy. It has a record of mounting provocative direct-action campaigns and then using the publicity generated to win more recruits and attract donations from crowd-funding appeals.

Identitarians have occupied mosques, and in March 2016 they clashed with French police after burning tires and blocking bridges leading from a makeshift migrant camp known as the jungle in Calais.

Human Rights Watch warned Tuesday if Defend Europe activists return migrants to Libya against their will they would be in breach of international humanitarian law and if they impede rescue missions they would be breaking maritime law, which obliges seafarers to save lives at sea.

"My personal response to what they want to do is probably unprintable," says Judith Sunderland of Human Rights Watch, who warns Defend Europe could end up handing people over to militias that collude with the smugglers and traffickers.

She accused the Identitarian group of aiming to stoke anti-migrant sentiment in Italy, which in recent weeks has mounted and is buffeting the government of Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni.

More than 86,000 migrants have reached Italy this year from Libya, a 10 percent increase on the same period last year, according to the International Office for Migration. Italy’s migrant detention centers and temporary shelters have reached their capacity of 200,000 and Italian officials have warned neighboring European countries that they are considering granting migrants European Union visas, which would allow them to travel legally to other EU states.

In May, Defend Europe tried unsuccessfully to use a dinghy to block in Italian waters a refugee-rescue vessel chartered by Doctors Without Borders. The action generated international media coverage and nearly $170,000 in donations from two crowd-funding appeals. Fiato says Defend Europe was able to charter the C-Star at a big discount as the owner is an apparent supporter.

Originally Defend Europe planned to dock the vessel at the Sicilian port of Catania, but now the activists say they plan to keep it anchored 40 kilometers off the coast, as they fear Italian authorities may decide to impound the ship.

More than 500 boys abused
at German Catholic school

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

More than 500 boys were subjected to physical or sexual abuse at a Catholic choir school in Germany between 1945 and 1992, according to a report released Tuesday.

A report by lawyer Ulrich Weber says at least 547 boys at the world famous Domspatzen choir were victims of physical or sexual abuse, or both, at the hands of 49 perpetrators.

Weber, who began his study in 2015 and was tasked with investigating in the wake of the 2010 sexual abuse scandal involving members of the Catholic Church, said victims felt dominated by violence, fear and helplessness and likened the school to prison, hell or a concentration camp.

“The whole system of education was oriented toward top musical achievements and the choir's success,'' the report said. “Alongside individual motives, institutional motives – namely, breaking the will of the children with the aim of maximum discipline and dedication – formed the basis for violence.”

Weber said a culture of silence was partly to blame for the abuse, and pointed at former choir master Georg Ratzinger, who led the choir from 1964 to 1994, whom Weber said could be blamed for looking the other way and failing to intervene.

Ratzinger, who is the brother of former pope Benedict, has denied any knowledge of abuse during his tenure with the choir.

Weber said he identified all 49 alleged abusers, but noted they are unlikely to face criminal charges since the crimes took place too long ago.

The local Catholic diocese has said it plans to offer victims compensation of up to $23,000 by the end of this year.

Republican turmoil grows
after health care vote fails

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Republicans sought to regroup Tuesday after their quest to scale back the U.S. government's role in health care collapsed, leaving in place former President Barack Obama's health care law, popularly known as Obamacare.

"I'm certainly disappointed. For seven years, I've been hearing 'repeal and replace' from Congress," said a visibly angry President Donald Trump. "And then when we finally get a chance to repeal and replace, they don't take advantage of it."

Scorned by Republican fiscal hawks for allegedly retaining too much Obamacare spending, and by party moderates who feared the bill went too far in dismantling the status quo, Republicans fell short of the votes needed for passage in the Senate.

McConnell floated a new idea: scrap Obamacare with no replacement plan at all. Several Republican senators quickly rejected the idea, as did a unified Democratic caucus.

Republicans crafted the bill on their own, behind closed doors. Democrats urged cooperation to address Obamacare's shortcomings, which include rising premiums and a dwindling number of insurers taking part in the program in many states.

The president suggested a different course: Do nothing on the assumption that Obamacare's flaws will deepen, giving Republicans leverage.

Trump promised Republican wins on other priorities like tax reform. Such victories become harder with Republicans bruised and the president's clout in question after the defeat on health care, according to political analysts.

Democrats have divides of their own on health care, between those who want to strengthen the private insurance market Obamacare fosters and those demanding universal coverage in which the government pays all costs.

Plane carrying Afghan VP
denied landing rights

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization confirmed Tuesday that Afghanistan’s vice president, Abdul Rashid Dostum, tried to return to the country overnight but that his private plane was denied permission to land in the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif.

Dostum, a 63-year-old ethnic Uzbek warlord, and some of his militia guards, have been under investigation for months over allegations of torturing and sexually assaulting an elderly political rival by the name of Ahmad Ishchi.

The first vice president left the country for Turkey about two months ago, saying he needed health care, a move prompting allegations Afghan President Ashraf Ghani allowed Dostum to travel abroad under a secret deal to escape prosecution.

“What happened with General Dostum was that he was denied permission to land in Mazar-i-Sharif,” a spokesman for NATO’s Resolute Support mission, Bill Salvin, said.

He noted that the international mission’s role is to provide training, advice and assistance to Afghan security forces and it would not have been appropriate to intervene in internal Afghan matters.

Local media reported that aviation authorities directed Dostum’s plane to Kabul’s international airport but instead, it turned back and landed in the neighboring central Asian state of Turkmenistan.

Dostum’s spokespeople and political allies in Afghanistan have denied that he was on the plane, saying the first vice president is still in Turkey.

The Afghan government has not commented.

The controversial Uzbek strongman attempted to stage Monday’s dramatic comeback days after he formed a three-party political alliance, which also involved Gov. Mohammad Atta Noor of the northern Afghan province, where the aircraft tried to land on Monday.

The formation of the coalition was announced in Turkey and it brings together discontented political groups that are also part of the government.

Noor has also rejected reports Dostum was on board the plane. A statement quoted the governor as saying a group of engineers was on the flight and technical problems forced the plane to return to Turkey.

Afghan judicial officials announced earlier this month that the probe into allegations against Dostum and his men has been completed and sent to the court for further action.

President Ghani has been under pressure at home and from Afghanistan’s international backers led by the United States to ensure extremely serious charges against his vice president are reviewed and follow-up legal action is taken.

The acting U.S. ambassador to Kabul last week emphasized that the legal process underscores the Afghan state’s effort to uphold the rule of law and combat impunity, and to send a signal to the world that no one is above the law in Afghanistan.

Late last year, Ishchi, a former provincial governor, said in a nationally televised interview that Dostum's militiamen detained, tortured and sexually assaulted him. He alleged that Dostum had ordered the detention and abuse.

Observers say that Monday’s incident is likely to fuel tensions between Dostum and Ghani. The warlord, who enjoys a strong following in northern Afghan regions, has rejected charges against him as politically motivated and an attempt to marginalize him.

Ghani has defended Dostum's departure from Afghanistan, saying he left with the permission of the attorney general and that the laws do not bar someone suspected of wrongdoing from seeking medical treatment abroad.

Hungary hosts Netenyahu
as gesture of reconciliation

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

During a joint appearance Tuesday in Budapest, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban reassured Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that he stands with the Jewish state against anti-Semitism.

The meeting took place amid concerns that Orban's right-wing government was stoking anti-Semitism.

While standing next to Netanyahu on Tuesday, Orban sought to distance himself from comments he made last month in praise of Miklos Horthy, the Hungarian wartime leader and Hitler ally. Orban previously called Horthy, who oversaw the deportation of more than half a million Hungarian Jews to death camps during World War Two, an exceptional statesman for rebuilding the country after the war.

United by a shared disdain for the left-leaning global order and isolated from Western European politicians for their support for U.S. President Donald Trump, the pair of leaders have been called spiritual brothers by Hungarian media. Netanyahu quickly accepted Orban's apology.

“There is a new anti-Semitism expressed in anti-Zionism that is delegitimizing the one and only Jewish state,” Netanyahu said. “In many ways, Hungary is at the forefront of the states that are opposed to this anti-Jewish policy, and I welcome it and express the appreciation of my government.”

Netanyahu is the first Israeli prime minister to visit Hungary since the end of the Cold War. On Wednesday, leaders from the Visegrad Group will join him: Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Poland, as well as Hungary. The loose group of Eastern European countries are led by right wing nationalist governments and regularly draw diplomatic fire from the rest of the EU for their refusal to accept refugees.

"Hungary does not want a mixed population," Orban said Tuesday, defending his country's refusal to accept the EU's suggested number of refugees from the Syrian crisis. “[Hungary] does not want to change its current ethnic makeup. It will not defer to an external pressure."

Beyond tone, the two leaders also are bound by their shared disdain for George Soros, the Jewish-American financier and philanthropist whom they view as a key component of the liberal global order. In April, the Hungarian government passed legislation that threatens to shutter the Soros-backed Central European University in Budapest. Soros founded the university after the Cold War to advance humanism and liberal democracy in the formerly communist state.

More recently, Orban's government has mounted posters criticizing the Hungarian-born Jewish émigré for his support for refugee resettlement.

Soros funds several organizations that operate in Israel, including Human Rights Watch, which is regularly critical of the Netanyahu government.

Orban and Netanyahu drew broad criticism from rights groups.

“We urge them to refrain from populist attacks on fundamental rights and return to respecting and protecting these, respect the human rights of all regardless of their political views, including those that voice uncomfortable truth on breaches of law and human rights violations,” said Júlia Iván, the director of Amnesty International Hungary.

Alfred Taban Lo Gune
Voice of America photo     
Taban speaking to supporters.

Veteran journalist becomes
new MP in South Sudan

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A veteran South Sudanese journalist says he has joined the SPLM-in Opposition (SPLM-IO) Taban Deng faction to speak out on behalf of the people of Yei River state.

Alfred Taban Lo Gune, who was appointed a member of parliament in South Sudan's Translational National Legislative Assembly earlier this week, said he joined politics to bring about much-needed change for the people of Kajokeji.

He told South Sudan in Focus the country needed courageous leaders like himself in the national assembly to speak up for the people.

Taban, founder and editor in chief of the privately run Juba Monitor, a daily newspaper, and a former BBC correspondent in Khartoum, said that while he was now a member of the SPLM-IO Taban Deng division, he did recognize factions within the SPLM-IO. "I have been a SPLM member for many, many years, and I still remain SPLM," Taban said.

Taban contended that the SPLM-IO was, at the moment, a unified body.

Various factions of the SPLM and SPLM-IO have had their own spokespersons for the past several months. Taban said that was the problem in South Sudan.

Taban vowed to continue fighting for the rights of the people of South Sudan, the rights of journalists and the rights of the oppressed as a member of parliament.

On May 29, Taban declined President Salva Kiir's offer to sit on the president's National Dialogue Committee. Taban said he wanted no part in the dialogue steering team unless the president released journalists in prison and ended aggressive acts toward press freedoms in South Sudan.

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For sale 5,200 m2 Escazú

Fantastic location for condo, hotel, restaurant. Large lower lot, incredible views. Flexible zoning. Can build 1550 Sqm. 7 meters high zoning. Easy to get liquor license. Low interest financing. Up to 40% financing / get residency through investor status / includes a corporation that is 27 years old and offshore banking account with  Banco National / possible 50/50 partnership. Super location in front of the Bosques de Escazú  Condos  / Monthly rentals available

Send an email Call for more info:
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Costa Rica Penthouse For Sale

 Enjoy the most spectacular views in the valley in this 5 -story Penthouse.  One of a kind property on top of the Corobici / Crowne Plaza Hotel in Sabana overlooking the Central Park and new Soccer Stadium in San José.  Excellent location provides you easy access to everywhere.  Other benefits include 24-hour security, 2 restaurants inside the hotel plus other businesses.  Large Living Room, Elevator goes directly inside Penthouse.  Private hot tub deck and Dance floor with Spectacular views!!!  All exterior walls are glass or have windows. Commercial license is in place.  Seller will consider owner financing.  Asking $695K U.S.  Also available for monthly rent for $3,500 per month on an annual basis.  This is a private condo residence and is Not associated with the Crowne Plaza Hotel.  

Go to  
U.S. contact: Carl Stratton, cell phone: 813 310-7402  Email
Costa Rica contact:  Dan Wise, phone numbers:  2232-4063 / 2232-8610  Email:

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Rich Coast Realty
Rich Coast Realty
Real Estate and Construction in the Central Pacific
Three-bedroom furnished house in gated beach community, walk to the beach, $235k. Ocean View Property, can be subdivided into four view lots, 10 minutes from the beach. Only $40,000! Beachfront Lots from $35,000!Contact us with any questions you have about buying property in Costa Rica, Construction, Residency, etc.
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San Ramon home
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Beautiful home in the mountains near San Ramón with 180-degree view of the gulf of Nicoya. 7 miles from San Ramón, 1 mile from Interamericana highway. 3,200 foot elevation so temp is 65 to 75 year around. Electric gate, private drive. house built in 2010. 2 bedrooms, 1 bath, appliances included. High-speed internet installed,  Price for sale $179,000    Contact Mike:  (please link that email)
Check out slide show HERE!

Santiago de Puriscal
A little piece of paradise near Santiago de Puriscal,
Costa Rica.

16 acres (approximately).  Price: $425,000 USD

We are selling our beautiful finca that has been in the family for 37 years. It is located 3 miles (5 km.) northwest of Santiago de Puriscal in the village of Desamparaditos. We are looking for a discriminating buyer who would appreciate the location, views, flora and fauna. Excellent for artists, writers and nature lovers. Fantastic birding. Very private but not isolated. Have surveyed plans for possible subdividing.

For more information:  In the U.S.A. call the owners: Pete & Debbie Todd: 970 -221-1457 or 970-581-4826 or email In Costa Rica call Liz Guegan at 506-7187-8577.
CODE: 9216-8/11/17

Puriscal home
REDUCED $40K - $355,000
This is a gorgeous, new, 3-bedroom luxury home on 2.2 flat acres in a secure, gated community, high in the hills of Puriscal, with stunning, 180-degree views of the ocean, city and mountains of the Central Valley in Costa Rica. Centrally located in the heart of Costa Rica, you are never more than an hour from the Pacific beaches while being much less than that to the culture, shopping, services and night life of the San José, Escazú, Santa Ana and the whole Central Valley. The Altos de Antigua gated community sits at an altitude of 2,800 feet with mild temperatures year round. Features wide paved roads and cement culverts throughout, a large community pool & spa with changing rooms & showers. The community association fees are $42 a month ($500 annually).
This property is currently being offered for $355,000.00 U.S.
Purchase adjoining 2.2 acre investment lot with the home sale for $35,000.00 U.S. or separately for $55,000.00 U.S.
    Summary of House Features:

       * Completed 2012 to North American standards
       * 3 large bedrooms, 2 full baths
       * Custom designed kitchen w/granite countertops
       * Frigidaire Professional appliance package
       * State-of-the-art solar hot water
       * Eco-friendly Toshiba LED lighting
       * LG Multi-Split air conditioning system
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       * 2-car closed garage w/large paved driveway
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Photos: HERE!
Costa Rica # 506-8985-6705 or from the States call # 561-740-0651 or email

COLINAS DEL SOL Fenced Gated Lots for Sale

* Colinas del Sol is a fenced and gated project  in a quiet area.
* There are 88 clear titled lots.
* Mountain areas with great views.
* Gently sloping level areas ideal for hobby farms, gardening, fruit trees.
* Quiet place to get away from the busy city and beach crowds.
* All lots have gravel roads to them, water and electricity at each.
* Lots are 5,000 sq. meters or larger, starting at only $40,000 USD
* Located in Libertad, Guanacaste, northwest Pacific area of Costa Rica.
* 20 minutes to the Liberia International Airport
* 15 minutes to the Pacific Beaches
* 10 minutes to Medical Facilities
* 25 minutes to the Liberia Hospital
* 5 minutes to Vista Ridge Golf Club

In Costa Rica, Jeffrey Sandi Murray:
In the USA and Canada contact Jim Day: or call 517-484-3675

For more information Click Here:

Etlinger Farm
Beautiful farm in excellent location
At only an hour's drive from San José, minutes from Guápiles, and boardering Braulio Carrillo National Park, Etlingera Farms is one heck of an amazing farm. We purchased this 77-acre farm 10 years ago after many trips, and an exhaustive search. It has a little bit of everything we were looking for and a whole lot of beauty. Our average elevation of 600 meters helps to keep Bella Vista cool year round. This farm is nearly level with a semi-modern 2-bedroom house. A fairly rustic 2-bedroom caretaker's home. And, a comfortable, 1-bedroom cabin where we stay. We have 2 large barns, a chicken coop, and a 3-stall pig pen. There are two tilapia ponds and 2 hectarias, (approximately 5 acres) of different species of bananas. The property boarders Rio Blanco in the rear and has 300 meters of public road frontage. Water, electricity, and telephone are all serviced by public utility. Etlingera Farms was reforested with several thousand wood trees of different tropical varieties. We truly believe this farm is spectacular. Our neighbors are selling for as much as $20 per meter. We are negotiable, motivated and open to offers. Our location can be found by searching Etlingera Farms on Google Maps. Our webpage is and photo album can be found at

horse ranch
Spectacular Horse Ranch and Spiritual/Yoga
Retreat Center For Sale

We invite you to a horseback tour of 187 acres of pristine farm land with breathtaking vistas, including the islands of the Gulf of Nicoya. There are multiple springs and streams, wooded areas, hard-wood and fruit trees, rolling hills with a geat variety of birds and wildlife. This property boasts the privilege of being bordered by thousands of acres of forest preserve down a steep canyon, offering its own spectacular views, which will never be developed. The many hills provide a builder an endless array of possibilities for nestling buildings in where they will have both views and privacy. The elevation of the property at 1,200 to1600 feet above sea level ensures fresh breezes and ideal year-round temperatures with a day-time average in the low 80's for open-air living. There is a ranch-style house with guest house with 8 total bedrooms, 5 modern baths, huge eat-in kitchen, landmark palm-thatched giant rancho, stable, and storage buildings. The home will come partially furnished, including beds, ample dishware for large groups, housewares, linens, washer/dryer, and fine hard-wood hand-built cabinetry. The remaining horses, 4 to 6 of them, will also convey if one wishes. We are also including a LARGE BEACH LOT in nearby Playa Bejuco. San Rafael de Nandayure is a tiny rural village nestled into the mountainside above Carmona with all the charms of the simple good life of a BLUE ZONE. Carmona is a thriving town with a clinic, restaurfants, shopping, and everything else one may need. The price of our listing Rancho Ricco is $799,000. More information
go to  Call Darin Ricco, phone +619-846-8249 or email:

Owner Financing in San Ramon
New Construction, and Ocean View 
Brand new home with 4-plus bedrooms and 3 baths all overlooking an incredible 180-degree view of the Pacific Ocean and mountains. Located only 45 minutes from the San Jose airport and about the same to the Pacific Ocean.  The lower level could be used as a separate apartment or mother-in-law setup. Home includes HUGE master  suite, CLOSETS, custom cabinets, granite counter tops, high wood ceilings, and all in an area that is 70-80 degrees year round. Priced at $199,000. Completion date is January.  See the Virtual Tour CLICK HERE or see our site here If you would like to take a look at this amazing house, please give me a call at  Costa Rica # 506-8755-6743 or if from the States call # 509-570-1928 or email 

Business for sale or lease (paid category)

Hotel in

For sale 5,200 m2 Escazú

Fantastic location for condo, hotel, restaurant. Large lower lot, incredible views. Flexible zoning. Easy to get liquor license. Low interest financing. Up to 40% financing / get residency through investor status / includes a corporation that is 27 years old and offshore banking account with  Banco National / possible 50/50 partnership. Super location in front of the Bosques de Escazú  Condos  / Monthly rentals available

Send an email Call for more info:
Free US phone 877-778-8515  or 410-975-6703 
In Costa Rica phone: 506- 8307-0164

Sur house
Commercial Building for Sale in Sabana Sur
A two story building w/14 areas for offices, call center, storage or residence. Building has been completely remodelled  Transportation within 50 mts. passenger train, buses and taxis. Park, gymnasium, tennis club and National soccer stadium 2 - 3 block walk. 24 hour security, many restuarants, clubs and social facilities nearby. Approximately 325 mts. construction $350,000. 
Contact :
 James Holley E-mail

Live the dream!
Several profitable businesses, including a regional radio station, are for sale in Costa Rica. Certain purchases can provide the new owner with residency as well as a great lifestyle. So live your dream while making a profit. Contact:

Real estate brokers and agents (paid category)

Century 21

A Name You Trust,
Professionalism You Deserve

Tom Ghormley and the dream team!
in CR since 1979

Buying? Selling? Renting?
We Can Do It!
Let us help you live your dreams!
Beachfront, Views, Mountains,
Beaches, Houses, Condos,
Hotels, Restaurants, Projects,
Commercial, Investments and more

 Century 21 Jacó Beach
Playa Jacó, Puntarenas, Costa Rica
U. S. A. phone numbers:  (213) 283-5168 
or Toll Free: (877) 746-3868
Costa Rica phone number: (506) 2643-3356

Tamarindo The experts in buying property in Costa Rica, with more than 20 years experience and the largest networked team of agents in the country.  We can help you learn if investing in Costa Rica is right for you with our low-key, educational approach to sales. Our professional agents can tell you more about Costa Rica properties, including condos, homes, lots and & commercial real estate. Twelve (12) agents to serve you, from Playa Marbella to Playa Dante in the Guanacaste, through our Tamarindo and Flamingo offices. For more information, please contact our local phones: 506-2653-0073 Tamarindo / 506-2201-9056 Flamingo ~ Toll Free: 1-866-976-8898 or email:  or click here

Playas del Coco
We are an award-winning Team of Professional Agents working with Costa Rica’s #1 Selling Real Estate Agency RE/MAX Prestige Ocean Properties. Get to KNOW, LIKE & TRUST us and let us help you find YOUR Pura Vida! We have over 30 years of experience to educate our buyers and sellers in all aspects of Real Estate.  For Information on condos, homes, lots, farms, ranches, commercial or development property

Playas del Coco Click Here!

Playa Panama Click Here!

Playa Hermosa Click Here!
Peninsula Papagayo Click Here!

Playa Matapalo Click Here!
Toll Free 1-877-293-1456


Real estate-related services (paid category)


Costa Rica

Serving Atenas and Surroundings Areas

BUY NOW! Your solar hot water system, so in three months, we can calculate a lower install price for your PV system.  Perfect for homes and hotels. Save up to 40% of your electric bill. More Watts per Panel, Smarter and more Capable Enphase Micro Inverters mean Less Cost and more Flexibility for You.  Fully Guaranteed!

Office: 506-2446-0543
Andre 506-8314-8090
Paul 506-8898-9398



Browse timeshares for sale and rent by owner in Costa Rica at bargain prices. We connect existing timeshare owners with those looking to buy or rent a timeshare on the resale market. Timeshares on the resale market are up to 50% cheaper than those sold through the resort. Already own a timeshare and looking to sell? Stop saying “sell my timeshare” and let help you find a buyer or renter.

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news page

San José, Costa Rica || Wednesday Edition, July 19, 2017 || Vol. 17, No. 142
Real estate
About us

News from the BBC up to the minute

BBC newsfeeds are disabled on archived pages.
Latin news from the BBC up to the minute

San Carlos hit hard by heavy rains

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The canton of San Carlos, in Alajuela, was particularly struck by the heavy downpours that took place on Monday. The district of Florencia suffered from floods and the destruction of sewer pipes by the strong current of the Río Peje.

The authorities have opened an emergency path along the northern exit of the city. For those traveling from Ciudad Quesada to Santa Clara, the best road at this moment is La Abundancia-Florencia.

In the area of Santa Rosa de la Palmera several houses were reported as heavily damaged by the Comisión Nacional de Emergencias.

Cigarette dumping
Ministerio de Hacienda photo   
Some of the latest victims in anti-contraband operations.

Aduanas destroys 10 million cigarettes

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Aduanas destroyed over 10.6 million contraband cigarettes this past Friday valued at around 192.1 million colones.

According to a statement by the Ministerio de Hacienda, which oversees customs control in Costa Rica, the items entered the country without the proper sanitary permits. The cigarettes were dumped and run over with a bulldozer at a landfill in Asserrí controlled by the Instituto de Dessarrollo Rural, the finance ministry said.

“Smuggling and wanting to circumvent health permits erodes tax collection and endangers the public health so we will continue to strengthen controls in this area,” Wilson Céspedes, the director-general for Aduanas said. “The destruction of cigarettes that we did this weekend is only 24 percent of the total held in customs. Our goal is to complete the destruction over the next few months.”

Costa Rican News
Retire NOW in Costa Rica
Fine Dining in Costa Rica
The CAFTA Report
Fish fabulous Costa Rica

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Real Estate
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The contents of this Web site are copyrighted by Consultantes Río Colorado S.A. 2017 and may not be reproduced anywhere without permission.
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From page 7:

Banco Nacional offers new property info app

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Banco Nacional is providing a new app for interested property buyers to view those properties being sold by the bank on the Venta de Bienes.

According to a statement from the bank, the app and the website allow the client to have on-hand and immediate relevant information on the property, to specify the location of where one wants to buy, know the address and contact the person making the offer. At this point, there are at least 90 properties with discounts of up to 50 percent, the bank said. These properties include: land, houses and other forms of real estate.

Visiting the property simply requires one to contact the local executive for the Banco Nacional. “In addition, the Banco Nacional offers very favorable financing conditions: fixed rates in colones of 8 percent and fixed rates in dollars of 5.5 percent. Maximum terms of 20 years (240 months) apply for the purchase of all goods. Maximum periods of 30 years (360 months) apply to the first home greater than 100 million, in colones,” a statement from bank officials said.

These fixed rates do not include the policy and credit is exempt from processing fees. The cost of valuing the property along with notary or registration fees are not included. Purchasing can be done through auction or direct sale. To view the website, one can go HERE.