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(506) 2223-1327                         Published  Friday, July 25, 2014, in Vol. 14, No. 146                        Email us
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Tourist presumed to be in Parque Corcovado sought
By Michael Krumholtz
and the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A man from Alaska is missing after telling his father two weeks ago that he would be traveling into Parque Nacional Corcovado on the Osa peninsula.  Local authorities now say search operations have begun to look for the man, Roman Dial, Jr., 27, a native of Anchorage.

Gilberth Dondi, the Cruz Roja staffer in charge of search efforts, said that crews are starting to look into hotels in Puerto Jiménez to find places where Dial may have checked in. Dondi said the investigation began Thursday after the man's father, Roman Dial, Sr., had sent an email Wednesday to Costa Rican authorities in hopes of locating his son.

The elder Dial described in the email that his son is the adventurous type of traveler and supposedly did not check into any of the tourist posts located around the national park. According to Dondi, in their last correspondence the younger Dial told his father he was going to kayak at the Río Conte, just north of the park, and continue to Río Claro, which is in the southern part of Corcovado.

An administrator from the tourism office at Corcovado confirmed Thursday that the office had received no payment or permission request from Dial. The ranger station in Puerto Jiménez is considered the main entrance for tours into Parque Nacional Corcovado.  Puerto Jiménez is on the east side of the peninsula outside the park boundaries.

Dondi said that Dial Sr. is expected to arrive into the country today to work with authorities on finding his son. The older Dial is a biology and


Roman Dial Jr.

mathematics professor at Alaska Pacific University in Anchorage and is listed in National Geographic's explorer program.

The Corcovado park includes some of the most pristine land in Costa Rica. It is inhabited by puma and other large cats. A former environmental minister, Carlos Manuel Rodríguez, became lost in the park for more than two days in 2006 after he said he was knocked down by a mother tapir.

There are other dangers for solo travelers in Costa Rica. Since 2009 a handful of young men, including a University of Costa Rica student and one park ranger, vanished. More recently the remains of two Dutch women turned up in Parque La Amistad just across the national border in Panamá. Among the missing men is a doctoral student from Chicago and a British journalist from Brussels. Belgium. The remains of a missing Australian student on spring break from a U.S. school eventually were found in 2005 at Tamarindo. More details are HERE!

Some will embark on their Cartago pilgrimage today
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Today is a holiday, and some Costa Ricans will take advantage of the three-day weekend to make their pilgrimage to Cartago.

The Cruz Roja and the Policía de Tránsito were to activate their pilgrimage plans today. The Cruz Roja has an aid station in the plaza of the Basilica de Nuestra Señora de los Angeles in Cartago. Volunteers and staffers treat thousands of footsore faithful each year.

There also will be an aid station at Ochomogo on the Autopista Florencio del Castillo that runs from Curridabat to Cartago. Officials generally figure that most of the early pilgrims will come for the direction of San José.

Traffic police said they will go to work today at 2 p.m. and work all day Saturday and Sunday. The real crush will be Monday through Friday as the number of pilgrims grow. The bulk will time their walk so that they overnight in the basilica plaza Friday night for a Saturday Mass in honor of the
Virgin Mary who is the patroness of the country.

Elsewhere in the country pilgrims already are on the highways, Some are en route from Panamá and even Guatemala.

Today's public holiday commemorates the decision by residents of Nicoya and the Guanacaste area to join with Costa Rica in 1824. It is the Anexión del Partido de Nicoya and there is a lot of government activity in Nicoya, including a meeting of President Luis Guillermo Solís and his cabinet. This is an annual tradition.

Government services except essential ones are not available today. Some stores will be closed or working limited hours. Many private clubs and public bars and restaurants are having special fiestas for the holiday. The Museo Nacional has one planned for Sunday.

A.M. Costa Rica has published today, but its offices in Barrio Otoya are closed. However, staffers are monitoring any news developments and the newspaper will be updated as needed.

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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, July 25, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 146

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Professional Directory
A.M. Costa Rica's professional directory is where business people who wish to reach the English-speaking community may invite responses. If you are interested in being represented here, please contact the editor.

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San Blas church
Municipalidad de Nicoya photo     
The Anexión party already has begun in the community of Nicoya,
and the history church of the Parroquia San Blas is adorned
with festive lighting.

Pressure mounts against IRS overseas rule

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Challenges are growing over the U.S. Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, which is known as FATCA.

This is the law being enforced by the Internal Revenue Service. The law requires foreign financial institutions to report on the bank accounts held by U.S. citizens.

The Republicans Overseas organization is planning to challenge the constitutionality of the law in court.

The Republican National Committee has passed a resolution to repeal the law. Democrats Abroad has moved to support freeing from the law expats who do banking in the same country in which they live

The U.S. House has passed an appropriations bill that contains $1 million to study the impact of foreign bank account reporting, basically a cost-benefit analyses.

The Credit Union National Association, Inc., and the World Council of Credit Unions, Inc., said they support the Republican National committee resolution.

In a letter to the Republicans, the organizations said that "These FATCA requirements have caused banks, both U.S. and foreign, to deny access to banking and other financial services to the 7.6 million Americans overseas, which effectively excludes them from employment opportunities and forces them to choose between U.S. citizenship and their livelihood. An increasing number of expatriate Americans—including music legend Tina Turner — have renounced their U.S. citizenship because of FATCA.

"The IRS’s FATCA regulation requires U.S.-based financial institutions, including U.S. credit unions, to conduct due diligence and tax withholding on international funds transfers even though the FATCA statute passed by Congress made no mention of U.S.-based credit unions or banks. Although U.S. credit unions continue to serve their natural person member-owners who live overseas, FATCA’s requirements impose regulatory burdens on U.S. credit unions that make it more difficult and expensive for credit unions to serve their members living abroad as well as to serve their members who live in the United States and send cross-border wire transfers."

Republicans Overseas said that a lawyer, Jim Bopp, would challenge the legislation on three grounds: That Treasury Department’s unilateral intergovernmental agreements violate the Senate’s treaty power, that FATCA’s excessive penalties violate the 8th Amendment, and that its privacy invasions violate the 4th Amendment.

Republicans Overseas said the organization was moved to challenge the law after a California school teacher faced penalties for failing to file foreign asset disclosure forms on the foreign pension of her late Swiss husband of 30 years. The organization said she had to pay a law firm $124,000 to work with the IRS and expects to pay penalties of up to $800,000.
Judge accused of keeping bail money

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A criminal court judge has been detained in an investigation of embezzlement.

Prosecutors identified the judge by the last name of León, He is assigned to Cañas but the allegations involve actions in Upala when he worked as a criminal court judge there.

He is accused of assessing some 2 million colons (about $3.760) in bail in a criminal case last Oct. 29 and then keeping the money himself, said the Poder Judicial.

In April while he served temporarily as a family judge he ordered a man to pay 320,000 colons in child support and kept that, too, the Poder Judicial alleged. After the woman in the case complained, he eventually gave her the money, prosecutors said.
Investigators conducted searches in Cañas and in Upala Thursday.

Ministerio de Gobernación, Policía y Seguridad Pública photo      
This a part of the lumber and logs officers confiscated in Pueblo Nuevo.

Police crack down on illegal timber

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Police confiscated three loads of wood this week, including some valuable cocobolo (Dalbergia retusa) that they spotted being lumbered on a reserve owned by the Instituto de Desarrollo Agrario. This is a tree that is in danger of extinction because of the heartwood's great beauty.

Officers also confiscated a team of oxen and a cart that was being used to move the lumber.  This was on 27 de Abril in Paraíso de Santa Cruz, Guanacaste. Officers noted that the cocobolo wood can sell for as much as $80 a board foot.

In Sabalito de Coto Brus other officers found a large quantity of sawed lumber on a truck, and the driver did not have paperwork to support the claim that the wood was legal, they said.

And in Pueblo Nuevo police spotted a tractor pulling a load of logs, and the driver did not have paperwork, they said. In all cases the Ministerio de Ambiente y Energía becomes involved.

N. Korean irked when Kim is mocked

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

In the United States, mocking political leaders is a national pastime that most Americans enjoy. Even the targets of ridicule usually laugh along or ignore it.

In North Korea, poking fun at the Supreme Leader, Kim Jong Un, appears to be viewed as an existential threat.

For example, in April, North Korean officials dropped by a London barber shop, which mocked Kim Jong Un’s hairstyle in a promotional poster. The poster showed Kim's famous coiffure and read “bad hair day?”

Earlier this month, North Korea’s ambassador to the United Nations, Ja Song Nam, filed a formal complaint urging the body to force the U.S. block the release of an upcoming movie, “The Interview.”

The comedy, which stars Seth Rogen and James Franco in a plot to assassinate Kim, mocks North Korea’s ruler.

The complaint read that “to allow the production and distribution of such a film on the assassination of an incumbent Head of a sovereign State should be regarded as the most undisguised sponsoring of terrorism as well as an act of war."

Now this week, North Korea asked China to stop the spread of a viral video that lampoons Kim. According to the Chosun Ilbo newspaper, the North says the video, which shows Kim in a variety of silly situations, including being knocked out by President Barack Obama, seriously compromises Kim's dignity and authority.

While North Korea’s response to the mockery of Kim may seem extreme to many, it is not surprising to North Korea watchers.

“It is a political culture that cannot deal with ‘dissing’ their leaders or their country,” said Katharine H. S. Moon, the SK-Korea Foundation chairwoman in Korea studies at the Brookings Institution in Washington, DC. “Even though we can find humor in it as a clever, entertaining spoof – and have no problem laughing at and with our own political leaders – North Koreans regard the Kims as deities. And so, to them, it is sacrilegious.”

Moon said North Korea may feel compelled to react to these incidents to save face.

The Chinese video presented a new wrinkle as it comes from an erstwhile friendly nation.

According to Ms. Moon, “Kim and his small leadership cohort know that China looks down on him and the country, and is tired of dealing with the recalcitrant behavior,” while at the same time, North Korea “does not see itself as a client of China – so, even if it benefits economically and politically from China's power, it has never acted with subservience or servility toward Beijing.”

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A.M. Costa Rica

Third News Page
San José, Costa Rica, Friday, July 25, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 146
Real Estate
About us
new bridge
Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Transportes photo
This pedestrian overpass at Abangares is one of nine being built.
Interamericana facelift between Cañas and Liberia nearly finished
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Interamericana is being transformed south of Liberia. A stretch between Liberia and Cañas is nearly finished.

The job widens the key highway from two to four lanes. The road work alone is $85.6 million, and $44.6 million more is being spent on additional projects, said the Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Transportes.

With four lanes, officials had to widen or build 18 bridges at a cost of $27.7 million. The contract covers 50.6 kilometers or about 31.3 miles. The government made the decision to put down 10 inches of concrete instead of asphalt because the concrete will last longer.

Eventually the wider highway will run all the way north to the Nicaraguan border. Much of the money is coming from a loan by the Banco Interamericano de Desarrollo.

The time of year around the July 25 Anexión holiday, officials usually announce major projects for Guanacaste and the Nicoya peninsula. These are not those types of projects. These jobs have been in the works for years and the contract was let in 2011.
bus turnouts
Consejo Nacional de Vialidad photo
Job includes sidewalks, a bike path and bus turnouts like this one.

An A.M. Costa Rica reader's opinion
Former resident says he had a really expensive return visit here

By Ralph Simonson*
Special to A.M. Costa Rica

I am writing now, because I love Costa Rica, and I am so upset at its decline.  I hope the negative liberals do not feel compelled to respond because I am not criticizing, as much as I am sorry the country is taking the course it is taking. 

We just returned from a 16-day stay in Costa Rica.  We planned this trip because of our love for the country and to see friends we have there.  We started to come to Costa Rica in 1993.  We purchased a coffee finca there that we owned for 12 years, and we lived in Escazú for four years.  If I can return to Central America, we have decided on Panamá.  This is another story since most people know the reasons to go there versus Costa Rica. 

When we arrived in Costa Rica, we had a marvelous experience with the rental car company.  They were very friendly and efficient.  We arrived in the evening and needed to find a place to eat after checking in with the B&B we had signed up for.  We finally found a place near Multiplaza.  They were very accommodating and a lovely place to eat.  The problem was, we had two pasta plates and two glasses of wine and the bill was $72!  We think this is very high. 

Our B&B went to great extents to get all our credit card information and would not reserve the room without it.  They gave us directions which we were familiar with but no address or signs on the house.  Finally a guard told us where it was.  It was a very nice place, and they knocked themselves out with amenities.  When we were leaving in the morning, we were informed we needed to pay??  We said we just did that with our credit card,  Sorry, that was just to reserve the room, they had to have cash! 

We had booked our favorite hotel on the mountain because they gave us a great price.  They told us in advance it would be cash only.  We agreed.  When we arrived, we noticed on their windows that they accepted virtually every credit card that existed!!  So be it, but when we commented that the shower drain was stopped up and the shower head was like a faucet, they said there was nothing they could do about it.  For the price, we lived with it. 

We immediately noticed the traffic problems.  Drivers completely ignored all stop lights, signs and total disrespect for the laws.  This was no surprise having lived there, but the disregard for traffic laws was unbelievable.   We found out the parking tickets in Multiplaza  
were enough to make one not go there.  What a shame and talking  to friends who live there, they all said they do not go there anymore.  We have favorite places we liked to eat and tried out most of them.  Prices are high, but I will not go into that.  We did go to one we liked and looked at the menu and saw a pasta plate for $22.  We left and later found out a friend went there and did not order drinks and his bill was $150 for two people. 

I am sorry, but that is absurd and not the Costa Rica I knew.  With good friends and destinations we went to, we did enjoy and I should elaborate on all the good as well as the bad, but it would be to no avail.  What I am trying to point out is WHY tourism is not what it used to be and why. 

As we leave, we pay the $29 per person exit fee that no other country has.  Getting the ticket, I ask if people over 75 have to remove their shoes going through security since we do not do that in any other country.  The ticket agent said she had never heard of that and at 75 they considered that young in Costa Rica.  OK, we are well aware of the attitudes here.  We went through security removing everything.  I had to take my belt and watch off and my wife was never asked to remove her jewelry??  We proceed to the gate and wait our turn.  When we presented our boarding pass, we are immediately subjected to a total baggage search upon entering the plane.  This luggage has been searched and x-rayed before, but we are subjected to another manual search!!!  

We spent a lot of money in Costa Rica since I had some cosmetic dental work.  I am not complaining about the prices, but I noticed that everywhere we used our credit card, the colons charged was in excess of the bill.  They talked about the conversion rate, but they charged on the rate to sell colons, not buy them.  I ended up paying a couple hundred dollars more than the actual charge because of this exchange.  Our credit card does not charge for foreign transactions, so this excess is only attributable to the Costa Rica  system!!!

I only hope the new president can straighten out some of these problems, but I doubt it.  Costa Rica is such a beautiful country and we truly love it, BUT it is losing out to other Central America countries that are progress oriented!!!!  We will visit again, but only when we are flushed with cash and know we will pay way in excess of anywhere else in Central and North America.  

*Mr. Simonson is from Leesburg, Florida. 

EDITOR'S NOTE: Businesses that decline to take credit cards sometimes are defrauding the country by not remitting the sales tax.

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You need to see Costa Rican tourism information HERE!

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Fish Fabulous Costa Rica

A.M. Costa Rica's Fourth News page
San José, Costa Rica, Friday, July 25, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 146
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APM Terminals gets more time to obtain permits for Moín project
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Plans to begin construction of a new container terminal in Limón are on hold for three months more due to legal reasons. The Caribbean economic development agency agreed to extend the start date for the work that was slated to begin Thursday. A request to do so came from the Consejo Nacional de Concesiones.

This is the nearly $1 billion modern container facility that is highly controversial.

Construction is now set for Oct. 24, according to the written agreement. The business APM Terminals is contracted to build the structure in Moín. However officials say that there are more permits and background requests that need to be checked before the company can break ground.

“Legal certainty must be guaranteed so to allow the state and Costa Ricans to continue attracting investments, generating employment, and maintaining the export interests of a stable economy,” said Ann McKinley Meza, the president of the development agency, the Junta de Administración Portuaria y Desarrollo Económica de la Vertiente Atlántica.

According to a clause in the contract, the company's work will be postponed until it presents all necessary permits, approvals, and
licenses required by Costa Rica. A current problem is the environmental impact statement that has been ruled deficient.

“In this case the administrator will postpone the order's commencement until it's been verified that the contracted party has complied with all the stated conditions that are pending approval,” the contract reads.

The government is not financially liable to APM Terminals for the suspension, according to the suspension agreement.

APM Terminals has been dogged by legal appeals and complaints from unhappy employees of the government docks in Moín. A recent problem was an access road that passed over mangroves.

APM Terminals will build an artificial island and do major dredging, so the environmental impact is substantial.

Some shippers also oppose the new facility because their costs will be greater.

The political implications of the terminal facility are complex. Some business leaders expect President Luis Guillermo Solís to try to find a way to dump the project to appease allies who do not favor concessions of public facilities.  Lawmakers from leftist Frente Amplio already have called for the contract to be trashed.

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The Relocation/Retirement tour with the

 (as reported by the moving companies)
Visit many rental options to actually experience the price/amenity options available in more of the areas chosen by Expats for security, comfort, and quality of life.

Meet many Expats who are willing to share their experiences and how the tour has value long after the “lust” wears off.
See how to choose a Retirement tour video by past guest!

Ask the others what you get for your money, and then compare the quality of accommodations, quality, quantity and variety of food and drink to measure the best value for your money. 

Learn how others “talk the talk” and learn who really can “walk the walk”

Please visit my Web site  to contact my references.
George Lundquist, retirement, relocation columnist, Guide & Developer/Builder.


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Costa Rica's world class medical specialists are at your command. Get the top care for much less than U.S. prices. It is really a great way to spend a vacation. See our list of recommended professionals HERE!amcr-prom

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Real estate for rent (paid category)
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.

MONTHLY $800 TO $1,200

Villas Casa Loma has everything you are looking for.  Best vistas, climate, value.  Four unique homes in a secure private compound on a ridge near Alajuela overlooking the entire Central Valley.  Two are available fully furnished and equipped, each a complete home accommodating 4 persons in two bedrooms with ensuite baths.  Pool, rancho, mirador, other features.  Ask about part-month rates.  Call Gerry at (506) 2441-8796 or e-mail at  See virtual tour of accommodations HERE!
Get to know the real Costa Rica – you may want to live here someday.

HP Cattle rentals
Mountain homes or farm for rent
Barva volcano, Heredia province
We offer for rent a gorgeous two-bedroom mountain chalet and a one-bedroom mountain home located on the slopes of the Barva Volcano, Heredia Province. The homes are situated at 7,300 feet altitude and within a working horse ranch just three kilometers from the Braulio Carrillo National Park entrance. From our homes one can hike to the Barva volcano crater-lake.  Enjoy a spacious living room, kitchen, fireplace and breathtaking views of the Irazú volcano and the Central Valley. Observe dozens of cloud forest bird species to include the resplendent quetzal.  The homes are incomparable in beauty and attention to detail within the Barva highland area.  We are only 35-55 minutes from Costa Rica’s three principal cities (Heredia, Alajuela, and San José), less than two hours from the central Pacific beaches, and three hours from the Caribbean beaches. Enjoy the tranquility of the mountains while maintaining quick access to the conveniences of the city and rapid access to other eco-tourist destinations in Costa Rica. Additionally, we can board your horses at a reasonable fee.  We can also offer our clients rental of a small and fully functional farm complete with stables, pasture, and office space.
Mountain chalet: $750.  Basic mountain home: $400.
Boutique mountain home: One-bedroom $850. Two-bedroom $1,000.
Small Farm that includes a chalet, basic mountain home, stables, and 8,000m2 of pasture/green areas: $1,500.

oranic farm
$800 plus utilities, 2-bedroom, 2-bath house, fully furnished, Internet included, cable TV available. Inside organic farm, safe and secure. In the country but close to town. Santa Barbara de Heredia,  Email for more info and pictures. Long term, NO DOGS.

Apartments Lemur
Apartment Lemur for rent
San Francisco de Dos Rios, El Bosque, furnished, 2-bedroom, 1-bath apartment, quiet area, free cable TV, WiFi. large patio area, swimming pool, parking, security. Close to San José. $440/month. Retired persons preferred. Call 8375-6838.

Beautiful 2-bedroom 2-bathroom American-style apartments with an elevator to your front door in a secure building located in Gringo Gulch the American Section of downtown San José. Costa Rica. Located between the Hotel Del Rey, the Hotel Mona Lisa and the Sportsman's Lodge and The Zona Blue (AKA) Little Habana across the street from Harry's Poas Bar, and next to the Holiday Inn.
apartment view
 There are 15 restaurants and American- style bars on this block and four supermarkets within a few blocks. There are 5 casinos within 2 blocks and dozens of hotels around this apartment. Included in your rental price, fast Internet, the best they have in Costa Rica, cable TV with 80 stations, water, washer
 and dryer. All you pay extra for is electricity. You have your own meter and receive a bill from the electric company every month.  This apartment has a American-style hot water system, hot water in both bathrooms and the kitchen. There is a 25-foot balcony to sit on and watch the people in San José walk by. The neighborhood Barrio Amón is the safest in San José For photos and more information contact:

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A.M. Costa Rica's
Fifth news page
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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, July 25, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 146
Real Estate
About us

vorder fence
Kathy Babcock photo
The border fence at Sasabe, Arizona, looking south into Sonora, Mexico.

Volunteers work the border
to keep migrants healthy

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Kathy Babcock’s involvement with immigration issues began with a knock on her door.

Three days after she moved to Green Valley, Arizona, two Mexican migrants who had crossed the border knocked, asking for food and water.

“We had no idea what was going on here,” said Ms. Babcock, who had recently moved from the San Francisco area to the retirement community, which is located about 70 kilometers from the border. “We gave them food and water and $10 and pointed them north.”

She soon became involved with a group called the Green Valley Samaritans, whose mission “is to save lives in the desert,” she said, noting their group has about 100 active volunteers, almost all of them retirees, and is funded by donations.​

Like Ms. Babcock, many of the dozens of organizations and volunteer groups that work along the U.S.-Mexico border became involved, and continue to operate, because of the immigration concerns they see occurring in their own backyard.

The groups have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the United States.

The groups say Operation Gatekeeper, a border enforcement policy enacted in 1994, has led to a marked increase in migrant injuries and deaths. The operation concentrated border agents and added walls and fencing in populated areas.

The result: it forced migrants trying to cross the border into increasingly remote, harsh environments, using natural barriers as a deterrent.

A 2009 report by the American Civil Liberties Union stated: Since Operation Gatekeeper went into effect in 1994, an estimated 5,600 migrants have died while attempting unauthorized border crossings.

Enrique Morones, the president and founder of San Diego-based Border Angels, said that number has now grown to more than 10,000 deaths.

In response to migrants dying in these conditions, many longtime groups, such as Humane Borders, No More Deaths and Border Angels, place water, food and other essentials along well-traveled paths that migrants use in the deserts from Texas to California.

Juanita Molina, executive director of Humane Borders, said dehydration is the No. 1 cause of death among those crossing the border.

Humane Borders, beginning in 2000, started maintaining a network of dozens of water stations – ranging from a single 250-liter barrel of water to a half-dozen barrels – in remote locations in Arizona and across the border in Mexico.

The land that migrants travel across is high desert, Ms. Molina said. “I think it’s very difficult to understand. What we’re looking at here in the desert is you have the vast wilderness, extreme heat and lack of water.

“It’s possible for someone to be perfectly healthy and to die within 48 hours,” she said.

In addition to the water stations, Humane Borders has joined the Pima County, Arizona, medical examiner in mapping the deaths of migrants attempting to cross the Arizona-Mexico border, Ms. Molina said.

Between October 1999 and June 2013, Humane Borders collected data on more than 2,400 migrant deaths in Pima County.

The Arizona OpenGIS Initiative for Deceased Migrants allows family members who have lost a loved one to find the location where they died and, when possible, the cause of death, Ms. Molina said. Among the main causes of death, when a cause can be found, is exposure and blunt-force trauma.

The Tucson sector, which covers much of the Arizona border, and the Rio Grande Valley sector in Texas are the most deadly for migrants crossing the border, according to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection. In 2013, 194 people died in the Tucson sector; 156 died in the Rio Grande Valley sector.

Earlier this month, the Border Patrol said it had already identified more than 220 deaths along the Southwest border, including 34 water-related deaths, so far this year.

Ms. Molina noted that migration is down by all accounts and yet “we find over 150 remains each year and we aren’t actively searching.”

It “was always the hope when the organization started – we would put out water and show the rate of deaths and the government would be horrified and we’d find an end to this,” Ms. Molina said. “That hasn’t happened.”

Maryada Vallet, a media spokesperson with No More Deaths, founded in 2004, said the group’s volunteers run year-round camps in remote sections of the Arizona desert. They hike the Sonoran desert, mapping migration trails and leaving water, food and other critical items along high-traffic paths.​

In the past 10 years, she said the group has maintained its core desert aid work, but they have adapted to changes along the border.

In 2006, they began providing support to the thousands of undocumented migrants being deported from the U.S. to Mexico, Ms. Vallet said. 

These were people, Ms. Vallet said, “who had lived in the U.S. for 20 to 30 years … who hardly spoke Spanish anymore,” and they were being left to fend for themselves in towns across the border.

Their group works in the border towns of Nogales, Sonora, and Agua Prieta, Mexico, providing aid to recent deportees, including an orientation to the towns as well as how to contact family members from whom they’ve been separated.

They also provide witness in the desert to what they call a low-grade war zone, Ms. Vallet said.

No More Deaths has begun to document abuse suffered by the migrants in short-term border custody, Ms. Vallet said. The group’s 2011 report, "A Culture of Cruelty," documented more than 30,000 incidents of abuse and mistreatment of detainees over a three-year period, Ms. Vallet said.

She said detainees, who are usually held less than 72 hours, say they have endured verbal and physical abuse while in custody, medical negligence, loss of belongings and repatriation at night.

With this information, Ms. Vallet said, it’s “concerning that so many thousands of children are in custody now.”

The Green Valley Samaritans have found hundreds of migrants by traveling the old mining roads between their town and the border crossing near Sasabe, Arizona, Ms. Babcock said.

These roads are deceiving, she said. When migrants get in trouble in the desert – they have lost their group, they are unable to walk because of injury, or they are elderly or young, tired or ill – they head for a road, thinking someone will travel by, she said.

But these roads don’t get much traffic, said Ms. Babcock, 68, who regularly goes out on searches with her partners, who are 78 and 83 years old.

Of the people they do find, 90 percent of them “want to go back to where they came from,” she said.

In those cases, they call the Border Patrol, who will send an agent to pick up the migrant.

If migrants want to go on, though, Samaritans caution them about the dangers of crossing the desert and explain about the checkpoints in the distance. They can’t give migrants a map, so they will point them in the right direction. And the group’s members always send off the migrants with water and food, first aid supplies, clean socks and a hat, she said.

The Samaritans also clean up the trash left by migrants traveling through the desert. They find lots of cans of Red Bull and bottles of No-Doz, she said, adding that traffickers often feed the migrants these items to keep them walking and to walk faster.

They also find packages of birth control, she said. Some women, Ms. Babcock said, fearing they will be raped on the journey, take birth control to prevent pregnancy.

Victor Brabble, Customs and Border Protection spokesperson for Arizona, said the agency shares a common goal with the humanitarian groups: mitigating deaths in the border region.

But "do we see eye to eye with these groups all the time? No," Brabble said. “We don’t work side-by-side with them, but we do share the same mission.”

He said the agency shares with the groups information about some aspects of their mission, such as a recent rescue beacon program.

The Border Patrol has erected in the desert nearly two dozen nine-meter-tall beacons that shine a blue light that is visible for kilometers. The beacons have signs in three languages that direct users to push a red button that sends out a signal for help, and border agents respond.

He said the agency has about 5,000 agents on the Arizona border. Many are trained first-responders, because enforcement can often lead to search-and-rescue efforts by the agents, he said.

Over the July 4th holiday, Brabble said border agents rescued a diabetic migrant who had fallen ill and been left behind by his group.

Brabble said border agents are told not to interfere with humanitarian groups' efforts.

However, No More Deaths videotaped border agents vandalizing water drops last year. Brabble said that did happen, and the agents were dealt with and instructed not to interfere with the group's efforts.

While Babcock said the Samaritan volunteers have never been threatened or seen evidence of drug trafficking, Brabble said the Border Patrol has warned the humanitarian groups of the potential for danger.

“We urge our humanitarian groups to proceed with caution. You don’t know who you’re dealing with,” he said, adding the migrants could be criminals, gang members or drug traffickers.

That's just what Jim Gibson, executive vice president and media liaison for the Texas Border Volunteers, said he sees in Brooks County, Texas.

Gibson said of the migrants that have been apprehended in the county, many have links to Mexican gangs, such as MS13 and La Hermandad de Pistoleros Latinos.

Brooks County is part of the Border Patrol’s Laredo sector, which ranks third in both migrant apprehensions and deaths, as well as drug seizures, according to patrol statistics. Yet the county lies more than 100 kilometers from the border.

The Volunteers, which started as part of the Minutemen Civil Defense Corps in Arizona, broke away and formed its own group, focusing on Texas-specific issues and becoming more proactive in aligning themselves with law enforcement, he said.

The group works closely with Border Patrol and local law enforcement, conducting surveillance watches about eight times a year, Gibson said.

Members will conceal themselves on private land and, using night-vision and thermal-imaging equipment, identify, observe and report to border agents the groups or individual migrants they see. Many times, the groups will walk right by the concealed members, he added.

Unlike groups that provide humanitarian aid to migrants, Gibson said the Volunteers try to avoid contact with the migrant groups. In fact, they have a strict no-contact policy, he said, for several reasons, including group members have no way to know if a migrant has a criminal background or is ill.

Also, he said, if they cause a group to scatter, it makes the Border Patrol's job harder in locating the migrants, and could cause some migrants to get lost in the rugged countryside.

Gibson described the terrain in Brooks County, which has a population of about 7,000, as harsh – filled with heavy brush, sandy soil that makes it difficult for foot traffic, triple-digit temperatures in summer.

“If you get lost out there and don’t know what you’re doing, don’t have food and water,” you could die, Gibson said.

“In the process of reporting these people,” he said, “we’re saving lives.”

The humanitarian crisis caused by a recent influx of migrants from Central America crossing the U.S.-Mexico border is no surprise to the many organizations and volunteer groups who work there.

All the humanitarian groups interviewed said that, up until about 2006, the majority of those crossing the border illegally were Mexican migrants looking for work.

But about three years ago, the groups said they started to see a dramatic shift in the migrant population, to people from basically three Central American countries: Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador.

“This current phenomenon shouldn’t be called a surge,” said Ms. Vallet, of No More Borders. “We’ve seen this increase steadily over the last few years, in women and children from Central America.”

The reason for the crossings changed as well, they said, from migrants looking to make a living to feed their families to those escaping violence, poverty and gang activity.

Texas’ Rio Grande Valley is not only the No. 1 spot for migrant apprehensions along the Southwest U.S. border, but it also has become the most popular crossing area for Central American migrants.

Since October 2013, Border Patrol agents have apprehended nearly 43,000 migrants trying to cross the border in the Rio Grande Valley.

A collective of south Texas community and faith organizations, known as South Texas Refugee Response, joined efforts, setting up a short-term shelter on June 10. Since then, they have helped more than 3,200 people.

For the Brownsville diocese, the response to the humanitarian crisis began as a grassroots effort, said Brenda Riojas, communications director for the Catholic Diocese of Brownsville.

Earlier this year, local parishioners witnessed migrant women and children being dropped off at the bus station in McAllen, Texas.

The women and children had been caught illegally crossing the U.S. border, and after being detained and given hearing dates to appear before immigration courts, were released to find family members living elsewhere in the United States.

Riojas said many of the women and children were in need, tired, confused, unsure of how to contact family members in some cases.

At first, parishioners started providing humanitarian aid, food and water, from the trunks of their cars at the bus station, she said.

As the numbers grew, though, officials at the bus station requested Catholic Charities’ help, saying their space was not suitable for the services the volunteers were providing.

Riojas said the organizations throughout the community, and especially the city of McAllen, stepped up and provided multiple services to the migrants.

The Salvation Army provides meals, Save the Children works with the children, allowing the mothers to shower, rest or make travel arrangements. The local municipality brought in portable showers, doctors donate their time, and one private donor even provided the use of a medical unit.

Two parishes – Immaculate Conception Cathedral in Brownsville and Sacred Heart Church in McAllen – provide space for the families. Some women and children stay just long enough to catch the next bus, but most stay for about 24 hours, long enough to shower and arrange travel.

On a recent day in San Diego, Morones, of the Border Angels, was working with college student volunteers who had planned to deliver water to the desert as well as helping recent detainees - a woman and her young daughter who had made the long trek from El Salvador - coordinate travel plans to find relatives in the U.S.

The mother and daughter came, he said, because the daughter, who is just 7 years old, had witnessed a man get killed and the mother feared for her daughter’s life.

Project manager Lonnie Briseno said Project Oak Tree, an effort by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Las Cruces, started providing aid on July 2 and has helped about 80 migrants from Central America so far.

By the time the refugees arrive in Las Cruces, he said, “Some have been very distraught. Some women were separated from their husbands at the border and they don’t know where their husbands are.”

Medically, many are tired, dehydrated and emotionally drained, Briseno said.

Earlier this month, the Border Patrol launched an ad campaign directed at Central America residents who are considering crossing the U.S. border.

Brabble said the campaign stresses the many dangers of trying to cross the border and tries to dissuade migrants from making that decision.

The U.S. Department of Immigration and Customs Enforcement said in a statement that it has worked with several non-governmental organizations regarding migrant detainees.

Danielle Bennett, a spokesperson for the agency, said in a statement that its Enforcement and Removal Operations officers in Arizona work with the Florence Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project regarding their mission to provide legal access and assistance to detained aliens.

In 2013, the Border Patrol apprehended more than 400,000 migrants crossing the Southwest U.S. border. Since October of last year, 50,000 unaccompanied children, as well as 39,000 adults and children, have been caught crossing the border, according to the Obama administration.

President Barack Obama recently asked Congress for $3.7 billion to address the huge influx of Central American migrants attempting to cross into Texas, calling the situation an urgent humanitarian crisis.

Several of the groups said they were pleased with his word choice. However, they said his response to the crisis – the proposal includes more money for border enforcement and speedier deportation hearings - is anything but humanitarian.

“With his request, he’s treating it as more of a homeland security issue and enforcement issue, instead of a humanitarian one,” No More Death’s Ms. Vallet said. “More enforcement isn’t part of the answer … it’s leading to the problem.”

Border Angels’ Morones agreed, saying, “A humanitarian crisis needs a humanitarian response. Deporting them is not a humanitarian response,” he said. “The best thing the president could do is have humane reform.”

Morones said for all the debate over immigration, no one has bothered to ask the migrants themselves why they are crossing.

“We’re talking to these families. They just want to be documented,” he said.

There are three main reasons the migrants come, Morones said. “The No. 1 reason, they want to put food on their table. No. 2, they want to be with their families already in the U.S. No. 3, they want to escape the violence. The most violent countries in the Americas” are Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador.

Riojas, of the Brownsville diocese, said what their volunteers are hearing from the migrants is they just want a safe place to raise their children.

“I don’t think anyone has an easy answer” to this current crisis, she said. “We do have to consider that they are refugees – they’re not leaving to come here for vacation. They’re leaving because the situation in their home country makes it very challenging to raise a family. They’re trying to find a safe space.

“The world is watching how we’re reacting to this humanitarian crisis,” Riojas added. The women and children who come here “want a safe place for their families to grow. Simply returning them to their home countries is not an answer.”
Real estate-related services (paid category)

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For those looking for quality properties and service at quality prices. Central Valley Rentals. Offering honesty, experience and knowledge. Your Villa Real Expert. Call us now  Toll Free (877) 845-4533. In Costa Rica 4030-5480 or 8339-2112.

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Re/Max offers comprehensive Costa Rica Real Estate, vacation rental and relocation services. Our award-winning team is the largest in the country, and can show you the best lifestyle and financial investment properties in the most desirable locations including prime real estate in Tamarindo, Langosta, Conchal, Flamingo, Pinilla, Coco, Hermosa and Playa Panama.  Give us a call in Costa Rica at 506-2653-0073, or toll free from the U.S. and Canada 1-800-385-5930. Re/Max, the name you trust for the finest real estate services in Costa Rica.

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Grecia 794
This is the BIGGEST DEAL of the month now at $1,100,000: HERE!
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Spectacular view property on a ridge near Alajuela.  Large home and 3 rental homes totaling 7,300 square feet (678 square meters) live-in construction.  Property area is 3,376 square meters (0.83 acres) including a vacant lot for expansion options.  In total there are 10 bedrooms, each with an ensuite bath.  Property has pool, rancho, mirador, courtyard and covered parking.  Homes have romantic fireplaces, built-ins, storage, other luxury features.  Turnkey sale includes all appliances, furniture, fixtures, equipment.  Call Gerry at (506) 2441-8796 or e-mail at  See property video here:

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A perfect ranch in Cariari, Guápiles
Fertile 42.5 hectares (about 105 acres) with a clean river and a natural spring of good water. Perfect for cattle or horses. Property faces a main road and contains corral and living quarters. Special sale price $245,000. Call (506) 8383-3104 or write

ARenal property
Location: Near Arenal        Price: $2.7 million
Size: 113 acres
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Beach Front Home - Central Pacific Coast
Pristine condition, recently renovated. The best surfing and boogie boarding in the country. The most magnificent ocean and sunset view. New 20-year, fully registered concession on one of the most beautiful beaches in Costa Rica. Easy access from San José (1 hour 25 minutes) located between Jacó and Manuel Antonio, in Esterillos Oeste.  2 or 3 bedrooms. Center room can be living room. House with 2 1/2 baths. Separated rancho with kitchen and large entertainment patio. Landscaped garden with no water shortage. Has both municipal and well water with automatic watering system. Direct access to the beach as no road is in front of property. Protected land on one side of the property for additional privacy.  Alarm system and complete shutters for security while away. Lot approximately 1,725 square meters, Asking price: $385.000.  Contact to Paul at local phone 506- 2637-8858  Cell phone 506- 8823-8550 .  US Mobile 908-400-9772  Emails:  and

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or CR (506) 8349-2025.

Large estate on island with sea view !!!
Located on the Big Island and five minutes from the center of Golfito on boat.  The large land has three hills with forest in which there are many trees and animals such as parrots, parakeets and monkeys.!!   It has a beautiful view
island one
of downtown Golfito , mountains and sea. It has three entry beach options. Your own beach,  large land with fruit trees, livestock grazing.Mangrove front with lots of fish, snapper, etc. Also access to your own part of sea with full of  seafood: pianguas, cambutes, chuchecas, clams, etc. .  Natural beauty is a paradise to live, walking, diving, fishing, horse riding, climbing to the mountains, swimming in the creek or the sea, exploring
the land, animals and trees, etc.  Your paradise is here for you, your family or develop your own rain forest country club. This is  the place of your dreams !  The full land measures 119,284 m2. All legal papers and blueprints are ready to get a new owner.   Property has its own water and  ready to instal solar panel or electric  power plant.     It is Isla Grande - Segura, diagonal to grazing
 Puntarenitas Beach in Golfito for sale at $1.500.000 U.S. Further information contact : Raquel or Maria Ester at, Local phone numbers: +506 8690-2325   or  +506  8673-0112.

Casa Fiesta
Caribbean Beachfront Home and Apartment  Puerto Viejo
 Right on the Beach!
Ranch style home with detached garage and apartment Air-conditioned home sleeps 4, apartment sleeps 2 ,  3 baths, hot water showers  Fenced-in property with pool, screened in patio  Turnkey....Everything is included with the sale!   Washer/dryer, furniture, appliances, tools, household items and linens, bicycles, and even a vehicle! Great income potential also  259,000 US Please visit our Web site for many more photos go to:  Email inquires to:

Lundquist photo
More photos HERE!
Another 'live in the view' home in Puriscal
$179,900 includes:
Lot on river, concrete road, custom kitchen & bath with granite counter tops, PEX plumbing, 2” Styrofoam, sandwiched in steel roof, 4” concrete/recycled Styrofoam & steel walls, laminated, bronzed windows, custom wood doors, appliances and all transfer taxes, and fees.

2, 900 sq feet under roof, 1,250 sq feet inside walls, 2 bedroom, 2 ½ baths, laundry room, three separate patio areas, covered carport, shade trees, in upscale, secure project.  This project has river with protected areas & walkways. It is only 10 minutes on all paved roads to Santiago de Puriscal, 45 minutes to La Plaza Mall/Hospital CIMA and SJO airport, and 1 ½ hours to Pacific Beaches. It has recently upgraded public water supply and dependable ICE electric and high-speed internet.
Please come visit our projects and meet four new homeowners who have recently moved into their new “live in the view” homes to verify how happy they are and that they all came in under budget. CONTACT: George Lundquist  Home phone: 2417-1041 Cell phone: 8888 4543 Skype glundquist.
To see more Photos of this house, click HERE!

Five bedrooms
Puntarenas City, Puntarenas
Beach home central Pacific Ocean
Five bedrooms, three-and-a-half baths plus guest house
Features include out door BBQ, swimming pool, plus on the beach.  The home is completely furnished including all linens, kitchen cook ware, pots, pans, all dishes and much much more. Each room is individually air conditioned.  Office with all connections for WiFi,  Hot water in bathrooms, kitchen and laundry room.  Fully furnished. Includes all linens, TV’s, refrigerator/freezer, dish washer, microwave, electric stove/oven, washer & dryer and many “as seen on TV” appliances   Will consider trade for U.S. Property.  Asking  $250,000. 
Call Gary 8784-2945  English only, or email

St. Michael
Ocean View estates inside a gated community from $5.94 M2.  Properties start at 39K. NO HOA FEES.  Community salt water modern waterfall swimming pools, organic vegetable gardens, exotic flower gardens, food forest, mature orchards, fresh fish from aquaponics, stables, community center, and much more.  Each lot comes with an edible landscaping including pineapples, plantains, papayas, guanabanas, bananas, and more.  Most lots already have mature mango, lemon, orange, or caimito trees.  This is the most secure community in CR with multiple sources of water, electric, and high speed internet.

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Business for sale or lease (paid category)
Gingerbread Boutique Hotel and Fine Restaurant For Sale
botique hotel
A very  famous, highly regarded unique lake view themed boutique hotel consisting of three air conditioned suites with satellite TV and high speed Internet, two themed cottages with garden showers, one large super suite with kitchen and garden shower, managers apartment, restaurant rated one of the best restaurants in Costa Rica {see reviews} and the premier real estate office at Lake Arenal, which puts all its clients in to the hotel, plus room for additional lake view rooms and a pool, all less than a mile from Nuevo Arenal and the public park on the lake.  Go to the Web site for photos and complete information  at  This is the finest boutique hotel in Costa Rica in one of the fastest growing areas of all of Central America.  Sale opportunity $750,000.   Contact to :
Terry Moran, Owner Email: 
Office phone: 506 2694-0088  Cell phone: 506 8880-8888 
USA # rings in Costa Rica:  305 307-0088

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:

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A.M. Costa Rica's
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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, July 25, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 146
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News from the BBC up to the minute

BBC news feeds are disabled on archived pages.

Latin news from the BBC up to the minute
Murdered woman identified fully

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A United States woman who was killed Wednesday after being hit over the head with a rock has been identified as Esther Pearl Kropf Yoder, according to the Judicial Investigating Organization. The organization's initial report named the 36-year-old Costa Rica resident as Crock.

More details emerged Thursday concerning the woman's fatal outing in the mountainous area of Los Ángeles de Limoncito en Sabanillas de Coto Brus. According to judicial agents, a man who belonged in the same Mennonite sect as Kropf is considered the primary suspect.

Police said that the man, identified as Moisés Jimenéz Torres, attempted to sexually assault Kropf and beat her over the head with a large rock when she resisted. Torres, 20, then approached the religious group's leader and they decided to alert authorities, who immediately arrived at the scene where Torres showed them where the body lay, the report said.

Torres is currently in custody awaiting a decision on his judicial status.

It appears the two had known each other for a long time as Torres told police that the woman had physically and emotionally attacked him from an early age. A spokesperson said there was no information on how long the woman was living in Costa Rica.

Ministerio de Gobernación, Policía y Seguridad Pública 
That's the turtle in the trunk

Police were surprised opening the trunk

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Police appear to have saved a leatherback turtle from the butcher's block.

Fuerza Pública officers flagged down a vehicle for inspection just before noon Thursday only to be met with gunfire. After a chase one person was caught when the vehicle was stopped, they said. A second man, presumed to be the gunman, fled, they said.

The big surprise came when officers found a live leatherback (Dermochelys coriacea) in the trunk. They said they thought the men were going to slaughter the creature and sell the meat.

The incident happened on the Caribbean coast in La Bomba de Limón where police maintained a checkpoint. They also said that the vehicle involved has been reported stolen.

The turtle appeared to be unharmed, and it was to be returned to the sea.

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

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The contents of this page and this Web site are copyrighted by A.M. Costa Ltda. 2014 and may not be reproduced anywhere without permission. Abstracts and fair use are permitted.  Check HERE for details