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Thes stories were published Thursday, July 29, 2004, in Vol. 4, No. 149
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A nation begs forgiveness . . . BELOW!

A.M. Costa Rica photos/Saray Ramírez Vindas 
'A thousand pardons to the people of Chile'  sums up Costa Rica's feelings
 


Solitary flower adorns car of victim Rocío Sariego

 
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From our readers

Where did lawyer
get his money?

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

The July 28 A.M. Costa Rica article regarding the proposed elimination of the Rentista category of residence quotes Jonhny Marín, chief of the Departamento Legal of the Dirección de Migración y Extranjería as follows: 

"Rentistas only have to show they have an income of $1,000 a month without showing where the money comes from, and that could be from drug trafficking or swindles." 

This is typical Costa Rican logic. When making any purchase or a bank transaction are we asked to prove where the money came from? If we were asked, how could we possibly prove the many sources? Currency does not display a history of transactions. 

Can Jonhny Marín prove where the money came from for his purchases of a car, house, and furnishings?  It could have come from drug trafficking or swindles! 

John Wood
Atenas, Costa Rica
Robbers prompt shootout

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Three men tried to stick up an armored car Tuesday night near CEMACO in Rohrmoser in western San José. The guards inside the truck fought back and a gun fight developed.

The would-be robbers fled empty-handed.

Free trade talks
for Andean region

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

LIMA, Peru — Free trade talks are underway between Peru, Colombia, Ecuador and the United States.

The talks here, are the third round of negotiations on establishing a free-trade pact between the United States and the three Andean region countries. 

The proposed agreement would allow the three nations tariff-free access to the U.S. market. It would also prohibit tariffs on U.S. imports for the three nations. 

The U.S. representative at the four day talks Regina Vargo, which conclude Friday, has described previous negotiations as "very productive." 

Colombia, Ecuador and Peru currently have tariff-free access to U.S. markets for hundreds of products, but that pact is set to expire in 2006.

Toledo wants review

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Peruvian President Alejandro Toledo says he has asked authorities to review his bank accounts as he denies allegations he accepted millions of dollars in exchange for favors.

Appearing before lawmakers in Lima Wednesday, Toledo held up letters he said asks prosecutors and investigators to audit his finances. The move came after the Peruvian news magazine Caretas said Toledo had received more than $5 million from a foreign company. 

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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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A.M. Costa Rica
Consultantes Río Colorado S.A.

James J. Brodell.........................editor
Saray Ramírez Vindas.... associate editor

Avenida 11 bis, Barrio Otoya, San José

(506) 223-1327

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A.M. Costa Rica photos/Saray Ramírez Vindas
Caskets carry national flag of Chile in the Catedral Metropolitana

 
 A nation mourns a tragedy, and motive is clearer
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Wednesday was a day for the country to wonder what went wrong. And it was a day for sorrow.

President Abel Pacheco decreed three days of national mourning during which the Costa Rican flag would be flown at half staff.

In Chile, President Ricardo Lagos was gracious and said he did not blame Costa Rica for the actions of a policeman who killed three diplomats and then himself Tuesday.

At the murder scene, the Embassy of Chile in Barrio Dent in East San José, a wall of flowers was growing. "A thousand pardons to the People of Chile, said one hand-drawn sign.

On the car of Rocío Sariego still parked near the embassy, someone had placed a single bloom from a type of ginger that was her favorite.

Also dead were Cristhian Juseff, the consul at the embassy, and Roberto Nieto, the first secretary.

The motivations of the policeman, José Orlando Jiménez Jiménez, 54, became clearer Wednesday. Why, people wondered, did the officer suddenly begin firing on those in the embassy he had guarded for two years.

Officials reported that Juseff and others had asked that he be transferred because they thought he was not attentive to his duty. That appears to be the trigger that caused him to take a rifle and kill the three diplomats and hold seven more persons hostage for six hours.

The funeral in the Catedral Metropolitana Wednesday night was with full national honors with the flag of Chile draping each coffin. As is the custom in Costa Rica, the funeral was held as 

 A somber Abel Pacheco

quickly as possible after the deaths. Investigators did not remove the bodies from the embassy until about 5:30 a.m. Wednesday.

Even in the Asamblea Nacional where deputies are not known for agreeing on much, motions of condolence were easily passed. Then the deputies returned to fighting.


 
A wall of floral tributes grows at the embassy

 
 
Caskets are draped with the national flag of Chile
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Cold in Peruvian highlands is a killer this year
Special to A.M. Costa Rica

WASHINGTON, D.C. —  The United Nations is appealing to the international community to help hundreds of thousands of people, especially children, who face starvation and disease in Peru as a result of severe cold weather in the Andean nation.

More than 60 children have died from acute respiratory infections as a result of freezing temperatures, the U.N. Children's Fund said in a statement this week. Access to the affected areas in isolated mountain regions continued to be difficult due to precarious road conditions and high altitudes (4,000 meters above sea level).

News reports indicated that U.N. agencies, including the Children’s Fund and the World Food Program, will provide $745,000 to aid Peruvian victims of the cold weather.

UNICEF said more than 80,000 families in Peru have been affected by the severe cold, which also has caused major losses of livestock. Thousands of llamas, sheep, and cows — whose meat, milk, and wool sustain the indigenous communities in Peru's Andean highlands —  have frozen to death.

The U.N. agency said best available estimates indicate that the weather has killed more than 75,000 farm animals, destroyed more than 300,000 hectares of food crops, and damaged an additional 347,000 hectares of crops. The Children’s Fund said most of the inhabitants of the affected areas are 

poor peasants eking out a living from llama and alpaca herds and subsistence farming.

Snowstorms in the area are said to have mostly tapered off, but freezing temperatures dropping to minus 22 degrees Celsius (-8 Fahrenheit) have persisted, causing many children and elderly people to contract pneumonia and bronchitis, according to Peruvian health officials. More than 400 cases of pneumonia have been reported.

The Children’s Fund said the situation could worsen drastically in Peru, as the coldest winter temperatures usually occur in August or September.

The agency expressed concern that many children from the affected areas in Peru do not have warm clothes or enough food, and that many are unable to attend school. The Chldren’s Fund said it is working with local communities to provide children with warm clothing and basic medicines, but that "further international assistance is urgently needed."

Meanwhile, recent winter storms also caused at least eight weather-related deaths in Argentina and Chile, while southern Brazil was said to have suffered its coldest temperatures in a decade.

Nicaragua also was affected by bad weather. Recent heavy rains and mudslides killed at least 25 people and affected more than 18,000 more. The Nicaraguan government declared the department of Matagalpa and 54 communities in the Atlantic region disaster areas.


 
Ex-vice president in Guatemala goes to prison for investigation
By the A.M. Costa Rica wires services

GUATEMALA CITY, Guatemala — A judge has ordered the jailing of the country's former vice president after prosecutors accused him of corruption. He is the highest ranking member of the former administration to be arrested on corruption charges. 

A Guatemala city judge ordered former Vice President Juan Francisco Reyes Lopez to spend the next three months in jail while prosecutors prepare their case against him. The judge said he ordered Reyes Lopez to go to jail, because he believed he might flee the country.

Prosecutors have accused Reyes Lopez of 

committing acts of fraud and attempted graft at a government entity he oversaw as vice president.

Many members of former President Alfonso Portillo's administration are being investigated on corruption charges. Portillo and Reyes Lopez left office in January. Members of their party say the investigations are a political witch hunt.

In jail, Mr. Reyes Lopez will join other members of the former administration, including two former ministers awaiting trial on corruption charges.

Former President Alfonso Portillo left the country within months of leaving office. He is being investigated both here and in the United States but has not been charged with any crimes.

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