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(506) 2223-1327                        Published Friday, Aug. 3, 2012, in Vol. 12, No. 154                          Email us
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Cartago basilica
Ministerio de Gobernación, Policía y Seguirdad Pública photo
Thousands of the faithful are in the plaza and adjacent streets of the Basilica de Nuestra Señora de los Ángeles in Cartago. The morning Mass was the culmination of the pilgrimage that involved
perhaps two million Costa Ricans over the last two weeks. Despite some rain, those participating in the pilgrimage had generally good weather. Our story is HERE!

Opponents say they have frozen Guanacaste project
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Opponents of a major residential project in Guanacaste have caused the Sala IV constitutional court to freeze construction.

The court appeal was brought by Robert Campbell, a retired U.S. resident of the area, and the Confraternidad Guanacasteca, represented by Luis Carlos Sánchez Herrera.

The project is the sprawling Catalinas Properties Holding Ltda., where 2,500 luxury villas are planned on 79 hectares. The general manager of Catalinas was identified as Charles Brewer, who lives in Los Sueños.

The order suspending the work on the project is only temporary while the court considers the appeal.

The opponents argue that developers are cutting many trees and that this will cause erosion and damage. In addition they question what they claim is an irregular approval of nine wells that would provide water to the project. They also say that the paperwork for the project is not complete.

Governmental agencies also are named in the appeal.
They are the Área de Conservación Tempisque, the Dirección de Aguas of the Ministerio de Ambiente y Energía, the Municipalidad de Santa Cruz and the Secretaría Técnica Nacional Ambiental.

The property is near Playa Danta and Dantita in both Santa Cruz and Carrillo.  Catalinas has a 2010 Internet listing offering a 32-acre hotel site for sale for $17 million. The Internet also identifies Brewer as the managing partner with other general partners Stuart Meddin, Tom Claugus, and Bob Davey.

The residential project itself is 79 hectares or about 195 acres, according to court documents. Opponents said they worry that the wells will hurt the aquifer. According to the Sala IV appeal, the Secretaría Técnica Nacional Ambiental approved the wells Feb. 25, 2008. But the document questions the change in status of the property.

The location is north of Playa Flamingo.

The appeal also complains that the residential project is exclusively for foreigners with high economic power.

Catalinas is offering rental of some homes that already are built on its Web site.

New tropical storm in Atlantic reported heading west
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A major tropical storm, Ernesto, is picking up steam as it enters the Caribbean.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center said that the storm was moving due west at 22 mph. The storm that grew from a low-pressure area is packing winds of 50 mph or about 85 kpm.

Usually such storms veer to the north, although Costa Rica is likely to feel some of the effects of the
storm. The effects will be greater if the storm builds into a hurricane.

The location now was reported as 80 miles or 130 kilometers east of Barbados. Many of the Caribbean islands have storm warnings or watches in effect.

Costa Rica's Caribbean coast and inland areas suffered heavy damage a week ago with rain spawned by a low-pressure area.

The cleanup and assessment of damage continues.

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Costa Rica mia
Susan Adams' red eyed tree frog

Texas transplant captures
Costa Rica's many creatures

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

An artist who has been living and painting in Costa Rica since 1995 has a show opening Saturday at the Hidden Garden Art Gallery west of Liberia.

She is Susan Adams, and the show is titled “Costa Rica Mia.” The artist admits that capturing Costa Rica is a challenge. She says:

"How can one capture the essence of Costa Rica on canvas: from its magnificent nature to the people, their culture, and traditional way of life?”

Her answer:

“For this show I have selected subjects taken from my immediate world here in Guanacaste: the oxen, solid, loyal, and patient, pulling stones out of the creek, uprooting trees and hauling carts of fence-posts at the edge of Playa Tamarindo. I am constantly amazed at nature’s complexity and brilliance, hoping to capture a moment that connects us to a jaguar lying unaware or playing."

Her techniques include stucco, gesso, acrylics, metallic paints and oils, and her images come to life on canvasses and banana papers, sometimes doors and windows.

She will be at the gallery Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. the show continues through Sept.14.

Ms. Adams appears fascinated by the creatures of Costa Rica. There is a jaguar, a macaw and even a painting of a chicken fight. But she also does scenic beach views.

Ms. Adams was graduated from Southwest Texas State University with a degree in commercial art. She is an award-winning artist, including Best of Show 2002 Corpus Christi Independent, first place in Great Texas Birding Classic, and selected for Southern Living's Green Home Showcase, Cinnamon Shores 2009.

It can take Susan two days to get the canvas primed and ready to paint; and sometimes a week before she actually starts painting.  She has been a school teacher and an illustrator.

More information is available at the gallery Web site or by calling 8386-6872 or 8386-6968.

Find out what the papers
said today in Spanish

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Here is the section where you can scan short summaries from the Spanish-language press. If you want to know more, just click on a link and you will see and longer summary and have the opportunity to read the entire news story on the page of the Spanish-language newspaper but translated into English.

Translations may be a bit rough, but software is improving every day.

When you see the Summary in English of news stories not covered today by A.M. Costa Rica, you will have a chance to comment.

This is a new service of A.M. Costa Rica called Costa Rica Report. Editor is Daniel Woodall, and you can contact him
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Joyce Norman, mother of Olympian Sharolyn Sherman, helps hold a flag signed with best wishes for her daughter, who is in London.

rootiung for daughter
A.M. Costa Rica/Kalya Pearson

Son of Marcus Garvey calls for rejection of mental slavery
By Kayla Pearson
of the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Members from the Afro-Caribbean community gathered this week in the hall of former presidents at the Asamblea Legislativa for a time revered as learning, reflection, praise and acknowledgment of past leaders and their culture.

The group congregated to commemorate the emancipation of blacks around the world.  Speakers defined emancipation as freedom of thought and freedom of action.  It’s the act of setting free an overseeing power and setting free from dependence of others, they said.

“It’s liberation.  It’s the change from working without recognition to being recognized as a human being,” said Delroy Barton, a professor and education advocate.

The event was organized by Rodrigo Pinto Rawson, a lawmaker,  and featured a speech by Julius Garvey,  son of Marcus Garvey, an activist who helped improve the quality of life for Afro-Costa Ricans in Limón.

“Marcus Garvey changed freedom from an act of the mind to an action,” said Barton.

August will feature commemorative activities for the Afro-Costa Rican culture, and this event was the start.

Julius Garvey described the life and mission of his father during his talk.

His father was a publisher, journalist and businessman from Jamaica.  He founded the Universal Negro Improvement Association and the African Communities Imperial Leagues to help develop and empower African descendants. 

Julius Garvey currently serves as president of the organization.

“My father said that his organization was made to bring an organization to free the mind,” said Garvey.

“The organization was designed to return esteem to the African people.  One way to do this was through the unity of all African American people.  We could do this because we had a common culture and common beliefs,” he said.

Marcus Garvey’s journey began in Costa Rica when he moved there from Jamaica to live with his uncle and work on a banana plantation.  He observed the hardships of the people and was compelled to make a change.

“He was studying the conditions of the people and also studying the oppressor.  He came to the conclusion that Afro-descendants were oppressed and on the bottom of the scale of the world.  He came to the conclusion that it was his destiny to bring about a change for African people,” said Garvey.

Marcus Garvey traveled around the world spreading his message.  In an effort to make Afro-descendants more economically independent, Garvey started many businesses including the Black Star Line. 

The Black Star Line was a shipping company, but also was a way for Garvey to transport people back to the “Mother” country of Africa.

Julius Garvey also has deep pride in his heritage and took it upon himself to research his background by using his DNA to trace his roots.  He learned his ancestors are from a tribe in West Africa.  He has taken this knowledge, and tried to regain his culture by learning the ways of these people.

“I look African, I think African, I feel African even though I can’t speak African,” said Garvey.

In his speech, Julius Garvey also referenced another type of slavery, mental slavery.

“While others can help us free our body, none but us can liberate our mind.  This is an extremely important truth that has not sunk into the mid of Afro-descendants.”

He described a world that he said was subject to 500 years of dehumanization, slavery, colonialism and apartheid. 

Costa Rica had their participation in this history.

Afro-Costa Ricans are Jamaican descendants.  Jamaicans immigrated to Costa Rica in the late 1800s to work on the railways.  Later they were recruited by the United Standard Fruit Co. to work on banana plantations.   
Garvey and the poet
A.M.Costa Rica/Kayla Pearson
Julius Garvey and Hellen Walford Bryan, who sang.

These immigrants lacked rights and were isolated to the coast, being restricted from expanding west past Siquirres until 1949.  The population settled in Limón, where most still remain.

Julius Garvey referenced this time and said it should be used as motivation to push forward.
He said that changing the psyche of a mind of a race is a continuing process, and to be successful Afro-Costa Ricans need to regain three powers- economical, educational and political.

“Number one is our economic power.  This is true all over the world.  With economic power we can gain educational and cultural power because then you can educate yourselves and children.  Not just on what we were, but it is also necessary to learn what is happening around us.  Then you can regain your political power.  There are many problems that can not be solved without political power,” he said.

However, Julius Garvey departed the crowd with a spirit of hope.

“As Marcus Garvey would say,  up you mighty people, you can accomplish what you will,” he said.

Despite the progress, Afro-Costa Ricans still have obstacles to overcome.  One of these obstacles is themselves, said speakers.

“How do we characterize ourselves?  As afro-descendant or mulatto?  Do I refuse to be of Afro-descent because it is something to not be proud?  Our sense of identity is lost, and we ask ourselves how emancipated are we?” said Barton.

Barton gave as an example people who disown their race by not acknowledging others from the same background.

“It hurts me when I see black children on the street, and another black person walks by, and the child won’t make eye contact,” he said.

“No one but ourselves can free our mind.  It is no doubt that the Negro is its own greatest enemy,” he added.

His recommendation was for Afro-descendants to stop being jealous and prideful, and to go back and relearn the lessons of their ancestors.

The mood of the room changed as poet Eulalia Bernard Little took the stage.  Ms. Bernard is the first Costa Rican woman of African descent to publish a collection of poetry.

As Michael Jackson’s “Wanna Be Startin Something” played in the background, Ms. Bernard strutted across the room dancing, and reciting lyrics from her work “Leader’s Emerge.”

“Leaders! Emerge! Liberate yourselves. Seek thy identity. Follow the philosophy of Garvey. Evoke his spirit, day by day, in the immortal UNIA,” she sang.

Ms. Bernard challenged the audience to “commence thyself with words, actions, prayers, and swords.”

Also in the meeting was Marta Gibbs, president of the Centro de Investigación Afrocostarricense, former lawmaker Epsy Campbell Barr and Joyce Norman, mother to Olympian Sharolyn Scott. 

The event ended with partakers signing a flag for Ms. Scott with best wishes in her upcoming races.  Ms. Norman traveled to London Aug 1.

Religion skews the social fabric and the rules we live by
Freedom of religion, slavery, Jim Crow, segregation, separate but equal, interracial marriage, women’s right to vote, equal rights for women, free choice: All have been contentious issues throughout history.  There are the people who are pros and those who are cons and those who really don’t give a damn.  Now we have same sex marriage . . . in the United States. 

I think the next big issue will be freedom from religion.   But we are not there yet. 

In Costa Rica they still are quibbling about whether or not they should even recognize such a thing as homosexuality, or any other kind of sexuality except heterosexuality.  The Catholic Church is objecting to teaching sex in the schools for fear it will lead to promiscuity, and what?  Increase the number of teenage mothers? 

The growing number of teenage pregnancies is one reason the schools want to teach the students about sex.

All deistic religions agree on one thing:  Sex is bad except when it is between a man and a woman (or women, as the case may be) in a marriage condoned or at least accepted by the religion.  And if anyone objects, they are treated to a choice quotation from their holy scripture or told they have invited the wrath of God . . . or Allah, or whoever their almighty is.

As we all know, humans acting in the name of religion historically have caused more wars, torture, deaths and misery than any other human organization.  One wonders if the respect these religions are given is in spite of or in fear of what they can and may do. 

I do not wish to rain upon the parade of pilgrims heading
Butterfly in the City
. . .  Musings from San José

By Jo Stuart

Jo Stuart

towards the Basilica de Nuestra Señora de los Ángeles in Cartago.  Any way a woman can insert herself into such a closed society as is the Catholic Church is fine with me. And I am sure the exercise and the camaraderie is well worth the trip to those involved. If their faith brings them what they ask for from her, I am happy, too.  (It seems that aside from Job, nobody blames their supreme being for their hardships or disease only for rescuing or curing them.)

If the objection to same-sex marriage goes the way the belief that slavery is part of God’s will, has gone . . . and it seems the same people are always on the wrong side of history . . . then soon such marriages will become accepted and commonplace.  This does not mean that all people will practice what is considered right. There is still slavery in the world, women’s right to own their bodies is still being challenged by some religions, and there is monetary segregation, but today it seems to me that the biggest threat to the many, or perhaps they are the minority, is being forced to live by the rules and perhaps rules that have become laws, of an organized religion.   The advice to “render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God, the things that are God’s.”  is still valid advice.  And let me add to that quote from Matthew, my own "And please, know and accept the difference."  In the final analysis, theocracies do not work.

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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, Aug. 3, 2012, Vol. 12, No. 154
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police running
Ministerio de Gobernación, Policía y Seguridad Pública photo
Police officers begin their trek to Cartago from San José Thursday morning.
Pilgrimage ends with few reports of crime or other disorders
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The pilgrimage this year to Cartago was extraordinarily peaceful. Fuerza Pública officers reported just five arrests, and two of those were for existing warrants.

They did confiscate 20 baggies of marijuana, two marijuana cigarettes, 51 doses of crack and six grams of cocaine, they said.

Only one case appears to be directly related to misbehavior on the walk to Cartago. One man was detained for groping a woman in San Pedro de Montes de Oca. Another man ran afoul of officers when they noticed that he was packing a firearm.

The last arrest of the pilgrimage was Thursday afternoon near the Basilica de Nuestra Señora de los Ángeles. Police encountered a man who was behind on child support, they said.
There was rain overnight that dampened those on the way to Cartago and those already in the Plaza, but Thursday dawned bright and sunny and remained that way during the morning.

The Cruz Roja has not yet reported its statistics of the number of persons treated at their roadside aid stations. Typically more than 4,000 persons seek help and some are taken to hospitals.

Pilgrims or romeros as they are called, continued to pour into the area around the basilica early Thursday. Several police groups made up of the Servicio de Vigilancia Aérea, Unidades Especializadas and of the Escuela Nacional de Police ran to Cartago Thursday morning. They left San José at 7 a.m. and arrived at the basilica plaza before the 10 a.m. Mass.

Their  ministry said that the police officers did so to carry the petition to the Virgen de los Angeles for citizen security.

Overseas jobs can lead to employee turnover, Iowa study says
By the University of Iowa news service

Workers for big multinational companies who spend time on a foreign assignment have a higher than normal turnover rate when they come back home, and a new study suggests that’s because they don’t feel fully appreciated for their global experience.

“Home may not have changed, but it is not the same place because repatriates themselves have changed after having been expatriates,” says Maria Kraimer, a professor of management and organizations in the University of Iowa’s Tippie College of Business who headed the research team. “Those who take international assignments often feel fundamentally different after returning, yet they may not see their development reflected in their treatment by their firms.”

That tension goes beyond what could be called culture shock, Ms. Kraimer says, and leads repatriates to leave at a higher rate. She notes one recent study that shows 38 percent of repatriated employees voluntarily quit their firm within the first year of returning to their home country. The overall turnover rate is only 13 percent, and this difference considerably increases a firm’s costs for recruiting and training the kind of mid- and high-level employees who are most likely to receive international assignments.

For the study, Ms. Kraimer and her team of researchers collected data from 112 repatriated employees through surveys that were emailed to them shortly after their return home, and then from a follow-up survey sent one year later. The employees worked for medium to large multinational corporations based in the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, and Australia, and were involved in such sectors as manufacturing, accounting, technology, finance, and consumer food and beverage.

Of the 90 subjects who responded to both surveys, 17 of them had left their former employer for a new job, for a 19 percent turnover rate.
The researchers found that living and working overseas in a new and different culture changes employees in fundamental ways, to the point where many of them create whole new identities for themselves. This new identity has a significant international component and incorporates new meaning and aspirations in terms of how they approach their careers, they said.

Ms. Kraimer says repatriates believe this new identity makes them a more valuable employee than they were before they went overseas.

However, the repatriates don’t often feel their firms recognize that value, especially when they compare themselves to their co-workers with no international experience.

“When a repatriate perceives her job has less responsibility, respect, pay, or opportunities than the jobs of colleagues without global experience, the repatriate may believe that the organization does not view her international experience and employee identity in the same way that she does,” Ms. Kraimer says. That perceived lack of respect often leads them to find new jobs.

Ms. Kraimer says firms can take steps to reduce repatriate turnover. For instance, firms can use repatriates to help train other employees about to go on their first international assignment, or involve them more heavily to develop international strategy, both of which draw on the employee’s global experience and shows the organization values that experience. Firms could also more closely manage expatriates while they’re on international assignments, linking them with other divisions and maintaining close communications to reinforce their identity with the organization.

Ms. Kraimer’s paper, “No place like home? An identity strain perspective on repatriate turnover,” was published in the Academy of Management Journal. It was co-authored by Margaret Shaffer and Hong Ren of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and David Harrison of the University of Texas.

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Brenes, country's best hope,
fails to qualify at Olympics

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff
Posted Saturday at 2 p.m.

Costa Rica's greatest track and field hope, Nery Brenes, frailed to qualify today in the preliminary round of the men's 400 meter race at the Olympic Games. Brenes finished less than half a second behind the third place finisher, who qualified for an additional round.

Earlier story is below.

By Aaron Knapp
of the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The population of Costa Rica is pinning its hopes on sprinter Nery Brenes at the Olympics this weekend. He is the nation’s best chance at bringing home the first Costa Rican track and field medal in history.

The 26 year old from Limón took home a gold medal in the 400-meter sprint at this year’s world indoor championships in Istanbul, Turkey.

However, he still faces stiff competition from other athletes like 19-year-old Kirani James from Grenada who won the world 400-meter championship last and LaShawn Merritt, the 26 year old who took gold in the 400-meter race at the 2008 Olympics. Both have personal bests faster than that of Brenes.

“What emotion... But we have to keep focused,” Brenes said on a Facebook account.

Brenes has started running more than a decade ago, and he competed in his first national competition in 2002 in Nicoya when he was 16.

He made his debut at the world championships in Helsinki, Finland, in 2005 where he was eliminated in the preliminaries and took 38th place, but he quickly began in climb in the next few years and went to the Olympics in 2008.

“The 2010 season was the best of my life,” he wrote on his Facebook page. “During the year I had 14 races, in 12 of them I was on the podium, nine times with the gold medal.”

Although he had a rough start when he was eliminated in the semi-finals in the 2011 world championships in Daegu, South Korea, he came back to run his personal best at the Pan American Games last October and won the world championship this year.

The Olympic 400-meter competition will take place this weekend in three parts over three days. The first heat is at 3:35 a.m.. local time Saturday. If Brenes goes on from there, he will run in the semifinal at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday. The final race will be on Monday at 1:40 p.m.

In addition to Brenes, three other Ticos will compete this weekend: Sharolyn Scott will run in the first heat of the 400-meter hurdles at noon Sunday, and Gabriela Traña will run the women’s marathon at 4 a.m. Sunday.

U.S. track and field team
hopes to rack up medals

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Olympic track and field competition begins today, and the U.S. team has been out in London getting ready.

The U.S. track and field team won 23 medals in Beijing four years ago. This year, they hope to beat that with 30.  But they will be facing some tough competition.

Former 400-meter world champion Sanya Richards-Ross is one athlete hoping to win when she runs the 200- and 400-meter races for the United States. She was the favorite for gold in the 400-meter four years ago, but took home the bronze.  Now she is back for more and says she is ready.

“Excited is an understatement. This is what I have been waiting for for four years, to be able to come back to the games. And I feel like I am in great shape,” she said.

Ms. Richards-Ross was born in Jamaica and moved to the United States when she was 12 years old. But that has not stopped her from feeling the competition against her former homeland.

“It is a great rivalry for us," said Ms. Richards-Ross. "You know, the sprint rivalry has become very real between the Jamaicans and the Americans, and they have definitely pushed us to want to get better every single year. And so this year, I think the Americans are ready, and I am looking forward to it.”

Ms. Richards-Ross is being coached by Clyde Hart, who says the Jamaicans are not the only competition.

“We do not really try to single out Jamaicans, although I have to say they have some awfully good runners," the coach said. "But there are good runners and every country has some, so we are not just concentrating on beating any one country. But certainly, Jamaica is a force in sprinting right now.”

Hart says Ms. Richards-Ross is in the best shape of her life. The U.S. team hopes she will be adding her name to America's medal count. And Ms. Richards-Ross is not the only track and field athlete hoping for gold.

Shot putter Michelle Carter says she’s ready to make the best throw of her life.

“Once I feel that throw, I know it is going to change everything for me as far as my technique, and me as a thrower in general. But it is there and it is waiting to come out, and all of the pieces are just waiting to melt together and happen,” she said.

Sprinter Andrew Wheating competed in the 2008 Games in Beijing, but did not make the semifinals. He says he hopes it will be a different story this year.

"I have been there.  I have kind of experienced that top level, gotten accustomed to it and it is all business," he said. "To me, it is another track meet.  I am here.  I am here to do business, and the pleasure will come later."

Study in Denmark questions
Greenland ice sheet fears

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Despite warnings by climate scientists that the massive Greenland ice sheet is melting rapidly into the sea, researchers in Denmark say that scenario is far from certain. Their new study of Greenland’s glacial ice sheet reports that twice in the past 30 years, major melting events have been followed by periods when melting stopped and the ice sheet stabilized.

The authors say the rapid melting that has made headlines in recent weeks also is likely to slow or stop. Their conclusion also contradicts widely reported predictions that the accelerating ice melt will trigger a significant rise in global sea levels.

The Danish study, published this week in the journal Science, documents changes in the Greenland ice sheet before the year 2000 by combining contemporary satellite data with old aerial photographs. Co-author Shfaqat Abbas Khan, an earth scientist at Denmark Technical University, said his team is the first to show recent periods of ice sheet loss that slowed and then stopped, rather than continuing or speeding up.

The researchers say a longer and more detailed record of Greenland’s past is needed to better predict the future of the glacier-covered landmass.    

“These variations in the amount of thinning that we are able to document since the 80s make it difficult to predict how much the world’s oceans will rise over a longer period of time - a century for instance - as a result of Greenland glacial melt-water runoff,” says a geologist and co-author, Kurt Kjaer of the Denmark Natural History Museum.

He said he believes that many of the computer models predicting ice sheet behavior, though, are based on short-term data since 2000 and must be reassessed. "It is too early," Kjaer adds, "to proclaim the ice sheet’s future doom.”

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Marijuana in Pérez Zeledón goes up in smoke

Police confiscate or destroy
quantities of marijuana

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

“Smoke 'em if you find them” is the police rule on marijuana. And they did.  Fuerza Pública torched a small plantation of the illegal weed in Pérez Zeledón Thursday afternoon.

That followed on the arrest of two men a day earlier near Parque Nacional Chirripó. Officers and environmental rangers were seeking illegal hunters when they found two men at different times. The men were in possession of bags of marijuana. One bag was 7.5 kilos and the other was 5.6 kilos. The men are facing court action

The plantation was in San Miguel, in the Pejibaye district, police said.

bags of marijuana
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y Seguridad Pública photo
These were the bags confiscated at Chirripó

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