A.M. Costa Rica

Your daily English-language news source
Monday through Friday

Place your free classified ad

Click Here
These stories were published Friday, Aug. 9, 2002, in Vol. 2, No. 157
Jo Stuart
About us
A.M. Costa Rica staff
Someone stuck a beer can in the hand of the monumental statute of José Figueres Ferrer high above the Plaza de la Democracía. He’s the father of the modern Costa Rican state.

Heavy rains continue
on Caribbean coast

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The rains are hitting both coasts, and the national weather service predicts more rains along the Caribbean this weekend.

The prediction follows strong rains that hit Wednesday and caused landslides that closed the main highway from San José to Limón on the coast.

Four miles worth of vehicles waited earlier this week for the roads to be opened while about a dozen vehicles actually were caught in the mudslides and had to be freed. 

The San José-Guapiles highway east of the Zurquí Tunnel is fairly steep and is closed several times a year when heavy rains provoke landslides. By contrast the weather over the Central Valley Thursday was mostly cloudy with just a few isolated sprinkles.

The Instituto Meteorológico Nacional said the Caribbean slope was hit with downpours again Thursday, and so were parts of the Pacific coast. The atmospheric pattern that brought the rains is expected to hang around for two more days, giving strong but intermittent rain, weather experts said.

The weather forecast said that conditions might improve later Saturday in the Caribbean, but that the Limón area probably will register higher than normal rains this month. But in Guanacaste and the Pacific, the rainfall appears to be much less.

Hurricane activity 
likely will be lower

Special to A.M. Costa Rica

This year’s Atlantic hurricane season is likely to produce seven to ten tropical storms, said National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration officials Thursday. Of those, four to six storms could develop hurricane strength.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration issued the forecast as the peak of the hurricane season — mid-August through October — approaches. The El Niño weather system, gaining strength over the last several months, is expected to subdue hurricane activity. 

Escazú bus operator
seeking rate increases

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Empresa Inversiones la Tapachula S.A., the firm that runs the San José-Escazú buses, wants a raise.

The firm has filed to increase rates about 18 to 20 percent. The filing was with the Autoridad Reguladora de los Servicios Públicos, which has scheduled a hearing next Friday at 5 p.m. to hear the case and interested citizens.

The firm actually has two proposals. The first would raise the fare on 11 routes between 20 and 30 colons. That’s from about 5 to 8 U.S. cents. Fares now range from 120 to 200 colons, depending on the destination. That’s from 33 to 55 U.S. cents.

If that plan is not accepted, the firm’s alternative is to raise the fare from 35 to 45 colons on just seven routes. That’s an increase of from 10 to 12 U.S. cents. Those routes are to and from San Antonio de Escazú, Guachipelin, Santa Teresa and Bello Horizonte. The increases would be between 26 and 29 percent.

Living in Costa Rica

. . .Where the living is good

By Jo Stuart

Reparations (sort of) and recommendations

First, a little housekeeping: The overenthusiastic editorial staff of A.M. Costa Rica was convinced that I meant Goebbels as the author of the quote I included in my last column. I assured them it was Goering, who, in 1939 was appointed by Hitler to be his successor. Later Hitler changed his mind. 

Secondly, I said that we were served roast beef at the wonderful dinner given by the Little Theatre Group. Chef Mike Forbes tactfully informed me that it was prime rib, not roast beef. This led to a lively conversation at a party I attended that all prime rib is roast beef, but not all roast beef is prime rib. 

And now for some recommendations I've received: 
A Restaurant: I am a recent arrival and new resident in Costa Rica. I live and work in San Jose, and I love my new home. I have found a new "local" restaurant here to go after a long day at the office and have a cold beer and a good meal with friendly service, (I am Canadian so I know friendly). This restaurant is La Mina in Pavas. I would heartly recommend this establishment to any of your readers. There is even a free pool table which I watched them level the other day! La Mina is 75 meters east of the American Embassy, same side of the street. 

Brynley McKerron Hughes 
GISBeX Clearing Corp. S.A.

Lawyers: I'm writing to recommend two lawyers with whom I've worked since before my wife and I arrived here in October, 2000: Darrylle Stafford and Ulises Obregón. They work together with a third partner and make a really potent group. Darrylle is a North American and, consequently, has the typical North American appreciation of time and efficiency. He and Ulises get things done in a fraction of the time that any other lawyers I know here take. 

Ulises is the Costa Rican connection who does the filing of things and represents the firm as a Costa Rican attorney. They specialize in matters most often needed by foreign residents and business owners and have a stable of very satisfied clients. They have helped my wife and me from even before our arrival: set up our mail service, our bank accounts, get set up on the Internet, get driver's licenses, get our residency in absolutely record time, written our wills, etc., etc. 

Also, we bought land here before we met them, and the books and paper work were totally screwed up by the local lawyer we had used. Darrylle and Ulises got everything straightened out for us in record time. The most important thing, however, is that they have a fantastic sense of integrity. Also important and their rates are very, very reasonable.

I've recommended them to several of my neighbors and all of them are extremely pleased with the services they've rendered. They really go the extra mile. I recommend them without any reservations whatsoever. They are: Stafford, Obregón y Valle, Consultores, Abogados, Notarios, Apdo. 11846-1000, San Jose. Costa Rica Tel: (506) 253-9655 . Fax: (506) 280-4576. Cel: (506) 386-9324 E-mail: ulimar@costarica.net.

Martin Rice 
Lagunas de Barú
I have my own recommendations if you are in the market for either Chinese products or an espresso coffee maker. On Calle 3 between Avenidas 8 and 10 are two little stores. One is Super Sony, which is crammed with everything in Asian edibles you could ever want. They even have some nice plates and bowls, woks and what have you. The people are very helpful and will tell you how to cook the strange looking vegetables they have. Their wall clock plays "My Darling Clementine" on the hour.

Right next door is Bazar Murano, carrying many things Italian. I found a stovetop espresso maker (after years of searching) for a reasonable price (about $9). I took it back because it didn’t work. I couldn’t find the receipt and was prepared for a hard time because the general policy in Costa Rica is no returns. But the young man who had waited on me, greeted me warmly as I entered and, once I explained my problem, said we would have to find out what was wrong. 

He then invited me to the back of the store where there was a little kitchen. I sat at the table while he filled the filter with coffee, then I watched the espresso maker do everything it was supposed to. I was then offered a cup of espresso, which I accepted, and drank while we had a nice chat. I must confess, the coffee maker still is not working properly for me, but I know it is my problem and I am determined to solve it.

If you have a recommendation to share, please send it to me and it will sooner or later get into this column. 

More Jo Stuart: 

A blatant appeal for birthday greetings
Next week A.M. Costa Rica celebrates its first birthday, and some readers already have sent e-mail congratulations.

We thought it would be kind of cool to publish those birthday greetings along with the name and hometown of the sender. In that way, you can show your support for A.M. Costa Rica and the kind of job we have been doing for the last year in covering (although imperfectly) the important news of Costa Rica and the English-speaking community here.

We could use the morale boost. It’s been a long, hard year. And we would like to show the community that there is a strong group of readers who depend on A.M. Costa Rica for news.

So if you like our work and are not afraid to say so, send us your greeting for publication Aug. 15. Mail it to happybirthday@amcostarica.com

our daily 
our site
Check out
Check out
our back
Send us

news story
Visit our
Visit our 
Visit our
real estate
Available NOW!
Librería Internacional
and Universal

and in the U.S.:

Read and Learn!

Questions? Call author
in Costa Rica at 
011 (506) 396-3924

How to live, invest or find romance in Costa Rica
Order Now HERE!
Indian heritage used to block nuclear smuggling
Special to A.M. Costa Rica

WASHINGTON, D.C. — American Indians from Arizona have been teaching customs and border officials in the Baltic countries and Central Asia the ancient skill of tracking, in an effort to curb the smuggling of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons.

They call themselves the Shadow Wolves. They are customs patrol officers on the Tohono O’odham Reservation: 19 men and two women, all Native Americans from nearly a dozen different tribes.

Since 1972, under a program created by Congress and headquartered in Sells, Arizona, the Shadow Wolves have been successfully tracking drug smugglers transporting contraband — mostly marijuana — on reservation lands, but now they are focusing more on the possibility that the smugglers may be carrying components of weapons of mass destruction.

Several Shadow Wolves have traveled to Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan to train customs officials, border guards, and national police how to detect and follow the tracks of people who may be transporting weapons across their borders.

And three Shadow Wolves are spending the first three weeks of August in Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia. They are teaching skills that they learned over many years, often as children on the reservations searching for game or tracking their grandparents’ free-roaming cattle and horses.

In the Baltics, approximately 18 participants in each country will take the one-week course. "The idea is that as their tracking abilities improve, they’ll start training their own people," said Officer Kevin Carlos, a member of the Tohono O’odham tribe.

The training is conducted under the auspices of the Export Control and Border Security program, a joint effort of the State Department, Customs Service and other agencies to provide non-proliferation training and equipment to over two dozen nations, most of them in the former Soviet Bloc.

Carlos said the training begins with a classroom lecture on basic tracking techniques, such as how to look for signs of passage by people on foot or horseback or in vehicles — broken branches, disturbed rocks and groundcover, tracks that can be discerned in the glint of early morning light.

They can judge what type of people might be making the tracks based on clues such as foot size, depth of the tracks, and length of the stride. For example, a person carrying a heavy load will have a short stride, deeper heel prints and a broader stance compared with an unburdened traveler.

"You look at where they rest and see what they place on the ground, and you can get an idea if they’re carrying something," Officer Garcia pointed out. He is Tohono O’odham and Hopi.

Even when tracking doesn’t result in finding a particular smuggler, it can provide valuable information, Carlos pointed out. 

"It helps you in your investigation to basically get an idea what’s going on around your area," he said. "That’s what it boils down to, you have an idea what’s going on in your backyard or in your country."

In addition to the tracker training, U.S. Customs since the early 1990s has provided non-proliferation training and equipment to some 3,000 border guards and customs officials in 26 nations to counter the spread of weapons of mass destruction and their components.

Pacheco names team
to negotiate treaty

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Costa Rica announced Thursday the team that would help craft a free-trade treaty with the United States.

There were no surprises. Alberto Trejos, minister of Comercio Exterior or foreign trade, will preside over the seven-member advisory team. The bulk of the other positions are filled by ministers from other agencies and by Eduardo Lizano, president of the Banco Central.

President Abel Pacheco also set up  a consultative group that includes ministries and trade group representatives. That group will meet at least once a month during the negotiations, according to an announcement from Casa Presidencial.

The chief of negotiations will be Anabel González, who will hold the rank of ambassador.

The Casa Presidencial statement revealed that Trejos met Wednesday with Robert Zoellick, the U.S. trade representative, to discuss the next step in the trade negotiations. The negotiations will begin toward the end of the year now that the U.S. congress has given President George Bush and his team so-called "fast-track authority." That means the executive branch can negotiate a trade treaty, but Congress cannot make changes. The U.S. Senate must either accept the treaty or reject it as it was written.

Trejos said that the trade treaty was not an isolated negotiation but was a result of 10 years of the liberation of trade in the country.

Costa Rica will be negotiating along with the other Central American states. 

Other members of the advisory council, in addition to Trejos, Lizano and Ambassador González are: Jorge Walter Bolaños, minister of Hacienda; Chancellor Roberto Tovar, Rodolfo Coto, minister of Agricultura y Ganadería, and Ronulfo Jiménez, economic advisor.

Anti-corruption effort 
backed by Costa Rica

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Costa Rica has come out in support of the efforts by Nicaragua to bring former President Arnoldo Alemán to trial.

In a statement from Casa Presidencial Thursday, the government said that it long has been in favor of the globalization of justice and that is is impossible to move beyond underdevelopment and to protect the environment without fighting corruption.

Alemán and 14 family members or associates are under investigation on charges of taking $100 million during the time Alemán was president of the country, January 1997 until last January. The allegations were made public Wednesday in Managua.

The Casa Presidencial statement said that while stopping short of giving an opinion on the case, Costa Rica supports Enrique Bolaños, the new president, in his efforts to fight corruption.

Gasoline customer
shot in his knee

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A man drove into a gas station in San Antonio de Desamparados about 1 a.m. Thursday and had the attendant fill up the tank of his car. Then he drove off without paying.

The station owner did not appreciate this, so he gave chase and was joined by police. When they finally arrested a suspect, identified as Geiner Fernández Arguello, they said he had been shot in the knee. There was no indication who fired the shot.

Bush berates Bogota
mortar attackers

By A.M. Costa Rica wire services

BOGOTA, Columbia — President George Bush is condemning as "heinous acts" the mortar attacks that killed at least 14 people and marred Wednesday's inauguration of President Alvaro Uribe.

Bush says terrorists are trying to kill Colombia's democracy. He said Colombian terrorists, through violence against innocents, are seeking the destruction of that country's democratically-elected government. 

In a written statement, Bush said the United States stands with the people of Colombia in their struggle against terror and supports President Uribe's efforts to bring the murderers to justice.

Officials here say the attacks in Bogota "fit the pattern" of operations by the country's main insurgent group, The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia or FARC. 

The Bush administration has stepped-up a security assistance program to Colombia, begun under President Bill Clinton. And with the approval of Congress, it is allowing U.S. military aid, once earmarked only for anti-drug efforts, to also be used in the government's fight against the leftist insurgents and right-wing paramilitaries.

Bush sent a high-level delegation to the Uribe inauguration, including Robert Zoellick, U.S. trade representative, and John Walters, White House anti-drug coordinator.

Air Force plane
crashes in Puerto Rico

By A.M. Costa Rica wire services

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — U.S. military spokesmen say an Air Force cargo plane has crashed on a mountain top here, killing all 10 people on board. 

Spokesmen say the C-130 aircraft had taken off from Roosevelt Roads Naval Station and was on a routine training mission when it went down late Wednesday. 

The crash occurred in a heavily wooded area, near the town of Caguas, about 30 kilometers south of San Juan, the capital.  The U.S. military has launched an investigation and is looking for the cause of the crash.

U.S. to bail out
Brazil and Uruguay

By A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The International Monetary Fund Wednesday extended a financial lifeline to Brazil, granting that country a $30 billion credit.

The International Monetary Fund loan is intended to be the strongest possible endorsement of Brazil's current economic and financial policies. In announcing the loan, Horst Koehler, IMF managing director, said the credit underpins macroeconomic stability and will promote economic growth. He said Brazil is pursuing solid policies and strongly deserves this 15-month loan.

Brazil has a large foreign debt and creditors, distressed by the financial meltdown in Argentina, have been worried that a leftist candidate may win October's Brazilian presidential election.

The resolve of the International Monetary Fund to stand behind Brazil is intended to diminish the speculative pressures that have prompted a decline in Brazilian stock prices and the currency's exchange rate.

By some measures the Brazil loan will be the largest in International Monetary Fund history. The monetary fund is not only committing $30 billion of new money, it is permitting the Brazilians to reduce their foreign currency reserves by 10-billion dollars. 

The deal comes on top of a $15 billion dollar loan to Brazil that was approved only last September. Paul O'Neill, U.S. Treasury secretary, was in Brazil earlier this week and expressed hope that a new agreement was near. 

The World Bank and International Monetary Fund have also approved nearly $800 million in loans for Uruguay to help the tiny nation cope with their ongoing economic crisis. 

The World Bank approved $300 million in credits Thursday, saying two-thirds of that amount will be available immediately.  Earlier in the day, the IMF boosted Uruguay's line of credit by $494 million. 

México wants citizen
off U.S. death-row

By A.M. Costa Rica wire services

MEXICO CITY, México — The government here has again asked the United States to spare the life of a Mexican national sentenced to die in the U.S. state of Texas next week for the 1988 murder of an undercover police officer. 

The man, Javier Suarez Medina, is scheduled to be executed on Wednesday for the death of Larry Cadena. 

Although Suarez has admitted shooting the officer, his supporters say the murder was not premeditated. His lawyers also say he was sentenced to die on the basis of questionable testimony.  Suarez is one of 17 Mexicans facing the death penalty in Texas.
Professional Directory

A.M. Costa Rica debuts its professional and service directory where business people who wish to reach the English-speaking community may provide a description of what they do.

If you are interested in being represented here, please contact the editor.


United States Dentist in Costa Rica: Dr. Peter S Aborn, Prosthodontics and general dentistry private practice. 25 years in New York City. 5 years in Costa Rica. Professor and director of postgraduate prosthodontics Universidad Latina de Costa Rica. Former chief of prosthodontics Lenox Hill Hospital, New York City. Education: N.Y.U College of Dentistry; Westchester County Medical Center; Eastman Dental Center; University of Rochester Graduate School of Medicine and Dentistry. Location: 300 meters from the U.S. Embassy. Telephone: 232-9225. Cellular 379-2963. E-mail: jopetar@amnet.co.cr


American/Costa Rican attorney located in Costa Rica. Specializing in business law, commercial law, real estate sales, immigration law. 
Lic. Gregory Kearney Lawson
KEARNEY LAWSON & Asoc. Tel/Fax: (506) 221-9462gkearney_lawson@hotmail.com

Legal and Consulting Specialists
Foreign Residents and Business Owners
• Reliable and Responsive •  Excellent References
Stafford, Obregón y Valle
• Consultants • Lawyers • Notaries
Apdo. 11846-1000, San Jose, Costa Rica
Tel: (506) 253-9655   Fax: (506) 280-4576 
Cel: (506) 386-9324
Email: ulimar@costarica.net

Real estate agents

Coldwell Banker Coastal Properties Escazu
Manager Nancy Bruno
289-5790 office
387-6820 cell
Located in the new Plaza Itskazu, next to the Court Yard Marriott Escazu #203

15 years Costa Rican real estate experience
Member of the Costa Rican Real Estate Association, Lic. #1000 
Member, Costa Rican-American Chamber of Commerce
(506) 232-5016 home   (506) 233-8057 office  (506)382-7399 cell 

Web design

Professional Web site design and development in English, Spanish and Italian. Our services include: design and layout of Web site, search engine optimization and submission, Web  site hosting, e-commerce solutions (sell your products on your website by accepting credit cards online), registration of domain names and professional Internet consulting. We have complete 'one price' Web site packages that include design, marketing and hosting at low prices and includes a listing on our Web sites.  Visit www.istarmedia.net or e-mail us at webmaster@istarmedia.net or call at 399-9642

What we published this week: Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Earlier
The contents of this web site are copyrighted by Consultantes Río Colorado 2001 and 2002 and may not be reproduced anywhere without permission. Abstracts and fair use are permitted.