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(506) 2223-1327         Published Monday, Aug. 10, 2009,  in Vol. 9, No. 156       E-mail us
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Police get a wake-up call with possible gang arrests
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A major fear of law enforcement has become a reality with the arrest of two men who claim to be members of the international crime mob the Mara Salvatrucha. This is the same gang that is a major criminal element in the United States and, in fact, a product of the Los Angeles slums.

Over the weekend, the Judicial Investigating Organization arrested a 33-year-old Salvadoran man and his brother who have been living in Paso Canoas. They were there even though Costa Rican immigration agents routinely turn back anyone bearing gang tattoos or other obvious symbols.

The arrests came as part of a probe into a double kidnapping Monday. Both victims, sons of a Paso Ancho family, were abducted at gunpoint from their home earlier in the week.

The two male suspects, both with the first last name of Paz, claim to be members of the feared gang. Law enforcement is buying their story for the time being, although such gangs produce a lot of wanna-bes who might use the gang name for offensive and defensive purposes. The men bear the appropriate tattoos.

Two women, presumed girlfriends, also were detained. One abducted brother had been released with the payment of a ransom, but agents made a spectacular arrest and liberation Saturday as the abductors drove the remaining victims to a place where they thought they would receive more ransom. In both cases payment was a car.

M-18 and the Salvatruchas are the two major Central American gangs. Former Salvadoran president Elias Antonio Saca cracked down on the gangs, and, in turn, the gangs responded with unprecedented violence. In one case, they shot up and torched an entire bus filled with passengers.

Although the gangs have their roots in California, members are almost all Central Americans. Every major American city has at least some gang members living there even in the chilly climates. Income comes from extortion, drug smuggling and robberies. The Judicial Investigating Organization Sunday reported that agents found eight kilograms of cocaine in one of the vehicles driven by a Paz brother.

Costa Rica has less of a gang problem than other Central American countries, but the number of gang members may have been increasing.  Mainly U.S. gangs like the Hell's Angels and other outlaw motorcycle clubs have a foothold in Costa Rica, and immigration officials have turned away individuals they recognize as motorcycle gang members. The U.S. gang members are attracted to Costa Rica for the same reason everyone else is: vacation and possible retirement. In fact, several graying motorcycle gang members are living happily on the Pacific coast as typical expats.

The United States has been criticized for deporting Latin gang members back to their
mara one
Salvadoran national police photo
Elaborate tattoos are the custom

gang tattoos
Salvadoran national police photo
When not jailed, gamg members try to keep their tattoos concealed under shrits buttoned at the neck.

native countries, and, in effect, helping the gangs grow. Many young Central Americans are recruited in U.S. prisons and then face deportation after their term is up. The majority of the gang members are from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and even Belize.

Two years ago, the United States and the Central American countries set up a joint effort to keep the pressure on criminal gangs. The United States sought to distribute a fingerprinting system throughout Central America so that suspected gang members could be tracked and perhaps turned back at various national borders.

Costa Rica recently installed part of its system in Peñas Blancas at the main Nicaraguan entry point, but the border is so porous that hundreds and perhaps thousands of persons a year enter the country without benefit of official approval.
In the case of the men arrested over the weekend, there is a high probability that they entered the country from Panamá to the south.

The United States provides its anti-gang training through the International Law Enforcement Academy in San Salvador. This is the same academy that Costa Rica refused to host under the Abel Pacheco administration.


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San José, Costa Rica, Monday, Aug. 10, 2009, Vol. 9, No. 156

Costa Rica Expertise
Costa Rica Expertise Ltd http://crexpertise.com E-mail info@crexpertise.com Tel:506-256-8585 Fax:506-256-7575

Puriscal Properties
sportsmens update
Click HERE for great hotel discounts

Page One is HERE!      Go to Page 3 HERE!      Go to Page 4 HERE!    
Go to Page 5 HERE! 
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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.


Appraiser

BEFORE YOU BUY and OVERPAY
Angela Jiménez
ask Angela Jiménez
Architect/Certified Appraiser
23 years experience
for Costa Rica Banks

• building inspections
•¨property management
• construction management

www.orbitcostarica.com/
certifieda.htm
5302-12/12/09

Insurance brokers

Financial Planning & International Health Insurance
Disney Financial Group
Along with specializing in complete financial / estate planning and transfer, Disney is now offering the Finest
Michael Disney
Michael Disney
in International Health and Travel Insurance to Expats living and traveling worldwide.  International health insurance may now be submitted over the Internet.

We also have annuities offering a 25% up front bonus and 5% guaranteed compounded interest.  We handle life insurance policy buy outs. ** All financial products must be finalized within the boundaries of the United States.
Michael Disney, Disney Financial Group. 001.602.464.3729, 001.602.821.5050
E-mail:  DisneyFinancial@Aol.Com
www.DisneyFinancialGroup.Com
www.JoinDisneyOnline.Com
Disney Financial Group is licensed in Arizona, Florida, Nevada, New Mexico and Texas.
5374-10/10/09

Residency experts

Residency in Costa Rica
A full service immigration agency
U.S. and San José offices
Getting and authenticating documents can be a chore —

we know how to do it. Experienced with many nationalities. Up-to-date on
Costa Rica's evolving immigration law.
Pensionado and rentista. Your first stop for smooth, professional service and a positive experience. Javier Zavaleta jzava@pacbell.net
www.residencyincostarica.com
Tel: (323) 255-6116
5055-8/26/09

Business consultant

Vision: Empowering small and medium business to their highest potential by setting The standards.
handshake
Services we offer:
Financial Management, Planning & Development,
Business English, Business Technology, Professional
Networking,
Costa Rica-North America Specialists
 Costa Rica (011-506) 8914-4116 
http://www.rushconsultoria.biz/
5279-12/1/09

Physicians and surgeons

Dr. Marco A. Mora Aguilar, Neurosurgeon
Dr. Mora
Dr. Marco A. Mora
Available for surgery in any of the private hospitals in San José.
                
Stroke, Brain Surgery, Spine Surgery, Scalp and Skull Repair, Craniotomy
 
http://www.drmarcomora.com
E-mail: info@drmarcomora.com
Or use our Contact Form on the site
Emergency tel: 8879-1818, 8395-1818
Accepting VA's Foreign Medical Program
5267-6/28/09

Psychiatrist

Dr. Luis Carlos Sancho Torres
  bilingual psychiatrist (UCR)
Dr. Sancho
• consulting • depression  • schizophrenia 
• psychiatric disability VA Affairs

• evaluations for gun permits 
 
• bipolar disorders  • addictions 

• methadone

• Transmagnetic stimulation
for depression and stroke

Available 24-hour a day

office: 2246-3458 or 2246-3459
soon: www.psiquiatriacostarica.com
 lucasancho@yahoo.com
5128-7/14/09


Dentists and dental surgery

Dental Cosmetics Costa Rica
Our office offers a wide variety of cosmetic and restorative treatments at very affordable prices. Fillings,
Dental Cosmetics
crowns, bridges, veneers, tooth whitening, implants, smile makeover orthognatic surgery, scalling and polishing.
www.dentalcosmeticscr.com
5372-10/9/09


Marco Cavallini & Associates
Dental Implants $500, Crowns $250

Dr. Marco A. Muñoz Cavallini has placed and restored
Dr. cavallini
Dr. Marco A. Muñoz Cavallini
over 10,000 dental implants since 1980. The Dr. Marco Muñoz Cavallini Dental Clinic, is recognized as one of the best practices in Dental Reconstruction,
Dental Implant placement and Cosmetic Dentistry in Costa Rica and the World. 
For more information,
visit us today at: www.aestheticdentistrycr.com
5346-8/26/09

Hearing consultant

English-speaking hearing consultant
We can professionally evaluate your hearing problem at Clinica Dinamarca off Paseo Colón or at Hospital CIMA.
• Natural sound
• Lowest prices
• No more background noise, feedback or echoing
• American hearing consultant from D.C. & Atlanta
• Nine clinics including Hospital CIMA
• Authorized provider  to the U.S. veterans
• The worlds leading provider of hearing aids
      Widex hearing aids since 1956

\Weinberg 070709
Allan Weinberg
We service the U.S. veterans/Foreign Medical Program. Please contact me, Allan, at allan9000@gmail.com or at 8891-8989.
5403-8/23/09

Acupuncture physician

Acupuncture (disposable needles),
& Auriculotherapy (without needles) 

Immediate results guaranteed
for sport and all injuries; Back, neck, shoulder, elbow, carpal tunnel, knees, sciatica, 
Eugene McDonald
Eugene Mc Donald A.P.
migraine, T.M.J., kidney stones, intercostal neuralgia, and all painfull conditions  without drugs. Excellent results for stress, tension, anxiety, depression; and many other medical conditions and health maintenance.  Acupuncture works even if other therapies had little or no results. Free consultation, U.S. license, 19 years experience, Eugene Mc Donald, A.P (acupuncture physician) Escazú, 8352-0661. acutherapy0@hotmail.com
http://acupuncturecr.blogspot.com/
5073-9/20/09

Accountants

James Brohl, C.P.A. & M.B.A.
US Income Tax,  US GAAP Accounting
& Business Consulting

• US Tax return preparation  for
individuals and businesses
• eFile returns: secure with faster refunds
• Assist with back reporting and other filing issues
• Take advantage of the Foreign
Income Tax Exclusion (up to $
87,600 in 2008)
• Business Consulting to facilitate working in Costa Rica
• Accounting for US and International Financial Reporting


Telephone 8305-3149 or 2256-8620
E-mail jrtb_1999@racsa.co.cr
5097-3/30/10

U.S. Tax International

Plus Costa Rican taxes, accounting, and legal services
Over 15 years in Costa Rica
(English Spoken)
C.R. 2288-2201   U.S 786-206-9473
FAX: 2289-8235
E-mail: ustax@lawyer.com
Web page with vital U.S. tax info HERE!
5422-8/13/09

Real estate agents and services

Latitude Nine real estate graphic
Latitude 9
Real estate, development, Investments.

Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica
506 2777-1197

Over 25 years experience in Costa Rica

www.latitude9.com
5349-11/25/09


MARGARET SOHN
with Great Estates of Costa Rica

20 years Costa Rican
real estate experience

Member of the Costa Rican Real Estate Association, Lic. #1000

Member of
Costa Rican-American Chamber of Commerce

samargo@racsa.co.cr
info@realtorcostarica.com
www.realtorcostarica.com
(506)  2220-3729 &  (506) 8382-7399 cell
(506)  2232-5016 (phone/fax)
5406-1/6/10

CENTURY 21 Jacó Beach Realty
A Name You Trust & Professional Service


Buying? Selling?
We Can Do It!
TOLL FREE FROM THE US
1 (877) 746-3868
  Tom Ghormley - Owner/Broker - in CR since '79

Beachfront, Views, Mountains, Lots, Farms, Beaches, Houses, Condos. Hotels, Restaurants, Projects, Commercial, Investments

www.c21jaco.com
2643-3356
Info@c21jaco.com
4401-6/9/09v


7Legal services

CONSULTORIA JURIDICA EMPRESARIAL CA, S.A.
Attorneys & Notaries
 Tel.  2280-9692 / 2225-9322      
e-mail: info@conjuridica.com  Web:  www.conjuridica.com
       We offer the highest professional standards with very competitive rates. All our official documentation and Notary deeds are always translated in English for better comprehension, client satisfaction and safety.
consultoria logo
• Immigration Law.
• Real Estate Law.
• Corporations, Foundations
       and Associations. 
• Trademarks & Intellectual
       Property.  
• Notary public services
• Criminal Law
•Civil & Commercial 
       Litigation
Our Law Office is conveniently located near Mall San Pedro,  350 meters south from the Subaru dealer, Los Yoses, San José.
5290-12/2/09

KEARNEY-LAWSON & Asoc.
Lic.Gregory Kearney Lawson.
Attorneys at Law and real estate brokers
Relocation services, Wedding Planning
Greg Kearney
*Investments  *Corporations
*Tax Shelters *Immigration
*Real Estate Sales in Costa Rica
*Name & Product registration
*Business procedures 
*Family and Labor Law
*Locate People   *Private Investigations
Phone/Fax: 2290-8117, 8841-0007
New location on Rohrmoser Blvd.
 Phone: (506) 2232-1014

dengue source
Ministerio de Salud photo
Mosquitoes just love old tires as breeding spots. This one is on the central Pacific coast near Parrita and Quepos.

Dengue threat is still there,
health officials warn nation

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

While the country struggles through a swine flu epidemic that has contributed to the deaths of at least 27 people, health officials want to make sure that the public does not forget the dengue threat.

Dengue is down by half this year when compared to 2008, and malaria cases are down by 65 percent. Health officials attribute that to the cleanup that has been done by Ministerio de Salud workers and private groups, including Fundación Tierra Nostra and Cervercería CistaCosta, the beer company.

So far this year there have been 2,184 dengue cases reported. The figures cover through the 29th week of the year. By that time last year there were 4,416 cases of dengue, health officials noted.

The spike in cases in 2008 was attributable, in part, to a reduction of health campaigns and spraying in coastal areas where the bulk of the cases are. There are seven cases of the more serious hemorrhagic dengue. Two are on the central Pacific and five are in northwest Guanacaste. There have been no deaths although this type of dengue can be fatal. The Cantón de Parrita has 730 cases reported, health officials said. That is the largest number. The Cantón de Aguirre is second with 375. Health officials are working harder in these areas to eliminate the mosquito breeding spots.

There are 159 cases of malaria with more than 80 percent of the cases in Matina in the Provincia de Limón.

Our reader's opinion
German expat finds life
here has many challenges

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

This is/was our Costa Rica experience:

We owned a property right in Matapalo. And actually we heard about the future power line, its planned location. In those days if Insituto Costarricense de Electricidad and municipal officials were asked about it, they denied everything and called it rumors.
 
Matapalo is getting connected to the newly paved Costanera Sur and ultimately connected to the rest of the developed Costa Rica. Development is coming with high voltage power lines, and they are going to spoil a so far unspoiled area. Why is Costa Rica willing to do that and chase tourists and investors in that area away? Against better knowledge, development sins of the past in Costa Rica and elsewhere in the world are going to be repeated.

There seems to be a hidden agenda in Costa Rica why things are done in a certain way which can make life and retirement/investment there a nightmare. We actually do know one of the investors who bought some land to develop it and who faces a tower for the lines to be put on his land and the power lines crossing it. Nobody told him when he asked.
 
To buy a property in Costa Rica, live and build a dream house is not a bargain any more. These times are long gone. Actually it may even be more expensive. But is it worth all the trouble?

Crime – we could not leave our house unattended for a minute, we had to buy a gun for protection.

Squatters – a land worker refused to leave our land and was legally evicted later.

Lawsuits – as foreigners we were victims of all kind of lawsuits. Some Ticos and their lawyers have made it a source of income (“Just pay them off!” But why? We have all of them on Caja and seguro! We did not do anything wrong!)

Cost of living and myths – it is really not cheap to live there, cost for electricity, gas etc. (Yes, a casado is cheaper than to eat here in the U.S.A.). Our Tico cleaning lady and the gardener made more like $400 to $500 a month each including Caja, seguro, aguinaldo, vacation days rather than the $150 a month Costa Rica promotional sites are raving about.

Daily inconveniences – like power outages (I am not talking about lights flickering . . . more like days and weeks without regular power), missing bridges (Portalón bridge from September 2005 to December 2006), lacking shopping facilities for basics (“no hay…”)

Medical problems – we tried to import medicines from the U.S.A. which were covered by health insurance over there and did not get an import waiver from the Ministerio de Salud (“You have to buy the meds here in the country!” About $3,000 a month!? Not all of them are available!). After a couple of appeals and one year we decided to give up.

Construction of our dream house – Well we finished it, paying the builder several times additional money (… and yes we controlled spending and we had a contract set up by an attorney).

By the way we had four very reputable and expensive law firms from San José and Quepos working for us more or less all the time. (I am 46 years old, and I needed one lawyer before back in Germany.)
 
In these three years that we lived in Costa Rica there was never a straightforward answer but rumors, problems and, as I said at the beginning, never facts, truth, honesty, support.

Costa Rica is a very nice country to visit.
Martin Kautz
Germany and South Florida

Obama heads south again
to talk to the U.S. neighbor


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

U.S. President Barack Obama has arrived in Mexico for the North American leaders summit. Obama, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Mexican President Felipe Calderón will attempt to coordinate their efforts on a number of issues.

This is President Obama's second trip south of the border in less than four months.

When Obama visited Mexico City in April, one of his aides became sick and returned home. The aide recovered, but the illness was part of the worldwide outbreak of H1N1 swine flu.

Mexico received global praise for its handling of the situation, and the United States and Mexico cooperated closely to limit the spread of the virus.

Worries about an anticipated resurgence of swine flu in North America later this year is expected to be an urgent topic at the summit.

John Brennan, U.S. deputy national security adviser, said that while in Guadalajara, the three North American leaders will prepare to take their cooperation a step further.

"What President Obama is going to be doing at the summit is to be working with President Calderón and Prime Minister Harper to discuss what we are doing collaboratively to deal with the challenge, making sure that our public health departments and officials are working closely together," he said.

The North American leaders are also expected to focus on their region's economic woes.

Obama's deputy national security adviser Michael Froman, says the three leaders will share ideas on bolstering the regional and global economies.

"They are likely to discuss what needs to be done to assure a shared recovery and to reform the international financial institutions, and to lay the foundations for future growth," he said.

On trade issues, Froman says the Obama administration is working to ease global concerns about the "Buy American" provision that requires many of the public works projects paid for by the U.S. economic stimulus plan use materials made in the United States.

"We are in dialogue with Canada and our other trading partners about the issue to try and implement the "Buy American" provision in a way consistent with our international obligations, while minimizing disruption to trade," he said.

The flow of illegal drugs and the violence associated with it is a concern throughout North America. Gen. James Jones. U.S. national security adviser, said the United States will continue to work closely with the Mexican government as it fights an often bloody battle against the drug syndicates.

Obama and Calderón, and Harper are scheduled to meet today before the summit concludes.

No concrete action is expected from these meetings, but Jones said "You get in trouble when you wait too long before talking to your neighbors."

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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, Aug. 7, 2009, Vol. 9, No. 155

another great month
Your Costa Rica


Many complexities can come with property purchases
By Angela Jiménez Rocha
Special to A.M. Costa Rica

There is a distinct difference in real estate in Costa Rica from some of the more developed countries.  However in my 23 years of doing appraisals and inspections especially for the government authorized mutuals which were set up to promote housing opportunity, it is absolutely not commonplace for the kind of tricks to occur that fill up the pages of A.M. Costa Rica.

As a licensed appraiser I am required to explain and investigate many aspects before the bank will loan money. If foreign buyers would consult with a real expert on real estate in Costa Rica almost all of these problems can be avoided.

Some of the items I carefully investigate is the legally required setback distances in each municipality and the distance to any water source, be it a river or a spring.  The decision by our government insurance company to insure an area is one of those items that should be addressed before purchase since the company will not issue insurance in certain areas.  For new construction, we check on the uso de suelo (use of the land permitted or not) and availability of utility connections (which are not always available).  

Buyers of condo projects should demand and really understand the rules and regulations under the ley de horizontal (law of condos) and ask lots of questions about who is the legal administrator and how they are functioning.

If there is any doubt as to the dimensions and location of any property, I recommend and often require a topographer
to investigate the property.  I rely on plano de catastrado, which is the legal document from the Registro Nacional before I start any inspection or appraisal.  If it is a large project, I ask to see an environmental permit from the Secretaria Tecnica National Ambiental, and if it is a condo project also the permit from the Instituto Nacional de Vivienda y Urbanismo, and I also ask for the water permit. 

Sometimes there may be a long waiting period for telephone service to be connected, but a buyer can visit a local office of the Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad to inquire about this.

I am concerned about access routes to the property, especially in rural areas where you may have to cross bridges and the possiblity of problems if a bridge is washed out.  I want to know if the area is zoned commercial, residential, agricultural or has mixed use.  I have had to advise buyers about potential concession problems for waterfront since this is a very complex issue the buyer must really understand by consulting with an attorney.  Hydrology is often a consideration, and when I first started in this business years ago the best advice I received is to watch the property in a hard rain before making decisions.  It is always a good idea to obtain soil tests for any property.

Of course one of the main advantages of appraisal is having someone know what the real market value is before any funds leave the buyers hands.  I also ask a lot of questions of my attorney if there are any doubts.  He has given me a lot of insight into the condo law here which is becoming more and more of an issue with many developers building under these rules.


Souverir vendors hope that lawmakers override Arias veto
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The souvenir sellers at the Plaza de la Democracia are hoping for a legislative override to keep them in their spot on Calle 13 bis.

The vendors are under strong pressure to move to the El Frontón building on Avenida 6, but many of the 90 small business people are resisting the move.

The legislature passed a bill that would have assured them of their current location. But the tin roofs and shabby arrangements of small stalls is not an attractive addition to an area the central government and the municipality is trying to make a showpiece.

The three-story Fronton building had been remodeled, but it is not in a location many tourists are likely to visit. A
similar building nearby dedicated to the crafts of Costa Rica folded four years ago.

The Fundo de Cooperación China and the Ministerio de Cultura, Juventud y Deportes are putting up $1 million to entice the vendors to the new location.  The problem is that many would be relegated to the second floor where foot traffic by tourists is expected to be minimal.

Minority parties at the legislature, in particular the Movimiento Libertario, have backed the vendors who protested all week at Casa Presidencial. Even though the lawmakers passed the bill by a wide margin, most members of the ruling Partido Liberación Nacional are expected to go along with the veto by President Óscar Arias Sánchez. Vendors say where they are now on the west side of the plaza, will be used for parking by the proposed Arias foundation museum of peace.


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San José, Costa Rica, Monday, Aug. 10, 2009, Vol. 9, No. 156


U.S. team wins the gold
International Surfing Association photo/Watts                      
Victorious U.S. team is decked out in gold medals
U.S. surf team brings home the gold from Playa Hermosa
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff
and special reports

The Costa Rican surfing team took seventh in the international games at Playa Hermosa that ended Saturday. The U.S. surfing team took first and walked away with the gold medals. It was the first time that the Americans have won an overall gold medal since the 1996 World Surfing Games in Huntington Beach, California.

The Costa Rican team finished behind France, Hawaii, South Africa, Perú and Australia. Individual places in the open event were Jason Torres, seventh, Carlos Muñoz 13th, Gilbert Brown, 21st and Luis Vindas, 33rd.

Lisbeth Vindas placed 11th in the open women competition and Natalie Bernold placed 15th. Anthony Flores was 29th in the longboard, and Diego Naranjo was 33rd.

The World Surfing Games has the status of the Olympics among surfers. The event at Playa Hermosa attracted large crowds, and sponsors estimated  20,000 persons may have viewed the events that began Aug. 1. Some residents complained about the lack of parking, and some spectators were said to have walked the 12 kilometers (7.5 miles) from Jacó to the north.

Tourist police and the Fuerza Pública maintained two checkpoints, one at the bridge over the Río Tarcoles and one at the games themselves. They used drug-sniffing dogs to check vehicles.

Confiscated were various amounts of marijuana, cocaine, knives, and one pistol with ammunition over the course of the surf tournament.

"We arrived two days early, and I was thinking that this did not give us much time to prepare, but it turned out that we were the only team that put the time in on the two contest sites, studying the waves and the various sandbars, running mock heats and totally familiarizing our team with the
changing conditions with an eight-foot tidal change," said U.S. coach Ian Cairns. Of course, for the Costa Rican team the surf was home ground.

From the opening heats of the games at Playa Hermosa, Team USA appeared committed and focused, as they competed against 34 other teams for a spot on the podium. In the final day of competition, Team USA was able to place five of the eight team members into the three finals, hence becoming the team to beat.

Cairns assumed the position as coach less than one month ago. "We had good surfers and what we did was to stay very concentrated,” said Cairns. “This is a long event and it was very important to preserve your energy.”

Hot on the U.S.A.'s heels was the French team, led by World Tour surfer Jeremy Flores. He looked in stellar form throughout the entire contest. France managed to put one athlete in each of the open, women's, and longboard divisions.

In the women's final, 16-year-old American Courtney Conlogue was surfing on a higher plane as she dismantled her competition with a determined backhand attack on the lefts that earned her a slew of 8- and 7-point rides along with a gold medal.

Highlighting the final day's action was the open final. Comprised of two Americans — Floridian Cory Lopez and North Carolina native Ben Bourgeois — a Peruvian and a Frenchmen, the level of surfing in the men's final showcased just how technically advanced surfing has become throughout the world.

Despite Lopez's stellar rail work and progressive turns, France's Flores was the man to beat. Flores seemed untouchable, putting his trademark low center of gravity style and lightning fast turns to good work in the final. That surfing earned him a pair of 8-point rides that the other competitors couldn't touch as Flores went on to win gold.

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San José, Costa Rica, Monday, Aug. 10, 2009, Vol. 9, No. 156

Casa Alfi Hotel

Chávez unrecalls diplomat
and cites military incursions


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez has ordered his ambassador to Colombia back to Bogota just days after recalling him.

But at nearly the same time, Chávez said he would have his emissary in Bogotá present a complaint that Colombian military forces are encroaching on Venezuelan territory.

Chávez went so far as to suggest to his military that they might have to take action against Colombia.

There has been extreme tension between the two countries, mainly because Colombia President Álvaro Uribe is trying to eliminate the leftist rebels who generate some sympathy in Caracas.

Chávez, who made the announcement on the ambassador Saturday, pulled the man, Gustavo Marquez, from his post just over a week ago amid progress in plans by Colombia to accept more U.S. troops at seven military bases. The United States has been in talks with Bogota about relocating drug interdiction flights to Colombia. Ecuador has declined to renew the U.S. lease on its air base near Manta.

Chávez also was angry about accusations by Bogota that he had supplied arms to the Fuerzas Armada Revolucionarias de Colombia rebels. Last month, Colombia said it had captured weapons from rebels that had been produced in Sweden and sold to Venezuela.

Chávez frequently make threats against Colombia, generally followed by calls for peace within days. However, this time he is expected to use the increased presence of U.S. forces as a way to generate solidarity with other left-leaning Latin governments. He has a regional meeting this week where he is expected to continue to raise the issue of U.S. bases in Colombia.

Long-term effects predicted
for Latin countries in crisis

Special to A.M. Costa Rica

Higher unemployment figures, lower economic growth, falling trade and stubborn fiscal deficits are among the lingering effects the global financial crisis will have on Latin American countries, the top United Nations official for the region warned Friday.

The aftershocks of the global meltdown have infected the region through a sharp decline in remittances, shrinking external demand for goods and services and changes in the relative price of exports, said Alicia Bárcena, executive secretary of the U.N. Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean.

Ms. Bárcena highlighted trade as one of the hardest hit sectors in the region, in her opening address to the 2009 Summer School on Latin American Economies, whose theme is “The Real Impact of the Global Economic Crisis: A Latin American Perspective.”

In April, trade was slashed by almost 32 per cent compared to the same month in 2008, with a 29.2 per cent drop in exports and 34.6 per cent decrease in imports during the same period, Ms. Bárcena told the gathering at commission headquarters in Santiago, Chile.

She added that a cut in foreign direct investment of between 35 and 45 per cent is expected this year, while unemployment is estimated to climb to 9 per cent and money sent home by nationals living and working outside the region, remittances, will fall by some 5 to 10 per cent.

Although there are signs of economic recovery, it will be a slow, gradual process, Ms. Bárcena warned the some 29 post-graduate students from Argentina, Belgium, Bolivia, Canada, Korea, Chile, Ecuador, France, Italy, Mexico and Spain, who will complete the commission seminar next month.

During the economic recession in the 1980s, it took 12 years for economies in the region to recover but as long as 24 years for social indicators to reach their pre-crisis levels, she said, predicting that the future comprises of lower growth in developed countries, more participation of developing countries in global growth and stricter regulations on financial systems.
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San José, Costa Rica, Monday, Aug. 10, 2009, Vol. 9, No. 156

Latin American news digest
train plaque
Casa Presidencial photo
President Óscar Arias Sánchez uncovers a plaque that immortalizes his ride from San José to Heredia on the revived rail line. Regular service starts today, but Arias traveled the route Saturday amid much fanfare.

Police will demonstrate today

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Police officers from the many types of police agencies are expected to protest today in front of the Ministerio de Hacienda on Avenida 2 in downtown San José. They want higher salaries. Those protesting are expected to include Fuerza Pública officers, immigration police, Policía de Tránsito and prison guards.

But this is not a good time to try to sneak through San José with a forbidden license number. The numbers outlawed for Monday are 1 and 2. The protesting police are all supposed to be on their own time, and detachments of traffic police will be looking for license plate violators.

ICE marks 125 years of power

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad celebrated 125 years of power Saturday. It was in 1884 when Manuel Víctor Dengo Bertora, an engineer, turned on 25 lamps on the streets of San José.  Dengo also is credited with introducing the telegraph, phonograph, the pianola and dynamite to Costa Rica. For electricity he received a 15-year concession.

One of his grandchildren, Jorge Manuel Dengo, was a founder 60 years ago of the Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad, known as ICE, which still is the major power producer.

According to the institute, Manuel Victor Dengo built a hydro plant in Barrio Aranjuez and brought water to the generator through a channel built in 1751.  That was two years after New York built a hydro plant.



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