A.M. Costa Rica

Your daily English-language news source
Monday through Friday

Check out 
our classifieds
These stories were published Thursday, Aug. 12, 2004, in Vol. 4, No. 159
Jo Stuart
About us
Rentista category goes back into proposed law
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Two officials say that the category of rentista has been reinserted into the proposed immigration law.

They are Marco Badilla, director general de Migración y Extranjería, and Federico Malavasi, a deputy with the Movimento Libertario. Malavasi said the action came Monday during a meeting of the committee that is studying the proposed immigration reform bill.

This is a major victory for those seeking to pave the way for foreigners to immigrate to Costa Rica. Originally, government officials wanted to eliminate that category.

Ryan Piercy, executive director of the Association of Residents of Costa Rica, has been fighting a battle to keep the immigration category. He confirmed Wednesday that he had heard the rentista category had been reinserted into the bill.

Committee sessions of the legislature are free-wheeling, and the immigration bill has many amendments proposed. So an official write-through of the bill legislators are considering is difficult to get. Nevertheless, Malavasi, as a member of the Comisión Permanente de Gobierno y Administración that is studying the measure, said he was there when the amendment was approved.

Nevertheless, Piercy said that the assets would-be immigrants must show to move here still will be increased. He said that the proposed

amounts are $1,000 a month for pensionadosand $2,000 a month for rentistas.

The good news is that deputies will place these amounts in the law rather than leaving the decision up to bureaucrats.

The bad news is that a number of would-be residents do not have pensions that amount to $1,000 a month U.S.  Piercy noted in a telephone interview that a Canadian pension of $1,000 a month would only be about $800 U.S. and not large enough to qualify the recipient for pensionado status.

A pensionado must show a recognized pension in order to gain residency. A rentista merely must show that he or she has five years worth of funds in the bank.

Now rentistas must show a bank account of $60,000 and agree to exchange into colons $1,000 a month. Piercy wondered how anxious individuals will be to place $120,000 in a relatively low-yielding bank account here or in North America to prove their financial worth. 

Still the numbers are move favorable to immigration than the $3,000 or $6,000  a month that had been rumored and sought by some legislators.

Piercy has been pressing the case for lower immigration financial standards for the last year. The immigration bill has the support of the administration, and changes made in committee can be reversed when the bill comes to the floor of the full Asamblea Nacional.

Bank had plenty of time to fight rumor 
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The rumor of instability that caused a run on BAC San José Monday and Tuesday began at least two weeks ago, according to those who heard the claim then.

Still it took nearly two weeks for the rumor to prompt action among Costa Rican customers of the private bank.

Bank and government officials continued to insist Wednesday that rumors of problems have no basis in fact and that the bank, formerly Banco de San José, is solid.

Crowds of customers seeking to withdraw their funds diminished but did not disappear Wednesday. In addition, some financial advisers, worried about the effect of a run on even the most stable bank, were advising their clients to withdraw their funds.

The bank run also shows the strength of a local interpersonal communications network among Costa Ricans. There was no print or electronic publicity about the rumors, yet thousands 

eventually heard and acted. The first  words of the bank run in the news media came Tuesday night — long after thousands lined up to make withdrawals. 

Despite the length of time the rumor endured in the streets, BAC San José appears to have taken no steps to stem the claims, which they brand as false. Typically a business institution facing  a rumor campaign confronts the false claims head-on and in the most public manner.

Proctor & Gamble, the household products company, learned this the hard way in the 1990s when a rumor campaign linked the firm with the "Church of Satan." At first the company tied to ignore the recurring rumor, but it began to receive nearly 200,000 letters a year and changed tactics to be more aggressive.

Proctor & Gamble managed to attack the rumor by advertising and by threatening legal action against those who spread it.

BAC San José seems to have done none of these. Major newspapers Wednesday carried no messages from the bank to its customers.

our daily
our site
2004 photo contest
Send us
news story
Visit our
Visit our
Visit our
real estate
of Villalobos
Display ad info



SALE  !!!
Up to 
50 %
All  Appliances 

Refurbished Appliances Outlet
Tel .(506) 239-5433

Live like a king!

One of the finest condos is available in the center of the Metropolitan Area.

This is El Emperador Condominiums
adjacent to Mall San Pedro. Hurry!!

$185,000 U.S.D.
Larry 293-0891 

WE HAVE MOVED: Visit our website to see our new location in Pavas as well as 
our outstanding  Rainy Season Specials!
Coast Spas de Costa Rica
290-8655 or click here!
Free water testing!    0% Financing available!



Howard's Relocation
The BEST investment
you can make

click here


Did you know?

• Prescriptions
 are not needed 
on most products 
in Costa Rica

• You can take
a 90-day supply
back to the USA

• You'll save
up to 80% compared to
U.S. drugstores

Farmacia Alvarez
(click here)

Costa Rica Expertise
Costa Rica Expertise Ltd http://crexpertise.com E-mail info@crexpertise.com Tel:506-256-8585 Fax:506-256-9393

Magistrates to hear
debate about war

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Magistrates of the Sala IV constitutional court will be hearing arguments this morning that President Abel Pacheco acted unconstitutionally when he showed support for the U.S. war against Iraq.

A number of Costa Ricans and organizations have challenged what they see as a presidential endorsement of the war and have joined in the action. Among these is the office of the Defensor de los Habitantes.

After hearing the arguments, the magistrates have a month to issue a decision. It is unclear exactly what they might be able to order if they agree with the persons making the appeal.

Pacheco, for his part, claims he has opposed terrorism and did not specifically support the U.S. actions.

Controllers settle
and will return

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Air traffic controllers will be back on the job tomorrow after having reached an agreement to end their strike Wednesday.

The settlement appears to call for a pay hike of nearly 30 percent for the 115 controllers.

The government also has agreed to discontinue efforts to fire the controllers. The seven-week strike has been declared illegal in three labor courts.

Controllers from other Latin countries have been managing air traffic since the Costa Ricans walked out. Strikers have claimed the skies were unsafe, but there were no serious incidents.

U.S. citizen’s vehicle
kills girl near Limón

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

An 8-year-old girl died in Estrada de Limón when she got off a bus and stepped into traffic. The vehicle that hit her was driven by a U.S. citizen, investigators said.

The girl was identified as Tracy Garita Medina. The driver of the car was identified as Christopher Michael Loreon of the U.S. state of Oregon.

The girl was travelling with her stepfather but seems to have let go of his hand to cross the street.  Loreon was passing the stopped municipal bus when the tragedy took place.

The girl went to the Clinica de Batan where she was pronounced dead.

Santa Cruz plans
cheese weekend

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

If you like cheese, Santa Cruz de Turrialba has a deal for you. Sunday residents there will be cutting the largest cheese ever made in Costa Rica; some 250 kilos (550 pounds), the end result of some 1,500 liters of milk.

The event is all part of the Exoferia del Queso in the farming community. The event begins Friday at Hacienda Miravalles where there is parking for 3,000 vehicles.

Nearby are the Irazú and Turrialba volcanoes. In addition to cheese at the festival, traditional competitions are planned as are tours of a dairy, tours in tractors and sales of food and artists products.

The event is sponsored by the Instituto Costarricense de Turismo.

Santa Cruz produces 200,000 kilos (440,000 pounds) of cheese a month and 98 percent of the population are directly employed in that business, said the tourism institute.

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.

Legal services

Bufete Hernández Mussio 
& Asociados

Lic. Arcelio Hernández Mussio
Tel. 218-0829                Cell 365-3088 

E-mail: legalxpt@racsa.co.cr

• Family law       • real estate law 
•  criminal and constitutional law
• due dilligence   • title guarantee, 
• fraud protection
• Notary Public services in general

Authorized Representative
Stewart Title Attorney Referral System

      Lic. Gregory Kearney Lawson, 
Costa Rica/U.S.A. Attorneys at Law
Villalobos and Savings Unlimited Collections
*Investments  *Corporations 
*Real Estate Sales in Costa Rica *Tax Shelters 
*Immigration *Intellectual Property
    *Business procedures *Family and Labor Law
    *Locate People *Private Investigations
       Ph/Fax: 221-9462, 356-2449

Real estate agents and services

First Costa Rican Title & Trust
Protecting your interests since 1994
  Purchase contracts
  Escrow services
  Title Transfers
  Title Guarantees
  Trust Services
  Investment and 
      Mortgage Services
Call us for your real property legal and investment needs at 225-0501 or send us an e-mail at service1@firstcr.com

Title Guarantees issued by First American Title Insurance Co., one of the oldest and largest title companies in the world. The First American difference in protection is that the policies cover unrecorded matters and unknown risks.


formerly with  Carico and now with Great Estates
15 years Costa Rican
real estate experience

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

Member of
Costa Rican-American
Chamber of Commerce

(506) 291-2825 & (506) 291-2826 
fax (506) 296-6304   (506) 382-7399 cell

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

 In Costa Rica:                    From elsewhere:

  A.M. Costa Rica                    Consultantes Río Colo.
  Apartado 12909-1000           SB 11 
  San José, Costa Rica              P.O. Box 025292
  (506) 223-1327                    Miami, FL 33102-5292

Buy my mountain

The last and choicest mountainside 35.387 m2 (8.7 acres) development property offered at wholesale price Only $28 per square meter with easy bank & owner financing! Breathtaking 270º views Central Valley, Ciudad Colón, unpolluted fresh air & climate only 8 minutes from FORUM Office Center, quick access Prospero Fernando Freeway, shopping, new hospital, 20 minutes to San José. Zoned and ready to go. Contact Captain Haines, globaltrade@racsa.co.cr Tel (506) 249-4758 Fax (506) 249-1559 

U.S. calls for free and fair elections in Venezuela
By the A.M. Costa Rica wires services

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The United States Wednesday called for a free, fair and transparent electoral process in Venezuela, where citizens vote Sunday in a referendum on the political future of President Hugo Chavez. The State Department reiterated concern about incidents of harassment and intimidation in the run-up to the vote. 

The Bush administration has had a difficult relationship with Chavez, who has had close ties with Cuban President Fidel Castro and been a strong critic of U.S. policy in Iraq and elsewhere. 

But officials here say the United States is not taking sides in the recall election. In a statement issued in advance of Sunday's vote, Secretary of State Colin Powell said the vote, if conducted freely, fairly and transparently, will be an important step toward a peaceful, electoral, democratic and constitutional solution to Venezuela's long-running political crisis.

The referendum, which asks Venezuelans whether Chavez should leave office two years before his current terms ends, was put on a ballot after a controversy-ridden petition process in which recall supporters collected more than two million signatures for his ouster.

At a news briefing State Department Deputy Spokesman Adam Ereli noted that the United States had raised concerns about incidents of harassment and intimidation in the long run-up to the vote, and said the Caracas government now has a special responsibility to ensure a proper environment for a free and fair election:

"I'm not going to speculate on the outcome of the vote," he said. "What's important in our view is that this process go forward peacefully, transparently and in a way that gives everybody the freedom to exercise their rights without pressure and intimidation. And that is the benchmark by which we will look at this process."

Powell said in his written statement that effective electoral observation will be vital to the credibility of the referendum, and he urged that observers including those of the Organization of American States and the U.S.-based Carter Center be given the "unrestricted access necessary to do their jobs."

He said Venezuela's future is in the hands of its citizens and that the United States calls on all Venezuelans to reject violence and respect the rights of others. He said the United States "stands firmly with them" as they seek to strengthen their democracy and support national reconciliation.

U.S. officials have expressed concern over several incidents in the recall campaign including the jailing of the anti-Chavez mayor of a Caracas suburb and the investigation of a non-governmental group for accepting funds from the U.S.-supported National Endowment for Democracy.

Chavez has repeatedly accused the United States of financing the campaign against him, and insists despite U.S. denials, that the Bush administration was behind a military coup that briefly unseated him on 2002.

If Chavez loses the referendum, a presidential election would be held within 30 days.

Oil minister sees little change in supply or drop in price soon
By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

CARACAS, Venezuela — The country’s oil minister says the Organization of Oil Producing Nations, OPEC, has reached its maximum production capacity.

Speaking to reporters Tuesday, Venezuelan Oil Minister Rafael Ramírez said OPEC will discuss the possibility of increasing production when the 11-member group meets Sept. 15 in Vienna. 

but he does not see any chance of the situation changing much.

Ramirez says he does not expect the price of oil worldwide to drop any time soon, due to high demand and instability in the Middle East. The price of oil reached over $45 a barrel earlier this week.

Venezuela is a founding member of OPEC and is the world's fifth largest oil exporter. 

This story was published Tuesday, Aug. 10, 2004, in Vol. 4, No. 157
and you still can respond to it!
An ethical dilemma
To pay or not to pay, that is the question
By Jay Brodell
editor of A.M. Costa Rica

The latest predicament grew from a mental lapse on my part. I accidentally left an expensive camera in the back seat of a taxi as I got out at Casa Presidencial a week ago.

The taxi was two blocks away before I noticed the loss of my small Sony digital.

We figured the camera was a goner, the cost of doing journalism anywhere. But fellow newspeople, including colleagues from Diario Extra and at the press office of the Judicial Investigating Organization came to my aid.

La Extra ran a small notice about the gringo losing a camera. Press people notified radio commentators.

The result is a situation that requires a little participatory journalism. Readers will be asked to give advice on what to do.

You see, the taxista found the camera and saw La Extra. Saturday he called to say we could have it back, but we just needed to pay the 50,000 colons to get the device out of the unspecified pawn shop. That’s about $112. The camera is used and worth about $200.

As a sign of good faith the taxi driver gave me the black cloth bag that had contained the camera. Still in it was my press identification and phone number.

The taxista came again Monday to invite me to go to the pawn shop and redeem the camera. Getting in a tax carrying $112 in cash is not something I usually do, at least when the driver knows I have the money. I stalled.

Some associates want me to forget the camera and file a criminal charge of extortion against the cab driver. We have his plate number

A.M. Costa Rica photo
Empty camera bag was returned

which allowed us to obtain his name. He is basically holding the Sony for ransom. He knew who I was and pawned the device anyway.

Others say I should be pragmatic. Pay the money, take the camera and forget it.

Curiously, every Costa Rican consulted wants a criminal complaint filed. The North Americans say I should pay. The Costa Ricans say I should not encourage this type of behavior. The North Americans say one taxi driver is not going to change anything.

So here is your chance. You can send an e-mail, with or without comments to one of two addresses.

If you think I should file a complaint and try to get the camera back from the pawn shop with the help of the police, send your e-mail to burntheguy@amcostarica.com.

If you think I should simply pay off to get the camera back, send your e-mail to paytheguy@amcostarica.com.

We’ll publish the results.

Last month A.M. Costa Rica registered 1,318,470 hits.
Your business could get hit here, too.

A.M. Costa Rica's
real estate classifieds
are the best deal going.

Color photos
Live links
Instant contact
Worldwide readership

Check it out HERE!

Want to know about birds?
This is the CLASSIC
for bird lovers 
in Costa Rica.

Order it 
via A.M. Costa Rica
in association with

See other popular Costa Rican titles HERE!

Nicaragua continues destroying Soviet-era missiles
Special to A.M. Costa Rica

Nicaragua has destroyed another portion of its missile stockpile in a move that the United States says will thwart terrorists from attempting to shoot down civilian aircraft.

A spokesman for the Nicaraguan Embassy in Washington confirmed Wednesday that his country's government had destroyed 333 more shoulder-fired surface-to-air missiles that were obtained from the former Soviet Union in the 1980s. In May, Nicaragua had destroyed a first batch of 333 shoulder-fired missiles, known as "manpads," which stands for "man-portable air defense system."

The destruction of the missiles occurred at a site about 96 kms. (60 miles) northwest of the Nicaraguan capital of Managua. Among those observing the destruction of the missiles were several officials from the U.S. State Department, the Nicaraguan spokesman said.

The spokesman said Nicaragua also plans to destroy another batch of about 333 missiles in November. This means, the spokesman said, that by the end of 2004, Nicaragua will have destroyed about one-half of its original inventory of 2,000 missiles.

The spokesman said there is "interest and willingness" on the part of the Nicaraguan government to continue destroying its inventory of missiles, but that such an action depends upon approval by the Nicaraguan parliament. In addition, the action has to conform to a treaty among Central American nations to maintain a "reasonable balance of forces" in the region, the spokesman said. That treaty, he said, was initiated by Nicaraguan President Enrique Bolaños, which aims to achieve a balance of military forces" in Central America.

The United States has praised Nicaragua's decision to destroy the missiles, saying the weapons have

been actively sought and used by terrorist organizations to attack civil aviation.

The U.S. State Department has said it is working with other countries in Latin America and around the world to reduce the threat of these missiles. A U.S. contractor is carrying out the destruction of the missiles in cooperation with the Nicaraguan government, the State Department said.

Nicaragua's 2,000 surface-to-air weapons were obtained from the Soviet Union during the Cold War era of the 1980s, when the left-wing Sandinista government, then in power in Nicaragua, was fighting a civil war against right-wing rebels.

U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell said during his November 2003 trip to Nicaragua that the nation's stockpile of shoulder-fired, surface-to-air missiles did not have a role to play in Central America's current political climate.

Powell said the missiles did not provide security for Nicaragua, nor were they necessary for establishing the region's balance of forces. Instead, Powell said, the missiles were a burden on the nation's military and a potential danger — and should be entirely eliminated.

Powell praised Nicaragua's Bolaños for demonstrating leadership on security issues by encouraging the region's other heads of state to reduce their defense expenditures and establish a reasonable balance of defense forces in Central America. Powell said this adjustment was a natural extension of increased integration and cooperation in the region, and a recognition of the changing threats facing Central America.

"The Nicaraguan people and the people in other nations in Central America should be more worried about narco-trafficking and terrorists than they should be about being invaded by a neighbor," Powell said Nov. 4. 

Many missing Dominicans found alive after migration attempt fails
By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republica — Authorities say 33 migrants who tried to reach Puerto Rico by boat have been found alive, but dozens more are missing and feared dead. 

Officials say fishermen found the migrants Tuesday near the northern coast village of Nagua and they were severely dehydrated. Two migrants died on the way to the hospital. 

Authorities say the rescued migrants were among nearly 80 people who disappeared after leaving the Dominican Republic July 29 for Puerto Rico. On Tuesday, the U.S. Coast Guard sent a C-130 plane to search for them. 

The Coast Guard says that since October, 60 people are known to have died trying to cross the waters between the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. More than 5,000 have been intercepted at sea since then.

Jo Stuart
About us
What we published this week: Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Earlier
The contents of this web site are copyrighted by Consultantes Río Colorado 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2004 and may not be reproduced anywhere without permission. Abstracts and fair use are permitted. Check HERE for more details