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(506) 2223-1327           Published Monday, Aug. 15, 2011, in Vol. 11, No. 160           Email us
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Daystar

After 10 years of publishing, this is edition #2,571
By Jay Brodell
A.M. Costa Rica editor

A.M. Costa Rica today marks its 10th birthday of providing a free news service to expats here and those with an interest in this country everywhere.

What the online newspaper is today is nothing that was envisioned 10 years ago. Back then the publication was seen as a sort of calendar for expat activities here and a few daily news stories to fill the large gap left by The Tico Times, which then and now still publishes weekly. The editors felt that The Tico Times would soon come out with its own daily news source, and that A.M. Costa Rica would become redundant.

There are two reasons why that did not happen. First, less that a month after publication started Aug. 15, 2001, terrorists crashed planes into the New York twin towers and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. Tourist-dependent Costa Rica suffered the impact when plane flights were grounded. Tourists here could not go home. Would-be tourists could not arrive.

In addition, there was a general sense of impotence and anxiety among the U.S. and Canadian citizens here. A.M. Costa Rica did its best to inform its readers every day of developments and specific, related events in Costa Rica.

The second reason why A.M. Costa Rica survived was that The Tico Times declined to change its weekly online publication to daily for more than a year. By then, A.M. Costa Rica had more loyal readers and never yielded.

The growth has level off somewhat, but A.M. Costa Rica served up 36,064 pages to readers Friday, according to Statcounter.com. In 2010 the newspaper served up 9,372,113 pages to  3,549,508 unique visitors, according to the same statistical service.

The economic impact of A.M. Costa Rica cannot be ignored. The publication is read every weekday in at least 90 countries. Most advertisers have had their greatest success with this publication, even during the more recent lean times. Internet publication travels at the speed of light and sidesteps the expensive and highly technical production of a newsprint product.

The 200-year-old formula of combining news with advertising continues to be a great success, and readers owe their thanks to the advertisers whose payments support the free newspaper.

Economics is a key element of any business, but the first priority of A.M. Costa Rica is to look out for the welfare of expats. This newspaper was the first to stress the declining security in the hopes that the central government would react. That reaction has been slow in coming. Yet, daily readers certainly learned techniques to keep them safe, such as ignoring a flat tire on their rental car as they leave the airport.

There is perhaps no more of a clear example of A.M. Costa Rica intervention on behalf of a reader as the case of Roger Crouse. He was the Canadian bar owner in Playas del Coco who shot a man who came at him with a knife inside the establishment. The evidence was strongly in favor of self-defense, but prosecutors wanted a murder conviction. Never mind that the assailant had been removed from the bar earlier by the local police. Never mind that he told the police while being released a few hours later that he was going to go back and kill Crouse. Never mind that a bar employee and two tourists witnessed the incident.

Reporter Saray Ramírez Vindas believed that Crouse was being set up for a large indemnification of the assailant's family with the help of the justice system. The situation became more complex when prosecutors and judges learned of the continuing interest by a San José-based English-language newspaper. Eventually Crouse won acquittal, but his businesses in Playas del Coco were destroyed. Editors and Crouse believed he would have been railroaded without the newspaper's oversight.

The newspaper was less successful in the case of the Villalobos brothers. Anyone who has been in business knows that no legal firm can pay 3 percent a month on borrowed money. But the so-called Brothers did, and so did a handful of other high-interest operations, including Savings Unlimited. The Villalobos operation fueled an economic bubble, and many North Americans sold everything they had to move to Costa Rica to be near the source of unparalleled wealth. Those were go-go times in Costa Rica as some investors would drop five-figure monthly cash interest payments on a continual party at local bars. The Brothers attracted characters as well as formerly hard-working investors.

That was until July 4, 2002, when Costa Rican law officers raided the Mall San Pedro office of Luis Enrique Villalobos Camacho and the chain of money exchange houses operated by his brother, Oswaldo.

Eventually Oswaldo was convicted of aggravated fraud, and his brother still is a fugitive. But even now some former investors believe that Banco Nacional and the government conspired to run the Brothers out of business. A.M. Costa Rica reporting drew telephoned death threats and letters from very unhappy individuals.

Villlalobos rally
A.M. Costa Rica archivies
Michael J. Nystrom-Schut talks to a Teletica reporter amid assembled Villalobos investors who rallied in the San José court complex. Click HERE for original story and larger photo.
Sept. 11
Sept. 11, 2001, was a defining moment.
Click HERE to see original

An example is this letter from a Canadian woman published in 2003:

“What I really can not understand is that the politicians appear to be acting on behalf of the banks and not the people who elected them. If they do not wish The Brothers to be in business, so be it, but at least allow the investors their money back. Otherwise they are just down right mean guys.”

The trial court decided that the Villalobos brothers were running a ponzi scheme. More than 6,000 investors suffered the loss of their money, and many failed to seek legal recourse because they were convinced that if the charges were dropped, Luis Enrique would return to pay them off.

More recently, news articles by Garland Baker, a business consultant, have been a big hit with readers.  He covers a broad spectrum of Costa Rican life, mostly from a legal or real estate point of view, in the hundreds of articles he has written. He also has helped privately many expats. The stories are online.

Over the 10 years this newspaper has hosted about a dozen interns, mostly U.S., Canadian and British university grads who wanted to improve their international knowledge and Spanish skills. Some continued to build a career in journalism. One became an academic, and another is a lawyer.

There have been many interesting news stories in the 2,570 individual editions.

Full-time employee Clair-Marie Robertson reported in 2004 on how the Instituto Costarricensee de Turismo spent $833,000 on a Web page but only logged just 80 reservations in two years. That was in 2004. She also was instrumental in forcing the tourism institute to take ownership of its Internet domain, visitcostarica.com, from the contractor who set it up.

Elise Sonray, an intern, was instrumental in warning tourists about a deal between a California telephone company and the Intstituto Costarricense de Electricidad that lets the private firm, BBG Communications, Inc., charge astounding fees for credit card telephone calls.

The newspaper also has helped keep expats up to date on new government levies, such as the luxury home tax and the new tax on corporations.

Immigration also has been an important topic. The newspaper reported on the way in which two prostitutes from the Dominican Republic managed to secure Costa Rican visas and then made the final payoff for the bribe at a back door of the Dirección General de Migración y Extranjería itself in la Uruca. Less sensational was the continuing coverage of changes in the laws involving residency. In the 10 years there have been three separate laws in force.

Other stories address the lack of fire protection in some beach communities, police extortion, prostitution, the online gambling problems, fraud arrests, and highway problems.

Columnist Jo Stuart writes each Friday from the perspective of a long-time resident who really loves Costa Rica. Her liberal views frequently generate letters in response.

The success of A.M. Costa Rica has generated related publications. One is Costa Rica Report that describes key news stories from the Spanish-language press each day and provides readers with an English translation of the article.

There also is Medical Vacations CR, a site designed to help foreigners who are thinking about seeking medical care here. A.M. Costa Rica Archives provides a searchable collection of daily news stories. The CAFTA Report is designed for U.S. businesses that seek to work here and Costa Rican firms that seek contracts in the United States.

CR Business is a specialized site that tries to tackle the complexities of operating a firm here. There also is Costa Rican News that provides an online feed of A.M. Costa Rica top stories and stories about Costa Rica from around the world.

In development are a series of news sites covering the Heart of the Americas from Santo Domingo to Venezuela.

Some readers think that A.M. Costa Rica editors simply copy news stories from the Spanish press and translate them into English. Nothing could be further from the truth. Each local story in A.M. Costa Rica has been gathered and written by staffers here.

Sometimes the news stories are similar because La Nación and El Diario Extra rub shoulders with A.M. Costa Rica staffers at news events. And editors here receive the same press releases.

Taking material from the Spanish press is not defensible ethically. The same is true of republishing material that has been posted elsewhere. Sometimes readers send in a favorite story. But this newspaper cannot publish it without permission. To do so would be stealing.

Writing news from scratch can be dangerous. The newspaper already has survived one criminal libel accusation based on a news story.

Editors are very grateful of the support from the readers that we do receive. Some send photos or news items and provide background on local stories.

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A.M. Costa Rica's  Second news page
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San José, Costa Rica, Monday, Aug. 15, 2011, Vol. 11, No. 160

Costa Rica Expertise


Sportsmen's Lodge

Page One is HERE!    Go to Page 3 HERE!    Go to Page 4 HERE!    
Go to Page 5 HERE! 
  Go to Page 6 HERE!     Sports is HERE!
Opinion is HERE!   Classifieds are HERE!    Plus useful links
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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.



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Our teachers are all courteous professionals and will teach you basic Spanish as well as Spanish you can start using immediately. Conveniently located in Curridabat, the program for residents consists of two hours per day, two days per week for $200 per month. Maximum class size is five persons, minimum of 2 persons.

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Real estate agents and services

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Our readers' opinions
Legalizing drugs would bring
billions in U.S. tax revenue


Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

I’d like to commend Richard Jazwinski on his article in Friday’s amcostarica.com on pointing out that non U.S. drug consumption is now greater than that in the US. It was most informative, and a little research on the net shows he is quite right. It is interesting to note that the U.S. 21st Amendment opened the doors to the underworld, and in my opinion the prohibition against drugs has certainly allowed the drug cartels to flourish. The repeal of the 21st Amendment certainly made common sense, so why don’t we legalize drugs as well? This is something I have strongly supported for years, but it will never happen – well never is a dangerous word, but it won’t happen in my lifetime. Why?

Because legalizing drugs will put too many people out of work. What would happen to all those who work for the Drug Enforcement Administration? What would happen to all the extra border patrol employees put on just to curb drug smuggling?  What would happen to all the prison personnel hired to keep track of the over 500,000 in jails for non-violent drug use?

“A 2008 study by Harvard economist Jeffrey A. Miron has estimated that legalizing drugs would inject $76.8 billion a year into the U.S. economy — $44.1 billion from law enforcement savings, and at least $32.7 billion in tax revenue ($6.7 billion from marijuana, $22.5 billion from cocaine and heroin, remainder from other drugs). Recent surveys help to confirm the consensus among economists to reform drug policy in the direction of decriminalization and legalization.” (Wikipedia)

This doesn’t sound like such a bad idea given the current economic climate in the U.S, but again it won’t happen because of the number of people it will put out of work. Those costs haven’t been studied, or at least to my knowledge they haven’t.

Finally, and of course this is an opinion, I’m sure that the drug cartels have found ways to launder their money so that they can funnel contributions to those who have the power to make legislation, and they would of course funnel it to the most outspoken politicians who are against making changes. It’s so sad, but such is the power of money.

Warren Kinsman
San José

Poorly planned ecotourism:
Threat to sustainable growth


Many Costa Rican biological hotspots have experienced a surge of foreign and local visitors in the last couple decades.  Despite the global recessions, tourist keep coming, and we tend to see ecotourism as a form of sustainable development.  However, poorly planned growth, can result in a type of development that is not sustainable.

On the bright side ecotourism can be a source of income that promotes conservation by displacing farming and other land uses.  It makes sense to switch from farming cattle or planting coffee, to farming nature loving tourist willing to pay for a walk thru your farm to see quetzals and monkeys, if you can make more money from the tourist, than from the cattle.  This way the average José is now preserving the existing forest, regenerating farmland and protecting biodiversity, not just the hardcore conservationists.

Tourism also gives rise to a sense of awareness for the need to protect nature. It is a monumental change in public awareness, it’s not only right thing to do: protecting wildlife is now what puts food on your table. These notions will extent beyond the key players, to the more general community, forging a public opinion, which favors conservation.

Ecotourism is therefore a feasible way to promote private conservation, but not without consequence. Very few would argue that a tourist looking to “take nothing but pictures and leave nothing but footprints” causes less ecological damage than grazing cattle. If successful, however, a tourist industry will drive growth of infrastructure, and an increase on pollution.  Cars, buildings, and trash will send those nature-loving tourist away. If the tourist leave, and the average José goes back to farming cattle, this is not sustainable development.
Allan Vargas
Monteverde

 
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 HERE!

From the Costa Rican press
News items posted Monday through Friday by 8 a.m.
Click a story for the summary












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A.M. Costa Rica's
Third newspage

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San José, Costa Rica, Monday, Aug. 15, 2011, Vol. 11, No. 160

Prisma dental

Today is a day for mothers and a big holiday in Costa Rica
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Today is mother's day in Costa Rica. El Día de la Madre is a major holiday because mothers are held in such reverence in Latin America.

The day also is one when mothers will be receiving gifts. The shopping was so intense that police issued guidelines so persons seeking presents would not be victims of criminals.

Today also is the Catholic Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which commemorates the tradition
 that Mary, the mother of Jesus, was taken body and soul into Heaven without experiencing death.

Consequently the day not only has a family theme but also one that is religious.

Restaurants do a big business on el Día de la Madre, and government offices and many stores are closed. Embassies also are closed.

In the United States mothers are feted on the second Sunday of May.


Domestic case turns into shootout in Pavas neighborhood
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A wild shootout in Pavas Sunday ended in the arrest of four persons, including a teen accused of holding a pistol at the head of a police officer in an effort to avoid being detained.

The shootings appeared to grow out of a domestic case.

The Fuerza Pública said that two men arrived at a home in Villa Esperanza de Pavas, began to insult a woman there and then began firing at the home. Those inside responded with their own weapons, said police.

The 17 year old, who has the last name of Martínez, suffered a wound in the hand, and a 45-year-old man with the last names of Segura Núñez was shot in the heel. Both were hospitalized.

Pistols and a shotgun were involved in the shootout.

Police said that one of the men who arrived at the home was the subject of a non-contact order involving the woman. But they had no additional information as to why it was issued.

A man with the last names of Campos Sánchez and one with the last names of Soto Nuñez were detained as being responsible for the shootout, said police.

When it appeared he might be arrested, Martínez pulled a gun on a police officer and held the muzzle against the
confiscated guns
Ministerio de Gobernación. Policía
y Seguridad Pública/Paul Gamboa
These three weapons were confiscated after the Pavas shootout.

officer's temple and made an effort to flee, police said. However, police were able to defuse the situation.

In an unrelated police action Saturday afternoon, police detained three persons in Pozos de Santa Ana when they were seen running in the public right-of-way carrying a television and sound equipment. Officers reported that three men had broken into a home, threatened a youth and his mother with knives and stole the household articles.

The suspects were identified by the last names and ages of Vargas Morales, 24, Hernández Morales, 29, and Gutiérrez Morales, 18, said officers.


New book showcases Palmares man's 16 years in Costa Rica
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

John D. Steinrucken, a retiree in Palmares, has penned what he calls a frequent flyer friendly book, “Gringos in Costa Rica.” Some of the short stories are fuzzy-feel-good, some
Gringo book
are of tragedies, some are of scams and some are just quirky, said Steinrucken.

“I set the stage by noting that Costa Rica is a most attractive Third World country, being a favorite destination for North American and European retirees and visitors,” he said. “A factor for this popularity is the several decades that the country has been politically and economically stable. Of additional note is that the Costa Rican people accept
with ease Gringos who choose to live in their country. Here Gringo is a term meaning non-Latino foreigners.”

Steinrucken has been retired here for 16 years and is married to a Tica. He said the phrase frequent flyer friendly for his
170-page book comes from his working years of air travel in which he sought books that were a quick read.

In his preface he says “there is police corruption in Costa Rica, but mostly it is of the irritating sort, such as an occasional shakedown of Gringo motorist by traffic cops. 30 years ago, when I first came to the country, crime was relatively rare – it was sort of like South Dakota. During the past 10 years crime has grown into a noticeable problem, but not yet on the scale of Los Angeles or Philadelphia. Costa Ricans tend to blame the increased crime on the large numbers of Nicaraguans, and to a lesser extent Columbians, who have entered the country in recent years. Although crime here is a problem that must be taken into account by the Gringos, with ordinary precautions one can avoid becoming a victim.”

His short stories have titles that are sure to generate interest, such as  “Why Harry Has no Hair,” “Unofficial Costa Rican Justice” and “Zack and His Mule.”

He is a Mississippi native who served and was wounded in the Korean war. In his pre-Costa Rican life in New Orleans, Louisiana, he was a claims representative dealing mostly in maritime cases, he said. The book is available on Amazon.com at this link.

Del Rey accommodations

You need to see Costa Rican tourism information HERE!

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A.M. Costa Rica's Fourth news page
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San José, Costa Rica, Monday, Aug. 15, 2011, Vol. 11, No. 160
 
Mexican underwater park
Scripps Institution of Oceanography photos by Octavio Aburto-Oropeza
Cabo Pulmo, protected by locals, rebounds as a biological hot spot flourishing with marine life.
Undersea park in México bounced back in 10 protected years
By the University of California at San Diego news service

A thriving undersea wildlife park tucked away near the southern tip of Mexico’s Baja peninsula has proved to be the most robust marine reserve in the world, according to a new study led by researchers at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California at San Diego.

Results of a 10-year analysis of Cabo Pulmo National Park, published in the Public Library of Science ONE journal, revealed that the total amount of fish in the reserve ecosystem boomed more than 460 percent from 1999 to 2009. Citizens living around Cabo Pulmo, previously depleted by fishing, established the park in 1995 and have strictly enforced its no -take restrictions.

“We could have never dreamt of such an extraordinary recovery of marine life at Cabo Pulmo,” said Enric Sala, National Geographic explorer-in-residence, who started the study in 1999. “In 1999 there were only medium-sized fishes, but 10 years later it’s full of large parrotfish, groupers, snappers and even sharks.”

The most striking result of the paper, the authors say, is that fish communities at a depleted site can recover up to a level comparable to remote, pristine sites that have never been fished by humans.

“The study’s results are surprising in several ways,” said Octavio Aburto-Oropeza, a Scripps postdoctoral researcher, who is lead author of the study. “A biomass increase of 463 percent in a reserve as large as Cabo Pulmo (71 square kilometers) represents tons of new fish produced every year. No other marine reserve in the world has shown such a fish recovery.”

The paper notes that factors such as the protection of spawning areas for large predators have been key to the reserve’s robustness. Most importantly, local enforcement, led by the determined action of a few families, has been a major factor in the park’s success. Boat captains, dive masters and other locals work to enforce the park’s regulations and share surveillance, fauna protection and ocean cleanliness efforts.

The success of the park's recovery is due to local leadership, effective self-enforcement and the general support of the broader community, the authors note in their report.

Strictly enforced marine reserves have been proven to help
reduce local poverty and increase economic benefits, the researchers say. Cabo Pulmo’s marine life recovery has spawned eco-tourism businesses, including coral reef diving and kayaking, making it a model for areas depleted by fishing in the Gulf of California and elsewhere.

“The reefs are full of hard corals and sea fans, creating an amazing habitat for lobsters, octopuses, rays and small fish,” said Brad Erisman, a Scripps postdoctoral researcher and co-author of the article. “During some seasons thousands of mobula rays congregate inside the park and swim above the reef in a magnificent way.”

The scientists have been combining efforts to monitor the Gulf of California’s rocky reefs every year for more than a decade, sampling more than 30 islands and peninsula locations along Baja California, stretching from Puerto Refugio on the northern tip of Angel de la Guarda to Cabo San Lucas and Cabo Pulmo south of the Bahia de La Paz.

In the 10 years studied, the researchers found that Cabo Pulmo’s fish species richness blossomed into a biodiversity hot spot. Animals such as tiger sharks, bull sharks and black tip reef sharks increased significantly. Scientists continue to find evidence that such top predators keep coral reefs healthy. Other large fish at Cabo Pulmo include gulf groupers, dog snappers and leopard groupers.

“I participated, back in the 1990s, in the studies for the declaration of the marine park. Frankly, we decided to go ahead because the community was so determined but the place at that time was not in good environmental health,” said Exequiel Ezcurra, director of the University of California Institute for Mexico and the United States and a co-author of the article. “If you visit the place now, you cannot believe the change that has taken place. And all of it has occurred thanks to the determination of a community of coastal villagers that decided to take care of their place and to be at the helm of their own destiny.”

“Few policy makers around the world are aware that fish size and abundance can increase inside marine reserves to extraordinary levels within a decade after protection is established. Fewer still know that these increases often translate into economic benefits for coastal communities” said Aburto-Oropeza. “Therefore, showing what’s happened in Cabo Pulmo will contribute to ongoing conservation efforts in the marine environment and recovery of local coastal economies.”

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San José, Costa Rica, Monday, Aug. 15, 2011, Vol. 11, No. 160

Medical vacations in Costa Rica

Venezuela says rogue cops
died in seizure of cocaine


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A Venezuelan official says authorities have confiscated one ton of cocaine in a drug smuggling raid.

Justice Minister Tareck El Aissami says two rogue police officers accused of helping the smugglers were killed during the seizure at an undisclosed location.

El Aissami says a narcotics officer was injured.  It was not clear from his comments Saturday when the raid took place.

El Aissami also said Venezuela is seizing more drugs than ever before.  The United States has criticized Venezuela's anti-drug efforts. 

The country is a shipping point for Colombian drugs bound for the United States, Europe, and the Caribbean.


Fidel Castro celebrates 85th
in private and skips party


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Ailing former Cuban President Fidel Castro spent his 85th birthday in private Saturday, while artists, the media and youths continued several days of celebrations honoring the revolutionary icon.

One national newspaper, Granma, said in a headline that "Cuba and Latin America sing the praises of Fidel." Since Tuesday, concerts, art exhibits and other events have been staged in honor of the man who led the Communist island nation for nearly five decades before handing power to his younger brother Raúl Castro five years ago.

Friday night, there was a gala concert dubbed the "Serenade to Fidelity."

Twenty-two musicians from across Latin America, including Grammy-winning Cuban singer Omara Portuondo, performed on the eve of Castro's birthday.

Cuban Vice President José Ramón Machado Ventura and other politicians were in attendance at the event, held at the 5,000-seat Karl Marx theater in Havana.  However, the Communist revolutionary himself was notably absent.

Castro has faced health problems in recent years. At his last public appearance in April, during a Communist Party Congress meeting, observers said he looked unsteady on his feet.

While suffering from an intestinal illness that he later said almost killed him, Castro temporarily ceded power to his brother in 2006 and then permanently in 2008.


Los Angeles mariachis
wrestle with weak economy


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The United States has long been seen as the land of opportunity for many Mexicans looking for work, including traditional mariachi musicians.  But the economy has changed that.  The effects of the economic downturn on the Mariachi industry can be seen at a type of day labor center near downtown Los Angeles called Mariachi Plaza, where musicians wait to be hired.

The musical tradition started in 19th century Mexico and has migrated to Los Angeles, one of the urban meccas of mariachi music outside of its homeland.

The fortunate musicians play at restaurants, while others gather under the hot sun at a square just east of downtown Los Angeles to look for work.  While they're waiting, some sit at an outdoor cafe and chat with each other.

"This is a job, the only job I have now and I've been doing it for 54 years," notes musician David Martin.  He and other musicians, dressed in their silver-studded traditional charro outfits, come to Mariachi Plaza regularly, hoping to be hired by families to play at weddings and other special events.  But he says the economy has hurt business.

"…very very severely," notes Martin.  "It's gone down more than 50 per cent. It's way way down, and that's caused some Mariachis to have to leave and go back to Mexico. Others just to give up, others just to hang on by their nails."

"This cannot supplement my whole income. I do have a regular job as well," Carlos Pacheco explains.  He works at the airport, and can only play Mariachi music part time because he needs the extra money to buy a house.

"Anything that affects the incomes of the general public affects us, because if they have less money they're not going to get a musician," adds Pacheco.

Martin says when the economy was good, as many as eight musicians would be hired to play at a private function.

Many of the veteran musicians say the economy has created another problem.

"Some people are under-charging, and some people are coming who don't really play very well at all," adds Martin.  "They give it a bad name then the public thinks 'oh they are not professional' then they don't hire them."

Martin says some of the musicians recently formed a mariachi union.  Its members would promise to charge a minimum of $50 an hour for each musician.  But some musicians are willing to work for less.

"If you can get the hours I wouldn't mind a reduction $5, $10, it's not much of a big difference," notes Pacheco.  But he adds that the fear is, if the public gets used to paying a lower price, they may continue to expect it when the economy improves in a few years.
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San José, Costa Rica, Monday, Aug. 15, 2011, Vol. 11, No. 160

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Latin America news
Three persons are jailed
in murder of Lisa Artz

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Poder Judicial has identified three persons as suspects in the murder of a U.S. woman at her family's luxury hotel in Matapalo de Puerto Jiménez.

The Juzgado Penal de Golfito Friday ordered the trio held for six months investigation. They were identified by the last names of González Granados and Chaves Barquero, both men, and a woman with the last names of Sánchez Núñez.

Friday the Judicial Investigating Organization said that two persons, the parents of an employee were detained. But no names were given. Another person is believed to be still sought.

The victim was Lisa Artz, who was the resident manager of  Casa Tres Palmas on the east shore of the Osa peninsula. She was suffocated July 20.


Lights in sky in Zapote
generate YouTube video


By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

An organization called the UFO Global Reporting Center has posted a video on YouTube that purports to show triangles of light in the late afternoon sky over Zapote.

The source is unidentified, and the video is short. The sky appears to be green. The caption says there were seven glowing orbs in two triangles.

The lights seem to blink as if being covered and uncovered with clouds. The sky was overcast Friday afternoon, and rain was falling in San José for much of the afternoon.


Airport now has cell store

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad says it has set up a store at Juan Santamaría airport near the boarding lounge.  Travelers leaving the country can obtain pre-paid international calling chips. Those arriving can obtain cell service.






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