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(506) 223-1327       Published Friday, Aug. 18, 2006, in Vol. 6, No. 164       E-mail us    
Jo Stuart
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Dall'Anesse rips subsidized gas for drug smugglers
Chief prosecutor calls drug institute worthless
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The nation's chief prosecutor launched a stinging attack Thursday on a supposed anti-drug agency, police competency and subsidized gasoline for drug traffickers.

The prosecutor, Francisco Dall'Anesse, who is called the fiscal general, appeared Thursday  before the legislature's Comisión de Narcotráfico. He pulled no punches.

First, according to Dall'Anesse, the nation's  Instituto Costarricense contra las Drogas should be dismantled because it isn't doing anything. "I can tell you that when and if the ICD is closed nothing would happen in the country except that a thousand million colons per year . . .  would be saved," said Dall'Anesse.

The institute was set up to detect and dismantle narcotics networks, said the prosecutor. Within the institute is the Unidad de Análisis Financiero, which is supposed to investigate money laundering.

The prosecutor said he wants to free this unit from financial controls so it can purchase equipment to make it efficient. He said a proposed law has been introduced to do this.

As far as police activity, the prosecutor criticized the arrest of two Colombians who are linked to guerrillas in that country. "The
arrests were badly executed as well as basic procedures forgotten like determining the networks that the two Colombians had in the country and the contacts and the economic activity they were involved in," he said.

The anti-drug fight is further complicated by the absence of personnel in areas like the country's southern zone and by limited training. When arrests are made, the charges or convictions fail because of incorrect procedure, he said. This is something that has law enforcement officials worried, he said.

Dall'Anesse also said that current tax laws limit the control of the narcotics trade because investigators may only look into legitimate enterprises. The illegal ones are not covered.

"This impedes us from submitting to the [criminal] process the narcotraffickers and money launderers for the illegal businesses and the money they obtain from them," he said.

The situation in Limón involves the use of gasoline that is priced below market for fishermen being used to fuel drug smuggling fastboats that are headed north.

". . . despite that there are no fish, there is gasoline subsidized for fishermen, and we have noticed that some of them supply the combustibles to the drug traffickers on the high seas," he said.

Pied Piper
needed here

The wide open Calle Amagura in San Pedro is full of rats, the four-legged kind. So health and municipal officials closed down 17 businesses, mostly bars and restaurants. The street has a generally bad odor. It is the college strip for the Universidad de Costa Rica. Cleanup is under way.

A.M. Costa Rica/Saray Ramírez Vindas

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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, Aug. 18, 2006, Vol. 6, No. 164

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Owners of corporations
to have 10 days to pay tax

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

If a proposal to tax corporations passes the legislature and becomes law, the measure will go into effect immediately and those who own corporations will have just 10 days to ante up their first tax payment after the law is published in the official newspaper.

In addition, the tax, now set at $200, will not be a deductible expense for purposes of income taxes, according to the draft of the law that has been sent to the Comisión Permanente de Asuntos Hacendarios.

The law applies to all personas jurídicas or legal persons. That means all types of corporations and limited responsibility entities.

The measure is expected to pass the legislature because it is one of the key elements of the Arias administration tax plans that are now before the legislature. Others are a proposal for a value added tax in place of the current sales tax and a quarter percent tax on homes, condos and apartment bildings worth more than 100 million colons (some $194,000 now).

Also proposed is a restucturing of the income tax system with a top rate of 30 percent and a tax on financial transactions.

If the manager of a company failed to pay the proposed $200 tax, under terms of the draft law, the Registro Nacional will refuse to file any papers relating to the firm. This will require that the Registro workers check with the Ministerio de Hacienda each time there is a transaction to make sure the tax is paid. Other penalties also will be applied.

The proposed tax term is from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, and once the tax gets on the books, owners of corporations will have to pay their $200 tax during the first 10 days of January. There also is a smaller tax on corporations that is based on their net worth. It appears that this tax will continue.

A summary attached to the proposed law said that one reason for the $200 tax is to reduce the number of  corporations because they frequently are used for tax evasion.

When a new company is formed, the notary registering the firm will have to pay a proportional share of the tax depending on the month of the year.

A proportion of the tax will be due before December if the proposal becomes law depending on the month of the year.

Corporations are used extensively by expats. Homeowners who are not residents use corporations to apply for basic services, including cellular telephones. Considerable property is in corporation names because a sale simply means signing over the stock shares.

Even automobiles are held by corporations to provide a liability shield to the owners.

Those who battled Arias
will celebrate victory

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Those who battled to protect the Centro Nacional de la Cultura are planning a victory battle now that a different location has been announced for presidential offices.

The cultural crowd will celebrate at the center next Wednesday from noon until 12:30 p.m. The center, which houses the Ministerio de Cultura, Juventud y Deportes had been selected by President Óscar Arias Sánchez as new presidential offices, a Casa Presidencial. He wanted to move from the existing facility in Zapote.

Those in the arts protested, and a committee instead choose a block on the east side of Parque Nacional.

Our reader's opinion
Reader clarifies facts
on RACSA spam block

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

Thank you for providing daily news on Costa Rica.  I read your Web site every morning. In today's paper, the article "RACSA e-mails being blocked by blacklist" had some erroneous information that I would like to help you with.

The article states "According to DNS Providers, the RACSA domain with the number has been banned for spamming corporate mail hubs. That firm is in Toronto, Canada.

"The RACSA domain has been added "for the sole reason that has been spamming easyDNS customers."

127.0.0.x IP addresses are private unrouteable IP addresses.  These are not the actual IP addresses being blocked, but rather are used by the blacklists to provide the reason for the block.

The FAQ on explains as follows:

There are several responses, depending on the reason why the domain was added. You can choose to ignore one or more, depending on your AUP, ethics, etc.

        ""=>"Spam Promo",
        ""=>"Illegal Content",
        ""=>"Improper List Practices"
        ""=>"Botnet Activity / Malware"

A search for on this site currently returns a, which would mean it is a pre-emptive blacklisting.  The IP addresses referenced in your article, and mean RACSA was blacklisted for Unsolicited Commercial Email (UCE or Spam) and Fraud, respectively.

The important IP addresses to look up are ( and (  Neither of theses IP addresses is listed on the blacklist leader, SpamCop. 

A search for on found that the block of IP addresses is listed on

This should, however, be of little consequence to most users of RACSA for sending e-mail.  Please note that these are blacklists and do not themselves block your email. They just list IP addresses from where spam may have originated.  Some ISP's choose to set their email servers to block email sent from IP addresses listed on some blacklists.   ISP's do not set their servers to block e-mail listed on every possible blacklist.  They generally just block based on a few of the larger blacklists.  There are many small lists that an IP address may appear on from time to time, but unless your recipient is using an e-mail server with overly cautious filters, your e-mail will most likely get through.
Jason Darrow
Santa Ana, Calif.
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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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, Aug. 18, 2006, Vol. 6, No. 164

JonBenét suspect was no stranger to Costa Rica
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The suspect in the JonBenét Ramsey murder case has two years not fully accounted for in his resume when he probably was in Costa Rica, at least part of the time.

A resume supplied to A.M. Costa Rica by FOXNews said that the man, John Karr, spent an indefinite time in Costa Rica working at Pro-Inglés S.A., also known as Pro-English. The Zapote company provides individual classes for corporate executives, and that is what Karr said he did: "English instruction for corporate executive clients in the San Jose, Costa Rica, area."

The man was detained in Thailand Wednesday as a prime suspect in the Dec. 26, 1996, murder of the 6-year-old beauty queen in her family home in Boulder, Colorado. Still there is question as to whether Karr really did do the crime or if he ever had been in Colorado. He has been obsessed with the crime and studied the case extensively, investigators said. His ex-wife told a California television station that he spent Christmas 1996 with her in Alabama.

Karr lost a job as a substitute teacher in Sonoma County, California, where he worked from January to March, 2001, until he was arrested on misdemeanor charges of possession of child pornography. He lost the teaching job, fled California and then appears to have taught in Korea, Germany and Heemstede, The Netherlands, in 2001 and 2002. By this time his wife had divorced him, taking the three kids.

His resume is unusually detailed on what he did in Europe. In Germany he taught English to three girls,  7, 11, and 12. "I drove the girls to their activities: ballet, riding, handball, etc. I assisted the girls with their homework."

At another job in Germany he was responsible for  two girls, 5 and 8, and a boy 10.  ". . . I helped the 8-year-old girl with her homework each day. I took the children outside for play. At day's end, I made sure the children had their evening bath, then put
them to bed and read to them before they went to sleep."

In The Netherlands he was responsible for a baby girl, 9 months, a boy 3, and a girl, 4. "I taught English to the 3-year-old boy and 4-year-old girl, through conversational and instructional methods. I was very attentive to needs of the baby which included changing, feeding, and bathing her. I helped the baby
when she learned to walk at 10 and a half months. I fostered independence in the children's activities."

From Europe it appears Karr ended up here some time in 2003. A man who identified himself as Walter Hinker at Pro-Inglés S.A. said at first Karr had not worked there. Then he said that there were many younger teachers of English, so many that he could not remember individuals. He said he had not checked the company payroll records.

From Costa Rica, Karr appears to have moved on to Honduras where from sometime in 2004 to 2005 he held various jobs at La Esperanza School, he said. He was a librarian, director of English in charge of new hires, a computer technology teacher and finally a homeroom teacher fro Grade Two students.
When he was arrested in Thailand he had just started a job teaching an an elementary school there.

When Karr probably entered Costa Rica there was an arrest warrant outstanding for him, but because the United States has many jurisdictions, immigration workers here were unlikely to spot it.

Like so many youngsters seeing the world, Karr probably came in on a tourist visa and worked as a teacher illegally. Despite government programs against sex tourism and against pedophiles, there is little effort expended in checking English schools for the status of their instructors.

Several police agencies now have information on Karr and will make an effort to track his movements better to see if there is any need to talk to him about missing or murdered children here.

What should we call the warping of linear thought?
My friend Mavis wrote a very nice story based simply on a quote which started, “Lola is leaving the port, what can Lola be doing….?”

Anthropologist Jared Diamond wrote a very fat book about the rise and fall of civilizations over the past 12,000 years in answer the question “Why do your people have so much stuff and we don’t?” posed to him by a native of Papua, New Guinea.
I ask myself what happened this week that I can write about, and I can’t come up with even 700 words.  It is not that nothing happened, I just can’t seem to settle on anything in particular.  My mind is preoccupied with what I fear is an epidemic running rampant among retirees.  It began (the preoccupation, not the epidemic) when I received an e-mail from my sister that began, “I was cleaning the window sill, and don’t ask me what I was doing cleaning the window sill.” 

I didn’t have to ask her.  I knew.  She had been on her way to her sewing room to put away a pair of scissors when she noticed some dust on her windowsill as she passed it.  She put the scissors on the dining table and started cleaning the sill.  After that she noticed that the water in her vase of flowers needed changing and took them to the kitchen where, when she got to the sink, she noticed that she hadn’t finished washing the breakfast dishes.  Later that day she is going wonder where those scissors are.

As I told this incident to some of the women at the Book Club, murmurs of “been there, done that.” And then came their additions to the symptoms of this malady.  Like opening the fridge door and then wondering why you did, what it was you wanted from the fridge – or were you going to put something away?  Or the classic, walking into a room for something and wondering what it was.  One woman said she went back to where she was in order
Living in Costa Rica

. . .Where the living is good

By Jo Stuart

to “pick up the thought.”  Another said, “That’s great, if you can remember where you were. 

I am waiting for doctors to label this problem.  It cannot simply be early onset of dementia or something direr.  It is too pervasive.  I think it may be adult onset attention deficit syndrome. Why not? There is adult onset diabetes and asthma?  My friend Sandy, who has not yet encountered this ailment, suggested ginkgo biloba in liquid form.  I am wondering if the question that Papuan asked about why we have so much stuff is not connected to this malaise, which I am sure is confined to populations of overly developed, materialistic civilizations. 

Maybe some of us who have lived long enough have accumulated so much stuff both psychic and material, that it is causing a cosmic clutter, a sort of static that is interfering with any sort of linear thought.  Maybe it is just old-fashioned stress.  Although stress as a word applied to the human condition is not that old fashioned.  I remember years ago reading that it was first coined or used by a physician in the early 1960s.  Well, we have accumulated a lot of it since then.

However, I will let others more qualified do the research into the causes of this annoying condition.   I think I will just approach it environmentally and neaten up my study, and my bedroom, and perhaps my kitchen, but before I start I’ll just take this coffee cup to the kitchen where it belongs . . . . Oh, oh, I just noticed in passing that the top of my bookcase is really dusty.

You need to see Costa Rican tourism information HERE!

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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, Aug. 18, 2006, Vol. 6, No. 164

Corruption in foreign aid being aired and publicized
Special to A.M. Costa Rica

Roads built to connect small villages that are supposed to be eight feet wide measure only five feet.  Medicines sent to the poor are diluted so some can be sold on a black market.  A bribe is paid to get emergency supplies delivered.  Transparency International — an organization that publishes a “corruption perception index” — calls such cases of fraud in humanitarian assistance “double disaster.”

Stories of what can go wrong in the delivery of development aid to the poor and emergency assistance to disaster victims until recently have been hidden due to fears that donors will stop supporting charities, development banks and governments that deliver aid.

But recently, corruption is being aired and cleaned up. 

In March, Oxfam International, a charity that seeks to meet sanitation, water and food needs, found financial irregularities in its post-tsunami shelter operation in Aceh province, Indonesia.  It used an outside auditor and recovered $20,000 of $22,000 paid for construction materials that had not been delivered.  Oxfam since hired a loss-prevention officer to oversee its massive, $97 million effort to help the Aceh victims of the tsunami.

In June, after investigating fraud in seven projects in Cambodia, the World Bank cancelled three of them, together worth $7.6 million.

World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz said in a July 31
speech in Washington that his predecessor, James Wolfensohn, made the right move in 1996 when he set out to “fight the cancer of corruption.”

Wolfowitz said now “donors and recipients put more emphasis on using aid effectively.”  The bank’s investigation department has handled more than 2,000 cases of alleged theft, bid rigging, bribery, kickbacks, collusion and coercion since 2001. Those investigations have resulted in public sanctions on 330 companies or individuals, who have been barred from future bank-financed contracts.

Many on the list are small consulting firms, but larger companies have been caught and barred too — including Tomen Corp. of Japan and Acres International, a Canadian energy company.

In early August, the bank launched a program to encourage those engaged in bribery in a World Bank project voluntarily to disclose the misconduct in order to gain confidentiality and avoid being barred.

In its upcoming annual meeting, to be held in Singapore in September, the bank will propose to involve local civil society groups, media, nongovernmental organizations and parliaments as partners in battles against corruption.  The proposal is not finalized, according to Daniel Kaufmann, director of global governance at the World Bank Institute, but likely will bring about further progress.

The U.S. Agency for International Development proposes to spend up to $750 million over the coming five years to eliminate corruption in societies or governments generally.

Ecuadorian volcano spews rock, lava and leaves 1 dead and 60 missing
By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Ecuadorean authorities say a violent eruption by the Tungurahua volcano has showered rock and lava on nearby villages, leaving at least one person dead.  About 60 others are reported missing.

Officials say the volcano, 130 kms. (80 miles) south of Quito, erupted Thursday, forcing the evacuation of hundreds of people.  A mayor from the town of Penipe, Juan Salazar, called the situation "an indescribable catastrophe."  He said houses have
 collapsed, several people have been burned by falling rocks and others are buried under debris.

The 5,000-meter-tall (16,404-foot) volcano sent huge columns of ash into the air in 1999, forcing the evacuation of 17,000 area residents of the town of Banos, to the north.

Past eruptions of the volcano have included strong explosions and lava flows that reached populated areas at the volcano's base.  Tungurahua is one of Ecuador's most active volcanoes.

Ex-Peruvian presidential candidate now under investigation for abuses
By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Peruvian prosecutors have filed charges against former presidential candidate Ollanta Humala, accusing him of being involved in human rights abuses during the country's fight against drug traffickers and Maoist insurgents in the 1990s.

Authorities say the charges against Humala relate to when he was an army commander at the "Madre Mia" jungle counterinsurgency base in the 1990s. Officials say the charges stem from testimony of families of a
married couple. Family members say the couple was murdered by soldiers under Humala's command. One family member says he was tortured.

Humala's mission at the base was to fight against the Maoist Shining Path guerilla group and drug traffickers.

It is not known when the judge in the case will issue a decision on whether to go forward with the charges.
Humala lost Peru's 2006 presidential race to President Alan Garcia.

Twin separated by surgery in Guatemala City dies of heart problems
By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Guatemalan doctors say an infant girl has died hours after undergoing surgery to separate her from her conjoined twin.

Doctors at Roosevelt Hospital in Guatemala City say the infant died late Wednesday of heart defects.
They say the other twin is in intensive care but appears to be doing well, following the 12-hour separation surgery.

The two girls were born joined at the chest and shared a liver. Officials say donations from Guatemalan citizens helped to cover the cost of the operation on the two-month-old girls.

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