A.M. Costa Rica

Your daily English-language news source
Monday through Friday

Classified ads 
at the speed of LIGHT!
Click Here
These stories were published Tuesday, Sept. 2, 2003, in Vol. 3, No. 173
Jo Stuart
About us
Libertarians rip debt financing
Proposed budget shows a 10 percent increase
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Pacheco administration presented a 2004 budget Monday that is  10 percent higher than the current year. The measure must be approved by the Asamblea Nacional.

The proposed budget has a price tag of some 2.2 trillion colons, some $5.3 billion. 

The Movimento Libertario immediately jumped on the administration and claimed that the budget only showed 1 trillion in income and that the government was planning to borrow 1 trillion more to balance the document. That would be $2.6 billion in income and about $2.6 billion in debt.

The proposed debt actually is a bit more than income, so the Libertarians complained that the debt exceeded 50 percent of the proposed budget, higher than the 48 percent of the current year’s spending plan.

The bugetary discussions are tricky to follow because billion in Spanish translates to trillion in English. What English speakers call billions, Spanish speakers call mil millones. One wire service already filed a story in which a reporter said that the total budget is $5.3 milliones de dólares, which is good Spanish. But that phrase translates to $5.3 billion.

The proposed budget was delivered to legislators by Alberto Dent, minister of Hacienda, Silena Alvarado, vice minister of income, and José Luis Araya, budget director. Also there was Olman Vargas Cubero, president of the Comisión Permanente de Asuntos Hacendarios.

The budget increase really means a budget without an increase because the colon devalues about 10 percent a year.

Today the legislators in the committee headed by Vargas will begin examining the budget.

"The budget is a result of an enormous effort of 

control of public spending that reflects a commitment to maintain a responsible fiscal policy that guarantees the economic stability of the country," said Dent.

That is the key point for foreigners living in Costa Rica. The budget and government spending probably are the most important factors in economic growth or lack thereof.

The proposed budget contains these increases:

• social expenses increase 16.7 percent;

•  ministries receive an average of 15.1 percent more money.

• The Tribunal Supremo de Elecciones gets a 36.7 percent increase because, according to Dent, this branch of government has to spend money to prepare for electronic voting in the 2006 general elections.

The Partido Acción Ciudadana said it demanded a sustained social investment in real terms in the proposed budget with special attention to education, in part to eliminate the inequalities that exists between urban and rural schools. The party also demanded more investment in the agricultural sector for training, technology transfer, purchase of land and subsidies.

The Libertarians were not content with accepting the budget increase as a result of inflation. The party said in an announcement that the main reason for inflation was the increase in the budget.

As Dent has pointed out, said the Libertarians, the problems with government spending are multi-million transfers to private entities and duplication of functions in institutions of government.

The political party has made no secret of its desires to eliminate state monopolies and set the country on something other than the current socialistic course where the government makes the major decisions.

Check out our Sports photos HERE!
Scenic photos HERE! 
Wildlife photos HERE!
and People pixs HERE!
Support builds to prohibit corporal punishment
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Support is building for a measure to prevent parents from using corporal punishment on their children.

Carlos Avendaño of the Partido Renovación Costarricense came out for the measure that has been pushed by the Defensoría de los Habitantes.

At the same time, the Ministerio de Educacción Pública reported that maltreatment by parents was one of the two biggest complaints children had in a new program to counter child abuse. The other complaint was strangers hanging around the school.

Avendaño said that physical punishment must be eradicated and that it is necessary to educate parents in non-violent ways to discipline their children.

The lawmaker reported that the Hospital del Niños received 2,190 cases of fractures, burns, cuts and merciless punishment each year. That’s six children a day, he said.

The lawmaker noted that, in addition to new proposals, there exists in the criminal code penalties for physical punishment. The law calls for six months to two years in jail, and  Avendaño said the time should be raised to three years.

The lawmaker said that some tips should be taken from the European countries that forbid corporal punishment. As a contrast, he said a survey at Universidad Latina showed that 75 percent of the students there had been punished physically while children. The method of choice was the belt, but hair-pulling and kicking also were favored, he said the survey showed. The university is an upscale private one in Montes de Oca.

our daily
our site
Check out
Send us
news story
Visit our
Visit our
Visit our
real estate
of Villalobos
Display ad info


We know Customs!
American-Tico-owned firm

Cars, Containers, Crates

Commercial and Personal
Import and Export 
Perry Edwards {Amer} Zinnia Stewart {CR}
Port Limon Agency
(bonded & licensed)
(506) 758-2022/2062

It's Back to School and Take Off 20% If Flowers Go to a Student

has the cure for the back-to-school blues. Send homesick  college students  flowers to brighten their day and their dorm rooms! The flower power will make your favorite co-ed feel pretty groovy. To find out how, 
Assorted flower bouquet  $ 17.95      www.floralexpresscr.com       Large rose bouquet  $29.95
How to live, 
invest or find
romance in
 Costa Rica

Order Now HERE!

Dengue fever considered a true epidemic now
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The number of persons ill during the current wave of dengue is approaching 10,000, according to health officials. Some 18 cases are of the dangerous and sometimes fatal hemorrhagic version.

María del Rocío Sáenz, minister of Salud, said that she and her workers were extremely concerned because the months of September and October are wet ones that encourage breeding by the Aedes aegypti mosquito.

The outbreak is a true epidemic, she said, with new cases exceeding 600 a week.

The most cases still come from the north Pacific coast, officials said, but the eastern part of the Central Valley has the second most cases, and the outbreak seems to be spreading to San José.

Health officials encouraged citizens to take preventative measures, such as eliminating breeding spots for the mosquitoes. The cases this year are twice the previous year, but there have been no deaths.

Politicos blame rules
for death of child

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A child died near Sarapiquí because health officials have orders not to cross province lines, according to Movimiento Libertario.

The political party said that Aug. 6 a child from Sarapiquí died while being moved from the Clínica de Río Frío there to the Hospital de Heredia.

Officials of the Caja Costarrricense de Seguro Social have issued orders that hospital cases should not cross provincial lines, said a release from the political party. The Hospital de Heredia is 90 minutes away in good weather, longer when landslides cause a three and a half hour detour, said the political party. But the Hospital de Guápiles is just 20 minutes from the clinic, the release noted. But Guápiles is in the Province of Limón while Rio Frio is in the Province of Heredia.

Residents of Sarapiquí complained to President Abel Pacheco about this situation last year, the political party said, but that no answer was received.

"Would this girl have lived if she had been treated in Guápiles," asked the release from the party’s legislative delegation.

Electoral council
gets needed support

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire Services

CARACAS, Venezuela — International mediators say the Venezuelan government and opposition leaders have agreed to accept the decisions of a new electoral council, improving chances for a recall referendum on President Hugo Chavez. 

Mediators from the U.S.-based Carter Center praised the cooperation between the two sides and said they are optimistic the referendum will help solve the long-running political crisis in Venezuela.

The Carter Center, founded by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, mediates conflicts and promotes democratic elections around the world. 

The Venezuelan Supreme Court swore in the National Electoral Council Wednesday. 

The council has the task of verifying some three million signatures on an opposition petition seeking a referendum and then setting a poll date if all legal conditions are met. 

Opponents of Chavez recently turned in the signatures in support of a recall vote. 

The president's opponents say he has ruined the economy and is trying to model Venezuela after communist-run Cuba. Chavez insists he is working to improve the lives of the country's impoverished minority.

President Chavez was first elected in 1998 and was re-elected two years later under a new constitution that extended the presidential term to six years. He survived a coup attempt in 2002, a two-month general strike this year, several one-day work stoppages and dozens of street protests.

Molesting minister
caught in Haiti

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

PORT AU PRINCE, Haiti - Police here have captured an American convicted of child molestation after he violated parole and entered the Caribbean nation with false documents. 

U.S. Embassy officials say Mario Leyva was captured Saturday afternoon outside west coast Saint Marc and was imprisoned in the national penitentiary in the capital here. They say he is expected to be flown back to the United States today. 

A self-ordained evangelist minister, Leyva conducted tent revivals across the eastern United States and Haiti in the 1980s. Court documents say he convinced parents to allow their young sons to travel with him on tours, during which he sexually assaulted the boys and sold some of them off as prostitutes. 

Leyva, a Cuban-American, was arrested in 1988 and pleaded guilty to molesting more than 100 boys. He also pleaded guilty to conspiracy and interstate transportation of minors for prostitution. 

After serving 11 years of a 20-year sentence, he was released on parole in April of last year and was required to live under supervision until 2008. He fled to Haiti last month. 

ICE says it does not pay
for journalists’ phones

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad, the power and communications monopoly, says it is not paying for the cellular telephone of any journalist outside of the company.

The carefully worded statement was faxed by the utility to the Colegio de Periodistas Friday.

The journalists’ trade group was interested because accepting free telephone service would constitute an ethical violation. Nearly all Spanish-language reporters and editors belong to the colegio, and such membership used to be required by law.

Ramsés Román Sánchez, secretary of the board of directors of the colegio, had asked the utility through a  letter to answer if journalists are having their telephones paid for.

The utility, known as ICE, answered in the present tense and did not address the question if it had paid for journalists’ phone service in the past.

The issue was raised two weeks ago by Frederico Malavassi Calvo, head of the Partido Movimiento Libertario in the Asamblea Nacional. He said the utility was paying for a number of cell telephones, including those of journalists. He has not responded to the colegio’s letters.

However, some journalists have admitted to having the use of cell telephones for free during a period when ICE was testing its new cellular service. The utility was seeking people to test the system.

U.S. citizen shoots man

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

An unidentified U.S. citizen in Jacó shot an intruder in the head about 5:30 a.m. Friday investigators said. The man who had been prowling around the door of the U.S. citizen’s dwelling was not identified either because he carried no papers, investigators said.

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.


Results Guaranteed
Dr. Rick Manning, Chiropractor 
with office in Centro Escazú, Plaza Real, 
600 meters south of the Costa Rica Country Club.
Graduate of Life University, Atlanta, Georgia.

The primary purpose of the vertebral column is to protect the spinal column of which there are 24 vertebrae. When a vertebral bone gets out of place it puts pressure on the spinal column and spinal nerve roots which reduces function by as much as 60%. This directly causes migraines, high blood pressure, asthma, gastitis, colitis, diabetes, high cholesterol, impotence, aches in the joints of the arms and legs. Most people have 6-8 vertebral bones out of place, and this is the primary cause of sickness and disease.

My hours are Monday-Thursday, 2-7 p.m., Friday, 2-6 p.m., Saturday, 10-2 p.m. No appointment, necessary. Call 228-4337. 
It would be a pleasure to serve you.



      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, 841-0007

Attorneys at Law

We specialize in 
Residency, Immigration and naturalization 
Corporate Law and Real Estate
Off Shore Banking 
Criminal and Civil Litigations
Legal Counseling

Please contact us at crlexs@racsa.co.cr
or call at 255-1592  Fax 233-1598


Arcelio Hernández Mussio, Lic.

Attorney at Law & Notary Public
Real Estate Transactions

Memberships: Costa Rican Chamber of Real Estate Brokers
Colegio de Abogados (CR Bar Association)
Association of Official Translators & Interpreters
Asociación Italiana de Mutuo Socorro

legalxpt@racsa.co.cr               P.O. Box 947-2400
www.forovial.com                 San Jose, Costa Rica
Cell: 365-3088
Fax:  259-7197

Lang & Asociados



English, French, Italian Spoken

Telephone (506) 204-7871
FAX (506) 204-7872

Adolfo Rojas Breedy
Breedy Abogados S.A.

Since 1957. Best experience in:

• Real Estate Transfer of Title and Title Search
• Business • Investments
• Commercial & Civil Litigation
• Corporate Law & finance
• Capital markets Law • International Taxation

(506) 233-7203/221-0230     breedy@racsa.co.cr
Web page:  www.breedy.com


Learn how to best protect your interests in the Villalobos case. Explore your options at

Also, we invite you to join one of the most active discussion groups on the case.  Find out what people who care are saying. Join at irccr-subscribe@yahoogroups.com


Real estate agents

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 

Web Design

Personalized Web Design
•Hosting •Promotion •Logo Design
Prices so reasonable they will astound you
Call for a quote:  220-4602
We have over 12 years international experience


U.S. productivity increased in 2002, survey says
By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The International Labor Organization reports that productivity in the United States accelerated in 2002, surpassing Europe and Japan in terms of annual output per worker for the first substantial period since World War II. 

Globally, the study finds growth in productivity per person increased from 1.5 percent during the first half of the 1990s, to nearly 2 percent in the second half. 

The report notes most of this growth was concentrated in industrialized economies as well as in some Asian nations, notably China, India, Pakistan and Thailand. But data shows a decline in total productivity growth in African and Latin American economies. 

The study says the United States is about twice as productive as the European Union and Japan. But it attributes part of the difference in per worker output to the fact that Americans work longer hours than their European counterparts. When measured on an hourly basis, the labor organization finds European workers to be more productive. 

Organization economist Dorothea Schmidt notes that the work week in many European countries is shorter than that in the United States. Yet, figures for Norway, France and Belgium show people produce more for every hour they work than do those in the United States. 

"And the why? I think there are many, many reasons," explained Ms. Schmidt. "One might be 

that during the time that these people work, they work more efficiently. It might be that the technology they use enables them to be more efficient in this one hour. I think if you work 15 hours a day, of course there are hours that are not as productive as if you work six hours a day." 

For the first time, the organization examines agricultural productivity. It notes that this sector remains the primary employer in many developing economies. Yet, productivity levels in agriculture remain higher in richer countries than in poorer ones. 

For example, the study finds that an agricultural worker in the United States produces more than 650 times more than an agricultural worker in Vietnam. 

Ms. Schmidt says a lot of the difference can be attributed to the modern technologies and the large subsidies received by farmers in the United States and in the European Union. 

"If you talk about developing countries, it is not really fair to say these people are not efficient," she added. "They are working hard. They are probably working harder than other people. But it is just that they do not have the technology that they cannot perform that well. But, having said that, I think the fact these modern technologies are used are also the outcome of subsidies. So this is actually just going hand in hand." 

The labor organization says agrarian economies eventually will have to shift to more modern ones. But for the time being, they say, measures must be taken to improve productivity, to reduce poverty.

Agricultural producers fear they cannot compete
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Agricultural producers want a moratorium on a proposed free trade area of the Americas, which is scheduled to go into effect in 2005 "because we are not prepared to compete."

That was the message of Luis Ramírez, a national deputy who attended the Conferencia Permanente de Productores Rurales at which 28 Latin nationals gave their views. The session was held in México.

Ramírez, in a report to the Asamblea Nacional here, said that the current situation in México is 

negative for the agricultural producers. For example, he noted, corn that used to be produced locally is being imported, mostly from the United States. The same is true of meat and fresh milk, he said.

Ramírez said that these experiences were important as Costa Rica negotiates a free trade treaty with the United States. He said a mistake "could be fatal for the country."

The North American Free Trade Agreement went into effect between the United States, México and Canada eight years ago.

Hippos facing threat from ivory and meat poachers
By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

GENEVA, Switzerland — The global conservation body, the World Wide Fund for Nature, says decades of indiscriminate poaching of hippopotamus in eastern Congo Kinshasa is having a severe impact on the region's freshwater ecosystem and the lives of tens of thousands of people who live there. 

Three decades ago, as many as 30,000 hippos could be found in the rivers and grasslands within the boundaries of Virunga National Park in eastern Congo Kinshasa. It was the biggest concentration of these giant animals in the world. 

But the World Wide Fund says two recent surveys, conducted in March and August of this year, show 95 percent of Virunga's hippos have since been wiped out. Just 1,300 remain in the park.

 Wildlife conservationists had not had much access to the 800,000 hectare park since factional fighting erupted in the area in 1994. Conservationists acknowledge that even then, Virunga's hippo population was suffering, having declined to less than 10,000. 

But the World Wide Fund program coordinator for East Africa, Marc Languy, says the new census figure of 1,300 still came as a shock. "The main cause is poaching by poachers with automatic rifles. Hippos are killed en masse mainly for ivory, but also for meat," he said.

In recent years, hippo meat has become a delicacy in parts of Central Africa. And with the current worldwide ban on the trade in elephant ivory, demand has surged for hippo teeth, which can grow as long as 70 centimeters and are considered valuable ivory substitutes.

Indiscriminate hippo poaching may not be unique to Congo Kinshasa. In neighboring Burundi, a recent census found that two-thirds of the country's hippo population has disappeared in the past five years.

The World Wide Fund warned that the loss of hippo populations could have catastrophic consequences for the region's delicate freshwater ecosystem. 

Large numbers of hippos are needed to add hundreds of tons of vital nutrients into rivers and lakes on a daily basis. The nutrients are essential for maintaining adequate fish stock.

"A hippo can eat up to 60 kilos a day. So when they release their dung in the river, this provides 

Photo by World Wide Fund for Nature/Fritz Pölking
Face-to-face with a hippo

the basis for the food chain for these rivers and lakes and provides a key nutrient for fish. And fish is important, not only for wildlife, but also for humans," said Languy.

More than 20,000 people living around the park depend on fish for their livelihood. Languy said many fishermen around Lake Edward, which lies within Virunga park, are already reporting that they can no longer find enough fish to eat, let alone sell.

The fund says the recent formation of a transitional government in war-torn Congo Kinshasa is raising hopes that the country can begin instituting proper planning and management of its many natural resources. 

The organization says unless authorities can stop indiscriminate poaching, one of Congo's most valuable resources, the hippo, will soon be gone for good. 

U.S. dominates in world champion sprint events
By the A.M. Costa Rica wire Services

The 2003 World Athletics Championships in France have ended with gold medals being handed out in nine different events. Day Nine was exciting for American runners. 

Team USA continued its domination in the sprint events, capturing gold in the men's four-by-100-meter relay, and both the men's and women's 4-by-400 meter relays.

In the 100, the U.S. was in third place heading into the final leg, but anchor JJ Johnson blew by the leaders to take the gold medal in 38.06 seconds. He talked about running from behind, saying "my thoughts were to stay calm, stay composed, and I stayed relaxed. These guys were depending on me so I had to give [the victory] to them."

In the women's 4-by-400, American Sanya Richards was even with the favored Russian quartet as she started her anchor leg. "I was excited that the other three legs did their part, and when I saw Jearl [Miles-Clark] coming in really 

strong, I just wanted to take her out the best I could. And then when I saw the Russian fumbling [the baton exchange] I just took the lead and said, if they are going to get it, they are going to have to get me from behind," she said.

But no one could catch her, as the U.S. took the gold in three minutes and 22.63 seconds. 

Jerome Young anchored the American 400-relay team to victory in two minutes and 58.88 seconds, holding off a determined charge from the French anchor.

Other gold medals on the final day went to Hestrie Cloete of South Africa in the women's high jump (2.06-m), Russia's Tatyana Tomashova in the women's 1,500 meters (3:58.52) and Djabir Guerni-Said of Algeria in the men's 800 (1:44.81).

Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya won the championship in the men's 5,000 meters (12:52.79), while Sergey Makarov of Russia took men's javelin gold (85.44-m) and Catherine Ndereba of Kenya won the women's marathon (2:23:55).

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 and 2003 and may not be reproduced anywhere without permission. Abstracts and fair use are permitted. CheckHERE for more details