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Jo Stuart
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These stories were first published Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2001
Police raid
four victims
of kidnapping
Special to A.M. Costa Rica

Police raided cottages in Birri de Heredia late Tuesday and freed four kidnapping victims who had been held since Sept. 7. They also said they captured two women and four men and held them as suspects. 

The four were taken in a spectacular daylight operation about 7:45 a.m. in Rohrmoser when the car in which they were riding was blocked and they were dragged into a getaway vehicle. All four victims, including two children were in good health although dehydrated, police said. Kidnappers had wanted $2 million.

Freed were Gabriela Diaz Vindas, 32, a Honduran, her son Luis Diego Escalante Díaz, 4 1/2, a nephew, Billy Guillén Díaz, 3 1/2 years, and Yorleny Cajuna, 20, a Nicaraguan believed to be a nanny for one of the children. Local news reports speculated that the younger boy was the kidnapper's target because his father runs a chain of stores.

Audience members sing 'God Bless America' as the ceremony ends.

Resolve not vengeance
stressed by speakers
at memorial service

 By the A. M. Costa Rica staff

With the Flag suspended above and 50 votive candles outlining the stage, the U.S. community and friends met Tuesday in a memorial service for 

A.M. Costa Rica photos
U.S. Marines present the colors. 
victims of terrorist attacks a week earlier.

To officiate, the U.S. Embassy aides and the American Colony Committee invited representatives of the major faiths. The tone of the session was not vengeance but resolve.

"The punishment of God will fall on those who have committed this crime, a crime against all humanity," said Dr. Abdullah Fatah Sasa, president of the Islamic Community of Costa Rica, who spoke in Spanish.

"Through love, even terrorists can become servants of God," said the Rev. Rita Marie Johnson of Unity Church.

The Rev. Kevin Nugent, a Catholic priest, cited the admonition in the New 

Students at the Cultural Center watch the program on wide-screen television in the lobby.
Testament Book of Luke to love your enemies and turn the other cheek.

"Do we seek vengeance or remedy,"  asked Marvin Sossin, leader of the Jewish congregation of B'nai Israel. He answered: "If it is the former. . . we lose because we lose the core of our greatness.

"America offers a better way of life, a fundamentally ethically way of life," said James Fendell, chairman of the American Colony Committee, as he explained that terrorists fear that their culture is under attack by western society.

Linda Jewell, chargé d'affaires at the U.S. Embassy, said that Sept. 11, the day of the attack, will be remembered "as the day the death knell sounded for international terrorism. Then her voice broke as she read from the World War I poem "In Flanders Field," but she managed to finish with a strong "God bless America!"

The service was punctuated by the singing of anthems of both the United States and Costa Rica and other patriotic U.S. songs.

The memorial service was under moderate security. Dogs from the Fuerza Publica K-9 corps arrived earlier to sniff out any irregularities at the Eugene O'Neil Theater and the rest of the Centro Cultural Costarricense Norteamericano in Barrio Dent. Visitors were scanned by metal detectors.

English- and Spanish-language students from the center gathered in the lobby to watch the service via closed-circuit television. About 240 members of the community attended.

Also on the program were John McMerty, chairman of Costa Rica-USA,  Susan Tessem, co-chairman of the American Colony committee, and pianist Rámiro Ramírez.

Two public ceremonies are planned for today at the U.S. Embassy in Pavas. Costa Rican police will present their tribute at 9 a.m. while members of the Cuban community will do so at 11 a.m., according to an embassy spokesman.

The U.S. citizens working at the embassy luckily have not experienced any close personal losses due to the terrorist attacks, said the spokesman.

Bar owner who shot man hopes to leave jail soon
Special to A.M. Costa Rica

Roger M. Crouse is hoping to get out of jail soon.

He is the Playa Coco bar owner a judge sent to preventative detention after he shot and killed a man who attacked him with a knife.

Crouse said Tuesday that papers have been prepared to put his bar up for security. Once the final signatures have been placed on the document and other technicalities completed, he again will be a free man but one still facing a protracted trial.

His freedom will come not too soon, he suggested.

The prison near Liberia in Guanacaste where he has been a guest once again was the scene of a mini-riot early Tuesday morning when five or six inmates began throwing bags of human excrement at guards, said Crouse.

The excitement began about 3 a.m. when one 

inmate wanted a guard to enter the secure compound to retrieve something. The guard would not, and the man began creating a disturbance, said Crouse.

Soon others joined in and began throwing excrement-filled plastic bags. Some set ablaze foam mattresses, said Crouse.  Soon guards arrived in force, isolated the men and eventually transferred them to San José, said Crouse.

Crouse, 50, a Canadian, shot and killed a man in his Gaby's Bar the evening of Aug. 19. The man came at him with a knife, Crouse told investigators. The man had been in the bar earlier creating a disturbance, and police took him away only to free him and let him return to the bar two hours later.

Crouse's case and his detention has become the focal point of a number of complaints by business owners in the Playa Coco area who say that police are not enforcing theft and drug laws vigorously. They have met on the matter with police.

Latin countries probe links to Osama bin Laden
From A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Latin American governments are actively investigating possible suspects and activities linked to accused terrorist Osama bin Laden. 

Panama, an international banking center, has joined in the investigation of a company registered in the country and allegedly used by fugitive bin Laden for financial operations. 

The company is called Taqwa, or Fear of God, in Arabic. It also has a branch in Lugano, Switzerland. 

In Ecuador, authorities are coordinating efforts with U.S. law enforcement to confirm the existence of a terrorist cell in the Andean country. 

Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Heinz Moeller said 
members of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency and Federal Bureau of Investigation will visit Ecuador to pursue the investigation. 

Meanwhile, some former opponents of U.S. policy have announced their enthusiastic support for an anti-terrorist coalition. 

Cuba's government has offered to participate in an anti-terrorism campaign, while Daniel Ortega, former Nicaraguan chief of state and leader of the Sandinista movement, said Monday that he backs the U.S. effort. 

Ortega, who was voted out of office in 1990, is currently running for the presidency of Nicaragua.

OAS might invoke Rio Pact against terrorism
From A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The Organization of American States is set to meet today in Washington to discuss a regional response to last week's deadly terrorist   attacks in the United States. 

During the meeting, Brazil is expected to urge the other OAS member nations to invoke a regional security treaty to meet the threat posed by international terrorism. 

The accord is known as the Rio Pact, or the Inter-American Reciprocal Assistance Treaty. The agreement says any attack against a single American country will be considered an attack against the entire hemisphere. 

The United States and 19 Latin American countries signed the treaty in 1947. The accord became a cornerstone of hemispheric security in the early days of the Cold War and was seen as protection against Soviet expansion. 

Some Latin American leaders say invoking the Rio Pact does not mean their nations would send troops 

to assist with any possible U.S. military action.

The OAS condemned last week's terrorist strikes and pledged its full support for President Bush and the people of the United States.

The Organization of American States is made up of nations throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as Canada and the United States.

New quake in El Salvador

SAN SALVADOR An earthquake measuring 5.0 on the Richter scale has shaken El Salvador. 

Authorities say the quake occurred early Tuesday, 90 kilometers (54 miles) southeast of San Salvador's Pacific coast. Frightened residents evacuated their homes and offices briefly, but there were no reports of damage or injuries. 

Two deadly earthquakes struck El Salvador in January and February. Combined, the quakes killed more than 1,000 people, left thousands homeless and caused more than $1 billion worth of damage. 

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