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These stories were published Monday, Sept. 23, 2002, in Vol. 2, No. 188
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Don Quijote de la Mancha would see giants instead of a windmill power station
Tilaran wind-generating station goes on line 
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Costa Rica’s Tejona wind generation facility near Tilaran is officially on-line after a ceremony Friday that included President Abel Pacheco.

The $7.8 million project generates electricity using the wind and 30 windmill turbine, each capable of producing 6650 kilowatts. The total plant has a capacity of 20 megawatts.

The plant needed to use special windmills because the wind in that part of Guanacaste is so strong, said the Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad in announcing the end of the construction.

The towers themselves are 40 meters high or 130 feet. The wind-catching blades are each 21 meters long, some 68 feet.

The bright towers have been a fixture for more than a year as the electrical company constructed the whole plant and its underground wiring. The electricity produced goes through the Arenal substation and then to the national power grid.

The towers are along a ridge known as Cerro Montecristo some 8 kms. or about five miles from Tilaran.

ICE, the electrical company, said it was proud to have developed this clean, renewable energy source.

The government of Holland, which knows something about windmills, assisted with the financing of the project.

The facility is easily visible from the main road connecting Arenal and Tilaran.

Pacheco seems hurt that integrity questioned
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff
and wire service reports

President Abel Pacheco, looking more hurt than angry, told Costa Ricans Sunday night that unidentified business interests are harassing him because he is trying to fight corruption.

"You know me," he told his television audience for his weekly presidential chat.

The president said he was living up to the promises he made May 8 when he was inaugurated. He was fighting corruption and trying to make governmental activities more transparent, he said.

"They are trying to scare me," Pacheco said of the persons he said were conducting an anonymous campaign against him.

Earlier in the week Pacheco admitted receiving questionable campaign contributions while running for office. He said he made an honest mistake and will resign if asked to do so. 

Pacheco told reporters last week that he endorsed 10 checks made out to him and then passed them on to his campaign treasurer. Under Costa Rican law, donations must be 

made out in the name of the candidate's political party, not the candidate. 

Reports also say one of the checks was in the amount of $30,000 and came from a Panama-based company. Costa Rica's campaign donation laws also ban candidates from accepting gifts from foreign and business sources. 

Pacheco said then that revelations are politically motivated and that he welcomes an investigation, which he says will clear him of any wrongdoing. Prosecutors are expected to open a preliminary inquiry today.

Photocopies of the checks turned up last Sept. 12 in the hands of a former deputy who distributed additional copies to deputies and reporters. The newspaper La Nación carried major stories on the complex situation.

Meanwhile, some concern has been voiced about the President's health. He looked fit in the Sunday night speech, but at a dedication of a wind generating plant Friday Pacheco had to be supported by two officials so he could walk.

The president has complained about bad knees in the past, and he suffered an accidental injury to one on the campaign trail.

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Woman's hidden stash reborn years later

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

When Dr. William White’s daughter killed herself in Seattle Aug. 9, 1994, she left behind a private stash of poetry.

Her father created The Julia and David White Artists’ Colony in Ciudad Colón to remember both his children.

Now, thanks to an artist who visited the colony, the poems have been reborn as a book dedicated to raise funds for the organization.

White made the announcement Sunday. He said that visual artist L. Noel Harvey of Santa Fe New Mexico, visited the colony and took an interest in the poetry. With the collaboration of 29 other artists, the book became a reality in June. The first-edition printing numbers 1,000.

White’s son David died of a drug overdose 18 months after Julie’s death, and the double tragedy is what motivated White to found the colony and use both names when he started it in 1998. The purpose of the colony is to provide a place for artists of all types to live and work.

White said the book is titled "Spread My Soul," after a phrase in one of Julia’s poems.

Ms. Harvey said in the book’s introduction that she spent time reading Julie’s poetry with White during her 1999 visit: "As we read the poetry aloud together, we were saddened by her absence and in awe of the talent apparent in her works which spanned almost 20 years."

The young woman, a graduate of Massachusetts Institute of Technology, was an astrophysicist and also wrote plays.

White said that a book may be obtained by a $100 tax-deductible donation to the colony. 

More information, some poems and examples of the art work are available at: http://www.forjuliaanddavid.org/

I Will Be Mourning

By Julia Lynne White

    I will be mourning a long long time
    The death of our earth.

    I will long remember the carefree thoughts
    Of child-days when time seemed eternal,
    And possibility unlimited.

    I will be long kissing the
    Dying dirt, gently touching the
    Dry decaying barks of trees.

    O how I’ve loved this earth,
    This mother from whom 
    Sprung a thousand million million, 
    Countless miracles,
    Only to be sentenced to death by her
    Last and final child.

    Mankind has lived a fast
    And foolish game,
    Run mindless circles
    Round the belly of his
    Swirling blue-green mother:
    Plucking up the trees and
    Planting down cold steel,
    Sucking in the sweet air to
    Puff out an indigestible
    Putrid muck.

    The earth is dying-
    Our glorious, timeless, bountiful
    Earth, strangled
    By a billion casual hands
    Which knew no other occupation.

    O let us sink down to the ground and
    Kiss our sweet mother goodbye.
    Lift hands to the dying skies and
    Cry for mercy from a
    Hot and thirsty doom.
    And, with stinging tears, resign
    Ourselves for what is to come.

    I fear we can do no other.

Alemán daughter
goes to Panamá

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff 

María Dolores Alemán Cardenal, 30, the daughter of the former Nicaraguan president, and her two daughters, Xaviera Alejandra Gadea Alemán, 16 months, and María Dolores Gadea Alemán, 3, left Costa Rica on a COPA airlines flight for Panama at 7 a.m. Friday. 

The departure was reported by Costa Rica’s police agencies which provide security at the Jaun Santamaría Airport.  Former president Arnoldo Alemán remains in Managua, but his wife turned up in Miami Sunday. She told reporters she was there on personal business. 

When the former president’s daughter showed up in Costa Rica Thursday, there was concern that her arrival marked the beginning of a effort by the whole family to find political asylum in Costa Rica.  High-level politicians noted that Alemán never got along with the government of former Costa Rican President Miguel Angel Rodríguez and that current Costa Rica president Abel Pacheco is on good terms with the current president, a foe of Alemán, Enrique Bolaños. 

Alemán was bounced from his post as president of the national assembly Thursday and, thereby, lost immunity to prosecution of the many corruption allegations that surrounded his presidency. 

Schroeder victor
in German election

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

BERLIN, Germany — Germany's ruling center-left coalition has managed to eke out a razor-thin victory in the tightest electoral race in the country's modern history. 

Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's Social Democrats and  their environmentalist Green allies seem assured of at  least ten more seats in the lower house of parliament  than the center-right alliance that challenged them. 

It was a nail-biting finish to a night of seesawing  projections by German television networks, that showed  the vote veering one way, and then the other. 

But eight hours after polling stations closed, and with 99 percent of the vote tabulated, the so-called red-green alliance had built up a slim lead that will enable it to  hold on to power. 

It was the Greens, with their strongest-ever showing of  8.5 percent, that put the coalition on the  road to victory. The conservatives' traditional partners, the pro-business Free Democrats, did worse than expected, picking up a little more than 7 percent. 

The challenge now is for the coalition to stay together over a four-year term, and that may be difficult. Having secured victory for the coalition, the Greens have already put the Social Democrats on notice that they want more attention given to environmental matters and social policy. 

When it began to appear that the red-green coalition would come out on top, Conservative leader Edmund Stoiber appeared before his followers in Munich, his hometown, to make what amounted to a concession speech. 

"Should we not be able to construct a government and administration, even if this was not the case, then the Schroeder government has a very short time to live," he said. Stoiber says he gives the Schroeder government a year and will be ready to take over when it falls. 

Most analysts agree that Schroeder now has to undertake some serious diplomatic bridge-building with Washington. While the White House was irked by his stance on Iraq, it was outraged when his justice minister allegedly equated President Bush with Adolf Hitler, saying both men had sought to distract attention from domestic problems by engaging in foreign adventures. 

Chavez takes steps
to prevent coup

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

CARACAS, Venezuela —  President Hugo Chavez has set up security zones around key military bases and media outlets amid rumors that opposition forces are plotting to oust him. 

Friday's order by President Chavez came just before Venezuelan police firing tear gas broke up an anti-government protest on the outskirts of a military base in Caracas. Less than 100 anti-government protesters scattered amid the choking gas as troops in riot gear sealed off the military base. 

A top government official said a rebellion is not under way. He also said the eight special security zones were not set up in response to a crisis. But the Chavez government beefed up security less than 24 hours after secret police detained a leading dissident for questioning. 

Police arrested Alejandro Pena for placing an ad in local papers urging the military to act now against Chavez. On his way to the court Friday, Pena told television reporters his detention was "illegal" and that it was ordered by Chavez to intimidate the opposition, a charge the government denies. 

A coup in April ousted Chavez for two days before loyal troops restored him to power. The U.S. Embassy has urged the opposition and the Chavez government to reject violence and negotiate their differences. The embassy has also expressed concern about advertisements in the local news media urging the military to oust the Chavez government. 

Two tax havens agree
to trade information

Special to A.M. Costa Rica

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Treasury Department announced Friday that it has reached agreement with representatives of the Isle of Man and with representatives of Jersey on the terms of two new tax information exchange agreements.  Both the Isle of Man and Jersey are significant European financial centers. It is anticipated that each of these agreements will be  signed in the coming weeks, a department spokesman said.

The Philippines OK
debt for nature deal

Special to A.M. Costa Rica

The Philippines signed debt-for-nature agreements under the Tropical Forest Conservation Act last week. The agreements will allow the Philippines to devote $8.2 million to  finance tropical forest conservation activities in the Philippines  over a 14-year period.

The top U.S. official in attendance was John Taylor, undersecretary of Treasury. He said the funds will go toward the  establishment, restoration and maintenance of parks, protected areas, and reserves, as well as train scientists, technicians, and managers  involved in conservation.

Wood hauler detained

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Police in Golfito detained a man late Wednesday because he was traveling with 232 pieces of wood. Transportation of wood after dark is not permitted in Costa Rica to cut down on illegal logging.

Police identified him by the last names of Miranda Godínez

Kidnapping plague
worries Mexicans

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

MEXICO CITY, México — Terrorism of a different sort is plaguing Mexico. The country is second only to Colombia as the worst place in the world for kidnapping. 

Many victims and civic groups are questioning the effectiveness of government efforts aimed at stopping the crime. As crime reaches yet higher levels in this crime-plagued nation, citizens' groups are demanding that the government of President Vicente Fox do more. 

Kidnapping, in particular, has become a scourge that affects young and old, rich and poor. On Thursday, parents of abducted children staged a protest in front of the federal Attorney General's office demanding that a special task force be created to investigate cases of child abduction. 

Also on Thursday, a prominent business group called COPARMEX questioned figures provided by President Fox that show success in the fight against kidnapping. Jose Antonio Ortega, head of the organization's security council, said there is little indication that the government is winning the war against kidnapping gangs. He said the president's assertion that 100 percent of kidnap victims had been released as a result of federal operations fails to differentiate between cases in which police agents rescued victims and cases in which kidnappers released the victims after family members paid a ransom. 

Ortega said he knows of only 35 cases in which police rescued kidnap victims. 

In his annual state-of-the-nation speech on Sept. 1, President Fox said that in the past year federal agents had solved 133 kidnapping cases, resulting in the safe release of 100 percent of the victims. Fox, however, also indicated that his government is trying to do more to address the problem of kidnapping and crime in general. He said the government is training more special police agents to work on such cases. 

No one knows exactly how many kidnappings occur here in Mexico because most crimes go unreported. Many victims and their families say they are afraid to go to the police because often police officers are working with the kidnappers. COPARMEX and other business groups say they know of more than 300 kidnappings in Mexico so far this year. 

Security experts say the real number is probably several times higher. The business groups try to keep track of kidnappings partly because of the negative impact the crime is having on the nation's business community. 

Large firms are spending as much as 15 percent of their budgets on security and some companies have decided not to put plants in Mexico because of the crime and the high costs associated with it. As a result, some experts say, Mexico's economy has failed to grow as fast as it could have. 

Peso hits the skids

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Mexico's peso continues to slide against the U.S. dollar. The currency's weakening is being aggravated by a potential strike in October at the country's state-owned oil company, Pemex. 

The currency weakened to 10.23 against the U.S. dollar. The peso is also being hurt by the slump in the U.S. economy and concerns about Brazil as that country's elections approach with leftist candidates leading the polls.

Four facing trial 
in ATM robberies

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Four men go to trial this week facing charges they kidnapped foreigners in Quepos and made them get money from automatic teller machines.

The four are identified by their last names: Céspedez, Salazar, Cascante y Jiménez. According to the Poder Judicial report three separate crimes are involved in which foreigners were deprived of liberty for the purpose of robbery.

The trial is at the Tribunal de Juicio de Aguirre y Parrita.

Illegal still found

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Police arrested a bootlegging suspect in the hills of Puntarenas province.

The man with the last name of Benavides Loría was detained. The site was in Arancibia de Montes de Oro, near Miramar. Investigators said the illegal distillery was in operation with plastic containers containing fermenting materials.
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