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 Thursday, Oct. 24, 2002, in Vol. 2, No. 211
Jo Stuart
About us
A.M. Costa Rica/Saray Ramírez Vindas
Glass artist Caludio Chuz Jaén draws spectators when the flames flare.

Yule art fair
has nearly all
except turtles

Héctor Granados Ortega
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The annual artisan’s fair is in full swing, but you won’t find any trinkets from endangered turtles.

Instead, you will see a giant religious mural done in colored pencil, 101 uses for a coconut and masks made of palm leaves.

In all, the quality of the art displayed at the Feria Nacional de Artesanía is several cuts above what was there last year. The big show is for the public but also for merchants who are anxious to stock their shelves for the Christmas trade.

But don’t mess with the turtles. That’s the message presented at the show by the Programa Restauración de Tortugas Marinas. On display are works of artisans from around the country that are made of the shell of the endangered animals. These objects are illegal, and the organization is at the show to educate the public as well as those who make jewelry and other objects.

Isabel Naranjo, a biologist, can display examples of how the turtle shell is prepared for making jewelry or the way unscrupulous persons use the whole shell as the basis for a scenic painting. If inspectors do not catch the illegal products when a tourist leaves the country, customs agents at the home country 

usually will. The animals are protected by international treaty.

Héctor Granados Ortega is the artist who created the giant mural. He is an aircraft mechanic at Juan Santamaría Airport, but he suffered an injury to his left wrist more than a year ago that put him at home in Dulce Nombre de Cartago with a lot of time on his hands.

With his right hand, Granados created a giant mural of Christ and two apostles. His technique was colored pencil over cardstock, and even close up the work looks like decorative tile.

The 23-year-old artist spent 13 months creating his towering work, and he hopes someone will pay $30,000 for it.

This year’s show that runs through Sunday gets high marks for creativity. One artist has made hanging lamps and candle receptacles of the ubiquitous coconut shell. Another has used dried palm leaves as the base for elaborate masks and wall hangings.

Admission to the event is 500 colons for adults ($1.35) and half that for youngsters. The organizer is the Comisión Nacional de Artesanía.  The event is in FERCORI, the Feria International de Costa Rica, on Calle 25 at Avenida 3 in Barrio California. 

Fast boat falls to U.S. Coast Guard patrol
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

No matter how fast the boat, you can’t outrun the helicopter.

That’s what five Colombians found out last week as they headed north some 240 nautical miles west of the Osa Peninsula. The crew of a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter spotted the five in a so-called fast boat driven by three heavy-duty outboard motors.

The Coast Guard generally is suspicious of racing-type boats filled with plastic-wrapped packages headed north. 

Indeed, the Coast Guard estimates that this boat had about 4,000 kilos of little packages aboard, some 8,800 pounds. But they won’t know for sure, because as soon as they realized they were detected, the Coast Guard said the crew began throwing the packages over the side.

That might be because the packages contained cocaine. The Coast Guard vessel John L. Hall quickly pounced upon the 36-foot craft and crew. A release from the U.S. Embassy said

U.S. Coast Guard photo
The end of the chase

the boat still contained 200 kilos (440 pounds) of suspected coke. The crew did its best to avoid detection of the cargo. The release said the men tried to sink the boat.

The arrests of the five, whose names were not revealed, is being publicized to mark the third anniversary of a joint patrol treaty with the U.S. and Costa Rica.

A.M. Costa Rica’s first Halloween story contest

Since Halloween is not really celebrated in Costa Rica, we thought we would help to get everybody into the spirit.
We are looking for your original horror stories of 1,000 words or less.

Sure, you can scare the bejeezus out of a group of boy scouts around a campfire, but can you frighten our readers?

The stories will be judged by the A.M. editor and staff on the basis of their originality and spook-factor. Extra points will be awarded to stories related to Costa Rica.

The scariest will be published in our Oct. 31 edition, and the winner will receive $25. The deadline for submissions is Tuesday, Oct. 29. Send your spooky stories to editor@amcostarica.com

our daily
our site
Check out
greetings from Readers
1  2 3
Check out
our back
Send us

news story
Visit our
Visit our 
Visit our
real estate
See this house TODAY!
and buy it at auction Saturday at 11:30 a.m.
• One-year-old home
• 3 bedrooms
• Big garage
• High security
• Prestigious Los Ayarcos Sur Curridabat
• 500 meters south of the Colegio Yorkin
• with telephone
Minimum bid: $79,900
This house will be auctioned to the highest bidder by a licensed auctioneer

Call 271-0805 to preview 
10 a.m. to 3 p.m. everyday

How to live, invest or find romance in Costa Rica
Order Now HERE!
Thanksgiving feast planned for residents Nov. 28
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

This time of year is when Americans in Costa Rica are wondering where they are going to eat a turkey with all the trimmings on Thanksgiving.

The Association of Residents of Costa Rica is providing an answer. Ryan Piercy, the general manger of the organization, said that the Costa Rica Marriott hotel in San Antonio de Belen is the best option.

He said there will be a big buffet with all of the food Americans have come to expect for a Thanksgiving feast. There will be a room dedicated to desserts.

The brunch, set for Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 28, is open to everyone. The price will not be set until a few days prior, but last year’s gathering there cost 8,000 colons per person, a little more than $20. People do not need to pre-purchase tickets.

Piercy estimated that last year 50 people attended, and said the event is a great place to network. 


What promises to be a bigger event is the Christmas dinner and dance hosted by the residents association and the Canada Club. Piercy said that around 300 people showed up last year.

The party will be held at the Hotel Melia Cariari  Dec. 8. Piercy said there will be a band complete with horns and a big-band style.

Tickets will be available sometime in November through either organization. For more information on the Thanksgiving or Christmas events call 233-8068. 

California-style auction
planned for extra house

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A couple from Flamingo is bringing a California marketing technique here in order to sell an extra home. The idea is to sell the home at auction even if the final price is less than the house is worth.

The idea has worked well in California and other parts of the United States, but homeseller Stan Dorn and his wife Yanory say they have researched the concept and found that they are the first members of the general public to use it in Costa Rica.

The home is in the Ayarco Sur subdivision a few kilometers east of Curridabat. Dorn, 71, came here six months ago and married. But the couple preferred to live at the beach. Mrs. Dorn’s home in the Central Valley is the property that is being auctioned Saturday at  11:30 a.m.

Dorn said he has hired a lawyer who provides auction services for inter-bank sales. That man is handling the paperwork and the actual auction. The couple have set a starting bid of $79,995 which appears to be significantly less than the actual value of the property. There is even some furniture included.

The auctioneer is seeking the usual 10 percent down on the day of the sale with the successful bidder getting a few days to come up with the balance.

 Stan Dorn and wife Yanory

Dorn, a former contractor in California, also has been holding an open house for potential purchasers this week, something not common in Costa Rica. He said he has been doing a brisk business.

Cuban presented top
European award

Special to A.M. Costa Rica

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Oswaldo Paya Sardinas, leader of a pro-democracy movement in Cuba, has been awarded the European Parliament's top human rights prize.

Paya was awarded the Parliament's 15th annual Sakharov Prize for launching the Varela Project that seeks a referendum in Cuba on opening up that nation's political system, the Parliament announced in a statement Wednesday.

Paya will be presented the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought at an award ceremony Dec. 18 in Strasbourg, France, which is the seat of the European Parliament.

The Sakharov award is named for the former Soviet dissident, nuclear physicist and Nobel Peace Prize winner Andrei Sakharov, and is presented annually to the individual or organizations who make significant contributions to the promotion of human rights and basic freedom, and for opposing persecution and injustice.

Earlier in 2002, Paya received the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs' 15th annual W. Averell Harriman Democracy Award. At a ceremony in Washington Sept. 30, the Institute hailed Paya and his Varela Project supporters for submitting a petition with about 11,000 signatures to the Cuban National Assembly that called for a referendum on open elections, free speech, free enterprise, and freedom for political prisoners.

US announces decline
in climate pollution

Special to A.M. Costa Rica

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Department of State reports that the United States achieved a 2.7 percent decline in greenhouse gas emissions in 2000, demonstrating the government’s action to address the problem of climate change. 

The State Department released a fact sheet on U.S. actions to control emissions as an international meeting on climate change began in New Delhi, India Wednesday. 

The department has also released a summary of the U.S. policy on climate change first announced by the Bush administration in February 2002. 

These documents were issued as U.S. experts joined counterparts from around the world Wednesday to convene the annual meeting on the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change in New Delhi.

Bush announces
‘United Nations Day’ 

Special to A.M. Costa Rica

WASHINGTON, D.C. — President George Bush has proclaimed Thursday United Nations Day to mark the founding 57 years ago of the international institution.

In his proclamation statement, Bush said that the United States, as a founding member of the U.N., reaffirms its dedication to this "vital organization" and hopes it will continue to fulfill the vision of its founders.

Trade freedom goal of
Mexico economic meeting

Special to A.M. Costa Rica

WASHINGTON, D.C. —The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative issued a statement Tuesday outlining Robert Zoellick's goals for the upcoming Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting in Mexico and other recent U.S. activities aimed at "moving forward on trade liberalization, globally, regionally, and bilaterally."

The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum meetings scheduled for the week of Oct. 21 in Los Cabos, Mexico will seek to invigorate regional economic growth through improved security, free trade, structural reforms, and new technologies, says Lawrence Greenwood, forum coordinator for the U.S. State Department.

"The idea is to meet all four of these challenges by getting governments to commit to programs that will make us more secure, expand trade and investment, accelerate structural reforms, and promote the use of efficient new technologies," he said.

Forum leaders, whose annual meeting will take place from Oct. 26 to 27, are expected to issue a "very strong statement on counter terrorism that will commit governments to take specific actions within specific deadlines," he said.

First organic products
standards initiated in US

Special to A.M. Costa Rica

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Department of Agriculture has implemented the first U.S. uniform standards for organic agricultural products sold in the United States.

As of Monday, products that are 100 percent organic or contain at least 95 percent organic ingredients may display a new "USDA Organic" seal. Products with 70 to 95 percent organic ingredients can say so on the label but can't display the seal, according to the agriculture department.

Briefing reporters Tuesday at the Foreign Press Center in Washington, Keith Jones, director of program development for the agriculture department national organic program, said the new standards come in response to U.S. consumer demand and offer consumers more choice. The agriculture department does not claim that organically produced food is safer or more nutritious than other foods, he added.

The U.S. food supply — organic and non-organic — "is the safest in the world," Jones said.

Organic farming has been one of the fastest growing segments of U.S. agriculture for nearly a decade, now increasing 20 percent a year, Jones said. Organic food is produced without use of most conventional pesticides, petroleum- or sludge-based fertilizers, bioengineering or ionizing radiation, according to the statement.

Jones said the organic standards completely prohibit antibiotics in livestock.

He said that use of the seal is voluntary but its misuse can lead to a fine of up to $10,000 per violation.

Also, recognizing foreign certifiers will lead to more opportunities for foreign products to enter the U.S. market, Jones said. The United States' major food imports now include processed food products, cheese and wine from Europe and coffee from Latin America and Southeast Asia, Jones said.

Opposition in Venezuela
remains defiant

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

CARACAS, Venezuela — A dozen generals and admirals opposed to the government of President Hugo Chavez, and who Tuesday called for the president's resignation, are still defying the elements in a Caracas square, surrounded by civilian supporters. The group is determined to hold out until Chavez quits or holds elections.

The group of 14 senior officers, led by General Enrique Medina, a former military attaché in Washington, declared a policy of disobedience against a government they describe as autocratic and illegitimate. 

The group, which has received the support of several dozen, mostly more junior officers, invokes two articles of the country's constitution. These enshrine the right to rebel against any authority or law that violates human rights or the constitution.

Many members of the group were prominent in the events of April 11 to 14, when Chavez was briefly ousted by the military after 19 people were shot dead during an opposition march. 

The government has dismissed them as coup plotters with no backing in the armed forces. The rebel-officers have no command of troops, and say they do not, in any case, favor a coup. But they have called on civilians as well as fellow soldiers to join them in a policy of civil disobedience to force Chavez from power.

Their move caught even many veteran observers of the military by surprise, and has placed the civilian opposition in a difficult position. Less than 24 hours before their pronouncement, a one-day nationwide strike against the government had ended with a call for a referendum on whether the president should stay in power. 

Former first son dies 
in gasoline accident

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

MANAGUA, Nicaragua — The son of former President Arnoldo Aleman has died along with three other people in an unusual accident on the former president's property. 

An Aleman family spokeswoman said the former president's 23-year-old son, German Arnoldo Cardenal, watched Tuesday as a worker was pumping water from a well on the president's ranch, some 30 miles southeast of the capital Managua. 

The spokeswoman said the pump malfunctioned and began spewing gasoline. The worker passed out from the fumes and fell into the well. 

The ex-president's son is said to have rushed to the scene to help but he too was overcome by fumes and fell into the water. Two presidential bodyguards who tried to come to the aid of the president's son also passed out from the gas and drowned. 

In a related incident, an armed, drunken supporter of the former president stormed the offices of the newspaper La Presna. The man was reported to be angry about the death of the president's son and blamed the newspaper because it had been critical of the former president.

Leftist rebels probed
for drug trafficking 

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

BOGOTA, Colombia — Officials say the attorney general's office is investigating several top members of a leftist rebel group for drug trafficking.

Colombia's El Tiempo newspaper said Wednesday that officials intercepted communications between the rebels of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia and obtained several statements linking the group to drug trafficking.

The investigation is the first of its kind into the alleged drug trafficking activities of the group known as the FARC. Those implicated include the group's leader, Manuel Marulanda, as well as top members Jorge Briceno, Raul Reyes and Joaquin Gomez. 

Officials say the rebels use money from drug trafficking and kidnapping to finance a 38-year insurgency that has killed thousands of people each year. Colombia supplies about 90 percent of the world's cocaine.

Tovar meets EU diplomats

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Foreign Minister of Costa Rica, Roberto Tovar, met Wednesday with diplomatic representatives of the European Union to explore economic opportunities between the two parties.

He met with the Ambassadors of European Union countries accredited in Costa Rica and spoke about the opportunities available in the region, the new regional agenda, the free trade agreement between Central America and the United States, the Panama People Plan and the possibility of an economical association with the European Union, according to a release from the ministry.

Murder victim died Tuesday, not Monday

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A Canadian teacher who became a murder victim in Heredia died early Tuesday and not early Monday, police said Wednesday.

The man, Bradly Michael Whipple, 25, was from Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada, a family spokesman said Wednesday. He was described as a traveling English teacher who always tried to learn the local language.

A Fuerza Pública spokesman said that the man was confronted by a band of about 10 thugs just 100 meters west of Plaza Heredia. The spokesman said the time of the assault was about 45 minutes past midnight.

Whipple was teaching and taking Spanish lessons at the Universidad Interamerican in Heredia and had spent just three months in the country.

Guard arrested 
after shooting suspect

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A man tried to break into the Vasconia restaurant on Avenida 1 about 2 a.m. Wednesday, and a private security guard shot him in the leg. Police arrested the security guard.

The Vasconia is an economical eating place frequented by many North Americans. The burglar tried to get into the building through the roof.  The wounded man was identified by the last names of Meneses Rojas. He went to Hospital San Juan de Dios.

The security guard, identified by the last names of Garita Garita, did not have all the required permits to carry a gun, said a Fuerza Pública spokesman. The owner of the restaurant was identified as Jaime García Castillo.

Intel will open
$2 billion facility

Special to A.M. Costa Rica

Intel Corp. of Santa Clara, Calif., has opened a $2 billion expansion to its manufacturing facility in Rio Rancho, N.M., the company said Wednesday.

The new expansion uses advanced manufacturing technologies to produce tiny microprocessors. The facility is more than 1 million square feet in size with 200,000 square feet of clean room space, the company said.

Intel also has facilities in San José.

OAS: Chavez opponents
require diplomacy

Special to A.M. Costa Rica

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Opposition forces in Venezuela should use only democratic, peaceful, and constitutional means to address their differences with President Hugo Chavez's government, says Cesar Gaviria, secretary general of the Organization of American States.

In a statement Tuesday, Gaviria responded to previous comments made by a group of Venezuelan military officials calling for a military insurrection and civil disobedience and demanding the resignation of Chavez.

Gaviria said such calls by the military go against the fourth article of the organization’s Inter-American Democratic Charter, which establishes that one of the "essential elements" of democracy is "the constitutional subordination of all state institutions to the legally constituted civilian authority and respect for the rule of law on the part of all institutions and sectors of society." Gaviria said that this obligation "extends to all those" who belong to such institutions and sectors.

The secretary general said the "attitudes and demands" made by the military "betray the constitutional loyalty that officials of the Venezuelan armed forces owe" to Chavez.

For its part, the United States has encouraged Chavez and the opposition to engage in a dialogue that will produce a political solution to the present crisis in Venezuela.

Otto Reich, U.S. assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere affairs, said in a speech Oct. 15 that the United States "will not support or condone unconstitutional actions to remove the government or to maintain it in power."

Speaking at the Americas Conference in Miami, Reich said that Chavez, as the leader of Venezuela, "has the principal responsibility for protecting the political process and the rights of all Venezuelans."

Reich said that the Organization of American States can play an important role in "mediating a dialogue between the respective parties." The United States, he said, urges the government and the opposition in Venezuela "to avail themselves" of the "good offices" of the organization.

Korea give cars
as friendship gift

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The ambassador of South Korea has presented a gift to the foreign ministry of Costa Rica.

Chin Soong-Chull, South Korean ambassador, gave four vehicles and electronic equipment to the government here in a package worth around $130,000, according to a press release from Costa Rica’s Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores y Culto.

Roberto Tovar, the chancellor of Costa Rica, accepted the gift on behalf of the people of Costa Rica.

He said the gift is worth more than its value in money. He said the equipment would help his department fulfil its duties, but above all it signifies the friendship between Costa Rica and the people of South Korea and their government.

Tovar praised South Korea for being a small but great country. He said that Costa Rica can learn a lot from its example. This year marks 40 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries

Residents group
to help orphans

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Oratorio Don Bosco De Sor Maria Romero is getting help from the Association of Residents of Costa Rica to fight against the problem of neglected children here.

The Don Bosco organization currently has facilities downtown that provide for impoverished children, but the residents association posted a notice that reveals the plans for a new orphange. 

Polo LaCoste, the president of the association of residents, said members have already donated computers and school supplies to the children’s charity.

Now the association is looking for volunteers to teach English at the orphanage, and it is not necessary for them to speak Spanish. The association is asking for a five-month commitment from volunteers to head a 45-minute class once a week, according to the notice.

LaCoste said progress has already been made with the children. The Don Bosco organization, handling around 100 children, has a choir and a band equipped with donated instruments, he said.

Virginia Chavez, the sub-director at Don Bosco, said the band and choir left Wednesday on a bus tour to perform in Nicaragua. Some 25 children from the organization will see Managua, Grenada and Masaya before returning on Saturday.

The Costa Rican resident association is looking to raise more money and find volunteers for the children. If a person is interested they can call 233-8068 for information.

Argentine leader seeks timetable for elections

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — President Eduardo Duhalde has asked Congress to endorse a timetable for presidential elections, saying he intends to step down in May of next year.

Duhalde issued the appeal Tuesday here when he made a rare appearance before Congress. 

The president has called for elections to be held six months early, in March of next year. 

Congress, however, has never endorsed the move and several court rulings challenging Duhalde's ability to set election dates have thrown the balloting into question. 

Argentines have been demanding fresh leadership to guide the country out of its financial problems. Argentina has been in recession the past four years and defaulted on $141 billion in public debt.
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.


Dr. Luis Carlos Sancho Torres
  bilingual psychiatrist (UCR)

• consulting • depression 
• schizophrenia
 • psychiatric disability VA Affairs
• evaluations for gun permits 
 • bipolar disorders • addictions 
• methadone
Available 24-hour a day
children and adults
office: 233-7782 beeper: 233-3333


Legal and Business Consultants
for Foreign Residents and Business Owners

• Reliable and Responsive • Excellent References

Darrylle Stafford, J.D.
 US Lawyer • Consultant
Lic. Rafael Valle
CR Lawyer • Notary
Lic. Ulises Obregón
CR Lawyer • Notary

Apdo. 11846-1000, San Jose, Costa Rica
Tel: (506) 253-9655   Fax: (506) 280-4576
Cel: (506) 386-9324
Email: ulimar@costarica.net

American/Costa Rican attorney located in Costa Rica. Specializing in business law, commercial law, real estate sales, immigration law. 
Lic. Gregory Kearney Lawson
KEARNEY LAWSON & Asoc. Tel/Fax: (506) 221-9462

Real estate agents

15 years Costa Rican real estate experience
Member of the Costa Rican Real Estate Association, Lic. #1000 
Member, Costa Rican-American Chamber of Commerce
(506) 232-5016 home   (506) 233-8057 office  (506)382-7399 cell 

Web design

- Custom Website Design & Development
- Website Hosting
- Website Marketing & Promotion
- E-Commerce Solutions
- Internet Consulting
One Price Websites - "A great service at an unbelievable price! "
For more information visit our website at www.istarmedia.net or call 
399-9642 or email at: info@istarmedia.net


What we published this week: Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Earlier
The contents of this web site are copyrighted by Consultantes Río Colorado 2001 and 2002 and may not be reproduced anywhere without permission. Abstracts and fair use are permitted.