A.M. Costa Rica

Your daily English-language 
news source
Monday through Friday

These stories were published Monday, Oct. 24, 2005, in Vol. 5, No. 210
Jo Stuart
About us

Weekend flooding wipes out Costanera Sur
By Jesse Froehling
of the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Though the weather institute said that Hurricane Wilma had churned far enough north to leave Costa Rica alone, heavy rains this weekend still cleared out a 500-meter section of the Costanera Sur between Quepos and Dominical, leaving the road impassable. 

Witnesses said that the road had been barely passable if one was willing to ford the Portalón River, but resident Ana Lyons, said that Friday, part of the road just south of the Savegre River bridge had collapsed into the river.  Saturday, Ms. Lyons returned to the spot to see how bad it was. Ms. Lyons' publication, Quepolandia.com, is a guide to Quepos and Manuel Antonio. 

“There is no road now -- it's not possible to pass at all.  We couldn't even see a way to easily walk to the other side...We're not sure exactly when the final part of the road collapsed, but it looks like it will take a while to fix this problem,” she wrote. 

From photos she sent, it appears the Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Transportes will have to move the road 50 to 100 meters to the east, and this may require a lengthly process or purchasing land.

Bob Klenz, a Dominical resident confirmed Ms. Lyons observations.  He said that approximately 500 meters of the road was gone, taking a house with it.  With the high tourist season only six to eight weeks away, it cuts down access to Dominical.  That town, popular with surfers and tourists alike, can now only be reached through San Isidro.  What used to be about an hour drive between Quepos and Dominical on the central Pacific coast, is now a day-long backtrack through San José for most travelers. 

The Comision Nacional de Prevención de Riesgos y Atención de Emergencias attributed the weekend's rains to Wilma.  Those downpours caused 80 incidents of backed up drains, landslides and overflows in the Metropolitan area and the Pacific slope.  As a result 767 more people had to flee to nine shelters throughout the troubled areas of the country. 

Those people in Parrita, Golfito, Acosta, Nicoya and La Cruz raise the total number of displaced persons to 2,566 in 28 temporary shelters.  The emergency commission sent more supplies to Guanacaste, Puntarenas, Acosta and Parrita this week, it said.  Officials at the commission estimate they have spent nearly $611,000 attending to emergencies just during the past month.

In addition to the break along the Costanera Sur, emergency commission officials said that several of the bridges between Jicaral and Cóbano on the southern Nicoya Peninsula are damaged as well.  This weekend, El Silencio, Santo Domingo and San Cristóbal were cut off as well when the ríos Savegre and Guabo rose.  Those towns were almost completely swept away a month ago when the heavy rains started.  Witnesses said then that residents had squeezed into the 

Photos by Ana Lyons
The Costanera Sur is eroded away

Where brave motorists ford the Río Portalón
two houses and barn that was all that remained from after the storms.

The commission predicts now that Wilma's effect will stay with the country through today.  As a result it is maintaining a red alert for the communities of Bagaces, Carrillo, Santa Cruz, Hojancha, Nandayure, Nicoya and the Cantón of Aguirre.  Abangares, La Cruz, Liberia, Tilarán and Upala are under yellow alert, and residents of the Caribbian coast, the northern zone and the Central Valley should all keep an eye open, the commission said.

Sunday night, Hurricane Wilma was plowing towards south Florida at 18 mph with sustained winds of 115 mph, according to the United States National Hurricane Center.  After the hurricane makes landfall, experts believe it will pick up speed substantially.  By Wednesday night, the hurricane should be hitting Nova Scotia off Canada's east coast.  By Friday, a model shows the storm spinning off into the northern Atlantic towards Europe. 

In addition, Tropical Storm Alpha formed east of the Bahamas making this the most storm filled hurricane season on record.  This is the first time the National Hurricane Center has run out of names and been forced to use the Greek alphabet to name storms.  The previous record was set in 1933.  The storm, with maximum sustained winds of 35 mph, currently poses no threat to Costa Rica or the United States.         

exchange rate
to our
daily digest

our site

Send us
a news story

Real estate ads

Ads for

ad info

ad info

Contact us
Our stats



A.M. Costa Rica

Second news page

Click HERE for photo tour of 526 properties for SALE or RENT in Escazú, Ciudad Colón, Santa Ana, Rohrmoser, Curridabat, Heredia
and the Pacific Coast.

info@ticorealty.com  (506) 290-7667
Place a classified ad
Real estate
About us
San José, Costa Rica, Monday, Oct. 24, 2005, Vol. 5, No. 210

Costa Rica Expertise
Costa Rica Expertise Ltd http://crexpertise.com E-mail info@crexpertise.com Tel:506-256-8585 Fax:506-256-7575

Click HERE for great hotel discounts

Oil spill shuts runway
at international airport

By the A.M. Costa  Rica staff

Some 10 flights from Juan Santamaría airport were canceled Sunday and 11 inbound fights were diverted elsewhere because a private jet dumped hydraulic fluid on the main runway.

The morning mishap took place as the small jet with four passengers was trying to take off. A front tire blew and as the takeoff was aborted, hydraulic fluid drained on the runway.

Firemen took nearly eight hours to drain the fuel tanks of the jet and clean up the slippery mess on the runway. The jet's undercarriage would not support the fully laden plane if it were towed, officials said.

Inbound flights were diverted to Daniel Oduber airport in Liberia and to Panamá.

State of nation report
a pessimistic document

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Costa Rica has begun to consume its future in order to maintain in the short run the appearance of normality, according to the 11th annual state of the nation report.

The pessimistic document, called Informe Estado de la Nación in Spanish released Friday is a product of the Consejo Nacional de Rectores, La Defensoría de los Habitantes with the help of the United Nations and other agencies.

Significant changes in the world have created in a short time adverse conditions that appear not to have been perceived by the social and political figures of the country, the report said.

The increases in international interest rates signal an end to the period of easy credit and the free trade treaty with the United states creates a new international political relationship, said the report. Rising petroleum prices also were cited.

The report also notes the rapid development and export potential of the People's Republic of China which, it said, creates important challenges here.

During 2004, the report said, Costa Rica suffered a deterioration of opportunities, shown with a significant increase in poverty, in a reduction of the wage income of the whole population and a reduction in household income.

The report cited a decrease in the average educational level from eight and a half years among those born in 1959 to less than eight years of those born in 1982.

The report cited a slight decrease in household income and a slight rise in poverty, which had remained relatively constant at 20 percent of households over the last 10 years. However, these changes were more significant in certain regions of the country.

The report touched on many areas, ranging from air pollution to social spending, the proposed new tax plan, infrastructure investments, corruption, student dropouts, the proliferation of political parties and even citizen discontent with the political process.

The report in Spanish is available as a download in PDF format at the report's Web page.

Much of the deterioration the report notes, such as a reduction in educational levels, can be blamed on immigration. And the report statistics do not take into consideration the increase in the hidden economy here by people who do not pay sales or income tax.

Fugitive from Panamá
was an executioner

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A Panamanian sentenced to 20 years in prison in his country for kidnapping and the murder of nine persons was arrested as he drove through Liga de la Caña, La Uruca Friday morning, Fuerza Pública officers said.

The Panamanian, Evidelio Quiel Peralta, was a lieutenant in Gen. Manuel Antonio Noriega's army.  Quiel was sentenced, along with two other former officers, Oct. 6, 1996, for the execution of nine military rebels in what became known as “the massacre of Albrokk,” officers said.

Quiel's crimes go back to Oct. 4, 1989, when military personnel, tried to state a coup against Noriega. They were executed in a hanger used by the former dictator in the airport in Albrokk, officers said. 

Quiel entered Costa Rica Aug. 11, 1997, and had held a job as a representative of a computer systems company, agents said. 

Immigration officials approved his application for residency Sept. 24, 1999 and he had been living here ever since, agents said. 

Family dispute wounds
two Limón youngsters

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Fuerza Pública officers arrested a Limón man this weekend for shooting at his wife and two children with a shotgun, the officers said. 

The detainee, identified by the last names Campos Guido, arrived  at a neighbor's house where a party was in progress, police said.  He had been drinking, police said. His two children, 16-year-old Yoxani Campos Heras and 17-year-old Jorge Mauricio Campos Heras, also were there, police said. 

After talking with his children, Campos sent them home, where the dispute continued, police said.  As tension mounted, Campos aimed a 12-gauge shotgun at his wife,  Liliana Heras González, and tried to shoot her, the officers said. 

The children attacked their father, so he shot at them as well.  The shot hit his son in the right hand and his daughter in the head, police said.  Both were taken by ambulance to the medical clinic in Siquirres, the officers said. The shotgun was a homemade device, police 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.

Real estate agents and services

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

CENTURY 21 Jacó Beach Realty
A Name You Can Trust & Professional Service
Tom Ghormley - Owner/Broker - in CR since '79

Buying? Selling?
We Can Do It!

Beachfront, Views, Mountains, Lots, Farms, Beaches, Houses, Condos. Hotels, Restaurants, Projects, Commercial, Investments

First Costa Rican Title & Trust
Protecting your interests since 1994
  Purchase contracts
  Escrow services
  Title Transfers
  Title Guarantees
  Trust Services
  Investment Services
Call us for your real property legal and investment needs at 225-0501 or send us an e-mail at amcr@firstcr.com

Title Guarantees issued by First American Title Insurance Co., one of the oldest and largest title companies in the world. The First American difference in protection is that the policies cover unrecorded matters and unknown risks.



U.S. Tax and Accounting

We specialize in tax preparation for U.S. taxpayers and business, working or living abroad, and help with all international transactions.
288-2201   839-9970
E-mail: ustax@lawyer.com

James Brohl C.P.A, M.B.A

U.S. Income Tax 
U.S. GAAP Accounting, 
Business Consulting
Providing U.S. Tax return preparation including back reporting and all other filing issues, accounting services 
and business consulting.

Telephone 305-3149 or 256-8620
E-mail jrtb_1999@racsa.co.cr


Williams Dental & Associates
Integral dentistry
Dr. John Williams
•  General dentistry 
•  Endodontics
•  Oral rehabilitation
•  Prosthodontics
•  Periodontics
•  Dental prevention
•  Maxillofacial surgery implants

Guachipelín, Escazú228-2914/289-9809

U.S. prevention of infection and sterilization protocol

Legal services

Lic.Gregory Kearney Lawson.
Attorney at Law
Villalobos and Savings Unlimited Collections
*Investments  *Corporations *Tax Shelters
*Real Estate Sales in Costa Rica
    *Immigration  *Intellectual Property
*Business procedures  *Family and Labor Law
*Locate People   *Private Investigations
        Ph/Fax: 221-9462, 841-0007

Bufete Hernández Mussio 
& Asociados
Lic. Arcelio Hernández Mussio
Tel. 643-3058                Cell 365-3088
E-mail: lawyer@CRTitle.com
Web site:  CRTitle.com

  • Real Estate Transactions 
•  Legal Due Diligence 
  • Purchase and Sale Agreements/Options
  • Short-term Lending
  • Title Guaranty • Fraud protection
  •  Constitution of condominiums
  • Notary public services in general

Visit our Office in Jacó Beach
 (25 meters north of Banco Popular,
 below the Fiscalia).


PRECONSTRUCTION & INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITIES from  only $35K in Playa del Coco & Limon.  Loft Condos from $80K.  Walk  to Beach!  Easy Financing. Low $ Down.
 Many Homes &  Townhomes available IN ALL AREAS for IMMEDIATE OCCUPANCY.  


Our new five-star food and restaurant page
with the observations of Dr. Lenny Karpman
Click HERE!


Optimism and faith is reflected in this Tico phrase
No hay mal que por bien no venga

“There is never a bad thing that doesn’t bring something good along with it.” This dicho has much the same meaning as the expression in English, “Every cloud has a silver lining.”  On the surface both of these sayings appear quite clichéd, or précieux, as the French say. How does one explain to the tens of thousands of victims of the earthquake in Pakistan, for example, that anything good is going to come out of the terrible disaster that has befallen them?

In 1963 the Irazu volcano erupted spewing hundreds of thousands of tons of dark volcanic ash — like fine, gritty sand — all across the Central Valley and beyond. I remember having to wear layers of protective clothing, boots, and tight-fitting goggles and to place a moistened handkerchief over my nose and mouth whenever I went outside. At school we were not permitted to go out to play during recess because the air was so polluted with ash.

The ash piled up like snow on streets, sidewalks, and gardens and many roofs gave way under its weight. Though soil cultivation was not possible during this time, still we kept our gardener employed with daily clearing the collected grit off our roof so as to prevent a cave in.

We viewed the terrible destruction on television from Cartago, where the devastation was at its worst. The coffee, banana, and pineapple crops were all but totally lost that year.

But when I expressed my grave doubts that Costa Rica would ever recover from the disaster my mother said, “No hay mal que por bien no venga.” I admit that at first I scoffed at this Pollyannaism. My mother, however, being the patient woman she was, explained to me that volcanic ash was rich in plant-nourishing minerals and that in the end it would make the earth more fertile and productive than before.

I know the victims of hurricane Katrina or of the
way we say it

By Daniel Soto

mud slides in Guatemala might find it hard to see the good in their plight, but like most such sayings the real meaning of today’s dicho lies beneath the surface. For, rather than being a declaration of fact, no hay mal que por bien no venga is actually an expression of hope. It  gives utterance to our faith that things will be better in the future, no matter how bad they are now.

It’s been more than 40 years since Irazu exploded. Today, the mountain sides and the valley below the volcano comprise one of the richest agricultural areas in Costa Rica largely because of the 1963 eruption.

But on the way to Irazu, your route might also take you past the site of the village of Taras. The town was buried when torrential rains following the eruption brought an avalanche of volcanic mud, rock, and trees cascading down the Río Reventado. In the middle of the night this huge mass of debris reached a dam protecting the town and swept it away. Moments later Taras was no more. Now all that can be seen from the road is the very pinnacle of the steeple of the old village church poking eerily up out of the ground.

No hay mal que por bien no venga may indeed be a cliché. But, as a dear friend of mine once observed, perhaps such expressions become clichés simply because they contain a kernel of immutable, human truth.

Pacheco puts free trade treaty into lap of lawmakers
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

President Abel Pacheco sent the Central American Free Trade Treaty to the legislature Friday, but there was hope for those who oppose the measure.

Pacheco said that the treaty did not represent a marriage and that the country could back out of the treaty with six months notice.

The document was delivered physically to the Asamblea Legislativa by Doris Osterlof, a vice minister who was acting minister of Comercio Exterior Friday.

Lawmakers will not leap to put the document into committee because they can do nothing until the 3,000-page document appears in the La Gaceta official newspaper.

Despite Pacheco's words, opponents are not waiting for legislative deliberations. Leftist students from the Universidad de Costa Rica plan to march on the assembly building Tuesday, and students at the Universidad Nacional also plan a march this week. Union leaders whose members oppose the treaty said they will mount an extensive protest beginning in November. They have threatened to close down the country and did so last January with road blockades.

Pacheco conditioned his delivery of the trade treaty to the legislature with what he said were other parts of the legislative agenda. One of these is approval of the proposed law to strengthen the Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad.

Not everyone in the legislature favors the proposal to make changes to the monopoly known as ICE. The Sindicato Industrial de Trabajadores Eléctricos y de Telecomunicaciones, the ICE union, would be better off combating corruption inside the institution instead of battling the free trade treaty, said Carlos Salazar Ramírez, a Movimiento Libertario deputy.

The 4,000 ICE workers want to maintain their privileges while closing the door and denying opportunities to 4 million Costa Ricans, he added in his comments to the legislature Thursday.

ICE generates most of the nation's electrical power, runs the telephone system and has started to compete with its subsidiary, Radiográfica Costarricense S.A., in the domestic Internet market.

A key element of the free trade treaty is opening the telecommunications market to private competition.

Pacheco said that in addition to the proposal to strengthen ICE, lawmakers should reform the nation's tax structure, create a development banking system, reform the labor system and approve loans to finance programs to improve education, develop science and technology, aid small and medium companies and modernize the customs agency.

Pacheco denied in his comments Friday that the 14 months the treaty has been sitting on his desk was lost time, as some people think.  The country has had
time too inform itself and develop an opinion about the treaty, Pacheco said.

The way Pacheco handled the treaty was curious. His ministers and officials negotiated the treaty, but after the document was signed Pacheco acted as if he were supposed to deliberate over the utility of the pact. He even asked a group of well-known individuals to study the pact and give him a report. This group, headed by U.S. astronaut Franklin Chang Díaz conducted discussions with many who favor or oppose the document and delivered a report Sept. 16.

Those who favored the pact thought that Pacheco was fearful that the unions and other opponents would cause massive civil disturbances. In fact, legislative leaders will send the document to a committee, and no vote will actually take place in the assembly until after the February presidential and legislative elections. The pact probably will be approved by a lame-duck legislature sometime between February and the beginning of May when new deputies are sworn in.

The free trade treaty seems to have enough support in the legislature to pass, although the Partido Acción Ciudadana, the party of presidential candidate Ottón Solís, opposes it and says it will take whatever parliamentary actions necessary to slow down passage.

The agreement has been approved by all parties except Costa Rica. They are the United States, Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala. The agreement will go into force among those nations Jan. 1 even if Costa Rica has not ratified the pact.

Opponents say the pact will rob the country of sovereignty. That is correct because the agreement, an international treaty, has a stronger force in law than does the Costa Rican Constitution. Opponents also reject the way the agreement was negotiated: behind closed doors.

However, the major reason some oppose the document is because the United States is involved. Costa Rica has just approved a free trade agreement with the the Caribbean countries with little opposition.

Solís wants Costa Rica to renegotiate the agreement with the United States, although Washington is unlikely to do so with Costa Rica. Solís points to the two-party free trade negotiations taking place right now between Panamá and the United States as an example.

Pacheco said the country supported the agreement when he spoke Friday and on his weekend television and radio talk. He cited survey results that said a majority of the citizens knew about the agreement and supported it.

Support is dependent on the anticipated impact of the agreement. Farmers who expect to gain sales in the United States support the document. Farmers who expect competition from U.S. producers do not.

U.S. LL.M program influences the law all over world
By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Whether it is a good or bad phenomenon is subject to debate, but no one can deny that America has had a pervasive cultural influence on the world.

Things like rap music and Coca-Cola can easily be found in villages where few Americans ever tread. And the increasingly globalized nature of communications and economics seems to guarantee that America's cultural influence will continue to grow.

But the world has not always been a passive recipient of this influence. Sometimes people have actively sought the "American" approach, such as those who can be found at Columbia University's Graduate Legal Studies.

Martin Sigal is a public interest attorney who is now attending classes at the New York-based university. He works for a human rights organization in Argentina. For the next nine months, Sigal is living in New York City, attending classes full-time at Columbia.

He is here to get what is known as an "LL.M" It is an internationally recognized master of laws degree, and Sigal says he deliberately chose to come to the United States to get it.

"I wanted to study other kinds of technical matters which are starting to be developed at home, but are quite developed here, like anti-trust law," he says. "Anti-trust law has been developing here for 120 years or more, and at home it's just starting. The NGO I'm working with, we are working with control of economic institutions, so getting to know all the technicalities of anti-trust law would be a great advantage when I get back home."

Sigal is one of more than 6,000 international attorneys who come to the United States each year to supplement their professional training. Graduates of American master of law programs have gone on to become quite influential in their home countries.

Mary Robinson, for example, became the first female president of Ireland after she left Harvard. Beatriz Merino, who also got her degree at Harvard, became the first female prime minister of Peru. And Mikheil Saakashvili, who got an LL.M at Columbia in 1994, went on to lead the so-called "Rose Revolution" in the Republic of Georgia, where he now serves as president.

U.S. lawyers usual have a juris doctor degree, but some states like New York accept the LL.M for those wishing to take that sate's bar exam. Other U.S. graduate lawyers seek an LL.M for the specialized knowledge. Some schools, like the University of Southern California, accept only foreign lawyers for the LL.M program.
According to Syliva Polom, dean of Graduate Legal Studies at Columbia University Law School, the training foreign attorneys receive in the United States is quite different from what they get at home. "In most countries in the world, students show up in class, they get lectured to, they take notes or don't, and then they go home and prepare for exams," she said.

"Here, that's not the way it works. Students are typically given a very detailed syllabus — reading assignments for every week. The expectation is that they are going to read the assignments, and that class is going to be a discussion with a faculty member. Sometimes the faculty member actually plays a very minor role in the discussion, but the student is always an active participant."

That method of teaching can have a profound impact on a lawyer's understanding of what the rule of law is, according to Sigal. "I think that lawyers have a critical role in society, which is (to) try to have some participation when discussing which laws are good, which are bad," he said. "And it's very hard to find lawyers who dare do that if they are not allowed to discuss the basis of the law when they study it."

The creation of a group of critical lawyers, trained to discuss, analyze, and even develop the laws that bind them, is the goal of the Palestinian Rule of Law Program at the Open Society Institute, a private, grant-making foundation. Joseph Glicksberg, who manages the program, says since 2003, when they first started handing out grants, 20 attorneys have come to the United States to get LL.M degrees.

"Basically, the idea behind the program was that because Palestine has a pretty small population, and it also has a pretty short history of domestic legal education, law has only really been taught there since the early 1990s," Glicksberg said. "The ratio of lawyers to the population is pretty low. So the idea is that even a small group of networked lawyers who are committed to the rule of law, and also have advanced legal training, can quickly become an influential force."

The Open Society Institute is just one of many organizations offering money to international attorneys who want to study in the United States. Just last year, the U.S. government gave out more than 120 LL.M scholarships, through its Institute of International Education. And for many years now, the Ford Foundation has offered fellowships to Chinese attorneys who want to earn LL.M degrees at American institutions.

Many of these U.S. trained lawyers have gone back to China and become professors, and because of that, experts say China's legal education system now has an undeniably "American" tone to it.

Son of Guatamalan tax official held in U.S. as part of embezzlement case
Special to A.M. Costa Rica

LOS ANGELES, Calif. — The son of Guatemala's former customs director, who is accused of conspiring with his father to embezzle millions of dollars from that country's government, is facing deportation following his arrest last week by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents in Los Angeles.

The man, Junior Vinicio Abadio-Carrillo, 32, was taken into custody Tuesday in Glendale on immigration violations. Abadio is wanted in Guatemala on embezzlement and money laundering charges for his alleged role in a scheme that led to the theft of more than $5 million from that country's
 government. Immigration agents say Abadio apparently entered the United States illegally last year and has been living in Glendale since his arrival.

Junior's father, Marco Tulio Abadio-Molina, served for one year under former Guatemalan president Alfonso Portillo as head of the "Superintendencia Administracion Tributaria," the agency that administers the nation's import taxes. The elder Abadio has been jailed in Guatemala since last year on criminal charges stemming from the embezzlement allegations.

Junior Abadio is being held without bond pending a hearing before an immigration judge.

Brazil rejects proposal to strip citizens of their right to own a gun
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Brazilians have soundly rejected a proposal to ban all gun sales in the country.

With over 90 percent of the vote counted, the electoral court says that 64 percent of those who went to the polls voted against the ban in Sunday's referendum, while 36 percent favored it.  Final results are expected today.
Over 36,000 people were shot and killed in Brazil last year.  The United Nations ranks Brazil second in the world in gun deaths, behind only Venezuela.

Supporters of the ban on gun sales said that people voted against it because they have no confidence in the government and its ability to provide security.
In recent weeks opponents had waged a media campaign, arguing that average Brazilians need guns to protect themselves from drug gangs and thieves.

Jo Stuart
About us
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, 2003, 2004 and 2005 and may not be reproduced anywhere without permission. Abstracts and fair use are permitted. Check HERE for more details