A.M. Costa Rica

Your daily English-language 
news source
Monday through Friday

These stories were published Thursday, Nov. 3, 2005, in Vol. 5, No. 218
Jo Stuart
About us

Hey, Buddy! Television reporters want to make you a star!
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A handful of buck naked tourists became television stars Wednesday night, although they probably will never know it.

A Channel 6 news team exposed the well-know fact that people sometimes are nude on the nation's beaches.

Using a long-lens camera, the news team taped men who seemed to be between 30 and 60 doing nothing more than laying on the beach reading or walking along admiring the scenery. All appeared to be tourists. All were naked. The television station blurred out significant body parts.

No one seemed to be objecting to this practice, which took place in a secluded cove near the surf of Manuel Antonio and Quepos. However, the news team also questioned the local tourism official, a Catholic priest ("Such activities lower the moral tone") and the local mayor.

Tonight the expos will be on the area hotels where the management encourages
nudity, the station said.

The television segment was titled in Spanish "Like Adam and Eve." Eve, however, was absent from the Channel 6 presentation, which appeared to be a product of a slow news week. Competitor Channel 7 featured a story reporting that firearms are dangerous.

The Quepos-Manuel

Antonio area, a tourist mecca, has long been associated with liberal views on human behavior. And the area is dotted with coves shielded by tall trees visible only from the high seas.

However, nude bathing is not restricted to the central Pacific. Any secluded beach — and the country has thousands — sometimes tempt those seeking a tan all over. Discretion is the key. Technically, being naked in a public place can draw a fine.

Same plaza but two different points of view a week apart
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Those who favor the free trade treaty with the United States will be showing their support in public Nov. 24. That's a week after opponents hold their mass rally.

Both will do so in the same place: the Plaza de la Democracia, which is not far from the Asamblea Legislativa.

The gathering of supporters for the treaty was announced Wednesday by the Unión Costarricense de Cámaras y Asociaciones de la Empresa Privada.

The announcement said that company employees, farmers, students and citizens will participate. The gathering will be civil and peaceful, the announcement said. The treaty will provide better opportunities for investment and generate new sources of employment that are needed for the well being of the population, said the announcement.

The Magisterial Nacional issued the call Monday for opponents to gather to begin the anti-trade treaty campaign Nov. 17. The
suggestion is being heeded by a number of
organizations who showed up at a press conference Monday. The Magisterial Nacional is the professional group for teachers and professors.

The two groups meeting in the same place just seven days apart show the rupture of public opinion on the issue of the free trade treaty. The pact is now in the Asamblea Legislative for possible ratification.

Each group can count on farmers. Rice growers oppose the treaty because of the threat of imports, so they will show up Nov. 17. Pineapple growers and others in the agricultural export business favor the treaty, and they will be at the plaza Nov. 24.

Each category in Costa Rican society finds members on either side of the trade pact question.  Leftist students at the Universidad de Costa Rica in San Pedro and Universidad Nacional in Heredia oppose the treaty, mostly because the United States is involved. Other students support the document because they would receive more options to seek work in the United States and here in Costa Rica.

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, Thursday, Nov. 3, 2005, Vol. 5, No. 218

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

Osa resort wins U.S. award
for good citizenship

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A luxury primitive ecotourism retreat on a ridge in the Osa Peninsula has won the U.S. State Department award for corporate excellence.  The resort, Lapa Rios, won for its role as a responsible, North American-owned business abroad, officials announced Wednesday.

The U. S. secretary of State has presented the award every year since 1999 to American-run businesses that are good corporate citizens of the country they are in, perform exemplary employment practices, provide for a safe and sound working environment, practice responsible environmental protection, contribute to the growth of the local economy, contribute to local science and technology and comply with international and national laws of the United States, the State Department said.  

This is the first time a business in Costa Rica has won the award.  According to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, U.S. officials from around the world submit the names of companies that exhibit conscience, character and integrity in their business practices.  This year, the Department of State received 60 such nominations, more than in any other previous year, Ms. Rice said.  The department selected two winners, one of which was Lapa Ríos.  The other was Cisco Systems in Jordan.

“The guiding principle of Lapa Rios Ecolodge is to adapt itself to the local environment, not to change the local environment to meet its own needs. The company uses energy-saving generators and solar panels to operate more efficiently. It has developed a comprehensive plan for water conservation, waste management and recycling to operate more cleanly. And working with local and international partners, Lapa Rios even established a 400-hectare biological reserve in Costa Rica,” Ms. Rice said.  She spoke at an awards ceremony in Washington, D.C.

The department listed many of Lapa Ríos' accomplishments that contributed to the award.  Owners John and Karen Lewis, former peace corps volunteers who abandoned their suburban life in Minneapolis to come to Costa Rica, built a school in the community, la Escuela la Carbonera.  Guests at the retreat may visit the school, and part of the lodge's profits go towards teacher's salaries, the State Department said. 

The couple worked with Nature Conservancy and the Centro de Derecho Ambiental y de los Recursos Naturales to establish a 400-hectare wildlife reserve on the Osa.  The hotel also employs 50 persons, only two of which are not from the surrounding area. 

However, the couple's 38-year marriage has reportedly ended and Ms. Lewis remarked to a reporter earlier this year that the hotel would soon be for sale.  It has 16 cabinas.

The couple, former Peace Corps volunteers in Kenya, started the project 15 years ago. In 1990 the couple decided to abandon their suburban professional lives in the United States, liquidate all personal assets, and use the proceeds to create a reserve with over 1,000 acres of mostly primary rain forest in the remote area of Costa Rica.  Originally, the lodge was only a method to finance the upkeep of the land, the company's Web site said. 

Mr. Lewis is a retired lawyer, and Ms. Lewis is a former music teacher.

The couple liquidated their assets in the United States and came to Costa Rica with $1.3 million, according to a CNN/Money story in April reprinted in a Peace Corps bulletin.

Punta Uva hotel owners
lose another court appeal

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

An administrative judge has rejected a request to consider the legality of an eviction at a Punta Uva hotel last Sept. 27.

The appeal was entered by Christine Kalina, representing the Hotel las Palmas Punta Uva. It claimed that the state acted illegally when the Kalinas were forced from their luxury hotel after an 11-year legal battle. The action sought damages against the state.

The summary of the judge's decision was released by the Ministerio de Ambiente y Energía, which has been fighting with the Kalinas for years. The ministry said the hotel violated its agreement to use public land by making significant changes that harmed the environment.

The ministry said the judge rejected the appeal because the actions of the ministry were consistent with a sentence issued by the Sala Primera of the Corte Suprema de Justicia and that the state followed the law.

The case was in the Juzgado Contensioso Administrativa y Civil de Hacienda of the Segundo Circuito Judicial in San José. The Sala IV constitutional court also has  denied a request for judicial intervention.

Officials said that the luxury hotel will be turned into a school for tourism.

Intel plans big campaign
for products in 17 nations

Special to A.M. Costa Rica

SANTA CLARA, Calif.— Intel Corp has launched a worldwide advertising and marketing campaign that showcases how Intel’s products are a catalyst for success for businesses worldwide.

With a theme of “When Intel is built in, success is built in,” the campaign shows how Intel technology helps drive success in areas that matter most to businesses and includes case studies to demonstrate this. The first organizations included in the campaign are a hospital and a gas company. Intel has chip manufacturing plants in Costa Rica.

The campaign focuses on how Intel technology helps organizations grow and change with greater speed and agility. Intel delivers complete technology platforms — processors, chipsets, wireless communications capability, software and other technologies.

Intel’s new 17-country campaign started this month, focusing on the benefits that Intel platforms, technologies and products provide.

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!

A.M. Costa Rica

Third news page

Home Calendar Place a 
classified ad
Classifieds Real estate  Food About us
San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, Nov. 3, 2005, Vol. 5, No. 218

Four Gringos, two punks and a gun — a frequent story
By Jesse Froehling
of the A.M. Costa Rica staff

I led my friends into a robbery Tuesday night. 

Two of them came to visit me last week from the United States.  I took them to the Caribbean where they decided to spend the duration of their trip.  Tuesday, they came back to San José for their last night before they flew back home Wednesday afternoon. 

They decided to forgo the usual barhopping scene and instead catch up with me in my apartment in Sabanilla.  At 11 p.m., we realized we were dangerously short on the necessary refreshments.  Luckily for us, Mas x Menos closes at midnight and just 500 meters away.

Though I've heard all the warnings about walking at night, my two visiting buddies as well as another friend who lives nearby and I made a group of four, so I wasn't too worried.  Besides, it's a walk I've done numerous times alone in the months I have lived in San José studying reporting. 

We made it to Mas x Menos, bought the necessary refreshments and started home along the main road to Sabanilla.  We came around a bend in the road and two younger men stopped us.  One of them grabbed my beer which I had already popped open. 

“What's this,” I asked, not amused. 

“This is a robbery,” he said in Spanish. I was the only one who understood.

I  balled my fists to take a swipe at the nasty little punk who thought he was going to steal my beer.
Then I saw the gun that my aggressor's buddy had whipped out. He was swinging it wildly at the four of us.  My friends understood a gun.

“Gimme the money,” my attacker said unpleasantly.  I reached into my pocket and pulled out the few hundred colons in change I was carrying.  “That's all I got,” I said.

He moved on to my next friend.  I put my hands behind my back and tried to remove my watch as discreetly as possible.  Big mistake. The guy with the gun noticed my movements.  Now I don't have a watch. 

I saw them relieve my buddies of their various possessions.  One friend had only $30.  But another had just gone to the ATM and had about $200 in his wallet as well as credit cards, identification, all the stuff that is a real pain to get when you're living south of the U. S. border. 

My third friend begged:  “Please, not my camera.” 

“Can't you say something to them?” he asked me, thinking of all the digital photos of his Costa Rican trip.

“It's gone,” I said.  “Forget about it.”  The punks waved their gun around some more and ran off.  The robbery took the life out of our fiesta, and my friends decided to return to their hotel.

I shook their hands, wished them well, and thanked them for coming down to see me. 

“The worst part is that this is all I'm gonna remember about Costa Rica.” said my buddy who lost the camera.

Two suspected of robberies at bus stop arrested near Parque la Sabana
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Fuerza Pública officers arrested two men suspected of robbing passers-by at the bus stop in front of the ICE building at Parque la Sabana. 

Police said they picked up the suspects, identified by the last names Álvarez Alvarado and Quirós Sequeira,
as they appeared to be about to rob a pedestrian. 
The Grupo Especial de Operaciones of the Fuerza Pública had been tracking the pair for a couple of days, officials said. 

Police said the two men would also board buses to steal belongings unnoticed.  From there they would flee through the park, police said. 

Two carjacking suspects caught after police locate missing cars at a farm
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Fuerza Pública officers arrested a Tico and Colombian accused of leading a gang of carjackers that specialized in Nissan Sentras, officers said.

The suspects, identified by the last names of Rivera Alpizar from Costa Rica and Vélez Vélez from Colombia, were arrested after an early morning stakeout Wednesday, officers said. 
Police said that at 4:30 a.m., they saw four cars in perfect condition inside a remote farm in Villa Bonita de San Antonio, Alajuela. 

When they checked the plates, they found that the four cars were stolen, officers said.  So they staked out the area.

At 8 a.m., the two suspects entered the farm and police arrested them, the officers said. 

Protesters are in place for the Summit of the Americas
By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

MAR DEL PLATA, Argentina — As leaders from 34 nations prepare to meet here for the Summit of the Americas, a coalition of groups opposed to free trade and other measures backed by President George Bush is holding a "People's Summit" in this resort town.  The gathering will end with marches and protests Friday, blocks away from where heads of government will be meeting to discuss ways to boost employment and fight poverty in the hemisphere. Local residents are worried that demonstrations could turn violent.

Meeting at a basketball stadium, socialist political groups, union leaders, and an assortment of leftist activists are denouncing President Bush as well as the proposed Free Trade Area of the Americas that would allow goods to travel tariff-free from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego.

Among the participants is Adolfo Perez Esquivel, who won the 1980 Nobel Peace Prize for his opposition to Argentina's former military government. "What fundamentally interests me is that the people unite, that they begin to formulate alternative proposals,"  he said.  "The darkest hour is before sunrise. We are pointing towards a sunrise that will benefit the lives of the people."

Outside the basketball stadium, at a table overflowing with booklets extolling the socialist programs of Cuban President Fidel Castro and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, Cuban activist Duniesky Contrerras, 21, says he came to the People's Summit to promote radical change in the Americas.

"The main goal is to fight. To fight terrorism, to fight against the government of the United States, to fight against war, to fight against injustice and globalization, to fight for solidarity," he said.

Contrerras adds that the leaders who will meet on the other side of Mar del Plata Friday and Saturday will have no choice but to listen if the people unite.

He denounces as unjust the exclusion of Castro from the Summit of the Americas, which encompasses nations belonging to the Washington-headquartered Organization of American States. Asked if he thinks the hemisphere is moving  closer to Cuba's Communist system, Contrerras shrugs.
"I would not say it is moving more towards the Cuban model. I would say more towards what is needed: a more just, collective society," he added.
Meeting alongside the People's Summit is the Continental Summit of Indigenous Peoples, featuring Native American leaders from throughout the hemisphere. Arthur Manuel of the Shushuwap Nation of western Canada says much of the agenda of the People's Summit mirrors that of indigenous people.

"I think one of the common themes is the Free Trade Area of the Americas," he explained.  "If there is an FTAA the way it is designed, it would give our land rights to the trans-national corporations, and that would be wrong. So there is a commonality, whether we are talking about forestry in British Columbia or forestry in Argentina. Indigenous people are always the ones left out of the picture."

The Free Trade Area of the Americas has yet to be negotiated, and proponents point out that provisions can be inserted to protect the rights of Native Americans and others. The Bush administration has pushed for the free trade measure to be included in the agenda of the Summit of the Americas, but has met stiff resistance from nations like Brazil and Venezuela.

In defending the proposal, Bush recently said that open trade is more effective than foreign aid and international loans in addressing people's needs, combating poverty and making nations fiscally stronger. He also said he is aware that not all of his policy decisions regarding Latin America are popular, but that the nations of the region do not have to agree with the United States all the time in order to maintain good relations.

Tens of thousands of protesters are expected to converge on Mar del Plata by Friday. Argentina has deployed 8,000 security forces to the seaside municipality ahead of the summit.

Despite the heavy police presence, local residents say they are worried demonstrations could ruin Mar del Plata's image as an idyllic tourist destination.

Local taxi driver Jorge Casella says he has no doubt that security forces will maintain order in the immediate area where the heads of government will meet, but wonders if police will venture into surrounding neighborhoods if trouble arises. He says he hopes that demonstrators will remain peaceful.

"Protesting has its uses, but not if done violently. It is fine to be against the war in Iraq, foreign debt, the IMF, but if opposition is expressed through violence it harms workers," he explained.

No surprise as Bush presses for freer markets
Special to A.M. Costa Rica

The Bush administration is hoping to build upon a common commitment by Latin American leaders that democracy, free markets and free trade are the best way to enhance prosperity in the Western Hemisphere at the Summit of the Americas in Mar del Plata, Argentina,

The summit is Friday and Saturday.

Briefing reporters at the White House, National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley said President Bush will bring the message to Mar del Plata that “there's time to convert that commitment into concrete action, to take the kinds of steps that will enhance the well-being of the hemisphere.”

Hadley said the steps include practicing good governance, fighting corruption, improving education and health care, and “using the power of free markets, free trade and private investment to really enhance prosperity.”
He also said that free trade and private investment dwarfs the impact of aid programs in terms of building economic growth and enhancing prosperity.

Bush will be visiting Brazil and Panamá following the summit in Argentina, before returning to Washington Nov. 7, Hadley said.

He said Bush’s visit to Brazil will reciprocate the June 2003 visit by President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva to Washington, and he noted that, among other issues, the two leaders would be discussing the proposed Free Trade Area of the Americas which would eliminate trade barriers throughout the hemisphere.

“Obviously, we would like to move forward on the FTAA.  It has not moved as quickly as we would like,” said Hadley.

In Panamá, Bush will meet with President Martin Torrijos.  “We share with the Panamanians the goal of creating a hemisphere that is democratic, secure and prosperous,” Hadley told reporters.

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