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(506) 2223-1327              Published Friday, Nov. 6, 2009,  Vol. 9, No. 220      E-mail us
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general ballot
Tribunal Supremo de Elecciones graphic
The general election Feb. 7 will not be as daunting as the sample ballot above because many regional parties are not running in every
province. But there are 53 separate, organized parties seeking votes. Only 10 have presidential candidates. See that ballot HERE!


Committee named to explore digital TV options
By the A.M. Costa rica staff

Costa Rica will explore its options as it considers switching to a digital television system.

The government is setting up a committee to report next March on the best types of digital television for Costa Rica.

The announcement came from Rodrigo Arias Sánchez, the minister of the Presidencia, when he spoke to an international digital television forum Thursday night.

Arias and Jorge Rodríguez, the minister of Ambiente, Energía y Telecomunicaciones, signed a decree setting up the panel. Arias said the government did not have a preference in the type of system that the country ultimately would adopt.

The committee will include Hannia Vega, vice minister of Telecomunicaciones, a representative of the Cámara de Infocomunicaciones, a member of the Cámara Costarricense de Tecnología de la Información y Comunicación, a representative from the Universidad Veritas and Rodrigo Arias Camacho, who will represent higher education.

The 11-year-old Cámara de Tecnología de Información y Comunicación has as members the major telecom companies in the country.
 
The forum, set up by Deloitte & Touche S.A., in the Hotel Marriott in Belén was dedicated to discussing the future of digital television here.
Arias told the group that the selection of a digital television format was not something that should be taken lightly.

He said digital television will change the way citizens communicate and how they gather as a community.

Digital television requires less bandwidth, so there will be more channels. Arias suggested that individuals might go on the air with their own channels. He also mentioned education via television and telemedicine. He saw the transformation as an aspect of development.

He said he hoped the new commission would hear all ideas and that a dialogue would be created.

The United States adopted digital television this year after delaying the start from February. In many cases those who have an older analog television set needed to obtain a digital receiver. Canada and México have the same type of system, ATSC.

Most of Latin America uses another technology, except Colombia which has adopted the system in use in much of Europe today.

There are digital transmissions now, although the majority of the nation's televisions are analog. For the most part, television customers are unaware of the type of technology that produces and carries the signal. Digital transmissions also are being made over the Internet.


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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, Nov. 6, 2009, Vol. 9, No. 220

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

Puriscal Properties
sportsmens update
Click HERE for great hotel discounts

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.


Legal services

Burke Fiduciary, S.A.
Registered Escrow and Legal Services
Thomas A. Burke, LL.M, Glenda Burke, LL.M
Gloria Burke, manager
Burke law firm

We offer real estate law, due diligence and escrow services,residency status, business corporations, estate planning. English, Spanish, German and French spoken.
More about us at www.burkecr.com
Ph. 011 506 2267-6645
info@burkecr.com

The registration of Burke Fiduciary S.A., corporate ID 3-101-501917 with the
General Superintendence of Financial Entities (SUGEF) is not an authorization to operate. The supervision of SUGEF refers to compliance with the capital legitimization requirements of Law No. 8204. SUGEF does not supervise the
business carried out by this company, nor its security, stability or solvency.
Persons contracting its services do so for their own account and at their own risk.
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Our Law Office is conveniently located near Mall San Pedro,  350 meters south from the Subaru dealer, Los Yoses, San José.
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Appraiser

BEFORE YOU BUY and OVERPAY
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ask Angela Jiménez
Architect/Certified Appraiser
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Residency experts

Residency in Costa Rica
A full service immigration agency
U.S. and San José offices
Getting and authenticating documents can be a chore —

we know how to do it. Experienced with many nationalities. Up-to-date on
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Tel: (323) 255-6116
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Physicians and surgeons

Dr. Marco A. Mora Aguilar, Neurosurgeon
Dr. Mora
Dr. Marco A. Mora
Available for surgery in any of the private hospitals in San José.
                
Stroke, Brain Surgery, Spine Surgery, Scalp and Skull Repair, Craniotomy
 
http://www.drmarcomora.com
E-mail: info@drmarcomora.com
Or use our Contact Form on the site
Emergency tel: 8879-1818, 8395-1818
Accepting VA's Foreign Medical Program
5517-11/8/09

Dentists and dental surgery

Dental Cosmetics Costa Rica
Our office offers a wide variety of cosmetic and restorative treatments at very affordable prices. Fillings,
Dental Cosmetics
crowns, bridges, veneers, tooth whitening, implants, smile makeover orthognatic surgery, scalling and polishing.
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Acupuncture physician

Acupuncture (disposable needles),
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Immediate results guaranteed
for sport and all injuries; Back, neck, shoulder, elbow, carpal tunnel, knees, sciatica, 
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Hearning consultant

English-speaking hearing consultant
We can professionally evaluate your hearing problem at Clinica Dinamarca off Paseo Colón or at Hospital CIMA.
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Accountants

James Brohl, C.P.A. & M.B.A.
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• Take advantage of the Foreign
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• Business Consulting to facilitate working in Costa Rica
• Accounting for US and International Financial Reporting


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U.S. Tax International

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Web page with vital U.S. tax info HERE!
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Real estate agents and services

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Member of the Costa Rican Real Estate Association, Lic. #1000

Member of
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info@realtorcostarica.com
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Our readers' opinion
Arenal-Tilarán highway
is a tragedy in the making

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

How many persons have to die at one time for someone to pay attention to road conditions? A bridge caving in with multiple deaths did stir some interest and a resignation. Maybe President Arias could tour the roads of his country to see if his people are really safe everywhere.

On a trip from Nuevo Arenal to Tilarán, about 32 kilometers or less than 20 miles, there are over 1,000 significant potholes in the road, enough of them to cause a serious accident. This is the route to take to and from Liberia and the beaches to Volcán Arenal and Tabacón. Probably thousands of tourists weekly use this route to reach their desinations using van services and buses.

If a bus detoured around a pothole and rolled over the hillside, would this cause another resignation by an official?

And what an impression tourists must have of this country. Such a beautiful scenic ride along the largest lake in Costa Rica that soon may become impassable.  One part of the road has broken away and is in danger of being catastrophic if the road gives way from an overweight truck or a bus filled with passengers.

President Arias, I invite you to take a ride from Cañas to La Fortuna. Look at the conditions. Make a plan to improve it. Begin with actions to make repairs and you will get positive publicity. You can even stop over at my place and have a chat, something to drink and some good Mexican food.

Thomas Ploskina
Nuevo Arenal

Every place has problems,
and Panamá also does


Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

In reference to Scott Johnstone´s letter Wednesday I would like to say that I have a friend who is a Panamánian native who has lived in Canada for 35 years and is a Canadian citizen and has also lived in Costa Rica for 20 years and is retired.

I received an e-mail from my friend who relocated to the "paradise" described by Scott who said that banks, government offices, etc. are closed for over a week for the celebration of their independence day on Nov 3 and that in David it is very difficult to get good and reliable workers just like in Costa Rica.

Food might be a little cheaper in Panamá, but the ordinary Panamánian doesn´t enjoy the real quality of life that the ordinary Costa Rican does. Yes, Panamá may have better roads. I doubt it has better "security" as there are also iron bars on their homes like in all of Latin American and now in the southern part of the U.S.A. Panamá doesn´t have a total open door policy towards foreigners as it is pictured. It has many restrictions.

Sam Taliaferro the realtor in Panamá says so. Another friend originally from the U.S.A. who tried to relocate to Bocas del Toro on the Atlantic side of Panamá has had so many difficulties in opening a business there that he has decided to abandon his idea of relocating to Panamá.

Everywhere has its "pro" and "cons" and it is the beholder who considers if it is the "right place" for him or not. Paradise exists in the mind and concept of the person. Both Costa Rica and Panamá have their "pro" and their "cons." What´s acceptable to one person may not be so to another. One cannot condemn a place because it is not your cup of tea. Costa Rica is not perfect but it is still better than many other places.

Carl Lawrence
San José

Hacker baits Casa Presidencial

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Web page for Casa Presidencial has been out of service for at least 36 hours because a hacker posted a Nicaraguan flag there. Presidencial employees are playing the blame game as they cite faulty equipment or failed security.

Casa Presidencial upgraded the Web page about six months ago,and there is a good chance that access passwords were distributed then. Meanwhile, officials are blaming a Nicaraguan hacker because of the flag posted on the site. The site still was down early today.

Two murders in Limón

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A prisoner in the Unidad de Admisión de Sandoval died Thursday morning when he was knifed during a fight at the prison facility. He was identified by the Judicial Investigating Organization as Alexander Ortíz Figueroa. Agents have a suspect.

Also under investigation is the murder of a former prison inmate, identified as Vinicio Raw Gómez. He died near his home when someone shot him four times at close range, said agents. A potential suspect was being sought. The man left prison only a week ago after serving a term for robbery. He was in the same facility as Ortiz

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A.M. Costa Rica

users guide

This is a brief users guide to A.M. Costa Rica.

Old pages

Each day someone complains via e-mail that the newspages are from yesterday or the day before. A.M. Costa Rica staffers check every page and every link when the newspaper is made available at 2 a.m. each weekday.

So the problem is with the browser in each reader's computer. Particularly when the connection with the  server is slow, a computer will look to the latest page in its internal memory and serve up that page.

Readers should refresh the page and, if necessary, dump the cache of their computer, if this problem persists. Readers in Costa Rica have this problem frequently because the local Internet provider has continual problems.

Searching

The A.M. Costa Rica search page has a list of all previous editions by date and a space to search for specific words and phrases. The search will return links to archived pages.

Newspages

A typical edition will consist of a front page and four other newspages. Each of these pages can be reached by links near the top and bottom of the pages.

Classifieds

Five classified pages are updated daily. Employment listings are free, as are listings for accommodations wanted, articles for sale and articles wanted. The tourism page and the real estate sales and real estate rentals are updated daily.

Advertising information

A summary of advertising rates and sizes are available for display and classifieds.

Contacting us

Both the main telephone number and the editor's e-mail address are listed on the front page near the date.

Visiting us

Directions to our office and other data, like bank account numbers are on the about us page.

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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, Nov. 6, 2009, Vol. 9, No. 22

Voters will have 10 colorful candidates to select Feb. 7
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The event was a lottery in every sense of the word. Political parties gathered Thursday to determine their place on the February ballot.

After a process of applying the laws of chance, some 53 political parties, national, regional and from specific cantons had their place.

Héctor Fernández, director of the Registro Electoral, was in charge. He called the name of each enrolled political party, and a representative came to him to select a sealed envelope. The envelope was sort of like a raffle ticket.

Then Fernández used one of those wire baskets frequently seen in casinos and at lottery drawings. After spinning the basket, the director produced a numbered ball. The political party with that number got that place on the ballot.

A good ballot position is supposed to generate more votes, according to political wisdom. If that is the case, the big winner Thursday was the Partido Unidad Social Cristiana. It got the upper left location on the presidential ballot for its candidate Luis Fishman.

Integración Nacional, a new party, was second. Eugenio Trejos, rector of the Instituto Técnico de Costa Rica, is the presidential candidate for that party. It is a collection of organizations and individuals who opposed the free trade treaty with the United States.
presidential ballot
This is the presidential ballot

Liberación Nacional, Movimiento Libertario and Acción Ciudadana, all contenders, ended up in the second row.

The locations are fixed and no changes are permitted.


Lawmakers turn their eyes to outer space and objects there
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Costa Rica may soon join many other nations that have approved an international treaty to register objects launched into outer space.

The treaty dates from 1974, but Costa Rica had no reason to pay attention because it has no presence in outer space.

The Comisión Permanente Especial de Asuntos Internacionales y Comercio Exterior gave the treaty an OK and sent it to the full legislature. The treaty action was
instigated by Franklin Chang Díaz, the Costa Rican-born U.S. astronaut.

He and his colleagues at a plasma rocket plant in Liberia would very much like to launch something into outer space.

Among other obligations in the treaty is one to help other nations when an unidentified space object causes damage or could be dangerous. Change has suggested that Costa Rica could become a world leader in monitoring and identifying space objects. Chang has said six local companies are working to do just that.


Now here is a really quiet place to take a little stroll
The bougainvillea bushes are displaying their green leaves right now with only a few of their bright colors showing.  I notice, too that the orange trees (flame of the jungle?) look half dressed.  Remembering that Monday was the Day of Deceased Saints in Costa Rica (how nice to think that when you die you are considered a saint), and a day when family and friends of the fallen visit them with flowers in the various cemeteries, I thought this week would be a good time to visit the huge cemetery on Avenue 10.  I have passed it dozens of times, but never stopped there. Maybe I would see the flowers I was missing along the street. 

The kind bus driver told me the exact bus stop that would be convenient to the cemetery.  Once I entered the gate, I realized how huge it really was — as big as the village I grew up in, except, of course, much quieter.  There were few people that day, the most numerous being the caretakers who seem to be doing a good job on the grass that surrounds each tomb, sepulcher, or small chapel. 

Unfortunately, flowers were pretty scarce there, too.

The names on the tombs were familiar names in Costa Rica.  It was the dates of birth and death that interested me most.  The earliest I saw was a Carranza, born in 1800.

The gate of the fence around a small chapel was open so I walked to the door and peeked in.  The tall alabaster angel guarding the gate didn’t seem to mind (attentive angels of all sizes and ages are everywhere in the cemetery). Inside, besides a small altar, all I could see was fallen plaster on the floor.  It looked forlorn.
 
The tombs were all shapes and sizes.  The Family Chang had pictures of their deceased embedded in the walls of their mausoleum, and the flowers surrounding it were fresh and well cared for.

The most impressive resting places were a pyramid, a large tomb with a replica of the Pietà on top it, and the most beautiful — to me —  a large shiny ebony sepulcher on which rested a sleeping young woman, not an angel, smoothly carved in alabaster. It was surprising.

I left thinking, if someone wants a peaceful walk in the city, this is the place to go.  Then I caught a bus for downtown, opened my book, which had just a few pages left to read.  By coincidence I was reading “The Book of Walla,” by M. Ram Krishn and printed by Llumina Stars in Coral Springs, Florida.
Living in Costa Rica

. . .Where the living is good

By Jo Stuart
jostuart@amcostarica.com

 
It is the story of Dr. Shoorab, a surgeon living in the nonesuch city of Tazbul.  Over a few weeks, Dr Shoorab is wounded in a café hit by a suicide bomber where several people die and then learns that his wife and year-old child have been killed outside a Hindu Temple in the course of a religious riot.

Dr. Shoorab is torn by grief and anger — and remembering that his father was killed in a train wreck caused by the explosive of a terrorist attack — decides that religious fanatics fighting each other are to blame for these and many other deaths and this must stop.  He determines to sue God and his representatives since God gave confusing messages to His followers.  He asks his lawyer friend Nathan to present his case in court.  By now, Shoorab has been fired from his hospital and his only friends are Nathan and Jay Chad, the owner of their favorite pub.

Alongside God, the plaintiffs are a local Catholic bishop, a mufti and a swami, who are in the awkward position of joining forces to face the charges. Besides the testimonies of these religious leaders, there is an expert witness, an astrologer and a mystery person who claims to be God.

 I found the various defenses and cross examinations to be intriguing and could understand how a wise verdict would be difficult.

There are a number of surprises and interesting twists before the case is settled, but when it is, Dr. Shoorab is satisfied, and so was I. 

The book is an easy, yet thought provoking, read.  It makes a great bus (or traveling) book and keeps bringing you back to think about its inevitable conclusion.  At least it has done so for me. 

As I closed the book I thought about cemeteries and wished that they were not still being filled with so many fallen saints killed by fanaticism in all its guises.


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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, Nov. 6, 2009, Vol. 9, No. 220

Medical vacations in Costa Rica



Real estate project also teaches ways to produce food

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A former Minnesota mortgage broker is combining land development with education and sustainable living with the hopes of teaching others how to create an abundance of food on a small piece of land.

The man is Jim Gale, and the educational arm is being called Permaculture University. It is in the Cantón de Osa. Gale is beginning his first 14-day class Jan. 10. He has a U.S. teaching degree, but, despite the name, the school is not certified yet.

Students will have a 700-acre classroom with the opportunity to learn animal husbandry, gardening, tilapia farming and small-scale solar energy use.

Gale has combined the teaching arm with a development, Osa MountainVillage, which he hopes to make self-sustaining. Of 19 two to three-hectare lots, 11 already are sold, he said, and some of the purchasers are heavyweight U.S. corporate leaders.

There also are 150 condos planned. The idea is that the condo dwellers, those living in a proposed tent cabin hotel and those on the large lots will grow their own food and take part in working for the community good.

Gale said his is not a retirement community but a working community, and he already has spent $190,000 in obtaining the appropriate construction permits.

Unlike some of the other development projects that started with glowing claims and ended with unhappy purchasers, Gale said he owns the property outright and that he will escrow money paid by potential purchasers.

Right now the training center is not heavy on livestock. Gale said there is a goat, a pig and a horse. But, he said,
Permaculture University
Clip from the Permaculture Web site.

class does not start until January and already four or five  persons have signed up. The $1,450-plus fee includes living arrangements, food and Spanish classes.  Assisting with the agricultural training is a Costa Rican, Paulo Faerron, a graduate of EARTH University, and Richard Cucchiara, who has a doctorate in agriculture, Gale said.

Already some individuals are taking advantage of the project. Gale said one man has set up a canopy tour taking advantage of the sharp change in elevation on part of the project. Another person has a fishing boat business. A third is a healer, a fourth gives mountain bike tours and a fifth plans and produces weddings, he said. These are the type of people he said he sees contributing to the community and living in the condos once they are constructed. They live nearby now.

Several real estate brokers are getting ready to offer the condos with some being designated for factional ownership.

Gale, his wife and three daughters live in nearby San Isidro de Pérez Zeledón.



More Internet cafes get an official blessing from new telecom agency

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The telecommunications authority is in the process of authorizing hundreds of Internet cafes which offer services to the public.

The entity, the Superintendencia de Telecomunicaciones, said Thursday it had approved 125 more Internet cafes. A list was published in the La Gaceta official newspaper last week, the agency said.
Although Internet cafes have been operating in the country for nearly 15 years, the new telecom law says that they must get approval from the Superintendencia. Of those cafes approved, some 37 offer communication services via voice-over-Internet.

Those outlets that have received approval filed their requests in June and July, the agency said. Some 77 Internet cafes already have been approved and announced, and about 400 are in the process of being approved, said the agency.


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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, Nov. 6, 2009, Vol. 9, No. 220

Casa Alfi Hotel

Micheletti takes first step
to comply with accord


By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Honduran President Roberto Micheletti has asked his ministers to step down so that a government of national reconciliation can be formed, according to his Casa Presidencial.

Such a government was part of the agreement made with representatives of ousted president José Manuel Zelaya last week.

In a presidential statement, Casa Presidencial said that Micheletti asked presidential candidates and members of society, including Zelaya, for a list of 10 names of persons who could serve in the new interim government. He received some names. However, there appears to have been no nominations from Zelaya.

Micheletti met with his ministers Thursday afternoon to ask for their resignations and to comply with the calendar of the accord that set Thursday as the day for a new government.

Casa Presidencial said that the fact that Zelaya has not produced a list of names generates uncertainty as to his will in complying with the accords. Zelaya still is in the Brazilian Embassy.

Micheletti has succeeded in putting the burden on Zelaya, who continues to lobby for his immediate reinstatement. Zelaya was ousted by the military with the urgings of the supreme court and the congress last June 28.

Honduras was blacklisted by the hemisphere's nations, including the United States for what appears to have been a coup. Micheletti's camp continues to argue that the action was legal.

A week ago negotiators, under pressure from U.S. State Department officials, announced an accord that follows closely that proposed by Costa Rican President Óscar Arias Sánchez shortly after the military delivered Zelaya to Costa Rica.

The accord generated praise in the diplomatic community and suggested that other nations would accept the results of the Nov. 28 presidential elections in Honduras. The United States, other nations and the Organization of American States had said the election would not have validity unless Zelaya were returned to office. His term runs until January.

The Honduran congress still has to vote to approve the agreement, but that is considered a formality if Micheletti puts his political power behind it.

Neither Micheletti nor Zelaya are candidates in the election later this month.

Ida weakens further
passing over Nicaragua


By the A.M. Costa Rica staff
and wire service reports

Ida, once a hurricane, has weakened to a tropical depression, said the U.S. Hurricane Center in Miami, Florida, late Thursday.

Further weakening is expected as the storm moved slowly over northeastern Nicaragua.

Forecasters expect the storm to move over Honduras and then emerge over the Caribbean Sea, perhaps strengthening again to a tropical storm. Maximum sustained winds at midnight were about 35 mph, the center said.

The government of Nicaragua has discontinued a tropical storm warning.

This is the hurricane that developed from a low pressure system that was parked over Costa Rica. The storm came ashore in Nicaragua near Bluefields about mid-morning Thursday.

Ida's winds had reached 120 kilometers per hour early on Thursday, making it a category one hurricane — the lowest level on the five-level scale that measures a hurricane's intensity and potential for destruction. 

Ida was the third hurricane of the season, which ends Nov. 30.

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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, Nov. 6, 2009, Vol. 9, No. 220


Latin American news
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Mara member
Ministerio de Gobernación, Policía
y Seguridad Pública photo
Would-be visitor Alegria poses for a photo

Tattoos are a giveaway;
Gang member turned back

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A frequent deportee from the United States ended up at the Peñas Blancas border crossing Thursday, but immigration agents quickly spotted gang tattoo on his body.

The man, who has the last name of Alegria is believed to be a member of the Mara Salvatrucha, the Salvadorian-based criminal gang.

Immigration officials said he had been deported four times from the United States. His most recent exit from the United States came after a short prison stay. He had spent 11 years in the Los Angeles area.

Immigration agents said that the man told them that he was seeking work in Costa Rica.  He was returned to Nicaragua after police photographed his many tattoos.

Latin American gangs are noted for their many tattoos. In the case of Alegria, he wore a loose shirt with long sleeves in an attempt to hide the markings, immigration officials said.



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