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(506) 2223-1327                        Published Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012, in Vol. 12, No. 222                          Email us
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For local Democrats, it's a night to drink champagne
By Aaron Knapp
of the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A group of about 50 American expats spent their election night watching and waiting, glued to the television as each state’s results trickled in Tuesday.  This group of Democrats anxiously but expectantly waited as President Barack Obama gained more and more Electoral College votes, scarcely taking their eyes away from CNN’s live coverage of the results.

Congressional vote

Then, a few minutes past 10 p.m. the small crowd exploded with applause and cheers.

Wolf Blitzer had just announced that Obama had won the state of Ohio, pushing well above the necessary 270 Electoral College votes he needed.

“Yahoo,” shouted Democrats Abroad chair, Nelleke Bruyn. ”I’m so glad. I’ve been so worried.”

Glasses of champagne quickly were passed around while people toasted to Obama’s victory and chanted “four more years.”

This group watching the results of the election was organized by Democrats Abroad. Some were strong life-long democrats, some switched from the other side at some point in their lives and others just thought that the Democratic Party is simply a moderately better choice than the Republicans.

Although fierce support for President Obama was common among this crowd, each person had a different story on how they got to Costa Rica and how that has shaped their image of U. S. politics.

“I used to pass out peanuts all over Grand Rapids for Jimmy Carter,” said Harold Moore of Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Moore, 62, used to spend their winters in Costa Rica with his wife Robin Moore until they decided to stay permanently in the past couple years. They reside now in Granadilla.

Moore has a blue-collar background. He worked for General Motors in Michigan and Kentucky and said he has been a very loyal Democrat for all of his life.  He said one of the most important issues is the gridlock that has developed in Congress and its effect on the country as a whole, blaming both the Democrats and the Republicans.

For Sandra Krause, the key issue was how well the next president can get along with other nations.

“The most important thing for us is that the world respects Obama,” she said. “Romney has not proven himself respect-worthy to other countries.”

Krause just moved to Escazú last year and plans to eventually move back to the United States. Although she is originally from Chicago, Illinois, she votes in her more recent home of St. Petersburg, Florida.

Ms. Bruyn said that social programs are the most important issue for her in any election. She said that it stems from her Dutch parents instilling that cultural value that government should provide these programs to these citizens even though taxes are higher.

Former New York resident Suzy Nagel, 68, agreed with this sentiment. She has been living in Costa Rica for five years, and currently lives in Barrio Amón.
A.M. Costa Rica/Aaron Knapp
Local Democrats toast Obama's victory.

A.M. Costa Rica/Kayla Pearson
 U.S. Embassy employee shows her admiration for
 Barack Obama.

Ms. Nagel said that she was originally a Republican, but the decrease in these social welfare programs in the 1980s led her to switch to voting more with the Democrats. “I just changed because I think we have to help people more,” she said.

Others said that the Democratic Party was simply just the better choice of two undesirable options.

“I have criticisms of both of the major parties, but the Democrats are the less of two evils,” said Jim Thompson, a 74-year-old resident of Santo Domingo. 
Thompson said he was born in West Virginia, raised in Ohio, and spent most of his life in San Francisco. He has lived in Costa Rica for six years.

Despite some blame towards the party, the majority of the group was very loyal to the Democratic Party.

Many also said that the Democratic Party is more open and accepting to outsiders. This was the experience of Maria Holliday and her husband, Bob. Ms. Holliday is from Costa Rica while her husband is from Chicago.

“The Democrats are a much larger tent,” said Holliday, who worked alongside Michelle Obama at the University of Chicago for a time. “They encompass a lot more people.”

By press time, Obama had earned 303 votes from the Electoral College to Romney’s 206. Obama had also won the popular vote by about 600,000 votes. The winner in Florida had not yet been called.

Costa Ricans and expats share election night drama
By Kayla Pearson
of the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Americans and Costa Rican citizens gathered with staffers from the U. S. Embassy Tuesday to converse about the election process and watch the vote count unfold. Many were high school students or aspiring journalists from the University of Costa Rica.

A Country Day School student and U. S. citizen named Dalton expressed his support for former governor Mitt Romney, because he feels Romney is best for the economy, he said.   He also said that for him, associates are important

“The president has gotten endorsements from persons like Katy Perry, people who I feel are a degradation to society,” he said.  Ms. Perry is a controversial pop singer. Romney surrounds himself with more respectable people like businessmen, he added.

Dalton was a minority among his friends, who were all Costa Rican and President Barack Obama supporters.  They grilled Dalton on topics such as women's rights, health care and foreign policy, the later being a topic the young man agreed was Romney’s weakness.

One good thing the young man said would come from this election, no matter who wins, is the fact that his faith has gained from the election.

He, like Romney, is a Mormon.  He said that the election has given people more knowledge about the faith and reduced negative views.  However this is not the case for everyone.

“The evangelicals don’t like us,” he said.

Others had reasons for supporting Romney, such as the feeling that as president he would better help Costa Rica.

“Personally, I like Obama better, but Obama wants to take businesses from Costa Rica and put them back in the United States,” said José Pablo Hernández, a University of Costa Rica student.  “Romney would be better for our economy.” This knowledge he said was based on a report from a speaker who presented this view to his class.

First time voter Ana Velasquez, proudly declared her support for the president because of his positions on issues.

“I’m 24 and this is my first time voting,” she said.  “I feel like a good citizen.”

Ms. Velasquez has a unique situation in that both her parents are Guatemalan, but her mother gave birth to her in the United States where her father was studying for his master's degree.

Her father later got a job in Costa Rica, and she has been living here for the last 20 years.

Although Ms. Velasquez has not lived in the States, she said she felt a devotion to cast an electronic vote in her birth state of Colorado. Obama won Colorado.

Another first-time voter was a foreign exchange
A.M. Costa Rica/Kayla Pearson
Ambassador Andrew speaks of the election process.

student from New Orlean’s Tulane University.

He said that he felt like Obama best identified with his views on social welfare and political policies. At only 18 years, he said he wished he could have voted in an actual polling booth, because he had problems with the technicalities of his ballot such as his electronic signature.

He was still excited to be a part of the process, he said.

U. S. Ambassador Anne Slaughter Andrew expressed the importance of involving youth in the political process. She spoke to the gathering in the Crowne Plaza Corobici Hotel. The embassy puts on an event like this every four years to show Costa Ricans how the electoral process works. Hundreds attended by invitation.

“This year, I feel very proud to say my daughter is now an active participant in this democracy,” said Ms. Andrew.  “She has submitted her vote for the first time in the presidential election.

The embassy provided information about the candidates and the Electoral College.  Presenters also described how the election works.

Sophomore journalism students Melania Rodríguez and Corolina González commented that they thought the election process in the United States was more diplomatic than the process in Costa Rica. “Here everyone hates the government,” said González.  “At least they try to make it festive.”

Ms. Andrew commented on her pride in a democratic nation.

“There is no doubt that this has been a very tough campaign,” she said.  “Regardless of whether the Republican or Democratic candidate wins, it is the democracy of our country that wins in every election. In the mean time, she invited everyone to watch the action.

“My heart is in my hands,” said Ms. Velasquez. “When I hear them say Obama won Florida, I can relax.”

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Police officer passes display of illegal materials

Officials torch illegal fireworks
in advance of holiday season

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Intelligence agency workers destroyed 134,995 fireworks Tuesday in Moravia. The bulk of the illegal explosives were confiscated last year.

Fireworks are a tradition in the holiday season, but officials are working to keep children safe. They have launched a project seeking to prevent even just one child from being burned by fireworks. Last year seven youngsters suffered burns serious enough for hospitalization, said the Hospital Nacional  de Niños.

The Unidad Especial de Intervención de la Dirección de Inteligencia y Seguridad Nacional destroyed the illegal material.

Lawmakers have stiffened the penalties for importing and possessing explosive fireworks, and police frequently confiscate fireworks coming in from Nicaragua. Yet serious fireworks are easily purchased all over the country.

As the clock reaches midnight New Year's Eve Costa Rica has its own version of shock and awe with thousands of rockets lighting the sky.

Strong winds predicted
along with heavy rains

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Winds of up to 60 kph (37 mph) are expected in Guanacaste and the Central Valley starting today. This is being caused by an increase in atmospheric pressure in the Caribbean Sea, said the Instituto Meteorológico Nacional.

The winds are expected to build to a peak Thursday. Coupled with these conditions is an expected increase in rain on the Caribbean coast and in the northern zone, said the institute. Predicted are rains there today of from 30 to 80 millimeters or from one to three inches.

These conditions are expected to last to the weekend. The weather institute warned of slides and flooding both on the Caribbean coast and on the Pacific.

Students will show their stuff
at 26th annual science fair

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Some 382 students will be displaying their research at the XXVI Feria Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología that is open to the public Thursday. In all, there are 200 science projects in environment, biology, social sciences, engineering, health and other areas.

The science fair is at the University of Costa Rica sports center in  Sabanilla de Montes de Oca. The inauguration is at 5 p.m. today in the university's Facultad de Derecho. Students are from all over the country. The closing and awarding of prizes also is at the law school site Friday morning.

Store workers to sweep beach

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Employees and executives of the Gollo appliance stores will be on the beach today, but not for rest and relaxation. Some 150 persons will at Playa Angostura in Esparza to give the area a cleaning. The effort is in conjunction with the municipality and the Asociación Terranostra. Much of the trash collected will be recycled.

Find out what the papers
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By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Here is the section where you can scan short summaries from the Spanish-language press. If you want to know more, just click on a link and you will see and longer summary and have the opportunity to read the entire news story on the page of the Spanish-language newspaper but translated into English.

Translations may be a bit rough, but software is improving every day.

When you see the Summary in English of news stories not covered today by A.M. Costa Rica, you will have a chance to comment.

This is a new service of A.M. Costa Rica called Costa Rica Report. Editor is Daniel Woodall, and you can contact him
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A.M. Costa Rica Third News Page
San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012, Vol. 12, No. 222
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Hotels, travel agencies, airlines, restaurants get consumer checks
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Consumer investigators turned their attention to hotels, travel agencies and airlines in the latest sweep to check on how well the laws are being followed.

Some 51 percent of the 37 hotels checked failed to provide required information to consumers, said the Dirección de Apoyo al Consumidor of the economics ministry. They were in San José, Alajuela, Heredia and Cartago.

At travel agencies, the investigators checked invoices, tickets, contracts, signs, handouts and the information available on Web pages. In all there were 43 travel agencies and 12 airline offices visited in the metro area, said the consumer agency.

Some 60 percent of the travel agencies and 50 percent of the airlines were not consistent with the law, the agency said.

Some of the flaws included failing to include sales tax in prices on the Web pages or failing to include the cost of an exit tax on package prices. In most cases the taxes and exit fees were listed in tiny type on the Web pages but not included in the larger type that listed a price.

One agency was cited for not including information on its Web site in Spanish as well as English.

In all, 11 travel agencies failed to include the taxes on the prices they offered, said the agency. Others failed to explain restrictions on travel or to list the exchange rate if the price was advertised in dollars, the agency added.

Three airlines also were criticized for failing to include an exchange rate in offerings given in dollars.

There were 35 hotels and 22 restaurants that were checked. Inspectors visited 44 locations and checked 14 Web pages. They also said they checked menus, invoices, signs, handouts and information available on Web pages.
Dirección de Apoyo al Consumidor graphic
 Chart shows the degree of compliance with relevant laws by
 hotels and restaurants.

Some 18 or 51 percent of the hotels had some type of problem, but only three (14 percent) of the restaurants did not comply fully with the law, the agency reported.

Restaurant operators are used to these types of sweeps.

The inspectors were not impressed with tiny print that included restrictions, such as the amount of sales tax or the age below which children are not charged. One restaurant did not include prices on its menu, and there also were problems with others in failing to provide an exchange rate if the price were quoted in something other than colons.

The biggest failing that was reported from 11 hotels was not specifying what type of room would be provided for a particular price.

The investigators also check newspaper ads for similar requirements.

A self-propelled crane estimated at 85 tons rests awkwardly on the stressed bailey bridge on the Autopista Cañas.

bailey bridge
Consejo Nacional de Vialidad photo

Another mishap on Autopista Cañas closes eastbound lanes
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

An 85-ton crane collapsed a bailey bridge on the troubled Autopista General Cañas Tuesday evening, and the eastbound lanes will be closed for at least a week.

The accident happened above a worksite where a new drainage system is being installed. Workmen already had placed arches of concrete below the four bailey bridges that carry east and westbound traffic.

José Luis Salas, executive director of the Consejo Nacional de Vialidad, said that workmen will not try to salvage the bailey bridge. Instead, they will begin the job of backfilling the drainage system site and bringing the soil up to highway level.

The Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Transportes said that the crane weighs more than twice the safe limit for the temporary bridge. That limit was 40 tons.

When the older drainage system gave way because of a severe  storm and damage by a tree trunk, a hole began to develop
 in the westbound lanes of the highway at this location.

The hole quickly earned the name crater and became the subject of many jokes.

In order to fix the problem, workmen had to remove all the soil under the highways. That is why the temporary bailey bridges were installed. There was one for each of the four lanes.

Traffic police will be assisting in detouring eastbound traffic for a week. Special detour routes will be established for heavy vehicles.

The General Cañas is the main route between San José and Alajuela. It also is the route that leads to Juan Santamaría airport.

Meanwhile, transport officials still are wrestling with the eroding of concrete on a bridge that spans the Río Virilla.

That troubled bridge has caused the closing of the same highway several times.

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San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012, Vol. 12, No. 222
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Annual study of nation lists long-running deficiencies
By Aaron Knapp and Kayla Pearson
of the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Although Costa Rica is a place with a high life expectancy and has improved healthcare coverage and education, the country still has problems with poverty, inequality and corruption, according to the Estado de la Nación.

The annual report is in its 18th year, and documents the sustainable human development of both Costa Rica and Central America based on 2011 statistics from various organizations. It is the work of 85 researchers and 4,750 participants.

“Moderate growth and monetary stability, but an environmental management plan, a society and a political system in serious problems.  This is, in short, the story of 2011,” opened the synopsis of the report.

The institution that must fix Costa Rica's problems, the government, is plagued by corruption, instability in personnel and mismanagement by local officials, researchers found.

Although the study says that officials in President Laura Chinchilla's administration are more experienced overall than those in previous governments, it also finds that this government is the most unstable of the past four.

The study indicates that 15 of the original 21 ministers and 17 vice-ministers in the Chinchilla administration have left or been removed from their posts in less than two years. Many of these departures were fueled by public accusations of corruption.

Researchers also found that these problems are causing a rift between the government and the increasingly disenchanted general population.

A 2012 survey by the Latin American Public Opinion Project indicates that the general population's faith in the government as a system is at the lowest point it has been since before the first poll in 1978. That survey found that 56 percent of those polled still believe in the system. That is down 7 percentage points from the last survey in 2010.

Researchers also tracked the number of protests per year since 1995 and found that 2011 had the third highest number of protests. With 632 protests, 2011 starkly contrasts with the previous six years where there were never more than 400 in any given year. By this measure, former president Oscar Arias' tenure was one of the most tranquil periods in recent history.

The study, which focuses mostly on elevating the population's standard of living, also condemns the legislature for introducing laws that increase each person's duty to the country, but do not open financial opportunities up to the poor.

Researchers also found many municipal governments to be lacking in providing services and a satisfactory overall standard of living for the residents. The best cantons for these areas are primarily suburbs of San José in the Central Valley. The worst cantons are concentrated on the Caribbean coast.


With such a government, the study says that developing growth and stability in the economy is one of the biggest challenges for the country.

The most urgent issue the government must address is overall growth of the national debt, researchers found. The study says that the national debt has almost hit 45 percent of the gross domestic product, the value of all goods and services.

Researchers said that many of the problems are the same international issues that the entire world is facing.

However, the debt has been growing overall since September 2008 even though it had phases of increasing and decreasing, the study said.

More concerning is that the public spending has persistently remained higher than tax revenue, it added.

Additionally, most indicators show that growth is decelerating in production and most industries overall last year. Unemployment has barely budged, and the new jobs the majority of jobs are concentrated in 10 of Costa Rica's 81 cantons, it added.


Researchers found that the environment has become more volatile over the past decade and that natural disasters are leaving more death and destruction in their wake.

Floods have especially become more dangerous since 2000, killing five times more people and causing 242 percent more damages to buildings. The most affected areas have been the cantons of Puntarenas, San Carlos and Pococí, said the report.

Closely related to that problem, the study also says that less than a quarter of cantons have an adequate urban development plan.

Many of the damages from disasters happen in areas where buildings are close together while on ground susceptible to floods, it said.
nation report

The study urges more regional governments to develop better plans for land use in their districts.

Overall, the study commends the government's efforts to protect the forests, water supplies and the environment, but it also says that more must be done to conserve the environment and natural resources.

Human development

In 2011, Costa Rica continued to show progress in human development for the average of the population, especially in the areas of health and education, researchers found.

However, achievements in human development were met with a decrease in social investment as the sector fell 0.5 percent between 2010 and 2011, it added.

An analysis showed that the public education programs suffered the most with a 6.3 percent decrease, particularly in general education that includes incentives for studies and professional training.

The country also needs to improve upon building the educational level of citizens, the report said.  For example the average schooling for those ages 18 to 64 is 8.9 years.  When it comes to the upper and middle classes, more than 85 percent of these populations have a secondary education. Yet, a little more than 20 percent of industrial workers and less than 10 percent of agricultural workers have received high school diplomas.

In the workforce, unemployment has risen to a rate of 7.7 percent, and there is insufficient economic recovery to reverse the crisis in employment, said the report.

Those with jobs are not getting their legal rights, the report said.  One out of five laborers don't receive aguinaldos, the mandatory Christmas bonus, and three out of 10 do not have paid vacations or sick leave. Persons in the Brunca and Chorotega regions along the Pacific coast are the most vulnerable to these situations, with neither of these areas getting more than 70 percent compliance with the law, said the report. 


The Estado de la Nación report highlights the fact that as the country becomes more modernized and grows economically, it will create a gap between those with access to opportunities and those without. The result will be more poverty, it said.

A 2011 national survey revealed that 287,367 households live in poverty and 85,557 live in extreme poverty, a situation where families lack the capability to perform basic abilities or enjoy fundamental rights, it said. 

This equates to more than a million poor people in the country and another 336,000 worse off than the poor, said the report.

Fortunately, households with older adults are decreasing in poverty, due to pensions given out by the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social.  However, elderly living alone do so in poor housing where the ceilings, floors and outer walls are deteriorating, said the report.  They also don't possess technology, it added. 

As inequality grows, the barrier between social barriers is increasingly harder to overcome, the report said.

It is also shown that as of last year, Costa Rica is reaching a point where institutions are “out of gas” when it comes to dealing with social welfare problems as resources are declining.  The likely and most effective solution is to increase the efficiency and quality of institutions.  They should also be evaluated and held accountable for faults, report creators said.

The challenge is to avoid budget cuts in the coming years that would push more of the population into poverty, and integrate all residents in developmental improvements, the report said.

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Congressional makeup means more of the same as before

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Projections Tuesday show Republicans will hold onto control of the House of Representatives while Democrats will stay in charge of the Senate.

Democrats made key inroads in the Senate, defeating the Republican incumbent in Massachusetts. Sen. Scott Brown lost to Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren. Democrats also won the swing state of Virginia, where former Republican governor George Allen conceded to former governor Tim Kaine. And Democrats held on in the battleground state of Ohio, where Sen. Sherrod Brown, a Democrat, held off a challenge from Josh Mandel, a Republican.

Democrats also picked up a seat in Indiana, where Rep. Joe Donnelly defeated Republican Richard Mourdock.  The contest drew national attention after Mourdock made controversial remarks about rape and abortion. Another Republican candidate who made similarly controversial remarks also lost in Missouri. Rep. Todd Akin lost to incumbent Sen. Claire McCaskill, a Democrat.

​​Projections also have the Democrats holding onto Florida, where incumbent Bill Nelson defeated Connie Mack.

Thirty-three seats in the 100-seat Senate were up for election. Republicans need to gain four seats to take control.

Projections also indicate little will change in the House, with Republicans maintaining their majority as voters in many states re-elected incumbents from both parties.  That means Rep. John Boehner from the battleground state of Ohio will likely retain his post as House speaker.

​​In a statement late Tuesday night, Boehner said Republicans were humbled to have been chosen by voters to lead the House and that they would continue to oppose any calls to raise taxes.  But he also offered to work with any willing partner in the White House.

All 435 House seats were up for grabs and Democrats would have needed to gain 25 seats to take control.

Maine and Maryland voters
approve same-sex marriage

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Proponents of same-sex marriage and legalized marijuana use gained ground in ballot initiatives across the United States Tuesday.

The northeastern state of Maine and the mid-Atlantic state of Maryland became the first two states to approve gay marriage through a popular vote. Six U.S. states and Washington, D.C. allow gay marriage, but in their cases, legalization came through lawmakers or the courts.

The states of Washington and Colorado approved legalizing the production, sale, and possession of marijuana for recreational use. But those approvals put the states at odds with the federal government which still outlaws the drug.

In total, U.S. voters were weighing more than 170 ballot initiatives across the 50 U.S. states.

Despite hurricane damage,
coastal voters make it to polls

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

In storm-ravaged areas along the New Jersey coast, some voters cast ballots at makeshift polling stations and many people displaced by the storm voted at other locations, using special ballots that only allowed them to vote for president and statewide offices. New Jersey voters were also able to vote online or by fax, although they would give up their right to secrecy as a result.

It's still difficult to get into some parts of this coastal area near Atlantic Highlands, which were hard hit by Hurricane Sandy.

But voters who remain in the area were able to vote at a local fire station. Dawn Gioello came early.

"Besides being our duty, it is also a privilege and, whether I like either candidate or neither candidate, I try to make the best choice possible," said Ms. Gioello.

She is not enthusiastic about voting by mail or online.

"There is something about coming to the polling place and casting your vote that is so very important," she said.

Jennifer Jamgochian is a first-time voter.  She might have voted by absentee ballot, but for the storm.

"I go to school in New York, and I came to check on my parents and decided to vote while I am here," said Ms. Jamgochian.

In spite of the disruption caused by the storm and the power outages and transportation problems, most of the people coming out here to vote in New Jersey do it because they say it is their civic duty.

Patriotism motivated Jack and Anna Powell.

"A lot of people died for our freedom," Powell said.

"It is a right that we have in this country that was given to us, and I think a lot of people should use it," said his wife.

Across the water, in New York City, Leslie Harper expressed a similar view.

"It's very important because it's very important for the country, and I wanted to vote today," she said.

David Scott says voting in the city has been easy for those outside the worst-hit storm zones.

"I think that most people will be able to find a place to vote, and I know that the city is working hard. They opened the polls on Sunday so you could vote early and get it done," he said.

Officials in both states say every effort is being made to ensure that the hurricane does not rob anyone of the right to vote.

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San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012, Vol. 12, No. 222
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Fuerza Pública officers on patrol apprehended three suspects and confiscated this 1,000 pounds of cocaine that was being transported openly in a pickup bed Monday night in Santa Cecilia de La Cruz near the Nicaraguan border.

Security officials are pleased
at change in public mind

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Security officials are expressing their happiness now that a national survey said that insecurity as the principal concern of Costa Ricans has declined from 50 percent to 25 percent.

The Ministerio de Gobernación, Policía y Seguridad Pública quickly produced a press release Tuesday after the Spanish-language daily La Nación published the results of a Unimer survey that contained this data.

"We are beginning to see the fruits of a grand national effort," said Mario Zamora Cordero, the security minister.

The survey results were not that clear cut because many more Costa Ricans cited unemployment as their principal concern. Las Nación said that was 21 percent up from 12 percent a year and a half ago. In other  words, unemployment has replaced insecurity sat the principal concern.

Four workshops planned
to promote recycling

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The environmental ministry will host four workshops this month teaching people how to recycle and use waste materials, according to a press release.

The series “Clean Your Footprint,” is sponsored by the Ministerio de Ambiente, Energía y Telecomunicaciones.

The first workshop is today in Mall San Pedro, the press release says. It will feature the minister and vice minister of the environment.

The event is free, but requires registration. This can be done by sending an email to Guests must also bring two empty soda cans, two empty half-liter sauce bottles and a glass vase.

The other workshops will be Nov.  21, 24 and 28.

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