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(506) 2223-1327        Published Monday Nov. 10, 2008, in Vol. 8, No. 223       E-mail us
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Get a raw deal from the government? Sue 'em
By Garland M. Baker
Special to A.M. Costa Rica

People are tired of losing money in Costa Rica.  They are fed up with flushing it down the toilet due to the mistakes made by the Registro Nacional and other government entities.  They are also disgusted with the bulling around they get from administrative offices.

Expats and Ticos alike are fighting to get their money back. To resolve their conflicts they are suing the government, holding it responsible for its inefficiencies and negligence.  They are using a revised procedural code called the Código Procesal Contencioso Administrativo or the procedural code for administrative disputes.

These retooled set of rules were created by Law 8508 on April 24, 2006, and came into effect Jan. 1.  The law revised a system to sue the government.  In the past, doing so was a long and drawn out process taking years.  With the new set of rules, doing so now can be faster and more efficient.

The tribunal of this court just ordered Costa Rica's telecommunications monopoly to return $15 million to Alcatel.  The court ruled in favor of Alcatel's petition that the monopoly had no right to the money until the legal case between the two organizations was decided.  The phone company arbitrarily decided to retain a deposit without judicial process.

Under the new regulations, a person or company with a complaint files it with the special court located in Goicoechea — many refer to this area as Guadalupe probably because it is easier to pronounce.   It is the court building in front of Clínica Católica just northeast of San José.

It is important to note that before a case can be filed with the special court, all the normal administrative routes for a resolution to the problem must be exhausted.  The dispute court is the place of last resort for the final say in a matter.  It is not for trivial charges against the government or its administrative offices nor to circumvent the normal resolution process.

The action goes something like this.  One files a complaint with the special court stating all avenues for a settlement have ended.   The accused party is notified and given a prudent time to answer the accusation by the reviewing judge.  Once the reply is received, the plaintiff is given three days to address the defendant's position.  The reviewing judge calls for a conciliation hearing between parties.  If nothing is resolved in this hearing, the case is then sent to a three-judge tribunal for a decision. In cases where physical testimony is necessary, a trial is set.  The special court's timing, under the new code, is designed to be expeditious to solve problems quickly.

Here is an example of a case going to the administrative dispute court: 

Many years ago, Banco Anglo, a national bank, over extended itself by lending money based on land values that were fraudulently concocted by borrowers.  These land values ultimately were registered on the properties at the Registro Nacional and, in turn, became the property values used by municipalities to compute taxes all over the country.  In one case, the valuation is 10 times the actual value of the property.  

The municipality does not want to reduce the amount for obvious reasons. It does not want to lose the taxes.  All efforts to work with the municipality have failed.  All appeals have been lost.   The only place to turn to in order to have this unfair tax rescinded is the court of last resort — the Juzgado Contencioso Administrativo.
where the money goes

The court is hearing a wide range of cases these
days, including ones against the Registro Nacional for their inefficiency and negligence.  There are many properties in Costa Rica with administrative alerts against them placed there by this institution.  A worse problem is employees there are not solving the cases just twiddling their thumbs.    In some, they admit fault for properties being transferred illegally to crooks.  However, they do nothing to resolve the messes they have created.

Many lawyers believe the country should pay and are filing cases using the new code to go after the Registro.  They believe the institution is responsible for disseminating information that is not correct.  Everyone in Costa Rica uses the systems of this entity to buy and sell property.  If data is not correct, how can there be any security investing in Costa Rica?  Some lawyers go further in criticizing the Registro Nacional.  They feel the organization should guarantee its information and indemnify losses.

Complaints fall on deaf ears.  The Registro does not compensate for losses even if it is the institution's fault.  The institution believes all relief must come from the courts.   The criminal court system is in a state of meltdown.   The civil courts are overworked and inefficient.  Where can one get their money back?  Who has the last word? 

It is no longer the constitutional court for these cases.  The magistrates are sending most of them back unanswered indicating that the new Código Procesal Contencioso Administrativo is the law to use to fight for equity against the government.

The new rules are serious.  A complaining party can ask the court for preventive measures to protect any potential award.  Upon winning a suit against a government institution, if the government does not pay, the national budget can have a judicial lien put on it to guarantee payment.

For someone who has exhausted all processes to solve an administrative problem without success — including having something stolen from them because of the governments ineptness — he or she should consult with their legal professional regarding the revamped code for administrative disputes to see if their is a possibility for reimbursement.

Garland M. Baker is a 36-year resident and naturalized citizen of Costa Rica who provides multidisciplinary professional services to the international community.  Reach him at info@crexpertise.com.  Baker has undertaken the research leading to these series of articles in conjunction with A.M. Costa Rica.  Find the collection at http://crexpertise.info, a complimentary reprint is available at the end of each article.  Copyright 2004-2008, use without permission prohibited.


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San José, Costa Rica, Monday, Nov. 10, 2008, Vol. 8, No. 223

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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.


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Banco Nacional reports
some online clients frozen


By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Banco Nacional de Costa Rica continues to have problems with its online accounts. Since Tuesday some online customers have been unable to conduct online banking.

Jesica Soto, a spokesperson for the bank, said Thursday that the bank's computer did not recognize the password of some customers. She said she was unable to give an estimate of how many customers had this problem.

Some online customers, many with just colon accounts, appear to have no trouble conducting online transactions.

Those answering the bank's help line last week also said there were computer problems but promised a quick resolution. The problems persisted through Sunday.

The bank has made no public statements and has not posted any information about the problem on its Web page.

The problem may be related to the major upgrade the bank did to provide more security for its customers. The state bank a month ago installed a virtual terminal and subscribed to several services to safeguard its Web site.

Parrita woman defends
self against drunk man


By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A Parrita woman fought back against her intoxicated former companion then hit him on the head with a hard object, said police. He died in the street outside her home.

The drama unfolded about 2 a.m. Sunday. Unofficial reports say that the man, identified as Richard Alvarado Arguedas, has been the object of a judicial no-contact order. However, police did not report that.

He arrived at the home occupied by the woman identified by the last names of Espinoza Obando. She told police the man was intoxicated, beat her up and then raped her.

Around 2:15 the Fuerza Pública got two calls about a man being unconscious in a street in Las Lomas de Parrita. Paramedics were unable to save him, and he was pronounced dead at the scene, police said.

The woman went for a medical examination at the Hospital de Quepos.

Police said that the woman hit the man with some type of mallet.

American wanted by FBI
deported back home


By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Immigration police Friday deported an American wanted by the FBI to face a charge of laundering more than $90 million through Internet fraud.

The man, 40-year-old Joseph Marshal Francis was detained on Oct. 30 in the center of San José after immigration police found that he lacked a passport. He later produced a passport which contained a fake work permit, according to the Policía de Migración.

Investigations by Costa Rica's international police, Interpol, found that Francis was wanted for Internet fraud. He accumulated $90 million selling fake vouchers online, said officials here quoting the FBI.

He was living in Escazú since Aug. 24, having legally entered the country from Nicaragua through Peñas Blancas, they said.

PriceSmart says that 2008
was pretty good year


Special to A.M. Costa Rica

San Diego, California-based PriceSmart Inc. said its fourth quarter earnings are $286.1 million, compared to $224.8 million in the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2007. Total revenue for the fourth quarter was $292.0 million, compared to $230.1 million in the prior year. 

The company had 25 warehouse clubs in operation as of the end of fiscal year 2008 compared to 23 warehouse clubs in operation at the end of fiscal year 2007.

"Fiscal year 2008 was a good year for the Company with the
successful opening of 2 new warehouse clubs in Guatemala and Trinidad and strong sales growth in all of our markets," said Jose Luis Laparte, PriceSmart's president. 

Recent U.S. economic conditions are causing the company to be more cautious about sales growth in the near future as history has shown that an economic slow-down in the United States generally has a negative impact on the economies in which PriceSmart does business, he added. 

PriceSmart recently acquired properties in Panama and Costa Rica upon which the firm plans to build and operate new stores.

We are also closely examining Colombia as a potential new market for multiple PriceSmart warehouse clubs," said  Laparte.

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San José, Costa Rica, Monday, Nov. 10, 2008, Vol. 8, No. 223

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Report says Sardinal has enough water to share with Coco
By Elyssa Pachico
of the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A government commission reported Sunday that there is enough groundwater in Sardinal to allow for continued construction of a controversial pipeline. The information was based on studies conducted by the national water company, the environmental ministry and an agency that studies the risks of construction related to the water industry.

Residents have been adamantly against constructing the pipeline, arguing that it will redirect limited water resources to tourist resorts and golf courses, without leaving enough water for residents. As a result of passionate protests, all construction efforts were halted on May 22.

The government commission was formed in order to study whether fears that a pipeline would drain the town were well-founded.

The president of the commission, José Antonio Muñoz, was quick to admit that the study wasn't perfect, and that he was open to receiving critiques from locals who might disagree with the findings.

“We are going to study these results in detail and we will be able to release more details in the coming weeks,” he said. “For the moment, what matters is that it's clearly been demonstrated that there's enough water for everybody.”

The commission's findings were presented in Sardinal at a 1 p.m. presentation at the Escuela Bernardo Gutiérrez, led
by Roberto Dobles, the minister of Ambiente, Energía y Telecomunicaciones.

A hydrologist from the University of Costa Rica, Gunther Schosinsky, was also contracted by the environmental ministry to conduct at independent study in the zone. Similarly to the government commission, he also found there is sufficient groundwater that would support a pipeline.

“The commission is devoted to developing sustainable, responsible tourism that would bring healthy investment, create better infrastructure and create more opportunities for employment in neighboring communities,” said Muñoz in a statement.

Groups that have opposed the pipeline have said they will commission another panel of experts to examine the government commission's findings.

The other agencies involved in the report are the Instituto Costarricense de Acueductos y Alcantarillados and the Servicio Nacional de Aguas Subterráneas, Riego y Avenamiento.

The 9-kilometer (6-mile) pipe has been financed by 32 private businesses that aims to take water from Sardinal's aquifer to the beach towns of Playas del Coco and Ocotal.  The price is $8 million, and the national water company is supervising construction.

Development has been frozen in the beach towns while the pipeline project has been discussed.


Law officers conduct major sweeps in parts of San José
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

More than 100 police officers mounted on trucks or motorcycles, riding in vans and other vehicles descended on sections of San José Friday night and Saturday morning.

They arrested four men who had outstanding arrest warrants, and they detained 48 persons as suspected illegal residents.

In the raid most of interest to expats, the security minister, Janina del Vecchio personally directed a sweep of the Hotel Del Rey, its casino and its bar about 7 p.m. Friday night.  They were there about 45 minutes.

Participating were Fuerza Pública officers, the Policía de Migración, the Policía Municipal, the Policía del Tránsito, the Policía de Control de Drogas and tactical squad members with their faces covered in ski masks.

The motorized force blocked and cordoned off Calle 9 from Avenida 3 to Avenida 1 and the north lane of Avenida 1.

But the results were poor at the Del Rey. Only three women were found to be suspected immigration violators.

The police forces also swept the so-called Tierra Dominicana on Avenida 9 at calles 4 and 6 in north central San José.

Other sweeps were in León XIII, parts of Pavas, Sagrada Familia and Cañada Sur. Municipal police closed four establishments for license violations.

During the course of the evening, police said they confiscated a firearm, eight knives and small amounts of amphetamine, cocaine, crack and marijuana.

Fuerza Pública officers checked the documents of some 450 persons and those of 45 vehicles. Transit police issued 45 tickets.

The police moved together in a convoy, prompting telephone calls to A.M. Costa Rica. Callers said they never had seen such a display of force in San José.
immigration detainees
Photos by Guillermo Solano of the Ministerio
de Gobernación, Policía y Seguridad Pública
Immigration officer questions camera-shy women who might be illegal in the country.
Minister and cops
Janina del Vecchio talks with two of her top police officials outside the Hotel Del Rey.


Suspect identified as a robber by six witnesses, according to the Fuerza Pública
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A man suspected of committing a series of brutal robberies against young couples was identified by six witnesses in San Sebastian last Friday, according to police.

The suspect, 31, was detained by the Fuerza Pública in early October. He stands accused of robbing and terrorizing couples in at least eight reported incidents.

The robber would approach couples parked in cars in different neighborhoods across San José, including Moravia, Escazú and San Pedro. After breaking the car
window, he would threaten the couples with a firearm and demand cash, as well as personal items of value.

In some cases when couples lacked cash, the suspect would lock the men into the car trunk, then force the women to withdraw money from the closest automatic teller machine, police said.

The robber would then force the victims to undress, so that they would be unable to follow him when he escaped. He would throw away their car keys in a nearby vacant lot. In most cases he escaped on foot, but in others he would drive away in a grey Hyundai.


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San José, Costa Rica, Monday, Nov. 10, 2008, Vol. 8, No. 223

New residency plan and elections draw reader comments
Immigration plan hurts
push to maintain employment


Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

I'm writing to you about the latest article in your paper: Keeping Your Country Solvent!

Oscar Arias' brother mentioned in this article that the main purpose of government was to keep people working.

How in the world can you do that with a new policy like the one Oscar is pushing for residency status? Don't they realize these new restrictions and laws will have an adverse effect on that goal?

This new law, if its passed, will stop new people from coming here with their money and might even make some people who are already here go back home. Most Americans that are living on Social Security would have a hard time meeting the new standards that the government is requesting.

This will have a very bad effect on tourist dollars, bank investments and real estate here. That translates into job loss. So, in that respect the government is not doing its job of keeping people working.
Doug Grimm
Tampa, Florida

Religious intolerance
was focus of discussion


Dear A.M. Costa Rica:
 
I have read today with interest the debate about whether Mr. Obama is a Muslim.  While there seems little question he is not and his appointment of the son of an Israeli terrorist as his chief of staff should moot those concerns, this debate overlooks a much more fundamental point. 

Even those who argue he is not a Muslim have been baited into a discussion as to whether or not Mr. Obama should be subject to an pernicious standard of religious intolerance.  Religious intolerance is the basis of the whole discussion. I remember when it was to some an issue that JFK was Catholic. 

Hopefully the U.S. has come along way and it is clear that it has — electing an Afro-American as our president demonstrates that the country is growing up.  9/11 makes it difficult for many not to tag Muslims as another group to focus their intolerance upon, but we should judge people on their deeds, metal and convictions, not on their religion.
 
Burton W. Wiand
Clearwater Beach, Florida

EDITOR'S NOTE; There is no debate. Barack Obama identifies himself as a Christian. The Muslim tag has been part of an Internet effort to discredit him.

Rhetoric does nothing
just reflects on writer


Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

I just have to comment on the letter submitted by Lon Warneke. His are obviously the hate-filled rantings of a frustrated, small minded and obsessed liberal. His hatred for our president causes him to dwell in the past instead of looking forward, like most rational people would do.

I am a conservative Republican and believe that George Bush and John McCain are honorable men, and I know that Mr. Bush did a fine job under the circumstances. But I am not whining about the results of the recent election. Instead I wish Obama luck in what will be challenging times ahead.

My message to Mr Warneke :  GET OVER IT !   Your . . .  rhetoric accomplishes nothing but make you look like a die-hard, Bush Bashing cry baby.
Joe Furlong
Cape Haze, Florida
 
He will look elsewhere
for retirement haven


Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

First of all let me say that I think the elected government of any country has the right and the responsibility to formula laws that protect the citizens and the future of the country.

Having said that, let me say that I also think it is my right and responsibility to protect my family and myself from over zealous government regulation.

Now to the point, the last couple of years I have been visiting Costa Rica looking around the areas to find a place we (my family and I) might best fit in.

I had planned to retire and do some volunteer work in your country. I think that learning and fitting into a new culture, language, and lifestyle is the best way to keep one self young.

As I looked and read about Costa Rica in A.M. Costa Rica, The Times, and limitedly in the La Nación, I have become disenchanted with the judicial and the law enforcement side of the government of the country. Also, the
unprofessional behavior of some of the professional sector (read lawyers).

However, I was prepared to overlook this downside of moving to your country. After all, we have criminals roaming the street and judges who let them go till they commit an obnoxious crime here as well. Also our local  sociality has scum (read lawyers) that put profit above
morals.

I have a real problem with the administrations plan to raise the required deposited income for immigrants. Granted a person moving to your country needs to be self-supporting but dramatic increase and the non-grandfathering of the  pensionados and rentistas is alarming.

If I move to Costa Rica, I would be looking at a long-term commitment. I can make the new and arbitrary increase for now, but next year or two years down the line when the government decides to increase the rate by an other 200 percent or more, I might be forced into selling out and leaving the country. This is unacceptable, so now I have started to look at other Central America destinations.

I will, of course, be going to their countries, renting car, eating at their restaurants, and sleeping at their hotels and hopeful finding an area that we will fit into. Granted this will not impact the greater Costa Rica economy but if other feel like we do and if others retirees are close to the line and decide to be proactive and move before the government gets an other itch, I think it will have a real and sizable impact on the economy.
John Steward
Charlotte, North Carolina
 
He will not disrespect
the U.S. president-elect


Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

In the only poll that counts, Obama won fair and square!  This former liberal, turned conservative wishes him all the success he deserves as our 44th president.

There is enough ideological hate in this world without adding partisan hatred.  I will never understand the personal hatred and disrespect the liberals have shown our current president (and vice president).  It is only policies that separate us.  True, some policies have greater consequences than other.  That’s why we all have representatives in Congress — they should be the first to hear your contempt, for they create legislation and control the nation’s purse strings.

As for our president-elect Obama, I will not hate him because he thinks differently from me.  I will not show him disrespect or butcher his name.  I will applaud when he moves our country forward and will not cry ‘impeachment’ when he makes honest mistakes. 

I will not judge his motives out of historical context nor assign ridiculous motives to his judgments.  I will not blame him for events completely out of his control, but will expect him to rectify them.  I will not believe everything I read about him on the internet!  Nor trust media sources that give his policies a pass.

Sure, I fear the direction this one-party control may take our country, but it is what it is.  As our next leader, I hope the sobering effect of looking at all the information for the president’s eyes only will prevent him from over-steering the country.  So I will disagree with some of his policies and intellectually discuss them without personally attacking him or his family.  I will not hope for his policies to fail — just to defeat him in 2012.  If he over reaches, we can vote him a new Congress in 2010 and/or vote him out in 2012. Nothing personal!
Steve Clark
Curridabat
Reader thinks column
overlooked basic truths


Dear A.M., Costa Rica:

I had the hope that John McCain would be our choice for the next president of the United States. I had the hope that enough people would see through the rhetoric of his opponent and would continue the policies of the Republican Party. Even with 46 percent of the voters choosing him, it wasn't enough to win this election.
 
Ms. Stuart's statement "the long-time, unfair ceiling oppressing people of color- particularly African-American descendants of slaves" rings hollow today in 2008. It seems to me that she relishes living in the past, with outdated ideas and no clear understanding of current conditions here in the U..S of A. Perhaps this illustrates how completely out of touch she really is after being gone for 17 years "where the living is good" in Costa Rica. She apparently has a slow learning curve.
 
As long as Ms. Stuart likes checking with Webster's Dictionary, she should know that the meaning of the word mulatto is "the first-generation offspring of a black person and a white person, a person of mixed white and black ancestry." To me this means that it is incorrect to refer to such a person as "an African American" or infer about him being an "African American descendant of slaves", when his mother was white and his father was a citizen from Kenya.
 
He did have a father, like so many other black men and women had, who abandoned his wife and family and moved happily along to the next woman he could find. His mother died and he was raised by his white grandmother, who lived in Hawaii. This had nothing to do with him being "an oppressed person of color." If this election brings about a fundamental change in black men's behavior toward the meaning of a family, and that being black doesn't give one the excuse to commit crimes against innocent civilians, maybe our prisons will start showing percentages equal or less than their numbers in our population. I hope so.
 
Ms. Stuart goes on about "the strength of our nation does not come from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals of democracy, liberty, opportunity and unyielding hope". That this is a truth that the rest of the world has known all along. Really, then why does the Seal of the United States have an eagle with an olive branch in one claw and arrows in the other? Why did the terrorists fly our own planes loaded with innocent men, women and children into civilian office buildings full of innocent men, women and children? Why did the Japanese bomb Pearl Harbor on a Sunday if they too respected our ideals? Well they do now, thanks to American soldiers and American bombs. And they won't soon forget either, unlike Ms. Stuart.
 
The United States of America can be one people and some of us can help by not referring to themselves as African Americans, but like the rest of us born here, just plain American citizens. And others of us can help by not continuously bringing up the past like it was yesterday instead of 1776.
 
I don't expect any forthcoming changes to put me in a "happier mood" soon, or in the next four years. Certainly not in the State of Oklahoma, where the Democratic candidate did not carry a single county in this election!
 
Finally then, voting is a right of a democracy such as ours, it's not a privilege. Some rights may be a privilege (like smoking in a public facility), but not all privileges are a right (voting is one of them). The right to vote is in a fundamental understanding of our Constitution where it implied this right to each individual state. Whereas smoking can be banned, the state can only take away the right to vote because of mental incompetence, being under age, or serving a sentence as a felon in a prison, or while serving probation for same.
 
What took place here in America was an election where fewer people voted than in 2004. While the lines were long in the cities, the only real change was that black people saw a black candidate running and because of race came out for the first time in their lives to cast their ballot, not based on his platform, but mostly on the color of his skin. That's the real meaning of "The Audacity of Hope."  It does not bode well for the future of America.
Donald Thom
Richardson, Texas

Vote was against Bush
not for Barack Obama


Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

I am a little taken aback by the fury and nastiness of your readers in regards to our president. It is over. Get over it. You evidently believed all the press over the last eight years.  Now you will have to live with the new government. 

A few things need clarification. We have never had a president before that is a creation of the mass media. A plastic man with a gift of gab and a $750,000,000. ($200,000,000 from unknown sources) marketing plan that 52 percent (not a landslide) fell for. This was not a man elected on his merits because we don't know who he is or what his merits are. I have heard that  "he looks presidential," "he looks self assured,"  "he is handsome," "he seems to be intelligent," "he reacted to the financial crisis with calmness," etc. Not much for presidential qualities.

Why don't these people admit to what happened. There was a huge backlash against the current administration (in a large part due to eight years of constant negative press), and this election was a protest against the incumbent president. That is all. Obama is not a messiah. He will not feed the many with his fishes or turn the water into wine. He is not even eligible for a low-level government secret clearance due to his associations and the fact that he is an admitted felon (cocaine problems). His own writings speak about his fascination with Marxism and the Muslim faith. Read his books.

To many people their votes were a type of political vandalism, nothing more. They showed their displeasure with the way things are. They assumed it can't get any worse. For many, this was an "American Idol" presidency. He danced in a controlled setting and looked better than the old guy that is crippled from his sacrifices for his country. Most Americans today have not paid anything for their right to be an American. Most do not even know a person that has paid for their freedom. They don't have any idea of what freedom means so they do not treasure it. I believe this will be one of the last elections with a Republican and Democrat party. We will begin to see a Democrat and Socialist party system. For the first time in American history over half the people truly believe that the only way they can get ahead is by taking from those who work for what they have.

The liberals have already held hearings on the confiscation of our private retirement plans. They would put the money saved by the prudent working private sector into a government fund that would guarantee everyone part of the proceeds to help replace the failed Social Security program that the Democrats have kept from the public view for many years. They are doing the same thing in Argentina right now. Notice they will not confiscate the public pensions, just the private ones.

America is now a place wherein the ruling party controls the press. Maybe the press controls the ruling party. (They are already talking about shutting down conservative media under the "fairness" doctrine). They have openly discussed socialist economics, confiscation of private property (pensions).  The financial system was just nationalized primarily by the leftist party, and they control all three houses of government and hope to take over the Supreme Court. Is it just me or does this sound more like Hugo Chávez and Venezuela?

We have masses surging in the streets, lighting fires and vandalizing cars after our election. Sounds a little like some backward Third World country doesn't it? That makes you proud?

Your expat readers have these vicious opinions about the America that they have abandoned but can't seem to let go of. They legally still have a right to complain and condemn, but they left to find a socialist-leaning heaven on earth. They take no part in improving anything in America but condemn those that try. It has always been hard for the world to understand capitalism without being a part of it. From the outside it looks strange. To those who couldn't make it and left, it looks worse.

I wish Mr. Obama the best. He did help remove racism as an excuse for failure. He spoke of change but has started staffing his regime with the same old hacks that covered for Clinton. He has at least four years wherein the press will cover for him regardless of his actions. There are rumblings starting here that I have never heard before that worry me greatly. There is a very large part of America that is not going to go the Venezuelan route without a fight and, while it is hard to believe, some are preparing for the worst. I hope the change comes quickly and does not exclude those who pay to run America.
Ken Orttel
Andover, Minnesota

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San José, Costa Rica, Monday, Nov. 10, 2008, Vol. 8, No. 223




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 week day.

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.

Statistics

A.M. Costa Rica makes its monthly statistics available to advertisers and readers. It is HERE! 

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.


 U.S. rejects Morales claim
of drug agent involvement


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

In another sign of frayed U.S.-Bolivian relations, the Bush administration has sharply rejected a charge by the country's leftist president of U.S. involvement in the local drug trade.

The president, Evo Morales, in comments Thursday defending his decision to expel the U.S. drug agency, said the Drug Enforcement Administration had instead of fighting drug trafficking actually encouraged it, and said he had ample evidence to back up the charge.

The Bolivian leader had earlier accused the agency of encouraging anti-government unrest in Bolivia in September.

At a news briefing, State Department deputy spokesman Robert Wood dismissed the Morales charges as totally unfounded:

"The charges that have been made are just patently absurd. We reject them categorically," said Wood. "The United States has had good cooperation with the Bolivian government over 35 years with regard to counter-narcotics cooperation. Should the Bolivian government decide to sever its working relationship with us with regard to counter-narcotics, it's going to impact the Bolivian people," he said.

Wood said if the U.S. agency does leave Bolivia, the United States will look for other ways to counter the drug trade in the region.

President George Bush last month suspended trade preferences for Bolivia after a State Department report said the Morales government had failed to fully cooperate with U.S.-led anti-drug efforts.

Paloma now a depression
as storm crosses Cuba


By the A.M. Costa Rica news services

U.S. weather forecasters have downgraded the tropical storm named Paloma to a tropical depression as it weakens over Cuba.

At last report Sunday, the storm was located near the city of Camaguey, with winds of 55 kph (about 34 mph). When Paloma came ashore Saturday as a hurricane, its winds downed power lines, toppled trees and damaged homes across the southern coast of Cuba.

Paloma is expected to continue weakening as it nears Cuba's northern coast and heads toward the Bahamas.  Both the Cuban and Bahamian governments have discontinued all warnings associated with the storm.

A storm surge caused coastal flooding in Cuba.  Paloma also dumped considerable rain on parts of the island nation, and is expected to do the same to parts of the Bahamas.

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