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(506) 2223-1327                        Published Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2012, in Vol. 12, No. 226                          Email us
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Old and new

This plaza under construction in the municipality of Nicoya will be a community gathering place in front of the 368-year-old  Iglesia de San Blas.

The story is HERE!
Nicoya plaze work
Servicios Periodísticos Globales S. A. photo

Long view of tourism statistics shows sharp decline
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The big question among hospitality operators for the last three years has been: Where are all the tourists?

Tourism operators complain, but the Instituto Costarricense de Turismo issues statistical reports showing that the current year is much better than the previous year. And these are true statements.

In the first six months of 2012 some 856,672 persons labeled tourists came to Costa Rica. That number is 50,000 greater than during the first six months of 2011.

However, the new Asociacion Para La Proteccion Del Turismo en Costa Rica chose to look further back to the boom years of 2007, 2008 and 2009. The statistics give a different picture. The association's figures were confirmed by tourism institute statistics in the A.M. Costa Rica news library.

When compared to January 2007, the same months in 2011 show a drop of 22.5 percent in tourist arrivals and a drop of 19.5 percent in 2012. Four of the first six months in 2011 show declines more than 20 percent, and three of the first six months in 2012 also are down at least 20 percent.

When compared to May 2007, the month of May 2011 shows a startling 32.4 percent decline.

For 2012 there were 161,479 fewer tourists in the first six months of the year than for the same 
Tourists in first
six months of year
of 2007
112.2 %
Source: Instituto Costarricense de Turismo

period in 2007. In 2007 there were 1,018,151 visitors, according to the tourism institute figures. In the first six months of this year, the number was 856,672. That is a difference of 15.8 percent.

The tourism group known as ProTur also notes that there were 8,000 more hospitality rooms constructed in the country since 2007.

Neither ProTur in this posting on its Facebook page nor the tourism institute address the question of who actually are the tourists who are counted.

A.M. Costa Rica has reported for the last 11 years that hundreds of thousands of Nicaraguans and other Central American visitors are counted along with tourists from North America and that this skews the understanding of the statistics. So far this year, the Dirección General de Migración y Extranjería has been unable to provide arrival data by nationality.

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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2012, Vol. 12, No. 226
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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.

Real estate agents and services

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Another march to the Caja
planned for this Thursday

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A confrontation of politicians and students against police is becoming a major political issue. Students will march again Thursday, and they will be supported by some unions.

The demonstrations are supposed to be in support of the financially troubled Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social. But the demonstrations also are linked to presidential politics and the revitalization of the same organizations that opposed the free trade treaty with the United States. 

The Asociacion Nacional de Empleados Públicos y Privados came out with a 14-point manifesto in which it defended the students and criticized the Fuerza Pública. The union appears to be supporting Juan Carlos Mendoza, who is seeking the presidential nomination of the Partido Acción Ciudadana. Mendoza was one of several lawmakers who were roughed up by police in the confrontation.

Meanwhile, La Nación today came out with a scathing editorial basically disputing the version of events given by Carmen Granados, another Acción Ciudadana lawmaker. The newspaper challenged her version that she was knocked down by police. The newspaper said that a Channel 7 video clearly shows that she sought help from students to climb up on a patrol car in which detained youths were being held.  She later fell.
That was when the fighting between police and protesters took place. There are other YouTube postings that seem to bear out the lawmaker's claim.

The security ministry has defended the action by police and said the main goal was to keep open Avenida 2 to passers-by and traffic. The demonstration was in front of the Caja building on that avenue.

In fact, there were two confrontations with police. One took place about noon and was quickly quelled. The one involving the lawmakers took place in the late afternoon.

Those who participated, except the students, came from all over the country. The condition of the Caja and the continued health of that agency will be a key element in the presidential campaign that begins in earnest next year.

Two more earthquakes
hit in Santa Cruz vicinity

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff
Tuesday started with a sharp shock in the Santa Cruz vicinity.

The Laboratorio de Ingenieria Sismica reported a 4.1-magnitude quake there at 2:28 a.m. The epicenter was estimated to be 10.2 kilometers or about 6 miles north northeast of Cuajiniquil  de Santa Cruz.  The quake was felt in Nosara, Nicoya, Paquera and Santa Cruz, said the Laboratorio. That was the second moderate quake in the area under nine hours.

At 6:12 p.m. the Laboratorio logged what was estimated as a 4.2 magnitude quake about 7.6 kilometers (about 5 miles south southwest of Veintisiete de Abril de Santa Cruz. The Red Sismológica Nacional attributed this to the contact between the Cocos and Caribbean tectonic plates. It said the quake was felt in Santa Cruz, Playas del Coco, Tamarindo, Sardinal and Nicoya. The Laboratorio estimated the magnitude at 4.4.

Earlier in the day there was  an estimated 3.3-magnitude earthquake that the Laboratorio said was 1.5 kilometers (about a mile) north northeast of San Cristobal de Desamparados. The Red attributed the 3:30 p.m. quake to a local fault.

As A.M. Costa Rica reported Monday, an early morning quake took place in the hills above Jacó. The magnitude was estimated at 4.4 and the time was 2:46 a.m.

The Laboratorio said the quake was at Sabanillas de Acosta and about 12.7 kilometers south southeast of Puriscal.

Cost of generating electricity
will be increased 4.5 percent

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The nation's price regulating agency has approved a 4.5 increase in the rate the Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad charges for generating electricity. Even if residents here do not get their power directly from the firm known as ICE, they likely will feel the impact.

The regulating agency, the Autoridad Reguladora de los Servicios Públicos, said it was beginning a study of other power providers with the goal of giving them an extra increase to compensate them for what they will have to pay to ICE.

The increase is designed to cover the extra costs to the company for producing electricity with petroleum-fired generators. The base period was the first half of the year.  ICE uses thermal generation when there is not sufficient power being produced by hydro plants.

The Compañía Nacional de Fuerza y Luz, the Empresa de Servicios Públicos de Heredia, the Junta Administrativa del Servicio Eléctrico de Cartago and the nation's many cooperatives purchase power from ICE. The firm also has direct customers.

The price regulating company said an ICE customer with a monthly electric bill of 14,400 would pay 600 colons more, a bit more than $1.20. ICE customers also will pay other costs that also were increased, including public illumination.

ICE sought a 26 percent increase in generation.

Find out what the papers
said today in Spanish

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
From the Costa Rican press
News items posted Monday through Friday by 8 a.m.
Click a story for the summary

Costa Rican news summaries are disabled
on archived pages.

Have you seen these stories?
From A.M. Costa Rica

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A.M. Costa Rica Third News Page
San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2012, Vol. 12, No. 226
Real Estate
About us
Jo Stuart

Emergency workers being trained for psychological response
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Costa Rica's emergency commission held a session Monday to train responders to aid in emotional recovery after natural disasters strike, a press release said.

The workshop was held in Nicoya, and it included numerous other groups that provide assistance during the natural disasters.

Commission officials said they seek to put greater emphasis on social recovery in following disasters by dispatching brigadas de apoyo psicosocial or psychosocial brigades, the press release said.

The Comisión Nacional de Prevención de Riesgos y Atención de Emergencias is a government organization responsible for handling as well as planning relief and recovery efforts after a natural disaster hits.

These natural disasters can include storms, floods, volcano eruptions and earthquakes.

After most disasters such as the Sept. 5 earthquake, the commission focuses primarily on getting physical aid to injured and homeless people and repairing damaged infrastructure.
At this workshop, commission officials said that helping victims of these disasters to emotionally recuperate is a key part of the regional recovery process, the press release said.

In addition to training their own employees, commission workers also trained representatives from the Universidad de Costa Rica, the Colegio de Psicólogos, the Colegio de Trabajadores Sociales, the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social and the Cruz Roja Costarricense.

The press release said that social workers have already been involved with people affected by recent disasters. They held light-hearted group sessions where they encouraged people to openly discuss their fears and how they might conquer those fears.

The commission also used the workshop to organize the efforts of how their brigades would be deployed, the press release said. Officials especially wanted to make sure that these groups could be sent to all the communities that might need their help with adequate staff and supplies.

Nicoya on the peninsula of the same name suffered major damage in the Sept. 5 earthquake that took place off the Pacific coast there.

High court acts against magistrate accused of leaking decision
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The country's highest court said Monday it would take action against a former replacement magistrate who is accused of giving information to the operators of the Crucitas gold mine.

The former magistrate is Moisés Fachler, but the Poder Judicial did not use his name when it announced the decision of the court.  Julia Varela Araya, a magistrate, has been investigating the situation since November 2011. That is when Fachler is accused of giving an advanced text of a Sala I decision to the operators of the gold mine.

The full Corte Suprema de Justicia said that a notation would be made in the personnel file of Fachler that is kept in the personnel department of the Asemblea Legislativa. That effectively means he will not be appointed to the court, even in a replacement role. Lawmakers appoint the magistrates.

The court also said that the Asamblea Legislativa, the Procuraduría de la Etica and the Ministerio Público would be notified. So there is a chance of some kind of legal action.

Some 17 of the 22 magistrates supported the decision. Those who did not were of the Sala I and could not participate because they were witnesses in the investigation.
Anabelle León, president of the Sala I, made the initial complaint.

The Sala I issued a negative decision in the Crucitas case, and the Canadian owner and its Costa Rican subsidiary, Industrias Infinito S.A

The Sala Primera had agreed to hear the appeals of a lower court decision against the Las Crucitas mine. The appeals accepted were from the government, the gold mining firm Infinito and the Sistema Nacional de Areas de Conservación, which support the mine. Also accepted were appeals from Asocrucitas, a group that opposes the mine.

Specifically the Sala I declined to reject a lower court decision.

The Tribunal Contencioso Administrativo had found against the company and ordered that its concession be annulled.

This is the mine in north Costa Rica where an estimated 800,000 ounces of gold were to be extracted via the open pit method.  Costa Rica later passed a law prohibiting commercial gold extraction.

The mining company is expected to seek international arbitration.

Del Rey nightlife

You need to see Costa Rican tourism information HERE!

Real Estate
About us
Jo Stuart
What we published this week: Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Earlier
The contents of this page and this Web site are copyrighted by Consultantes Río Colorado 2012 and may not be reproduced anywhere without permission. Abstracts and fair use are permitted.  Check HERE for details

Fish Fabulous Costa Rica

A.M. Costa Rica's Fourth News page
San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2012, Vol. 12, No. 226
Real Estate
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Jo Stuart

                vacation promo

Consejo Nacional de Vialidad photo
Traffic still was reduced to one lane in either direction Monday as crews finished the work on the eastbound lanes.

Key San José-Alajuela route
should be open this morning

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Workmen put down asphalt Monday for the final touch on the collapsed eastbound lanes of the Autopista General Cañas. The highway was expected to be open early today.

The job required 8,000 cubic meters or about 10,464 cubic yards of fill to bring the section up to highway height.

This is the location where a washout required highway officials to install four portable bailey bridges to carry the daily traffic. Then last week one of the bridges collapsed under the weight of an 84-ton self-propelled crane.

The collapse came just as workmen were finishing a concrete spillway to replace the one washed away by a storm and debris.

Now there again are three eastbound lanes.

Workmen are about to reroute traffic again so they can dismantle the existing two bailey bridges and fill the excavated area under the westbound lanes. That is where the trouble began when a three-meter hole appeared in the road surface as a result of the washout.

Once that section is filled and asphalted, the highway will be back to normal. This is the route between San José, Alajuela and Juan Santamaría airport.

Canas highway two
Consejo Nacional de Vialidad photo
Favorable weather allowed the placement of asphalt Monday.

New anti-tobacco treaty
required tracking codes

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Anti-smoking groups are hailing a new international treaty to combat the illicit tobacco trade. Representatives of governments and international organizations Monday, meeting in South Korea, unanimously approved the protocol. The action came on the first day of a meeting of the World Health Organization's Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.
The protocol creates a new global system requiring non-removable tracking codes on each pack of cigarettes. That is meant to make it easier to trace producers and distributors of counterfeit tobacco products.
Speaking at the convention's opening session, Margaret Chan, the World Health Organization director-general, urged adoption of what she terms a game-changing treaty.
“The protocol gives the world an orderly, rules-based instrument for countering and eventually eliminating a very sophisticated international criminal activity,” Ms. Chan explained.
World Health estimates one in 10 cigarettes purchased are coming through illegal channels, costing governments more than $40 billion annually in lost taxes.
Cigarette giant Philip Morris International issued a statement hailing the action but saying it is not a "silver bullet for resolving this serious issue."

"Preventive measures not covered under today's agreement, such as regulating the essential materials used to produce tobacco products, should be considered by governments in the national implementation of this protocol," said Peter Nixon, vice president of communications, in the statement released in Lausanne, Switzerland.

The company, which has seven of the world's top 15 international brands, noted that black market tobacco products combined compose the world's third largest tobacco supplier.

U.N. seeking $40 million
for Haiti hurricane recovery

Special to A.M. Costa Rica

The United Nations and the Government of Haiti are seeking close to $40 million in extra funding for humanitarian needs in the Caribbean nation in the wake of the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy.

“An additional $39.9 million is required to address rising food insecurity, and provide shelter, health services and potable water for more than a million people,” the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said, citing the amount added to more than $110 million sought before Hurricane Sandy struck.

“Of this, $23.2 million is needed to meet the most urgent needs in 2012,” the agency added.

The increase brings the total amount sought to meet Haiti’s humanitarian needs over the next year to a little more than $151 million, according to the "Emergency Revision of the Haiti Consolidated Appeal: Needs Arising from the Impact of Hurricane Sandy, released Monday in Geneva.

Beginning as a tropical storm in late October in the Atlantic Ocean and then evolving as it progressed, Hurricane Sandy grew into what some media reports described as a “once in a generation” storm, causing death and destruction across the Caribbean region and the eastern seaboard of the United States.

In the Caribbean, five million people were affected and 72 people died. In Haiti alone, 54 people died, and hundreds of thousands of people were hit by floods and heavy winds. Along the U.S. eastern coastline and the New York metropolitan area, more than 100 people lost their lives.

Haiti’s Government says that Haiti’s agricultural sector has “cost a third of its annual production because of the combination of impacts by Sandy, Isaac and the drought, according to U.N. agency.
Your links to a great vacation
or retirement

Periodically we like to feature our tourism and retirement experts on the news pages for the benefit of our overseas readers.

Vacation, travel and hospitality

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An evening View from George’s Puriscal home
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See how to choose a Retirement tour video by past guest!
Learn how others “talk the talk” and learn who really can “walk the walk”
Please visit my Web site  to contact my references.
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Real Estate
About us
Jo Stuart
What we published this week: Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Earlier
The contents of this page and this Web site are copyrighted by Consultantes Río Colorado 2012 and may not be reproduced anywhere without permission. Abstracts and fair use are permitted.  Check HERE for details

A.M. Costa Rica's
Fifth news page
Cat trees
San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2012, Vol. 12, No. 226
Real Estate
About us
Jo Stuart


                vacations in Costa Rica

Critics unhappy with seats
given to rights violators

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Human rights groups have criticized the election by the U. N. General Assembly of countries with spotty rights' records to its Human Rights Council.  Of the 18 countries elected Monday to the Geneva-based body, human rights advocates say only about a third are qualified.

The 47-member Human Rights Council is often the target of criticism for its focus on Israel and its election of some members who are accused of human rights violations

Seats on the council are allocated according to regional groupings. This year, the only group putting forward a competitive slate was the Western and Others Group, which saw Ireland, Germany and the United States beat Greece and Sweden for three open seats.

The United States won a second consecutive term to the rights council, after in the past choosing not to be a part.  U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice said Washington is better positioned and more likely to strengthen the body by continuing to be a part of it.

“We made the decision in 2009 to seek a seat on the Human Rights Council because the United States believes that we must be at the forefront of speaking out against human rights abuses and speaking up in favor of those who are suffering and living under the grip of the world’s cruelest regimes," said Rice.

The winners of the council’s other vacant seats were predetermined within their regional groups, which put forward only enough candidates to fill their empty seats.

Ivory Coast, Ethiopia, Gabon, Kenya and Sierra Leone will fill the five vacant African seats. Japan, Kazakhstan, South Korea, Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates will fill the five open Asia-Pacific seats.  Estonia and Montenegro will hold the two Eastern European seats while Argentina, Brazil and Venezuela take the three seats of the group of Latin American and Caribbean states.

Rights groups have expressed doubts about whether at least seven of these countries, Ivory Coast, Ethiopia, Gabon, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, the United Arab Emirates and Venezuela, have adequate human rights records of their own.

Human Rights Watch’s U.N. Director Philippe Bolopion criticized the lack of competition and the questionable records of some of the council’s new members.

GOP considers modifying
position on immigrants

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

If elections are meant as an articulation of national will, then last week’s vote appears to have sent a message on the need for immigration reform, specifically what should be done about the estimated 12 million foreign nationals residing in the United States who entered the country illegally or overstayed their visas.

No, Americans did not vote directly on immigration reform, and the topic was barely mentioned on the campaign trail by President Barack Obama or his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney. But the Republican Party clearly suffered at the ballot box as a result of its resistance to immigration reform.

During the presidential primaries, several Republican contenders took a hard line on the matter, blasting any measure that would provide a path to legal status as an amnesty for law breakers. Romney advocated a strategy of making life in America so difficult for illegals that they would opt to leave the country, or do what he called self-deport.

Tuesday, Hispanic-Americans, who make up an increasingly powerful voting bloc, got their say in the matter. More than 70 percent of Hispanics voted for President Barack Obama, a strong rebuke to Republicans. In the week since, many Republicans have gone out of their way to say that the party must change and embrace immigration reform if it is to remain competitive at the ballot box.

​​"The immigration debate… has built a wall between the Republican Party and the Hispanic community," said  Sen. Lindsey Graham, a Republican, Sunday on CBS’ "Face the Nation"  program. Graham noted that Hispanics are the fastest-growing segment of the U.S. population, and said that Republican rhetoric on immigration hurts the party in election cycle after election cycle. "It is one thing to shoot yourself in the foot," Graham said. "Just don’t reload the gun."

Graham pledged to push for immigration reform that was once championed by President George W. Bush. At the time, Bush got more support from Democratic lawmakers than members of his own Republican Party.
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A.M. Costa Rica's
sixth news page

San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2012, Vol. 12, No. 226
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Nicoya rest area
Servicios Periodísticos Globales S. A. photo
Shaded rest areas will be part of the project

New plaza will display
Nicoya's Colonial church

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Municipalidad de Nicoya is building a plaza in front of the famous Colonial church in the community. The plaza is expected to be able to hold up to 2,500 persons for events.

The work began last week and joins Parque Recaredo Briceño and the Iglesia de San Blas, which has been declared a national heritage site. The church, the second one there, went up in 1644. It suffered some damage during the Sept. 5 earthquake in the region. The original church was built in 1544.

A release from the municipality said that prior to the arrival of the Spanish the native peoples in the area used the site now occupied by the church as a holy ceremonial location. Archaeological artifacts from that period and from the Colonial era can be found in the nearby El Museo de San Blas.

Marco Jiménez, the Nicoya mayor, said that the plaza will have lines that are similar to the geometric designs of the original Chorotega inhabitants.

Native plants will be used for landscaping.

The project has received the blessing of the Centro de Investigación y Conservación del Patrimonio Nacional del Ministerio de Cultura y Juventud, said the municipality.

Two students are tops at science fair

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Two students from the Colegio Técnico Don Bosco in San José took the highest prize for their project at the Feria Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnologia 2012.

Kevin Pérez Calvo and Mariana Quesada Morena's work in developing an alert system and data network for blind people earned them and 12 other students on five projects spots in the upcoming Intel's Costa Rica ISEF Challenge. The winners of that fair will go on to Intel's international fair next May in Phoenix, Arizona.

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Jo Stuart
What we published this week: Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Earlier
The contents of this page and this Web site are copyrighted by Consultantes Río Colorado 2012 and may not be reproduced anywhere without permission. Abstracts and fair use are permitted.  Check HERE for details