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(506) 2223-1327        Published Friday, Nov. 14, 2008,  in Vol. 8, No. 227       E-mail us
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Christmas season has arrived on the San José pedestrian mall with less than six weeks to go


New $15 tourist head tax advances in legislature
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Asamblea Legislativa approved on first reading Thursday the administration's $15 a head tax on tourists. The measure also would repeal the 3 percent tax on hotel stays and other purchases in tourist-related businesses.

The tax only would apply to those who traveled to the country by air and purchased their tickets outside Costa Rica. Costa Rica already has a 5 percent tax on air tickets purchased within the country.

The idea of a head tax came up early in the Arias administration, but legislative preoccupation with free trade treaty measures put the idea on the back burner until now. The bill was introduced Aug. 1, 2007.

The bill is No. 16.752. The measure also modifies a 1955 law in a way that would seem to extend the 5 percent tax to any forms of transportation originating in Costa Rica. That would seem to include buses and boats. A legislative summary said that the purpose of this change is to eliminate evasion of the local tax by people in Costa Rica who purchase their tickets outside the country. Cited specifically were other Central American countries, but the tax also would seem to cover ticket purchases made online by persons in Costa Rica.

As Ricardo Benavides, the Turismo minister explained in the past and as the summary states, more and more tourists are coming to Costa Rica but not staying in tourism hotels and other registered hospitality businesses.

That would include persons coming here and staying with friends or unregistered rooming houses. But also included are those who come here to stay at their own condo or vacation home.

Benavides has complained in the past of hotels that fail to remit the 3 percent tax and evade payments. He has not given any particulars, and some hotel owners questioned his statements. The new tax would be collected and remitted by the airlines.

The $15 tax would be included within the price of air tickets and would be less obvious than the $26 exit tax.

The purpose of the tax is to promote Costa Rica as a
tourist destination outside the country. However, the draft of the law that was given first approval Thursday broadens the use of the tax proceeds so as to make the money a slush fund for the Instituto Costarricense de Turismo. The draft of the law says that the money can be used for promotion, marketing, planning and sustainable development carried out by the institute. 

The terms are not defined.

The institute has not been very successful with promotion. It spent $4.5 million to promote the country in Germany during the national soccer team's brief stay at the World Cup competitions. Many government officials attended the event.

Earlier this year the institute announced a promotional effort in the United States lasting  from 2008 to 2010. The marketing plan budgets $14 million for the first year alone.   Institute officials said they would try some non-standard ad techniques. New Yorkers would have tropical sound effects directed at them from public phones and in San Francisco the buses would carry promotion signs, the institute employees suggested. They also proposed more conventional online advertising.

Lack of data makes it hard to assess the institute's promotional efforts. Tourism officials are quick to show data stating that 1.9 million tourists came to Costa Rica in 2007, saying that this is a 12.9 percent increase on 2006, but detailed figures of which nations these tourists came from still have not yet been released. That is a critical point because many Nicaraguans and others seeking a better life here entered as tourists. Previous years' figures show that tourism numbers are inflated by those who really are not tourists.

A month ago a reporter tried to obtain the breakdown by nationality without success. Tourism institute workers said that the Dirección General de Migración would have the data, but that agency did not.

Much of the tourism arrival data is obtained informally.

In the summary of the bill proposing the tax, legislative workers say that the country still would compare favorably to other nations.


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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, Nov. 14, 2008, Vol. 8, No. 227

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Telecom panel members
selected by regulator


By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The price regulating agency has named the four members of a council that will control telecommunications. They include a former lawmaker, the agency's own lawyer, an engineer and an economist.

The selection ends an elaborate process in which the agency, the Autoridad Reguladora de los Servicios Públicos, sought the help of outside experts. Some 80 persons applied for the posts.

The appointees are Vanessa de Paul Castro Mora, 44, the former lawmaker for the Partido Unidad Cristiana; Carlos Raúl Gutiérrez Gutiérrez, 50, the economist with a specialty in public finance; and George Petrie Miley Rojas, 33, who has seven years experience in the telecommuncation field, said the agency.

Also named as a substitute on the panel is Juan Manuel Quesada Espinoza, the 30-year-old lawyer for the agency.

The council is called formally the Consejo de la Superintendencia de Telecomunicaciones. It was created as part of the process in opening the nation's telecom market to non-governmental players.

The council, which is an agency of the authoridad Reguladora will have broad powers in setting rates, specifying coverage and maintaining the efficience of the various companies that are expected to enter the market. The authoridad will send the names to the Asamblea Legislativa which has veto power that must be exercised, if at all, within 30 days.

Golfito planning festival
of culture for Saturday

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The canton of Golfito in Puntarenas will debut its first ever cultural festival Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. “We want this to be a way to invest in artistic and cultural resources, and also allow others to learn about what the Oficina Regional de Cultura offers,” said Giselle Mora, the promoter of regional culture in the zone.

At the moment, there are 89 artists who will participate during the festival, including dancers and musicians, as well as others who will conduct workshops in crafts, theater and painting. Entrance to the festival is free, and the public is allowed to purchase the arts and crafts on display.  Events will be held outside the Golfito public library, as well as at the Ministerio de Cultura, Juventud y Deportes.

Business group protests
employee insurance hike


By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

An organization representing private employers is going to court over a 10 percent rate increase by the government insurance company for workplace coverage.

The organization, the Unión Costarricense de Cámaras y Asociaciones del Sector Empresarial Privado, said that the insurance agency, the Instituto Nacional de Seguros, raised the rates just three days before the insurance market was opened to private competition and before a rate-setting process came into place.

In addition, the organization said that the agency, which once was the nation's insurance monopoly, generated in 2007 a 59 billion-colon or $107-million surplus in the category, which is called riesgo de trabajo. The case will be heard by the Tribunal Procesal Contencioso Administrativo, the organization said.

Considering the state of the economy, the increase came at the worse possible time, said Manuel H. Rodríguez, president of the organization.

Taxi driver pulled knife
on passengers, agents say


By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A prosecutor office in Hatillo said Thursday that agents are investigating a taxi driver who is suspected of pulling a knife on young female passengers, forcing them to take money from their bank accounts via automatic tellers and then abusing them sexually.

The Fiscalía de Hatillo in conjunction with the Sección de Asaltos of the Judicial Investigating Organization is seeking contact with other possible victims. The agents gave the telephone number of 2254-4882 to provide information or to file a formal complaint. The man is reported to be in custody and said that at least six victims were able to identify him via photos and sketches.

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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, Nov. 14, 2008, Vol. 8, No. 227

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Visiting Chinese president won't have to face Tico traffic
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Some public employees in the metropolitan area will have Monday off, Casa Presidencial said Thursday.

The idea is to reduce the congestion on the roadways because major routes will be closed for the visit of Hu Jintao, the president of the People's Republic of China.

Word of the decree by President Óscar Arias Sánchez came Thursday afternoon. The Tribunal Supremo de Elecciones quickly announced that it, too, would close. The decree only covers the central cantons of San José and San Pedro/Montes de Oca.

The Arias decree said that workers in certain key offices, in the Banco Central de Costa Rica, and, of course, in the various police agencies, would continue to work. Other agencies, like customs and the public schools will be subject to the decision of their own officials.

The Chinese president arrives Sunday, and the autopistas General Cañas and Bernardo Soto, the Circunvalación, the
Autopista Próspero Fernández and the old road to Escazú from La Sabana will be closed from 3:30 to 5 p.m.

Then on Monday from 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. the  Autopista Próspero Fernández and the entire Circunvalación will be closed to Zapote where Casa Presidencial is located. Then from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Avenida 2 and Paseo Colón will be closed.

Later, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. the autopistas  General Cañas and Bernardo Soto will be closed to traffic to Juan Santamaría airport while the Chinese president travels there to leave.

Janina Del Vecchio, minster of Gobernación, Policía y Seguridad Pública, said that closing the highways were reciprocal for the visit of a head of state. However, there were only limited closing when guests arrived for the inauguration of Óscar Arias in 2006 and four years earlier for Abel Pacheco.

The Chinese closed off some highways and the Forbidden City when Arias visited there.


Liberia is hosting a weekend festival of Guanacaste cultura
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The first annual cultural festival in Guanacaste kicked off yesterday and will continue into Saturday.

Organizors hope it will promote local musicians, artists and craftsmen, who have struggled to create a vibrant artistic presence in the region.

Performances are free, and will be showcased in the Gimnasio Municipal de Liberia, the Edificio de la Antigua Gobernación and the Parque Central de Liberia. 

Friday's celebration includes a screening of Costa Rican and
Guanacasteca cinema at 4 p.m., at the Parque Central de Liberia, followed by a three-hour performance of folkloric and contemporary dance from Colombia, Nicaragua and Costa Rica. 

Saturday will feature highlights such as a poetry recital by the region's literary society at 4 p.m., as well as an evening of performances from dance companies hailing from Quepos and Nicaragua.

Vera Vergas, promotor of regional culture in the zone, said she hopes the event will become an example for other cantones such as Hojancha, Cruz and Abangares, all of which currently lack similar artistic festivals.


A pleasant lunch at the closest place to a sidewalk cafe
My friend Steve sent me a Web site where meditation expert Sharon Salzberg asks the question: "How do we maintain coherence and harmony in a life that is a combination of pleasure and pain, gain and loss, praise and blame and fame and dispute."  Minus fame, my life of late has been full of all of those states. It is part of everyone’s life, and really what it adds up to is change.

Lately life has been full of change.  Most of the rest of the world expects good changes to come with the election of Barack Obama.  It’s a pleasure (at least for the moment) to be a citizen of a country that most of the rest of the world once again admires.

But at the same time there are losses. Just as my retirement income has been painfully reduced, the Costa Rican government has proposed a new law requiring that foreign residents have far greater incomes than before.  

For pensionandos, the income verification, which is now $600 a month will be raised to $2,000. Rentistas must be able to declare $5,000 instead of $1,000.  $600 was unrealistically low, but many expats have settled here with nowhere near $2,000 a month.  But they have contributed to this country in practicing the values Costa Rica claims to hold – supporting biodiversity, starting recycling efforts, planting trees, cleaning up the beaches or volunteering as English teachers, to name a few.  It makes me think that the government is not so much interested in the quality of our character as in the quantity of our money.

There is a certain irony in this move by the government.  An article in la Nación, the daily paper, recently reported that 4 percent of the poor families in this country have been receiving money from a relative working in foreign countries (mainly the U.S.A.) Maybe it’s not ironic.  The crash in the building industries has put many of these away-from-home breadwinners out of work, and so the money has dried up.  Perhaps the government hopes to recover some of the buying power that these families have lost.

Fortunately, I had to leave my computer for a doctor’s appointment downtown.  It was a beautiful sunshiny morning. so I walked from Calderón Guardia Hospital to downtown, passing through my three favorite parks (especially the Parque España). Then I stopped at the Flor Restaurant on Avenida 1.  It is a soda-style restaurant with better than average Tico dishes and reasonable prices.

As I was looking at the freshly cooked food available in  
Living in Costa Rica

. . .Where the living is good

By Jo Stuart
jostuart@amcostarica.com


the display, Flor, the waitress, explained to me what each dish was and how much.  After I sat down at a small table next to the large window that gives a view of the street (about the closest thing we have to a sidewalk café), she explained that a natural juice drink came with the lunch, along with a salad and dessert.  Available were three drinks I had never heard of.  No problem, she said.  She would bring me a taste of each so I could decide. 

She brought three glasses, each with more than enough liquid for a taste test.  The chocolate milk looking one was pino lillo, made from maiz, she said.  The milky strawberry looking drink was cenara, and my choice, a pink drink, mozote. This, Flor said, was good for the stomach.

After the salad Flor brought a large plate of steaming  
food: a chicken breast a la plancha (sautéed), beans, a huge pile of rice, mashed potatoes and plantains.  Everything was hot, the chicken tender and moist, and the potatoes delicious. 

I must remember to say "No rice, please."

Lunch was such a pleasant experience I was reminded of my first years in San José.  As I was complimenting Flor, she told me the owner was a Gringo and a little later brought a tall nice looking man to my table.  Bill MacDonald, who comes from California, is actually co-owner.  He said he is trying to keep serving good food at reasonable prices.

Obviously, he is succeeding.  I had arrived before noon when there were just a few people.  By 12:15 the restaurant was full, mainly with Costa Ricans but with a sprinkling of Gringos.  My lunch was 2,000 colons ($3.63). 

I left the Flor in a happy mood, thinking, yes, that is the answer, as usual, I’ll live in the present and find these happy experiences.  Just then it began to rain. Shortly it was pouring.  I had left my umbrella home because it was such a beautiful morning.  By the time I got home the cough I had been ignoring had turned really mean.

So, greetings from my bedroom.  As I said, change happens.



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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, Nov. 14, 2008, Vol. 8, No. 227


Readers unhappy with immigration reform and gas prices
They will have to sell
if immigration law passes


Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

If this new requirement for pensionado income becomes law we will be forced to sell and move out of the country. Perhaps the government thinks the free trade treaty will bring enough money into the country to offset the people not moving to or moving out of the country, the tourist business is already in big trouble.

With the current international economy situation I don’t see enough new trade coming to Costa Rica, even with TLC. Those international countries will stop buying Costa Rica products for lack of extra money. New companies won’t move to Costa Rica because of this type of treatment will overflow to new foreign owned businesses when money becomes tighter.

The stock market in the States is showing just what they think of the new tax levels they expect is coming to the States so they are going to take their money elsewhere. Besides. Obama and the TLC agreement don’t seem to be compatible, as I understand it he is not in favor of this agreement.

With all the international upset where will Costa Rica get the money/trade they need? From China? I think not, China is having their own problems as they are loosing foreign business and trade.

Perhaps Costa Rica should rethink what they are doing. I have already begun to look at other places to move to as I fear we expats are not looked upon in a good light by Costa Rica’s government no matter whether the new laws are passed or not. I will want to sell while there is still enough economic money to get some return on my investment.

Art Edwards
San Ramón

They are rethinking
retirement in Costa Rica


Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

My wife and I just finished placing our deposits for car rental and hotels for our February trip to Costa Rica.  We have committed several thousand dollars to this trip, and it will be our third visit.  On our first visit we fell in love with the country and the second and third trips have been dedicated to locating an area in which we would purchase a home and retire.  As we are still several years away from retirement, we were planning to visit at least several more times spending several more thousand dollars in Costa Rica before moving.
 
The proposed changes in the immigration law have caused us to rethink Costa Rica as a retirement choice.  In fact, had we learned about these proposed changes we might not have chosen to make this trip.  If passed, the financial requirements for retirement in Costa Rica will actually exceed our monthly budget in the U.S.
 
If we were to choose Costa Rica and purchase a home and car for cash why would we need $4,000 a month to live in a country where the average family lives on $1,000?
 
The legislature should rethink its proposal and consider the impact such legislation would have not only on retirees but tourism as well.
Ed Goldfluss
Birmingham, Alabama

Tico trying to get U.S. visa
faces difficult, uphill battle


Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

To all these people complaining about the proposed changes to the immigration laws — have you seen what its like for a Tico to get a visa just to make a connecting flight in a US airport let alone move there? My Tica girlfriend has twice been denied a U.S. transit visa for some unknown reason causing us to travel well out of our way and increase our travel costs dramatically. It seems the visa officer just didn't like her enough to permit her two hours in your country inside the security zone at the airport.

Americans seem to think they should just be able to walk into other countries and make a life there because they have a little bit of money yet denying those people access to their country. Maybe it´s time you started writing letters to American newspapers and lobbying your own government to make travel for Ticos to your country a little more fair? Of course, that will never happen.

Just for the record, these proposed immigration laws will also make life for me much more difficult but at least I stand a chance at being able to stay here unlike so many Ticos wanting to go to the States.
Mich War
Limón

Where are lower prices
for petroleum-based goods?


Dear AM Costa Rica:

Now let's see. Gas prices have been falling rapidly everywhere (e.g. U.S. nearing $2 a gallon) and, in Costa Rica, it remains well above $5. The answer that Alvaro Barrantes of Aresep, the price-setting outfit, gives is that it is looked at monthly and changes can occur only on the second Friday.

Oil has gone down from a $140/barrel high to now under $60 and all we've seen is pennies in price reductions on gasoline. Requested now is a whopping one colon reduction on super, three colons per liter on regular, which they are "considering." Anybody thinking what i'm thinking? Somebody(ies) making a great deal of money on the backs of working Ticos? Naw, not here. That stuff never happens.

Barry E Schwartz 
Escazú

Xenophobic residents
only like Gringo money


Dear A.M. Costa Rica:
 
I read with interest the letters lamenting Costa Rica's tightening of the immigration laws. I lived in country as a tourist for seven years and recently left for good.

One of the many reasons I had to leave was because I could no longer be in denial of a few basic facts about the culture of the country. One fact is that Ticos are generally xenophobic. The cultural belief system is that anyone who is not exactly the same as me is not acceptable. The culture does not allow for confrontations of any kind, other than robbery, spousal and child abuse, so you have to be on the inside to know and understand them.  

If you have the opportunity to experience this phenomena, you will learn that a Tico hates all foreigners, except of course you. A Tico from the valley hates a Tico from Guanacaste. A Tico from the southern region hates a Tico from Limón, etc.

Forget about acceptance of anyone with a different shade of skin color, let alone a different color entirely. The best example I know of their xenophobia is the public hatred for Nicas and Colombians. In the heart and soul of nearly all Ticos is the core belief that all crime and shortcomings of their country are the fault of foreigners. Ticos at the highest levels also maintain the same beliefs albeit in secret.

I know them well. They do not want us in their country. Their dilemma is that they want our money and cannot figure a way to get it while keeping us out. These are facts and difficult to accept at first, but eventually denial melts away under the glaring light of the truth. After that it is simply a matter of how long you can live in a society that does not want you there.
Mark Vallancourt
Orlando, Florida
Immigration changes
are good for country


Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

These changes are very good for Costa Rica. But the way many people talk is in fact micro-economical (about your and my situation).

If we think long-term-macro-economical (and sociological) we have to realize that, with the current possibilities to get a visa, tens of thousands pensionados can come to Costa Rica. Tens of thousands is a lot on this small population.

How much is $ 600? How much is $1,200? Enough at this moment (± 660,000 colons) to survive. But on the long term? With an official inflation of 10 percent — unofficially much more — in let's say seven to eight years those $600 (or $1,200) will not be very much anymore.

What is Costa Rica going to do if so many (excuse the word) "poor-pensionados" come to live here ? If the pensions don't go up with 10 percent a year, the pensionados will become really poor.

What do "older" people contribute to an economy other than spending their money ? What do they produce? What is the effect on the health-system? I think they just enjoy the sun in their gated communities, in small sub-cultures.

Now you can pay the $ 1 an hour for the maid, the gardener etc. But will you be able to pay a full-time maid 10-15 years from now when you really need 24/7 help ? Probably not.

Option is: go to an old people's home, home for the elderly. How many with a reasonable good quality (and cheap for the "poor-pensionados") can you find here in Costa Rica ? Another positive effect of this law is that everybody has to contribute to the CCSS (caja).

Aging of the population is a problem for every nation. Let's hope Costa Rica will not become the “Poor-Pensionados-Paradise”.
Ed Van Grootel

Wife is not thrilled
by crime accounts


Dear A.M. Costa Rica:
 
First I would like to thank you for publishing such an informative free web site.  My wife and I have been thinking about retiring in Costa Rica for some time now and have been reading the articles on your site for several weeks. 

We have also accessed the advertiser sites and feel confident that there is plenty of help available to make a smooth transition to residency in Costa Rica when the time comes.  We both have excellent retirement packages and are looking for a safe, tropical environment.  My wife loves Hawaii, but friends who have retired there already tell us they feel a little isolated.
 
Back in February we booked a cruise on the "Coral Princess" through the Panama Canal which departs in just five weeks and has a scheduled stop in Costa Rica (we'll see), and another vacation for "language immersion" for four weeks this next June/July.
 
Unfortunately, Costa Rica is looking less and less welcoming.  Daily articles on crime, the inability of the authorities to provide a safe environment for citizens and a refusal on the part of the courts to enforce (or perhaps selectively enforce) laws designed to maintain a safe environment for the citizens has caused me and, in particular, my wife to have second thoughts about our long-term plans.  Perhaps it is my fault for telling my wife about your site in the first place.  So far, we are still intent on keeping our vacation plans for this next summer, and there is no way we would ever cancel our cruise through the canal, but beyond that things get a bit sketchy.
 
I really don't mean this as a criticism and I'm not asking you to change your reporting, but perhaps focusing on the safe and fun activities that will be available to us as retirees might help.
Michael Carr
Lakewood California

Immigration bill is seen as
a clear signal to leave


Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

It's amazing to me that the Costa Rican government is considering raising the amount required for rentista status from $1,000 per person/mo. to $5,000/mo. This is after having doubled the amount required already a very short time ago.

I have already purchased a house in Costa Rica, and had planned on retiring there, having fought hard to acquire the funds now necessary to achieve this status ($120K for myself and wife), only to find out that this amount will now be increased by a factor of five. How this could be considered in view of the worldwide economic meltdown is beyond me, and will only result in a huge decrease in people considering retirement in Costa Rica, with Panama and other Central American countries reaping the rewards of this foolishness.

It is as if the Costa Rican government is sending a clear signal that it does not value or appreciate the economic impact of expat spending, and is forcing people without the
required ($10,000/mo per couple) to utilize the perpetual tourist alternative, until they give up and go elsewhere.

This amount of money would afford a very affluent lifestyle anywhere in the United States (and the world) and it is unrealistic to think that any but an extremely small percentage of people could afford this amount. The repercussions of this will become apparent very quickly after passage of the new immigration requirements, and even if repealed in the future will leave a very bad taste in the mouths of perspective retirees.

This will prove to be a very shortsighted and foolish decision by the Costa Rican government.

Chet Ohrt
Vero Beach, Florida  

He's going to sell house
and other property here

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

The proposed new income levels for pensionados or rentistas are so extraordinary that very few people in the world can properly qualify. Maybe 200,000 in all of America. Even with over $1.0 million in property already owned in Costa Rica it is unlikely that I will have another $5,000 after tax income (Pre-tax $130,000) coming in to qualify to reside here.

Costa Rica does not offer any real bargains for those with $60,000 a year in after tax income to retire. Crime is now high everywhere, even Escazú. Every product in super markets is more than in WalMarts in Alabama. Medical care is complex if one has Medicare or U.S. private insurance. Traffic is chaotic. Property insurance is among the worst deals in the Americas. Rivers and streams are polluted. Electric is unreasonably expensive, etc. So Why bother?

I spend $50,000 a year brought down from the U.S., or more, now. I am finished with this place. President Arias has guided decisions that make no sense for investors like luxury home taxes while most owners (Ticos) cheat all the time on their realty taxes.

My lovely house in Escazú is now on the market along with all my other properties in the country.

Fools in governments like those in San José can do a lot of damage by extraordinary short sighted "policy" measures. Besides the Caja is fiscally broke. Buying in is a suckers game.
Gordon Wolf
Escazú


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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, Nov. 14, 2008, Vol. 8, No. 227




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.


Mexican reporter dies
in shooting at his home


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

A top crime reporter for a Ciudad Juárez, México,
newspaper died Thursday morning the victim of assassins.

The reporter, Armando Rodriguez, was outside his home seated in his company car getting ready to drive his oldest daughter to school when the gunmen shot him. He worked for Diario de Juárez and was known as the man who kept close tabs on the waves of murders that are sweeping the city.

Ciudad Juárez is just south of El Paso, Texas.

Rodriguez
Armando Rodriguez
The reporter, known as "El Choco" to his colleagues worked 14 years for the newspaper covering police news.

The Interamerican Press Association said that Rodríguez was one of eight newspeople who received threats at the beginning of the year. Rodríguez moved for two months to El Paso for safety.

The press organization condemned the crime.

The reporter has written some 800 stories this year about crime in the city. A colleague said that he was the only reporter who kept track of the number of deaths.

Ciudad Juárez is a center for drug trafficking and also has seen a wave of murders of young women. More than 1,000 persons have died in Ciudad Juárez this year, according to a colleague, and more than 4,000 people have died this year in violence connected to criminal gangs in all of Mexico.
 

Development bank gets new chief

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Nick Rischbieth Glöe of Honduras has been named to a five-year term as executive president of the Banco Centroamericano de Integración Económica. He is from Honduras and holds a doctorate in finance from a German university.

The appointment by the board of directors of the development bank came after a competition involving candidates from five countries, including Costa Rica, the bank said. The board is made up of the ministers of finance of the member countries.

Rischbieth has worked with the bank since 1995 and is credited with raising the organization's credit rating.

He received his doctorate at the University of Hamburg, Germany, and also was awarded degrees at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, and at Rice University in Houston, Texas.

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