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(506) 2223-1327           Published Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2011, in Vol. 11, No. 227       Email us
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Project to validate property lines goes to Sala IV
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A citizen's group has filed a Sala IV constitutional court appeal against a $92 million program that was supposed to establish accurate property lines in the country.

The president of the group, Vianney Saborío Hernández, outlined to lawmakers Tuesday concerns over the project and said the job had been expanded without legislative approval.

She represents the Asociación Nacional para la Defensa de la Propiedad y la Seguridad Jurídica.

The project is being paid by a loan from the  Banco Interamericano de Desarrollo. The loan received approval in 2001, and the job was supposed to take five years. Instead, only a small
percentage of the job has been done, and the bulk of the money had been spent on administration, she told the Comisión Permanente Especial de Control de Ingreso y Gasto Público. In addition, the Banco Interamericano de Desarrollo has said the work is unsatisfactory, she added.

Her point was that the specifications of the job should not have been changed without legislative approval because lawmakers approved the loan in the first place.

The project was called  BID-CATASTRO, and the goal was to resolve property line problems of all real estate parcels in Costa Rica.

Many properties do not conform to the written description that is on file at the Registro Nacional and many properties overlap.

Immigration agent nabbed at airport in visa fraud
By Andrew Rulseh Kasper
of the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Costa Rican immigration police apprehended one of their own Tuesday morning at Juan Santamaría airport. The suspect, an immigration agent, faces a corruption allegation involving visas.

The suspect, identified with the last name of Gómez, falsified over the last several months the immigration movements of foreigners attempting to stay in Costa Rica illegally, said the Ministerio de Gobernación, Policía y Seguridad Pública.

Gómez did this by altering the entrance and departure logs maintained in the national database called SIMMEL, the ministry said.

Isolated discrepancies were discovered following an investigation sparked by an anonymous tip in June of this year, according to a news release. The investigation focused on instances since June in which Gómez legalized the status of the four immigrants from Columbia. But the tipster claimed that such activity had been going on since 2003, according to the ministry.

The special investigation unit of immigration police under the the direction of fraud prosecutors discovered specific inconsistencies between what was entered into the tracking system and the actual movements of the four Columbians, the ministry said. Officials said they determined that the immigrants involved hadn't actually traveled on the days they were documented in the system as having traveled; nor had the Columbians applied for visas to enter Costa Rica.

The ministry said in the press release that the investigation is still ongoing and that it is fundamental to clean the house.

The Dirección General de Migración y
immigration agent
Ministerio de Gobernación, Policía
y Seguridad Pública photo
The detained immigration agent is led to a vehicle that will carry him to a meeting with prosecutors.

Extranjería is an agency within the security ministry. There have been continual allegations of foreigners renewing tourist visas and other documents without making the obligatory trips outside the country. In some cases, foreigners from some countries require visas issued by Costa Rican consular officials to enter the country.

A.M. Costa Rica reported last year on the entry here of prostitutes from the Dominican Republic who said they paid part of a bribe at a side door of the immigration office in La Uruca.

Mario Zamora Cordero is the former director of immigration. He now is security minister. During his term at immigration, he oversaw the replacement of stamps used by immigration agents at entry and exit points of the country. The goal was to eliminate the illegal use of older rubber stamps and to put into service stamps that identified the agent who applied the mark to a passport.

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Twin cameras will watch
over Teatro Nacional patrons

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Teatro Nacional has amped up security by adding two high-tech cameras to buildings adjacent to the historic structure.

The year-long initiative was put into action Tuesday morning
with two cameras. One is on the former Galería Joaquín García Monge and is meant to capture images from the south and the east of the theater. The second camera is on the southeast roof of Gran Hotel Costa Rica and is meant to capture images from Plaza de la Cultura, the main entrance and the north side of the theater. The project began in 2010.

“It has happened a few times that visitors leave the theater late at night after a show and they get mugged right
camera watches theater
One of two cameras
outside, so these new cameras will benefit citizens,” said Mauricio Lizama Oliger, spokesperson for Teatro Nacional.

The installation and two Sony, model SNC-RS86N Outdoor, cameras cost 4,233,000 colons, about $8,400. The cameras are supposed to provide night vision, up to 400 meters zoom, and 360-degree surveillance. The Dirección de Seguridad Ciudadana and the Policía Municipal de San José are the agencies in charge of the 24-hour viewing of the area.

“This area will be protected all around,” said Lizama Oliger.

The cameras join others in the downtown area that are monitored by the municipal police.

Obligatory insurance rate
goes up in time for tax

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The nation's insurance regulator approved an increase in the obligatory vehicle insurance just hours before motorists could begin paying the road tax. The action was not a surprise because an increase had been sought.

The Superintendencia General de Seguros raised the amount for passenger cars from 11,677 colons to 15,903 colons. That's about 36.2 percent in a year when the inflation rate of the colon has been far less.

Other types of vehicles faced similar increases. Taxis went from 26,966 to 53,018 colons, about 43.4 percent.

The regulating agency said that the new rates were based on studies done by the Instituto Nacional de Seguros, probably the major player in the national insurance market. For the premium, which is included in the marchamo or road tax payment, the motorist received 6 million colons in coverage, about  $12,000. This mainly is for death, personal injury and hospitalization. Most expats purchase additional insurance.

Over the preceding three years, the rates actually have decreased, the insurance agency said in a release.

The marchamo has to be paid by Dec. 31 or motorists run the risk of a traffic ticket and late penalties. The tax is represented by a sticker on the windshield.

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

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San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2011, Vol. 11, No. 227
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An analysis of the news
To say the nation's finances are shaky is an understatement

By Daniel Woodall*
Special to A.M. Costa Rica

Deficit spending and the proposal to raise taxes have put Costa Rica on the world stage. A column in Sunday's edition of The Wall Street Journal compares fiscal policy in Costa Rica to the situations in Greece and Argentina. The writer, Mary Anastasia O’Grady, quotes the U. N. Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, which calculates the fiscal debt at 5.2 percent of gross domestic product for 2010. The figure earns Costa Rica the distinction of having the highest debt to gross domestic product ratio in Latin America for that year, she said.

The changes taking place with government spending in Costa Rica are recent trends. The previous Partido Liberación Nacional administration under Óscar Arias Sánchez expended the bureaucracy, and President Laura Chinchilla Miranda has increased spending on public security and education while introducing new social programs. An educational trust set up earlier this year authorized the government to borrow up to $168 million. Many of the new programs such as elder and day care centers have long-term funding requirements that go beyond the initial investments.

Ms. O’Grady blames the Inter-American Development Bank for offering loan packages that can only be paid with increased tax revenue. The same organization is to blame for helping former president Arias put together a $2 million political slush fund to support the North American Free Trade Agreement. The same bank gave Costa Rica an $850 million line of credit in 2008 for infrastructure projects and has pledged $500 million in loans for Central American nations to fight narcotics traffickers.

Costa Rica picked up another $132 million loan from the development bank earlier this year to upgrade prison facilities. Chinese banks are also interested in a piece of the debt market in Costa Rica, having offered $300 million in loans for the Reventazón hydroelectric project provided that a Chinese firm gets some of the work. The project is run by the Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad, which is an autonomous institution. However, the central government has not hesitated to fire executives who do not submit to the political will of the president.

A good example is Miguel Pacheco Ramírez, who was suspended from his position in December 2010, as director of the nation’s social security retirement fund. The suspension is set to expire next year, but Pacheco was forced into early retirement this month. His crime was sitting down with representatives of the International Monetary Fund with the goal of finding investments other than Costa Rican public debt for the pension fund.

The pension fund has $2.3 billion in assets on its balance sheet that are labeled as stocks, bonds and certificates. According to audited financials for December 2010, at least $1 billion is paper payable by the Costa Rican central government, and the rest are bonds issued through the central bank or tax agency. A marginal amount of $5 million is invested with banks in the private sector.

The last audited financial report appeared on the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social Web site in December, and now the institution only publishes internal reports. Even the government’s regulatory agency for pension funds cannot get detailed access to financial reports from the Caja. The director of the agency complained in August that the Caja would not receive the requests for information. The 
president of the Caja fired back by saying that the agency, the Superintendencia de Pensiones, is working to privatize the pension system in Costa Rica.

The pension fund, known as the Régimen de Invalidez, Vejez y Muerte, is a cause for concern because an internal report issued in July said that the pension fund is burning through its reserves. Projections for this year show the pension fund will run a deficit of $91 million, and experts disagree on when the fund will become insolvent.

Recent attention has been more frequently directed at the other social security fund, known as the Seguro de Enfermedad y Maternidad, which pays for the national healthcare system.

The same internal report projected that this fund will end the current year with a deficit of $193 million.

Financials for Seguro de Enfermedad y Maternidad show there is no multi-billion reserve fund as with the Régimen de Invalidez, Vejez y Muerte, and, instead, the majority of its assets are in the accounts receivable column, meaning it can only pay its obligations when payroll taxes are collected on time. The nation’s health care system fell substantially behind on payments to suppliers this year, and the biggest delinquent contributor was determined to be the central government. This is the same government that expanded its payroll by 20 percent under the Arias administration.

President Chinchilla made a big show of agreeing to pay the outstanding Caja debt of $241 million for public workers, but it was later revealed that the payment will consist of bonds issued by the central government. This latest round of debt pays an interest rate between 4 and 9 percent. Eventually it will have to be paid with future tax revenue.

Expats are encouraged to follow the problems in the Costa Rican social security system since legal residents are required to pay into the system under the terms of the immigration law. Not everyone is aware they are paying into both funds, although taking a look at the most recent receipt for the fund line items can quickly clear up any doubts.

Salaried workers contribute 9 percent of their income to payroll taxes in Costa Rica. Employers pay significantly more. The system is similar to Social Security in the United States, although is more than double the rate of 15.3 percent. There are no deductions or exemptions for payroll taxes, so a person earning a monthly salary of $500 and the employer are actually paying $167.50 in taxes. One of the solutions proposed to shore up the social security funds is an increase to those same payroll taxes.

Clearly taxing payroll carries a heavy burden on the backs of the working class and employers, especially at a time when employment ia growing slowly.

Wall Street Journal writer O'Grady condemns the government’s attempt to pass a value-added tax as coming down heavily on those who can afford it the least.

U. S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also warned at a summit on security earlier this year in Guatemala that, “true security cannot be built on the backs of the poor.”

It’s possible at least in Costa Rica that today’s increases in government will be paid by the children of the poor when the loans come due at the Inter-American Development Bank.

*Mr. Woodall is editor of Costa Rica Report

Tax plan probably headed for Sala IV constitutional court
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Lawmakers who oppose the value-added tax package of the Chinchilla administration are expected to move to send the measure to the Sala IV constitutional court for review.

At the very least, this will delay legislative action on the tax plan until early next year. In addition thousands of motions have been filed on the bill, and each one requires discussion and debate.

There also is the Christmas holiday when lawmakers do not meet.

Also in the Sala IV is the Asamblea Legislativa's expedited system of considering bills. The so-called fast track system came into being during debate over the free trade treaty with the United States and other nations. The rule prevented opposition lawmakers from tying up action forever with extended debate.

The rule limits debate in the general assembly called the plenario. Still, thousands of motions will take weeks to consider and vote, even if the final vote is not uncertain.
The Sala IV has yet to rule on the fast-track measure.

The constitutional court already has ruled on a separate tax on corporations, But by sending the measure to the Sala IV, opponents were able to delay final action for weeks. The bill already received initial approval, but it was sent back to committee to solve some minor problems specified by court magistrates. This is the bill that would assess each corporation slightly more than $300 a year. The measure was supposed to go into effect Jan. 1, and payments were supposed to be made by the middle of the month. That does not seem likely now.

The tax on corporations is designed to provide money for the central government for some security projects. Inactive corporations are supposed to be assessed half the amount of the bill for active corporations.

The Partido Liberación Nacional has made an agreement with the Partido Acción Ciudadana to support a revised tax measure advanced by President Laura Chinchilla Miranda. The coalition includes several independent lawmakers and appears to have enough votes to pass the tax bill if it ever reaches that point.

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San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2011, Vol. 11, No. 227
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Investigation launched in leak over Las Crucitas mine appeal
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Crucitas scandal grew Tuesday to a proportion that might mean the end of the entire project.

Moisés Fachler, a replacement magistrate, resigned by letter early Tuesday. He is the man named by others as having leaked a draft of a proposed Sala Primera court decision to Industrias Infinito S.A., the concession holder on the Las Crucitas mine in northern Costa Rica.

Our editorial . . . HERE!

The entire Corte Surpema de Justicia met in special session to appoint a magistrate to launch its own investigation. Appointed by a drawing was Julia Varela Araya, who is assigned to the Sala Secunda.

The Poder Judicial put out a brief statement from the nation's chief prosecutor. It mainly said that the details of the investigation would be kept confidential

William Méndez, a former Infinito employee sparked the scandal when he told Channel 7 Telenoticias that he was present when an unnamed magistrate presented Infinito officials and two persons representing the firm's Canadian corporate owner the draft of the decision.  Méndez would not name the magistrate, but others did.

Amigos de la Tierra Costa Rica, in a press release, identified  Fachler and noted that he was the former treasurer of the Partido Liberación Nacional, the party of former president
Óscar Arias Sánchez and the current president, Laura Chinchilla Miranda. Arias supported the mine and issued a special decree saying the project was important to the country.

The court action involved is an appeal of a decision by the  Tribunal Contencioso Admistrativo to annul the concession held by Infinito based on what was determined to be failings in the approval process.

So far, the contents of the Sala Primera draft have not been made public. However, Amigos de la Tierra said that leaking the draft was a clear effort to prejudice the actions of the Sala Primera and lay the groundwork for an international arbitration case.

The Las Crucitas mine has been controversial because of anticipated environmental damage. The company has not been very aggressive in its public relations.

Tuesday it put out a brief statement that said the firm was sadden by the situation and said the image of the company has been affected because it was exposed to media attention without foundation. It said it would collaborate with the investigation.

The firm did not deny the allegations, and company officials could face investigation themselves depending on the circumstances under which the officials received the draft.

Meanwhile, the Sala Primera is trying to prevent having the entire appeal process overturned due to the leak.  Anabelle León, president of that section of the Corte Suprema, said earlier that the leak would not derail the decision by the court.

There seems to be a renewed interest in heavenly angels
By the University of Michigan news services

Angels are everywhere today – on lapel pins, magnetic dashboard figures, keepsake ornaments, and in a Pulitzer Prize-winning play.  But interest in angels is more than a contemporary fad.  According to a University of Michigan historian, angels stirred intense interest in the early years of Christianity as well.   

“Just as many people today think of pets as part of their families, many people in the first five hundred years of Christianity were convinced that angels were part of their lives,” says Ellen Muehlberger, an assistant professor of Near Eastern studies and history at the University of Michigan College of Literature, Science, and the Arts.

Various types of angels are named, but not defined, in the Bible, and Christians worked out what angels did and what they were during the Fourth and Fifth centuries, according to Professor Muehlberger, who is writing a book on angels in late ancient times. An author living in Syria around the year 500 organized what little was known about angels into a celestial hierarchy: Seraphim, Cherubim, Thrones, Dominions, Virtues, Authorities, Principalities, Archangels, and Angels.   

In late antiquitym the identity of angels was much broader than what it is now:  some Christians spoke of Christ as an angel or suggested that Christian ascetic monks who renounced family, food, drink, and sex and lived out in the desert were really angels.  But according to Professor Muehlberger, when the Egyptian monks learned they were being considered angels, they emphatically rejected the idea.  “They said, ‘We act like animals, not angels,’” says Professor Muehlberger. The monastic emphasis on humility was in direct conflict with the reputation ascetics had as special, holy people, equal to the angels, she explains. 

Exactly how angels looked and acted, and what humans could do to gain or lose their help was a frequent topic of debate, according to the professor.

Most people did not envision angels looking the way they are imagined today – as beautiful winged creatures in diaphanous gowns.  “In antiquity, some Christians believed that angels were minds, or intellects, detached from bodies,” says Professor Muehlberger.  “In a way, angels were like computers – very, very good at figuring things out and getting things done because they had rational minds but did 

not have the difficulty of having desires and passions, like humanity.”   

One of the most widespread modern notions about angels emerged in the late ancient era of Christianity that Professor  Muehlberger is studying.  In those times, while some Christians assumed that guardian angels protected all human beings, others were convinced that angels were only given to those who had demonstrated their virtue. These were called companion angels, and not everyone had one. 

“Certain monks in late ancient Egypt didn’t believe that they were born with a guardian angel who watched over them throughout their lives,” she said.  “Instead, they expected to get a companion angel only as a reward for virtuous behavior,” she explained.  “Your companion angel was an assistant who could help you fight off demons, and only arrived if you proved yourself worthy.  But if you went away from the community, into the village, and engaged in “worldly” activities, that companion angel might leave you.”  
While non-Christians also believe in angels, Professor Muehlberger says that the belief is especially prevalent today in Christianity, especially in the United States  “North American Christianity has always been innovative, adaptive, and diverse,” says Professor Muehlberger.  “I see the contemporary interest in angels as an example of this.”

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 2011 and may not be reproduced anywhere without permission. Abstracts and fair use are permitted.  Check HERE for details

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San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2011, Vol. 11, No. 227
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Medical vacations in Costa Rica

Former Mexico City mayor
readies for presidential run

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Former Mexico City mayor Andres Manuel López Obrador says he will make another run for the presidency in 2012, six years after he narrowly lost the last election.

The 58-year-old leftist made the comment Tuesday after winning an opinion poll released by his party, the Partido de la Revolución Democrática.  The poll asked 6,000 supporters of left-wing candidates whether they preferred him or Mexico City Mayor Marcelo Ebrard.

In 2006, López Obrador was defeated by current President Felipe Calderón, who is constitutionally barred from seeking a second, six-year term next year.

López Obrador contested his loss, claiming vote fraud and charging that then-president Vicente Fox used the power of his office to support Calderón.  Mexico's electoral tribunal rejected López Obrador's claims.  López Obrador staged massive protests in the capital after the election.

Tuesday's announcement comes a day after preliminary results showed that the main opposition party, the Partido Revolucionario Institucional had won the governor's race in Michoacan, President Calderon's home state.  Its candidate, Fausto Vallejo, defeated the president's sister, Luisa Maria Calderón, of the ruling Partido Acción Nacional.  The Partido de la Revolución Democrática candidate, Silvano Aureoles, placed third following Sunday's vote.  Revolución Democrática has governed Michoacan for the past decade.

The Partido Revolucionario Institucional lost the presidency in 2000 to Fox after governing Mexico for 71 years.  Observers say the election outcome is set to boost the Partido Revolucionario Institucional ahead of next year's elections, which its likely candidate, Enrique Pena Nieto, currently is tipped to win.

Michoacan is the base of the drug cartel known as La Familia and is the region where a drug gang calling itself Knights Templar has emerged.  The president's sister had complained that armed gangs intimidated voters in some areas, while Aureoles, in a television interview, accused the Partido Revolucionario Institucional of working with cartels.  Vallejo was quoted as saying his supporters were subjected to threats as well.

The vote was dominated by concerns about security. 

An estimated 45,000 people have been killed in drug-related violence since President Calderon took office in late 2006 and began a crackdown on the cartels.

Economic problems put
shadow on universal euro

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

As Europe grapples with its financial crisis, ambivalence is growing among many Europeans about the region's common currency.

After choosing a common anthem — Beethoven's "Ode to Joy" — the European Union introduced another symbol to draw its members closer — a common currency. Launched a decade ago, the euro is now used by 17 European nations, making banking and travel easier for many of their citizens.

Today, though, the euro is a symbol of division. Sovereign debt and banking problems that began in Greece have spread to other eurozone countries, sparking protests and bringing down several governments — most recently Italy's.

Even in Brussels, the administrative heart of the European Union, citizens like George Missikos are thinking twice about the European currency.

Missikos believes life was cheaper before the euro. With the old Belgian franc, Belgians could spend and still have money in their pockets. Today, he said, they spend, and their pockets are empty.

In neighboring Netherlands, 49-year-old Amsterdam native Ans van Hilten has mixed feelings about the euro.

"It's easy when you go on holidays — Spain, Germany — we pay with the same money. Then we know how much it costs. We had the Dutch money, the florin. This is more expensive, the euro. Most people want to go back. But I think when we go back, it's not the same."

But for some countries — notably Greece — the euro's days may be limited. Polls show many Greeks still support the euro. Eurozone leaders argue it is essential the eurozone remain intact. But arguments are also growing that exiting the eurozone might be the best option for Athens.

Analyst Simon Tilford, chief economist for the Center for European Reform, said such a scenario cannot be ruled out.

"If a country were to opt to leave the eurozone, the rest of the eurozone would have to make sure that process was a relatively controlled one… the problem with that is the smoother the transition into non-euro status, the greater the attractiveness of that option for other eurozone economies. And therefore, it risks a sort of knock-on effect, a chain effect," said Tilford.

But Philippe Moreau Defarges of the Paris-based French Institute for International Affairs predicts the eurozone will remain intact.

"I think today, the euro is a lifeboat. Of course, everybody wants to leave, everybody would like not to be in this lifeboat. But the euro is the only lifeboat," said Defarges.

Austerity measures enacted by European governments are sharpening ambivalence about the euro and about the eurozone as a whole. That is the case in France, where recent budget cuts sent thousands of people to the streets in protest.

But 70-year-old retiree Henri Souques, who joined demonstrations in Paris, said the euro should not be blamed for Europe's problems.

Souques said with a common market, Europe needs a common currency. The euro, he said, is not a handicap.
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Sala IV appeal targets
former School of Americas

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A local lawyer has filed a Sala IV constitutional court appeal to keep Costa Rican police from attending courses at the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation in the United States.

The institute used to be known as the School of the Americas, and was considered by some a training ground for dictators and illegal military tactics.

The person making the appeal was identified by the Poder Judicial Tuesday as Luis Roberto Zamora Bolaños. He is a lawyer. The appeal said that by sending police officers here to the school at Fort Benning, Georgia, that country is attacking his right to peace.

The former director of the Fuerza Pública, Walter Navarro Romero, spent time as an instructor at the institute after he left the job here. He has returned as a vice minister of security.

Press group concerned
at editor's hunger strike

Special to A.M. Costa Rica

The Inter American Press Association has expressed concern for the health of Leocenis García, publisher of the Venezuelan weekly newspaper Sexto Poder, who has been on a hunger strike for the past six days at the Caracas headquarters of the Bolivarian National Intelligence Service political police.  García is requesting due legal processes and his release during court proceedings.

García turned himself in to face charges of public instigation to hatred, defamation of a public official, and a gender-based public violation due to the Aug. 21 publication in Sexto Poder of a satirical photo montage mocking several women who hold senior positions in President Hugo Chávez’s administration. García has remained in preventive custody since Aug. 30 at the offices of the Bolivarian National Intelligence Service.

Milton Coleman, senior editor of The Washington Post, Washington, D.C., said “It is unfortunate that a journalist must go on a hunger strike to highlight the right to express opinions about public officials that hold public office thanks to the People, including journalists, who might have voted for them.” He is president of the Inter American Press Association.

Coleman added that “cases like the one involving Sexto Poder lead to self-censorship and deprive citizens from expressing their opinions about the individuals chosen to represent them in a democracy. It should be left to the people and the press, not to the government, to decide when opinions about government officials exceed the limit of what is appropriate.”

The Inter American Press Association also condemned the armed attack on the offices of the newspaper El Siglo de Torreón in Coahuila state that occurred early Tuesday

Executives of the newspaper said that at around 2:40 a.m., three people riding two automobiles parked their vehicles outside the building’s main door, set fire to one of cars, and began shooting at the building. No injuries were reported.

This was the third attack on the newspaper chain El Siglo. In 2009, El Siglo de Torreón and El Siglo de Durango plants were also shot at, causing damage and panic.

The La Laguna region, comprised by the states of Coahuila and Durango, has been ravaged by organized crime, leading to self-censorship due to attacks on media outlets, and threats, abduction and the murder of journalists, the press organization said.

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