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(506) 2223-1327           Published Friday, Nov. 18, 2011, in Vol. 11, No. 229       Email us
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Costa Rican tamales come in pairs of two. A bottle of Bavaria Blue is an added treat.

tamal and beer
A.M. Costa Rica/Zach McDonald

Costa Rica does not have a monopoly on the tamal
By Shahrazad Encinias
of the A.M. Costa Rica staff

As the end-of-the-year holidays approach, different countries begin to prepare their comida tipica, and for Central America the popular dish is the tamal.

It is usually served as the main course for Christmas. A tamal is made out of masa from maize, stuffed with a piece of meat and wrapped in a leaf. In the United States, the better known tamale is the Mexican one, made with very thick masa or dough and wrapped in corn husk. In Central America, there is a slight difference in tamales with the Mexican ones. Tamales here usually are cooked in a plantain or banana leaf wrapping.

There is no universal tamal among the seven countries in Central America. Each one has its own version of the traditional dish. The differences coincide with the size, the ingredients, the preparation and, of course, the taste.

According to Flor de Monroy, master Costa Rican and Guatemalan cook, the hardest tamales to make are from Guatemala. The Costa Rican native also said that Guatemalan tamales are much tastier than the ones from her country. There are not any known Guatemalan restaurants in Costa Rica, so a spokesperson for the Guatemalan Embassy recommended Ms. De Monroy. She broke down the recipes on how to make the perfect Costa Rican tamal and Guatemalan tamal colorado, so called because of the red sauce ingredient.

Costa Rica

She said the plantain leaf and the masa can be purchased already made at various groceries and markets which make it easy to make a Costa Rican tamal. She said to lay the plantain leaf on a flat surface, grab a handful of masa and flatten it onto the leaf, then add a pinch of cooked rice and a garbanzo bean. Some people add an egg and an olive to the middle of the tamal.

She said when the tamal is formed, the cook folds up the leaf with all the ingredients inside, ties it up tightly with string. Costa Ricans tie up the tamales in a piña, two-in-two, then boil them in a pot of hot water. Mrs. de Monroy said a cook has to make sure the tamales are tied up tightly, otherwise the masa will seep out into the water. The commercial pre-made ones purchased at a grocery have a decorative strand of carrot on top of the tamal.
Commercial production centers on the town of Aserrí where completed tamales are steamed over a wood fire. Later they are reheated by purchasers just before eating, Purists reject the use of microwaves and say that this can dry out the tamal. They use more boiling water.

The Costa Rican tamal usually is accompanied by salsa lizano or another of the commercial, bottled sauces.

Guatemala

Unlike the simplicity of the Costa Rican tamal, the one from the Mayan country includes a lot more vegetables and spices. And the tamal has its own sauce. Guatemalans include the ingredients of pan frances (a local mini French bread) and a recado, the special sauce, to their tamal. But first, once the masa is made or purchased, it has to be soaked with rice, then stirred together. Finally the broth from the meat is added. The broth is not obligatory, but for a stronger taste, the cooked meat juice comes from either chicken or pork.

The recado can't be bought, so it has to be made from scratch. The ingredients needed are cooked or grilled red tomatoes, miltomates (tiny green tomatoes), onion, chile dulce, chile pasa, chiles guaqueres, sesame seeds, pepitoria (a dark red spice), and a stick of cinnamon.  All of these are mixed together in a blender until a red liquid is produced. Then the cook boils it. Some like to let pan frances, a small piece of bread unlike the long North American French loaf, soak in the sauce until it is soggy and then blend it into the sauce for a thicker recado.

Once the masa and the recado are made, the time is ripe to create the tamal. The plantain leaf is placed on a flat surface, a handful of masa is flattened into a thick tortilla, a chunk of meat is placed in the middle of the masa, and the recado is drizzled onto the meat and the masa. Two slivers of red bell peppers are placed parallel along with an olive and a caper on the masa.

Finally, the leaf is folded and tied up with twine, similar to a Christmas present. The single tamal is then boiled in a hot pot of water.

These recipes are by Ms. De Monroy. She is married to a Guatemalan and learned how to cook Chapin or Guatemalan  when she lived in the country for many years.
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A.M. Costa Rica's professional directory is where business people who wish to reach the English-speaking community may invite responses. If you are interested in being represented here, please contact the editor.


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Our reader's opinion
Final judgment on mine
rests with policy makers


Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

Your Crucitas editorial is interesting on several levels.  First, you reflexively supported the project because approval had been granted but then rescinded. You find this a breach of fair contract, but that’s flawed policy making.  Public officials have an interest in safeguarding the public interest.  If those officials decide that the public’s desires or needs have changed, then they have a right to change prior decisions – with proper compensation for lost opportunity for the company. That last qualifier is necessary for any functioning business environment.

Second, you can’t compare open pit gold mining and underground gold mining. They’re after two different kinds of gold and have vastly different environmental impacts. Underground gold mining is going after veins of gold that are easily exploitable. The reason you can’t do that in the Crucitas or Buena Vista case is because the gold is microscopic in size. You need to gather tons of rock, crush it, and dissolve the gold using chemicals like cyanide and then reprocess the chemical liquid to remove the gold.  That’s why there’s a huge physical footprint, chemical footprint, and greater environmental disruption.  You treat underground gold as well, but not on the same scale.

The question is whether it’s in the interest of Costa Rica to allow open pit gold mines, given the climate, mountainous terrain, demands on water use, and impact on sensitive environments and waterways.  I toured Buena Vista a few years ago, after the landslide destroyed their million dollar gold processing facility and shut down the mine, and a careful examination of the slide’s cause showed that building a mine on the side of a mountain in rainy Costa Rica is a very poor idea.

There are too many unknowables and potential risks.  With that mine, the engineers really thought that they knew everything about the location beforehand. But it turned out that a very old and undetected land fault was just waiting for the right rainy season disturbance to slide – and it did.  Luckily, the company took the right steps to leach out the cyanide from the leaching pad before the main slide happened, when they detected minor ground movement. But that was really luck, because the major slide didn’t happen right away, but was preceded by slight ground movement. 

There was a possibility that the hillside could have given way quickly, without the minor movement to give warning to the engineers that something was happening.  The point is that there are risks that sometimes can’t be foreseen by engineers in such an environment.  Prudent policy making might question allowing an open pit mine in such surroundings.

Crucitas is not as hilly, and it’s much more remote from population areas. However, it’s very close to the Rio San Juan, which could have major national and international implications if there’s an accident. Given the chemicals needed for processing the gold there and the potential for a spill, it’s reasonable for Costa Rican policy makers to be very careful about agreeing to a mine there.  That’s not to pre-judge whether it should or shouldn’t happen. That’s for Costa Rican’s and their politicians to decide.  However, at a minimum, any such operation should only go ahead with a full understanding of the worst-case scenario risks and a large company bond in place in order to deal with any potential disasters.

All of this has little to do with the current controversy, and that’s the way it should be. We shouldn’t let the actions of the judge and any company officials confuse the issues at hand when deciding whether to allow open-pit mining in Costa Rica’s sensitive habitats.  Those criminal acts can be handled with the laws and procedures already on the books.

Finally, there’s another reason to fully investigate and prosecute this current breach of law – it could have potentially led to serious stock fraud.  A decision to postpone or allow the mine would have had important share price implications for Infinito Gold (which is listed in Toronto on the TSX: IG), allowing those with advance knowledge of the court decision to profit in the stock market. Serious money is at play here, and serious money could have been made illegally with advance knowledge of this decision.  Stock market regulators in Canada should also begin an investigation here to see if anyone was preparing to profit by the impending court case.

Tom Deligiannis
University of Western Ontario

 
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.
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A.M. Costa Rica's
Third newspage
Light speed
San José, Costa Rica, Friday, Nov. 18, 2011, Vol. 11, No. 229
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Expat accident victim languished during Caja doctors strike
By Zack McDonald
of the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A quick trip to the AM/PM left Ed Hansen, a former policeman from Atlanta, stranded for days without necessary medical attention in Hospital Calderón Guardia while Caja Costarricense medical staff members were on strike.

Last Saturday morning Hansen was struck by a motorcycle as he crossed Avenida 7 in front of Casa Amarilla, to get breakfast for his girlfriend and kids. The motorcycle kept going while Hansen was left writhing in the street with three broken bones in his leg.

Hansen said he knew he needed surgery.

¨I didn´t see him,¨ Hansen said. ¨I got hit pretty good. Now there´s nothing holding my leg on.¨

He was taken to Hospital Calderón Guardia where, unaware of the anesthesiologists strike, he stayed for five days with no treatment.

After realizing he was not going to receive speedy treatment, he asked to be transferred to Hospital Hotel La Católica in Goicoechea where he said he had to put down a $400 deposit for a room with no guarantee of being provided care.
Hansen said the doctors there told him his injuries were definitely serious and that he could not walk or be moved anywhere else -- not even by plane, ruling out the possibility of being transported out of the country.

The doctors also told him they needed $10,000 before they could treat his injuries. He has Kaiser Permanente medical coverage from the United States.

¨The doctors said from their experience in the past with Kaiser they would need the money upfront to do the procedure,¨ Hansen said. ¨And Kaiser would reimburse me.¨

Hansen agreed to pay $1,000 dollars to the hospital to get approval for the surgery while the administrative staff negotiated the remainder of the bill with Kaiser.

Around 3 p.m. Thursday, Kaiser and Hospital Católica workers reached an agreement, and a doctor told Hansen he was approved for the procedure. However, no one provided him with specifics such as when the surgery would take place. He said he was left again, wondering what was next.
Finally, Hansen was taken in for surgery around 7 p.m. Thursday. He commented on his ordeal:

¨I don´t advise anyone to come to Costa Rica without consulting their insurance company. Anybody can be hit.¨


Trans-Atlantic racing boat winner closes in on Limón
By Andrew Rulseh Kasper
of the A.M. Costa Rica staff

With a little over 100 miles of Atlantic blue between the front running sailing ship and Puerto Limón Thursday night, team Virbac-Paprec 3 is expected to win the transatlantic sailing race called the Transat Jacques Vabre.

The 4,500 mile race began in Le Havre, France, more than two weeks ago, and the two-man Virbac-Paprec 3 team, barring any catastrophic problems, was expected to arrive on Costa Rican shores late Thursday night or early this morning.

The next closest racing team in the same category, a boat sponsored by Hugo Boss, was more than 100 miles behind the leaders Thursday night.

If team Virbac-Paprec 3 stays on course, the win could mark the third first-place finish for racer Jean Pierre Dick and possibly set a record for the route, which also ended in Limón in 2009. Previously, the racers either finished in Columbia or Brazil.

But after the first round of boats sails into Limón, the race is not over. Still out to sea are two other classification of sailboats, distinguished by varying sizes and builds, many of which won't arrive until the weekend.

This years race was highlighted by erratic weather, which delayed the start by three days and badly damaged the field of multi-hull boats which are less stable than their monohull counterparts. Only two of the original six boats remain after early inclement weather forced many to turn around. Some had to be rescued by Portuguese responders.
boat race winner
Transat Jacques Vabre photo
This is a file photo of the race leader, Virbac Paprec 3.

Another boat reported having wasted more than an hour after being approached by coast guard vessels and interrogated over the radio.

To welcome the racers in Port Limón is a cultural event of Caribbean roots called the Wa'apin Fest, promoted by the Instituto Costarricense de Turismo.

The gathering will take place on today and Saturday and feature music, Caribbean arts and crafts, food and a celebration to greet the boaters. The events are open to the public.


Helping the community also includes your entertainment
Last week I wrote about taking the opportunity to help your community and your country (your extended community) by buying locally, either locally made goods or services provided by local people.  This is a reminder that you can include entertainment as well.  Nothing could be more local than musicians and actors who live in your community.

Among the theaters in town is the Laurence Olivier Theater, the home of the Little Theatre Group of Costa Rica.  Participants in Little Theatre include both expats and Ticos.   Surprise someone or widen their experience by giving them a ticket or gift certificate to a play.  You can accomplish two good deeds if you give a gift of a ticket to this weekend’s performance of Neil Simon’s “Laughter on the 23rd Floor,” which is sponsored by the Women’s Club of Costa Rica to raise money to help finance young Tico educational needs.  The play opens tonight.  You can call 2268-2182 for reservations for Sunday or the box office at 8858-1446 for information about the run.

One of the joys of living in the city is the accessibility of music, the arts and live theater.  This increases as we get older.  We have the time to enjoy the cultural part of life without having to drive long ways to do so.

In their latest newsletter, Gloria and Paul Yeatman list 10 reasons why they chose and are happy living in the charming small town of San Ramón de Alajuela.  Over the years I have written about why I choose San José.  One of the reasons is connected to what I mentioned above. But there are others.

The Yeatmans didn’t mention their love of having all kinds of undomesticated animal life nearby.  One reason I didn’t choose a small town or the country is that at this stage of my life, I have enough on my plate understanding the behavior of my fellow humans. My daughter, who lives in a small town in New Mexico, had, within the course of one evening, visits from a snake and a scorpion. I’m delighted and fulfilled by the colorful and demanding birds that gobble up the ripe bananas I put out for them. Over time they have learned that it is better to cooperate 
Butterfly in the City
 
. . .  Musings from San José

By Jo Stuart
jostuart@amcostarica.com

Jo Stuart

with one another to get their share.

I have learned to respect the intelligence of birds and, by extension, that of other animals, but, I am happy to respect them from afar. So the other morning just as I was waking up and sitting up in my bed, I thought I saw a squirrel in my hallway.  I rubbed my eyes.  I didn’t recall ever dreaming about squirrels. This would be a first.  Except I was awake.  The squirrel disappeared down the hallway.  I got up and went in search of him. And there he was in the kitchen scrambling at the window above the rack of drying dishes on my sink drain board.  He was trying to get through one of the louvers of the window.  But they were closed, and he was growing frantic. I didn’t try to approach him to help because I knew he was too upset to accept my aid peacefully.

 I could almost feel his mind working as mine was. He came in through a louver, so that was how he was going to get out, but not through this one.  He jumped off the ledge and scampered down the hall to my study with me not far behind.  I recalled, at the same time he realized, that it was a window in my study that I had forgotten to close.  He had found his freedom by the time I reached the window.  So I closed it and went about picking up his fear drops and rewashing the dishes in the rack.  I think that squirrel would be happier in San Ramón.

Yes, I think I will limit my observation to the antics of humans, and from past experience, I know that Neil Simon can reveal some very funny antics people are prone to, and with Tom Humes as director and Lisa de Fuso producing, this production should let us laugh at our funnier sides.

Wherever you live, laughing is available and good for you.

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A.M. Costa Rica's
Fourth news page
renes law firm
San José, Costa Rica, Friday, Nov. 18, 2011, Vol. 11, No. 229
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Marijuana growing operation
Judicial Investigating Organization photo
Agents said that the marijuana plants were of many sizes
U.S. woman among those held in marijuana-growing operation
By Andrew Rulseh Kasper
of the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Judicial Investigating Organization agents said they caught a  U.S. citizen in the middle of a large-scale marijuana-growing operation when they raided her boyfriend's house in southern San José province Wednesday.

The law enforcement operation nabbed more than 427 plants, ranging between two inches and three feet in height, growing lamps, a motorcycle and electronics as evidence, according to agency reports.

Agents also arrested U.S. citizen Jaime Lee Mead, 26, her boyfriend and owner of the house, Diego Villalobos Solis, 31, and three other male suspects, a spokesperson for the judicial police confirmed. The arrests and seizures were the culmination of an eight-month investigation, agents said.

Officials said all five were working in collaboration to run the hydroponic growing enterprise, which consisted of two large growing rooms, stores of seeds, machines for vacuum-packing the marijuana and several freezers for storing the packages. The air-tight parcels contained unique labels identifying the goods with names such Black Diesel, Dragon, Orange and Skunk.
indoor field of marijuana
Judicial Investigating Organization photo
Indoor field of marijuana


Official estimate the street value of the marijuana and the equipment apprehended from the house in Pérez Zeledón to be about 35,000,000 colons, about $70,000.


President creates jobs program for 5,000 unemployed persons
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The president created by decree Thursday a jobs program that will benefit some 5,000 unemployed persons over the next year by putting them to work in what officials said were community projects, training programs and other socially productive jobs.

The project is called Manos a la Obra or”hands to work” and will be supported by a 3 billion colon investment by the Instituto Mixto de Ayuda Social, the nation's major anti-poverty agency.

The program comes as President Laura Chinchilla Miranda is trying to get a major tax increase passed in the legislature to offset a ballooning central government deficit.

The program also comes after the announcement of static unemployment figures for the country by the Instituto Nacional de Estadisticas y Censo.

The program price tag in dollars is about $6 million. The individual direct payments will range from 50,000 to 100,000 colons a month, said Casa Presidencial.

That's about $100 to $200.
In addition, the government will provide an initial bonus for the purchase of tools, protective equipment or uniforms if they are not provided by the entity giving the participant a job. The government also will reimburse the participant for a personal workmen's compensation insurance policy if one is not otherwise provided, and health insurance. The government also will provide training with the goal of putting the participant in the workforce after completion of the program, said Casa Presidencial.

The projects of community interest will be under the direction of municipalities, community development organizations, infant care facilities, rural water companies and other emergency, welfare and cooperatives, said Casa Presidencial. The Ministerio de Trabajo also has some programs that will accept participants, officials said.

The survey by the Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Censo that was released Monday showed a tiny rise in unemployment from 7.3 percent in 2010 to 7.7 percent this year. Some 6.4 percent of householders were in extreme poverty, the survey report said. However, the unemployment increase was within the error range of the survey and was not significant statistically, the institute report said.


UCR academic will help Kansas mark 50 years of Latin ties
Special to A.M. Costa Rica

The nationally recognized University of Kansas Center of Latin American Studies this week will celebrate its 50th anniversary with a conference Saturday on the Lawrence campus.

Panelists will discuss topics that include career choices in Latin American studies, the field research experience and the future of Latin American Studies in a global context. Featured panelists include alumni, University of Kansas faculty and faculty from universities in Latin America with ties to the center.

The keynote speaker is Maria Eugenia Bozzoli, who is emeritus professor and vice chancellor at the University of Costa Rica. The professor is a 1958 Kansas graduate.

The interdisciplinary center was established in 1961 as the Latin American Area Program. The establishment of the  program was designed to equip students with knowledge to face political, economic, sociological and geographical realities of the late 20th century. The center still strives to serve those
 ideals, now with Title VI funding from the U.S. Department of Education, the university said.

Since geography professor John P. Augelli was appointed the center’s first director in 1961, the program has continued to grow and expand. The university's strong ties to the University of Costa Rica have continued, and the center’s connections have expanded in Mexico, the Caribbean and South America, the university said. The center has also seen an increase in the number of students choosing to major and minor in the program, it added.

The darkest time for the university came May 13, 2001, when Shannon Martin, a Kansas student, was murdered brutally near Golfito. She came to Costa Rica to conduct six days of additional environmental research for her senior year thesis.
She was supposed to graduate a few days after her death. She was staying with a host family in Golfito, and the crime happened between a bar and the host family home. The woman had spent time in Costa Rica under a University of Kansas program earlier. A local woman was convicted in the murder.

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A.M. Costa Rica's
Fifth news page
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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, Nov. 18, 2011, Vol. 11, No. 229
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Medical vacations in Costa Rica

Cholera in Haiti called
worst in recent history


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The United States' most prominent public health agency is calling the cholera epidemic in Haiti the worst cholera outbreak in recent history.  The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says cholera continues to spread across Haiti a year after it was first identified, despite better access to clean water.  This report comes as the United Nations faces a lawsuit for alleged unsanitary conditions at a U.N. base that may have introduced cholera into Haiti. At a cholera clinic in Haiti, just a few kilometers from where the cholera outbreak in Haiti is thought to have begun, there is pain and worry.

She stands in the morning heat.  The pregnant woman who identifies herself as Susan won't give her real name because of the stigma of her disease.  She walked and rode motorcycles for six hours to arrive at this cholera treatment center.

“I was really worried this morning, especially when I was walking because I was really concerned I might lose the baby," said Susan. "So I knew I had to get here and see what result I had.”

Cholera can kill within hours by depleting body fluids through uncontrollable diarrhea and vomiting. Susan's sister also has it. Doctors know exactly how cholera spreads.  Some Haitians don't, like Susan's mother.

"Only God knows what causes cholera," said 'Susan's' mother.

The cause is contaminated water.

And a U.N. panel of experts has traced it back to Nepalese peacekeepers at this U.N. base.

The disease has sickened nearly half a million Haitians in the past year, and killed more than 6,500.  During the height of the rainy season, patients here were three to a bed.

Just down the road from the treatment center is the Latem River, where the first cases of cholera were reported.  It flows into the l’Artibonite River, the largest in Haiti, spreading the disease within days to rural areas with no access to clean water.”

"You will see people bathing in the river, doing their laundry in the river, drinking from the river, bathing their animals and having them drink in the river," said Cate Oswald.

Cate Oswald is with Partners in Health, the group that runs the center.  It and another organization, GHESKIO, want to begin a cholera vaccination pilot program in January.   But other groups argue a $900,000 price tag is too costly, and it would only reach 1 per cent of the population. Others worry the Haitian effort will deplete the global vaccine supply. 

So, meantime, the centers train Haitians to treat drinking water with chlorine tablets and to practice good hygiene. But Jean William Pape, a physician with GHESKIO, says those actions often do not continue at home.

“You tell people to wash their hands," said Pape. "They don’t have enough water to drink.  How are they going to wash their hands?”

Back at the treatment center, Susan feels her baby moving.  She will leave in a couple days to return to her home high up in these mountains. There, she has no access to indoor plumbing or latrines.


Venezuela detains suspects
in baseballer's abduction


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Venezuelan officials say eight suspects have been charged in the kidnapping of Washington Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos in his native country, less than a week after he was rescued.

Officials say six suspects directly involved in Ramos kidnapping face weapons charges after he was taken at gunpoint outside his parents' house in Valencia.

Prosecutors are charging two other suspects as accomplices for providing Ramos' alleged kidnappers with food.

Two days after his kidnapping, Venezuelan security forces rescued Ramos in the mountainous region of Montalban.

Ramos told the media the forces who freed him in an exchange of gunfire did a great job.

The baseball star told Venezuela's Globovision television that his abductors had not harmed him physically, but had greatly hurt him psychologically. He said he would start playing baseball again as soon as he felt better. 

Ramos had recently returned to his homeland to play with his winter league team, the Aragua Tigers. 

Relatives of U.S. major league players have been kidnapped in Venezuela in recent years, but not players themselves.


Mexican officials report
arrest of top Zeta leader


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Mexican authorities have arrested a suspected leader of the country's Zetas drug cartel.

Officials said Thursday that Alfredo Aleman Narvaez, known as “The German Commander,” was arrested at a horse race he organized in the northern state of Zacatecas. He is accused of trafficking marijuana both in Mexico and the United States.

The announcement comes one day after U.S. authorities uncovered a major drug smuggling tunnel under the border with Mexico and seized 14 tons of marijuana during searches related to an investigation.

Officials say the cross-border tunnel was about 400 meters long and connected warehouses in Tijuana, Mexico and an industrial park in the San Diego, California area. The investigators also say the tunnel, which was discovered Tuesday, was equipped with structural supports, electricity and a ventilation system. The multi-agency San Diego Tunnel Task Force is conducting the investigation. Two arrests were made in the case.

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Latin America news
More complexity develops
in Crucitas blame game

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Crucitas case became even more complex Thursday when an untraceable email with wide distribution accused another Sala Primera magistrate of having leaked a draft of a proposed decision on the northern Costa Rica open pit mine project.

The magistrate, Román Solís, participated in an afternoon press conference in which he strongly denied any participation in the leak. He said the persons who did the email were trying to destroy the Poder Judicial. Many workers there got the same email, as did A.M. Costa Rica editors. The message seems to have come from a fictitious server and carried the name of an unknown entity, the Grupo Institucionalidad Costa Rica.

Anabelle León, president of the Sala Primera, accompanied Solís at the press conference. Contrary to what the email message reported, Solís said he has had nothing to do with the draft of the decision on an appeal by Industrias Infinito S.A. of a lower court ruling annulling the firm's mining concession. He said Carmen María Escoto, another magistrate, was in charge of preparing the decision.

Solís said he contacted prosecutors and asked for an investigation of the email.

At the legislature Thursday, Néstor Manrique Oviedo Guzmán, a lawmaker with the Partido Acción Ciudadana, said he was livid and embarrassed about the Crucitas mining scandal. He spoke at the afternoon meeting of the full body. He called the incident a tragedy. He also said that foreign investment is bad for the country at this moment.

Infinito is a local subsidiary of a Canadian mining firm. Prosecutors also are looking into who delivered copies of the proposed court decision to lawyers and company officials of Infinito and the Canadian parent company.

The Poder Judicial said Wednesday that the nation's chief prosecutor had summoned a former Sala Primera magistrate to appear to give statement.

The former magistrate is Moisés Fachler, a politically connected lawyer. He denies that he is the person who leaked the document. A former employee of Industrias Infinito S.A. was the whistle blower in the case but he did not name the magistrate in public. The former employee said he was at a meeting when a magistrate turned over copies of the decision.

The Poder Judicial characterized Fachler as a suspect in an investigation of divulging secrets and of failing to do his duties. Both are criminal allegations. Fachler quit as a replacement magistrate Monday.


Expat acupuncturist dies
after month in hospital


By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Eugene Harold Mc Donald, 70, a well known expat who practiced acupuncture and auriculartherapy, died Wednesday morning in Hospital San Juan de Dios  where he had been fighting a gastrointestinal infection and pneumonia since Oct. 17.

Mc Donald was born March 4, 1941, in Chicago. Illinois and studied at the University of Miami. When he came to Costa Rica, he moved to Montezuma on the Nicoya peninsula and later to Escazú where he had a large practice among fellow expats. He had more

Mc Donald
Eugene Mc Donald
than  20 years experience and was licensed by the State of Florida. The funeral was Thursday.

Mc Donald was the subject of a feature story in A.M. Costa Rica HERE!



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