A.M. Costa Rica

Your daily

news source
Monday through Friday

(506) 223-1327        Published Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2006, in Vol. 6, No. 236        E-mail us    
Jo Stuart
Real Estate
About us

Elections Sunday mean three-day dry stretch for alcohol sales
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

There are just four days left to buy beer for the weekend.

Municipal elections Sunday means there will be no alcohol sales Saturday, Sunday and Monday, the result of the so-called ley seca or dry law.

The law is followed as avidly as the traffic laws. Tourists at prime vacation locations will not have any trouble being served, although the drink may come in a paper cup. In neighborhoods populated by Costa Ricans little informal guaro bars pop up.

Nevertheless, the Fuerza Pública will be out all over the country sealing the entries to bars and putting plastic over alcohol displays in supermarkets. Restaurants that do part of their
business in the sale of alcohol can stay open but without providing strong drink.

This year the Sala IV constitutional court rejected an appeal of the dry law. The court found that there was no direct violation of the rights of the persons who brought the case, the Poder Judicial said Monday.

Agents of the Tribunal Supremo de Elecciones will be out checking compliance with the dry law. And they are less likely to be as forgiving as the local Fuerza Públicas officers.

Violations can bring up to three years in jail.

The municipal elections are Sunday but the law goes into effect midnight Friday through midnight Monday.

New set of stamps celebrates symbols of country
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A new Costa Rican stamp pair is Símbolos Patrios, which shows the flag and coat of arms or escudo of Costa Rica.

The twin stamps were introduced Monday.

Both mark the 100th anniversary of the current flag and the shield, although the shield was modified in 1906.

The current shield shows seven stars for the seven provinces and three volcanoes that mark the spine of mountains that runs the length of the country. Ships, representing trade, can be seen in both the nearby Caribbean and far Pacific Ocean.

A setting sun represents not only the favorable
weather but also the golden grain, coffee, that has contributed so much to the economy.

The flag or bandera was designed in 1848 by Pacífica Fernández Oreamuno, wife of then-President José María Castro Madriz. The design was inspired by the French flag. The flag used at sea and for official use contains the shield of the county, so it, too, was modified in 1906.

The national post office also will be hosting Expofile 2006 from Friday until Dec. 9 in the Museo Filatélico on the second floor of the main post office building in the downtown.

The stamp show will have some 49 participants, said a spokesperson for the Correo Nacional. Some of the displays will include Costa Rican stamps from all eras, Christmas stamps and specialty items.

exchange rate
to our
daily digest

our site

Send us
a news story

Real estate ads

Ads for

ad info

ad info

Contact us
Our stats

Mountain farm on 20,000 sq. meters at the 5,300-foot level. 5 minutes north of Sarchí with freshly remodeled 2-story home. Magnificent views of Sarchí and Naranjo. Scurity system, gated entry, ceiling fans, custom cabinets Will sell all or part. All is $150,000.Brokers protected. See more at www.VistasDeSarchi.com. U.S.A. contact is 800-792-7700 or 803-261-6000.

See our new sports page

Costa Rica
second newspage

classified ad

Real estate
About us
San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2006, Vol. 6, No. 236

Costa Rica Expertise
Costa Rica Expertise Ltd http://crexpertise.com E-mail info@crexpertise.com Tel:506-256-8585 Fax:506-256-7575

Click HERE for great hotel discounts

Taxi drivers seek raise,
and hearing is planned

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Taxi drivers will be seeking a 6 percent increase in rates at a hearing Wednesday.

The Federación Nacional de Cooperativas de Taxi R.L. is representing the taxi industry. The organization sought a simliar increase in February without success.

The Autoridad Reguladora de los Servicios Públicos said that the hearing would be at 10 a.m. in its facilities in Sabana Sur.

Taxi drivers have been hit hard by rising fuel prices, so much so that the regulatory agency said drivers are establishing their own rates.

The drivers do this by maintaining a list of popular destinations and the charge for getting there. This is not legal, the agency said. It said that reports of drivers refusing to use the taximeter device have come in from all over the country, including Liberia, Cañas, Nicoya, Juntas de Abangares, Playas del Coco, Tilarán, Upala, Aguas Zarcas, Turrialba and Puriscal.

The current rate now is 330 colons (64 U.S. cents) for the first kilometer and 300 for each subsequent kilometer. Rates are slightly higher in rural areas.

Alternative energy is topic
at Speaker's Forum tonight

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Alternative energy sources is the topic of a Speaker's Forum presentation tonight.

Ivar Zapp and Roy Lent will give the presentation.  Zapp is a former professor of design at the architecture school of Universidad de Costa Rica.  He is also an author, the vice president of Energia Atlantis, S.A., and has been listed in the 2,000 Outstanding Scientists of the 20th Century.

Lent is a botanist who has received a bachelor of science degree from the University of Maine and a master's degree in plant morphology from Indiana's Purdue University.  He is the vice president of the PC Computer Club in Costa Rica and treasurer of an agricultural energy corporation.

Some of the specific topics of discussion are: bio-diesel and vegetable oil, biofuels and alternative energies, and the jatropha plant in Puriscal. The forum will be held from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. in Escazú.  A 1,000 colon entrance fee will be charged at the door.

Call 289-6333, 821-4708 or 289-6087 for more information.

Celebration of end of army
is Friday at Museo Nacional

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Comisión Nacional de la Abolición del Ejército will be hosting the 58th anniversary and celebration of the abolition of the Costa Rican army Friday.  As per usual, it will be held in the gardens of the Museo Nacional.  It was on this same date, Dec.1, in 1948 that then-President José Figueres Ferrer abolished the national military after a final victory in a bloody civil war.  A year later, the abolition of the army was introduced into Article 12 of the 1949 constitution.

Starting at 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. there will be an activity directed towards young students entitled “ Niños pintando por la paz”, children painting for peace.  For almost an hour beginning at 9 a.m. the National Band will be playing a concert directed by Juan Loaiza.  This will be followed by speeches and the day's customary activities from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

There are numerous government officials scheduled, including, Vice President Laura Chinchilla, who will be acting president that day; María Elena Carballo, minister de Cultura, Juventud y Deportes, and  Mrs. Alejandrina Mata, vice minister of Educación Pública. 

Also participating in the event are Francisco Antonio Pacheco, president of the Asamblea Legislativa, Roberto Güel, representative of the national association of veterans, and Yoshiko Sumi, ambassador of Japan in Costa Rica.  The ambassador is to deliver to the vice minister of education an educational book about peace, produced for the Arias Foundation with money from the Japanese government. 

Channel 13 will have a live transmission of the celebration.

Santa Cruz mayor out
as resignation is accepted

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The mayor of Santa Cruz, caught up in an investigation of a construction approval in Tamarindo, has been allowed to resign.

The action was taken by the Tribunal Supremo de Elecciones.

The mayor, Pastor Gómez Ruiz, wanted to resign earlier, but the munciipal council declined to accept the resignation because of the investigation.

The Tribunal, which has final say on holders of public office in Costa Rica, thought otherwise and noted that the resignation was voluntary.

The Tribunal also appointed the vice mayor, María Elena Paniagua Chaves. to serve until the term ends Feb. 4.

The investigation involves a green area in Tamarindo where a developer began to build a small shopping mall.  Residents objected and even pulled down the concrete block walls themselves. Still unclear is how the developer got permission to start the job. Tamarindo, on the Pacific coast, is within the Santa Cruz municipality.

The disputed area continues to be a park.

Courts will have two-week break

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Costa Rica's court system will be closing at the end of work Friday, Dec. 22 and reopening Monday, Jan. 8. The department where crime victims file complaints will continue to be open 24 hours a day over the holidays.

The Sala IV constitutional court will be open for receiving documents 24 hours a day and magistrates are prepared to take votes on urgent constitutional matters during the holidays, according to the Poder Judicial.
Professional Directory
A.M. Costa Rica's professional directory is where business people who wish to reach the English-speaking community may invite responses. If you are interested in being represented here, please contact the editor.

Legal services

Residency in Costa Rica
A full service immigration agency
U.S. and San José offices
Getting and authenticating documents can be a chore — 

we know how to do it. Experienced with many nationalities. Up-to-date on
Costa Rica's evolving immigration law.
  Pensionado, rentista and inversionista. Your first stop for smooth, professional service and a positive experience. Javier Zavaleta jzava@pacbell.net
Tel: 323-255-6116


Lic.Gregory Kearney Lawson.
Attorneys at Law and real estate brokers

*Relocation services,  *Wedding Planning  *Investments  *Corporations *Tax Shelters
*Real Estate Sales in Costa Rica
*Immigration  *Name & Product registration *Business procedures  *Family and Labor Law *Locate People   *Private Investigations

Ph/Fax: 221-9462,  841-0007

(506) 257-8068 / 233-0293
Paseo Colon Av, 30th Street
1 block west from Pizza Hut, San Jose C.R.
E-mail: info@immigrationexperts.co.cr

Lilliana Torres, attorney at law

We handle immigration services and residency procedures as required by the government for foreigners who wish to live in Costa Rica. For 16 years we've provided competitive, dependable, professional services with integrity, loyalty and honesty. Thousands of satisfied foreign clients have obtained their Costa Rican residency through us.



Bufete Hernández Mussio 
& Asociados
Lic. Arcelio Hernández Mussio
Tel. 643-3058                Cell 365-3088
E-mail: lawyer@CRTitle.com
Web site:  CRTitle.com

• Real Estate Transactions 
•  Legal Due Diligence 
  • Purchase and Sale Agreements/Options
  • Costa Rican Corporations.
  • Title Guaranty • Fraud protection
  •  Constitution of condominiums
  • Notary public services in general

Visit our Office in Jacó Beach
 (25 meters north of Banco Popular,
 below the Fiscalia).

Real estate agents and services

ormerly with  Carico and now with Great Estates
15 years Costa Rican
real estate experience

Member of the Costa Rican Real Estate Association, Lic. #1000

Member of
Costa Rican-American Chamber of Commerce

(506)  289-4293 &  (506) 382-7399 cell
(506)  232-5016 &  289-4171 (phone/fax)

CENTURY 21 Jacó Beach Realty
A Name You Trust & Professional Service

Buying? Selling?
We Can Do It!

  Tom Ghormley - Owner/Broker - in CR since '79

Beachfront, Views, Mountains, Lots, Farms, Beaches, Houses, Condos. Hotels, Restaurants, Projects, Commercial, Investments


First Costa Rican Title & Trust
Protecting your interests since 1994
  Purchase contracts
  Escrow services
  Title transfers
  Title guarantees
  Trust services
  Developer services
Call us for your real property legal and investment needs at 225-0501 or send us an e-mail at amcr@firstcr.com

Title Guarantees issued by First American Title Insurance Co., one of the oldest and largest title companies in the world. The First American difference in protection is that the policies cover unrecorded matters and unknown risks.



U.S. Tax and Accounting

Plus Costa Rican taxes, accounting, and legal services
Over 10 years in Costa Rica
(English Spoken)
C.R. 288-2201   U.S 786-206-9473
E-mail: ustax@lawyer.com


James Brohl C.P.A, M.B.A

U.S. Income Tax 
U.S. GAAP Accounting, 
Business Consulting
Providing U.S. Tax return preparation including back reporting and all other filing issues, accounting services 
and business consulting.

Telephone 305-3149 or 256-8620
E-mail jrtb_1999@racsa.co.cr

You need to see Costa Rican properties for sale
on our real estate page HERE!

Costa Rica
third newspage

classified ad

Real estate
About us
San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2006, Vol. 6, No. 236

Miravalles-Liberia high tension line
Sala IV tells ICE to alert project neighbors to health studies
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Sala IV constitutional court has ordered the Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad to provide relevant scientific data to those persons living along the 32.8-kilometer  Miravalles-Liberia high tension line.

The vote was made Tuesday, and the Poder Judicial press office released the results Monday.

The line passes through Barrio la Victoria in Liberia where the court said they are only a few meters from houses in which children and adults live, schools, churches and all the urban infrastructure.

U.S. rancher Fred Greiner filed the case Oct. 13 because the lines are going through his finca in Guanacaste, according to the court decision.

The line starts at the Proyecto Geotérmico Miravalles and ends at the Barrio La Cruz substation.

The long-term effects of electric radiation and magnetism on human health are not fully known, but the court decision requires that the institute provide the information that is available.

The Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad, known as ICE,
is expropriating property from Panamá to Nicaragua to put in a power grid called the Sistema de Interconexion Electrica para los Paises de America Central, SIEPAC for short. This 1,830-kilometer (1,135-mile), 230-kilovolt energy distribution line runs between southern Mexico and Panamá. The line involved in the court case is part of this project.

Many groups have tried to fight ICE to stop the lines going through towns, strung above and around schools, churches, hospitals and community centers.

The people of Liberia filed a case against the electric company and the municipality of Liberia in the Sala IV in 1997 requesting the institute to move the lines around population centers.  The people lost in a split vote by the Sala IV magistrates.

The decision stated there is no definitive proof electromagnetic fields cause health problems even though there are tons of studies linking these fields to cancer and other problems.   The constitutional court said they could not stop progress without proof electric lines cause health problems. The project is valued at $320 million.

The current case does not seek to stop or move the lines, but it puts the burden on ICE to keep residents aware of scientific developments.

Massive sweep under way as part of fake marriage probe
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Fraud investigators are rounding up as many as 34 lawyer-notaries in an investigation of some 150 fake marriages contracted illegally in order to permit a foreigner to obtain residency here.

The Poder Judicial said that 16 raids were conducted Monday as the culmination of a probe that began in June.

The Judicial Investigating Organization said that eight persons had been detained. The search was on for others. As many as 186 persons are suspects in this case, said agents.

Raids took place in Urbanización José María Zeledón, Urbanización Mozotal in Guadalupe, Aserrí, Heredia, Cartago, El Carmen de Guadalupe, Guadalupe centro and San José centro.

The Judicial Investigating Organization said that the Costa Rican partners in some of the marriages were prostitutes, the elderly, widows and persons not able to contract marriage under the law. There also were illegal divorces to facilitate marriages, said agents.
Once married to a Costa Rican, a foreigner can seek residency here. Sometimes criminals choose that method because they can easily obtain residency without getting a police report from the home country.

The Dirección General de Migración y Extranjería has been under investigation for months for awarding residency to Asians, Cubans and others who had been involved in fake marriages. The investigation began under the Abel Pacheco administration and was stepped up when President Óscar Arias Sánchez took office.

The Judicial Investigating Organization said that 44 separate complaints had been filed in these cases. The lawyer-notaries involved charged as much as $10,000 for this service, agents said.

In some cases, the fake marriages were made with foreigners who simply wanted to come to Costa Rica and could not under existing immigration rules. However, Colombian guerrillas, drug traffickers and others on the wrong side of the law are known to have taken advantage of the system, which obviously required complicity inside the immigration department.

You need to see Costa Rican tourism information HERE!

A.M. Costa Rica
fourth news page

classified ad

Real estate
About us
San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2006, Vol. 6, No. 236

U.S. spokesman says country ready to work with any Ecuadorian government
By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services   

The U.S. State Department said Monday the United States is ready to work with a new Ecuadoran government headed by leftist political figure Rafael Correa. The 43-year-old economist, a frequent critic of U.S. policy in Latin America, is the apparent winner of Sunday's election in the Andean country.

The Bush administration is declaring itself ready to cooperate with the incoming leftist government in Quito, but it also says the quality of relations will depend on policies that it puts in place.

Correa, who describes himself as a personal friend of Venezuela's populist leader Hugo Chavez, piled up a nearly two-to-one margin over his conservative rival Alvaro Noboa in late but still incomplete election returns.

At a news briefing, State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said he would not directly respond to Correa's apparent victory pending certification of the results.

But he congratulated the Ecuadoran people on what he said was a "pretty transparent, free and fair electoral process."

He said as a matter of policy, the United States is open to working with duly elected governments in the region that govern democratically, regardless of where they fit in the political spectrum:

"In terms of the next Ecuadoran government, we're ready
to work with them," said Sean McCormack. "The course of U.S.-Ecuadoran relations, as in the course of any bilateral relationship the United States will have, will be dependent on the policies that the government pursues and whether or not those policies are consonant with our goals. Certainly we want to see the people of Ecuador prosper. We want to see their democracy strengthened."

Correa, who received a doctorate degree in economics from the University of Illinois, has been a critic of U.S.-backed free trade agreements in the region, and has also threatened to revise the contracts of oil companies working in Ecuador and to not pay foreign debts he considers illegitimate.

Spokesman McCormack said the United States supports the promotion of greater prosperity through free trade, and wants to see that the benefits of that prosperity actually get to all the people through good governance.

As to a program of possible nationalization by a Correa government, he said the United States would expect that all countries regardless of their political orientation would respect valid international legal contracts.

McCormack noted that the Bush administration has managed to have good relations with Bolivian President Evo Morales, even though he campaigned on an anti-U.S. platform similar to that of Correa when he was elected in 2005.

The spokesman said the reality is that while they don't agree on everything, the United States has "found ways" to work with Bolivia and Morales.

Crusading Mexican publisher finally is out of the reach of drug criminals
By Jay Brodell
editor of A.M. Costa Rica

Probably the most amazing fact in the life of Jesús Blancornelas is that he died of natural causes. A lot of international drug dealers would have had it otherwise. And much sooner.

The independent Mexican newsman focused on the drug trade for much of his career and was an enemy of the cartels. Blancornelas  survived one attempted assassination, spent time being guarded by elite forces of the Mexican military and continued his drumbeat against illegal drugs and the people who distribute them.

For 26 years he ran ZETA, a Tijuana, México, weekly newspaper. He had to be his own publisher because he had been fired from five other newspapers when drug bosses or the government applied pressure to the owners.

Blancornelas, 70, died Thursday from a lung ailment that had endured since childhood. He also was fighting lung cancer.

Blancornelas founded ZETA with Héctor “El Gato” Félix Miranda. Hit men caught up with the partner eight years into the ZETA project. That was 1988.

Nov. 27, 1997, gunmen caught up with Blancornelas. He suffered four bullet wounds but survived. His bodyguard and friend Luís Lauro Valero Elizalde died in the attack. Although the names of the attackers are known, police never have made an arrest. The attack has been linked in the pages of ZETA to highly placed local politicians.

For many years Tijuana has been under the control of the  Arellano Félix drug cartel. And this gang and drug wholesalers like them are the people Blancornelas targeted in his reporting, as well as the links between organized crime and the politicians.

This week's cover of ZETA speaks of the Blancornelas legacy

Blancornelas wondered in one of his books why the job falls to newspeople and not Mexican police investigators to unmask the cartel capos.

His last news story in September was about routes that cross Central America and México to bring drugs to North America.

Since February, the weekly newspaper has been under the direction of César René Blanco Villalón and Adela Navarro Bello.  Blanco is the son of Blancornelas.

2006 shaping up to be a record year for the murder of newspeople in the world
Special to A.M. Costa Rica

Already in 2006 105 journalists have been killed. This is the deadliest year on record, according to the half-year review of press freedom by the World Association of Newspapers.
The report, presented Monday to the Board of the Paris-based World Association of Newspapers meeting in Kiev, Ukraine, said that the killings accelerated in the second half of the year, when 71 were killed. The number of journalists killed in Iraq — 23 since June — surpassed all other countries.

The murder of journalists is the ultimate form of censorship, but by no means the only form. "Legislative measures, financial harassment and security laws continue to be used as means to harass journalists and limit press freedom," said the report. "Self-censorship, a natural response to repression and the threat of violence or death, is an endemic problem in Central Asia, Latin America and the Middle East."

Region by region, the report said:

The Americas

In the Americas, 15 journalists have been killed in a series of ruthless murders over the past six months. Other press freedom concerns have been mainly of a legal character, prompting calls for greater freedom of expression in Brazil, Bolivia and Peru. More than 20 journalists continue to linger in prison in Cuba.

Middle East and North Africa

Conflict and political instability throughout the Middle East and North Africa continues to undermine the ability of press freedom to make serious advances in the region. Increasing violence and insecurity in Iraq has once again made the country the most dangerous environment in the world for media practitioners, and the war between Lebanon and Israel cost the lives of two media employees  in July of this year. In Algeria, Morocco and Egypt, arguably the most tolerant environments for journalists in  the region, the governments rely on criminal defamation
 laws as a means to exert pressure and control on the media.

Sub-Saharan Africa

Africa’s media and its journalists face manifold threats: war, lack of infrastructure and funding, censorship, harassment, criminalizing media laws, and violence. Additionally, attackers, harassers, and murderers of journalists have largely acted with impunity on the continent thus contributing to continuing the cycle of violence. Despite this gloomy picture, improvements have been noted. For example, censorship was abolished in Mauritania. And African media continue a praiseworthy battle in a media environment that imposes substantial challenges both with regards to infrastructure, legal aspects and widespread illiteracy.

Europe and Central Asia

The region covering the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe is one of stark contrasts when it comes to the state of press freedom. Countries such as Ukraine and those in Eastern Europe have shown steady progress in the 15 years since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Press freedom in Belarus and the Central Asian countries of Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan has declined considerably in recent years, and the past few months have proved no different. Russia is characterized by a complex and often contradictory media environment.


Asia’s press freedom record continues to be largely influenced by the repressive governments of Burma, China and North Korea. As the political situation in Afghanistan deteriorates, journalists are among the latest victims. A number of killings have occurred across the region, contributing to the overall high number of journalists killed this year in the world.

The Paris-based World Association of Newspapers defends and promotes press freedom worldwide. It represents 18,000 newspapers; its membership includes 73 national newspaper associations, newspapers and newspaper executives in 102 countries.

News from the BBC up to the minute
BBC sports news up to the minute
BBC news and sports feeds are disabled on archived pages.

Costa Rica
fifth news page

Good grief!

Are you still spending 70 percent 
of your advertising budget on paper?

You need to fill this space ASAP!

classified ad

Real estate
About us
San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2006, Vol. 6, No. 236

Investigator from Peru links UFOs, Costa Rica and  biblical prophecies
By Saray Ramírez Vindas
of the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Costa Rica is a focal point for UFO occupants because it holds important resources to slow global warming, according to a Peruvian investigator who will be giving a talk Thursday.

He is Renato Longato, who also links the appearances of unidentified flying objects to the last days predictions of the biblical Book of Revelations
According to Longato, a writer and investigator of these phenomena since 1979 when he saw his first UFO in his native Lima, Peru, there are serious reasons to relate biblical prophecies to current world events.

He claims that UFO occupants have been trying for thousands of years to send messages and information to warn the human race of coming disasters.

The difference in intelligences between humans and the UFO travelers is vast, so they have a good idea what the abuses and destruction of natural resources will bring, he said in a interview. However, he said he believes the space travelers are under instructions not to intervene directly.

In prior civilizations, the UFO occupants used the form of an angel to carry the message, he said, and the angels

A.M. Costa Rica/Saray Ramírez Vindas
Renato Longato displays a video of Jaime Maussan, the Mexican newsman and occult expert, who was interviewing him.
influenced the Book of Revelations, which is now included in the western Bible.

This is Longato's third visit to Costa Rica. He said that the political stability here and the social life attracts the UFO occupants.  His talk in English will be Thursday in Escazú at 7 p.m. For Reservations and address, interested individuals can call 228-6748 or 289-5270. The cost is 5.000 colons, almost $10. He also maintains a Web site.

Letters from readers on crime, honesty and Del Rey bridge
Del Rey bridge called
bad urban design

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

I write to urge my fellow frequent visitors to Costa Rica, along with expats and Ticos who live there permanently, to oppose the construction of a pedestrian bridge between the Hotel Del Rey and the Key Largo.

Sure, a bridge would be convenient for the clientele of the two establishments. They would no longer have to hassle with the street people and the traffic.  And whether or not a pedestrian bridge would constitute unfair competition vis-a-vis other nearby businesses is not a major concern of mine.

My concern is that pedestrian bridges are lousy urban design. Vibrant cities require a thriving street and sidewalk life, which pedestrian bridges siphon off.

Worse, those who use these bridges tend to be among the more responsible and law-abiding people.  The consequences of a pedestrian bridge between the Hotel Del Rey and the Key Largo would therefore be to insure that those left on the streets and sidewalks include an even larger proportion of thugs and hustlers.  That area already has serious problems, especially at night.

The construction of a pedestrian bridge would virtually guarantee that those problems will worsen. Much can and should be done to improve safety and convenience for pedestrians in that area.  However, constructing pedestrian bridges is NOT the way to do this.  These bridges make the problems worse, not better.

Ken Morris
San Pedro and Georgia (U.S.A.)


Open letter to Arias
promotes money in fines

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

An open letter to President Arias.
No, I have never been considered for a Nobel Peace Prize, am not worthy of that consideration, nor, do I claim to have the insights and goals attributed to you as the leader of our country. If I may, however, I would like to offer some observations which my wife and I, as residents, have made during the three years of living in Costa Rica. Our desire and intent is to remain here until the end comes, and maybe even contribute in a small way to our new country of choice.
We understand that It takes a lot of revenue income to finance the operations of this or any country, and, just possibly, our suggestions on increasing revenue here may help even a little.
Every day, we wonder why both gasoline and diesel cars, trucks and buses are allowed to daily continue spewing out what must be tons and tons of hydrocarbon pollutants. Certainly, they must have to pass a Riteve inspection for emissions like the rest of us, correct?  I seriously doubt it!  Why, like most of us, and for whatever reason, are these polluters exempt!

Solution: Finding them is not difficult. Just look for the massive clouds of blue and black smoke, give them 15 days to secure another emissions test, and submit a document which indicates passing or failing. If the vehicle fails the test or has avoided being tested at all, the owner or owners should be fined until the vehicle is brought back into emissions compliance.  Result: Cleaner air and increased country revenues.
Another idea which just help make our streets safer.  Red lights and general traffic control seem to be a joke here, particularly to buses, taxis and motos. One certainly does not dare to proceed on a green light before checking to make sure that the opposing traffic signals are being adhered to, therefore creating safe passage. I have, honestly, never witnessed a traffic signal violater even stopped for the infraction let alone tagged and fined.

If our streets are to become safer for all motorists and pedestrians alike, police must be more vigilant by stopping, tagging, and fining these violators.  It will not take too long to let people know that the avoidance or failure to obey traffic laws, cannot and will not be tolerated.
One last idea to help increase revenues.  I simply cannot tell you about the scores of vehicles on the streets, including many small motorcycles with no license plates, no windshield renewal stickers, and certainly, no marchamos!  Many don’t have both headlights or tailights in operating condition, or ridiculously loud mufflers, or no mufflers at all.

These vehicles seem to be immune to the safety, air and noise pollution standards that the rest of ours must be tested for, and vehicle repaired if that test is failed. There does seem to be a double standard for these violators, as they are never stopped, never tagged, never fined, and simply go on providing the rest of the country’s citizenry, with unsafe equipment, and pollution from emissions and noise.
I promise, Mr. President, if you instituted a crackdown on these violators, stringent law enforcement including stopping, tagging, and fines for continued abuse, not only would it help to make Costa Rica even more desirable than it is, but revenues could be increased dramatically without raising taxes or having to search elsewhere for those revenues.  It would work!
John Rubida
San Ignacio de Acosta
She prefers Caribbean
over Pacific anyday

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

Buddy [Michael Cook], you hit the hammer on the nail! My husband is from Limón, living here in the States 30 years. The history of Costa Rica is rampant with racism, all focused on the Caribbean coast. Once the Spanards found out the Limonese could speak English and were making more money because of that, the ball got rolling, and things have gone downhill since.

I would rather spend my entire vacation down on the Caribbean coast than deal with that mess over the Pacific side. The food, the people, the water, the sand, you name it, it’s better on the Caribbean coast. Sure there’s crime, but you name some place that doesn’t have crime or violence, and I’ll tell youv’e been living on a deserted island. We have our imigration problems in the States, and they have their imigration problems in Costa Rica.

Things change, sometimes not always for the better, and you make of it what you can. But for some moron on a ticket booth to convince me that the Caribbean coast is unsafe, I would have to ask him when the last time was he ever spent some time down there.

We have traveled all over Costa Rica, and the U.S., and no matter where you go, you have to be on the lookout. Unfortunately, that’s the way it is, and it won’t change for the better. One must be aware of the surroundings, and not leave themselves open to be a target for a predator. Basically, as long as there’s poverty, there’s always going to be someone trying to take what you have. That’s the cold, hard fact.

Kathleen Mullins-Hall
Cincinnati, Ohio

Laudatory article on jails
reveals a darker side

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:
An article in La Nación Monday unintentionally explains why crime is out of control in Costa Rica.  Incredible as it seems, La Nacion printed an article expressing pride in the nations criminal justice system.
The article was entitled  ¨---HOME ARREST now accounts for 35 percent of the criminal sentences handed down.
The article in a proud tone discussed CR’s unbelievable leniency towards its criminals.
First it told the story of a man sentenced to 25 years in jail in 1996 for a violent murder during an armed robbery who was recently released from jail after 10 years and is now attending law school.  Now he can defraud us by property fraud instead of killing us in an armed robbery.  No convicted felon would ever be admitted to the bar in the U.S.
The article then goes on to tell us that for every two days a prisoner works in jail that one day is knocked off his sentence.  Spoken proudly.
There are 8,000 people in jail.  In Alabama in the U.S. population also 4,000,000 like here there are 35,000 people in jail.
Complete and under lenience, no deterrence, no immediate response by police to a crime and no response from the government.  Any tourist who comes here has got to be crazy.  I’m stuck here, married to a Costa Rican, fearful in my house.  Wish I lived in East St. Louis or the South Bronx where I am absolutely sure there is less crime.
Costa Rica should be ashamed of articles like today in La Nación.  They should be ashamed of their non-existent criminal justice system.  They deserve to have tourism crash and burn over this issue as it certainly will do.
Jack Wellingham
Santa Ana

Honest folks found
in Banco Bar, Quepos

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

During our last visit to Costa Rica my wife, Teresa, and I were running around trying to accomplish a lot in a short time.  One night we decided to go to the Banco Bar in Quepos for the evening instead of cooking at our apartment.  The Banco Bar was running a special night of tapas with live flamenco dancers.  We had a great time, enjoyed the show and the food and had more tapas that we could eat, a statement that will surprise a lot of people who sat at the table with me.
At the end of the evening, we paid and went home.  All was well until a couple of days later when I noticed that my credit card was missing.

We proceeded to retrace our steps to the hardware store, grocery store and everywhere we have been for the past couple of days.
To our pleasant surprise the credit card was safely tucked away at Banco Bar in the safe and in a small plastic envelope waiting for us to show up.
Thanks to the owner and staff and specially to Stephen, for the food, service and for taking good care of us.  We will be going back, that is for sure.
Othon Bueno
Atlanta and San Antonio de Damas

A.M. Costa Rica
Sports news
local and from the wires

Place a classified ad
Real estate
About us
San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2006, Vol. 6, No. 236

Tamarindo surfers come out on  top despite small waves
Special to A.M. Costa Rica

After surfing for two days in poorly formed  small waves, a local surfer very familiar with the Playa Avellanas point break  just north of the estuary was able to use his experience to come out ahead of 77  registered competitors in this weekend’s Pinilla Classic.

That surfer was  Tamarindo’s Isaac Vega, the 2005-06 Costa Rican national surf Champion, who also  won this very same date of the Circuito Nacional de Surf last year.

Sunday, as with Saturday, the waves in front of the beach at Hacienda Pinilla Beach Resort and Resident Community never topped 3 feet. But Vega  remained  calm, chose his rides carefully, and scored high with the best  controlled, most risked maneuvers. He begins the 2006-07 year with 1,000 points  towards his No. 1 open ranking.

“In the Finals, it was very difficult: I had four really good surfers out there, we had little waves, and only 20 minutes to surf,” Vega recalled. “But, I waited for the right waves.”

Nataly Bernold, 13, also of Tamarindo,  claimed victory in the Women’s division. Just one week after winning the 
Junior Women’s category in the Copa Mango Boca Barranco contest, Miss Bernold  maintained the fearless  attack that has made her one of the most promising  athletes of the Circuito.

The Circuito drew another international surfing  star with 2005 women’s world longboard champion Kristy Murphy from Florida,  making her contest debut in the women’s category. She surfed on a  specially-crafted 80’s-style tri-fin 6-foot board made by her sponsor Siren  Surfboards, and  passed to the semifinals, but was unable to return to the beach Sunday due to  illness.

“One always competes with a strong desire to win, and I’m happy I could  win first place. This season, I know I can go very far, and with that  belief I am delivering a great attack,” said Miss Bernold.

The third date of Costa Rica’s 2006-07  Circuito Nacional de Surf will be the Three-Star Trofeo High Tide Tamarindo on  Dec. 16 and 17.

Once again the contest features the open, women’s,  bodyboard, Llongboard, longboard women’s, longboard juniors and masters (35 and  over) categories.

The latest top sports news
Sports news from VOA
Sports feeds are disabled on archived pages.

Jo Stuart
Real Estate
About us

What we published this week: Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Earlier
The contents of this web site are copyrighted by Consultantes Río Colorado 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005  and 2006 and may not be reproduced anywhere without permission. Abstracts and fair use are permitted.
Check HERE for more details