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(506) 2223-1327                        Published Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2012, in Vol. 12, No. 241                        Email us
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Police officer reads eviction notice to some of the residents who invaded property in Siquirres. The eviction was carried out peacefully unlike other similar events in the past.

police officer reads eviction notice
Ministerio de Gobernación, Policía y Seguridiad Pública photo

Latest eviction of squatters carried out peacefully
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Fuerza Pública officers said Monday that they have been able to evict families that took over land illegally in Siquirres. The police action was in contrast to other similar cases where there has been violence, even death.

The eviction Monday came as the result of a local criminal judge's order. The property is owned by La Tablita S.A.

Police said that some 600 squatters were involved. They also said that the families reported paying other persons who purportedly sold them land where they could erect their shacks. That was not the only fraud. As eviction became likely, some individuals collected 10,000 colons per family with the claim that they were lawyers and for the payment of the money they could stop the eviction.

As many expats know, the law appears to favor squatters who invade private land in an effort to make it their own. In some cases, the invasions are coordinated by local power brokers who then end up buying possession from the squatters for a sum
much smaller than the fair market value of the property.

A more complex situation is in Medio Queso in Los Chiles where some 250 families have been evicted at least seven times by police. The property, Finca Naranjales Holandeses, has some 413 hectares and has been the scene of pitched battles.

Last month a police commander got into trouble because he was taped telling fellow officers that they should kill some of the squatters. The cause of the squatters has been taken up by some politicians, and the squatters want the government to buy the land and give it to them.

A squatter died in a similar 2003 confrontation at Finca Bambuzal in Río Frio de Sarapiquí. The squatters had lived on this Sarapiquí finca for nearly two years as they fought legal battles to keep the land.

In many cases the ownership of the land that is invaded belongs to foreigners or multinational corporations. Many property owners employ armed guards to keep possible land invaders at bay.

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Our reader's opinion
Why no coverage of motos
and the roadway confrontation

Dear A.M. Costa Rica;

Last Tuesday, I saw some pretty dramatic TV footage of confrontations between motorcycle drivers and passenger vehicle drivers on the Channel 6 and Channel 7, evening newscasts.

Why no English Language coverage in either of your papers at anytime last week?

I have seen and experienced the protests where different groups stop traffic at the rotundas and pistas to promote this or that cause.  I assume that the motos were blocking the roads to protest the price hike on the annual marchamo, and the associated hike in insurance rates and vehicle valuations.  My experience with these strikes or protests is that most folks are inconvenienced, and a little put out, but they accept the road blockage as a way for the common man to have his voice heard.

What I saw on TV was quite different.  Moto drivers were bashing car windows with their helmets, confronting and pulling drivers (men and women) out of cars that failed to stop or tried to get past the blockade.  This was pretty disturbing to me to see this type of behavior coming from a supposedly peaceful people, who by nature, do not like confrontation.

My opinion from what I viewed on TV was that common car drivers, did not respect the motos protest because even the common Tico and Tica are fed up with the criminal behavior that the motos exhibit daily on the roads of Costa Rica.  Reckless driving, darting in and out of traffic, passing on the left and right are common sights everyday, even in the presence of the traffic police. Many (not all) motos do not purchase insurance, marchamo, or Retieve, yet they represent a large percentage of the traffic deaths and accidents on our roads and a LARGE expense to the Social medical system when they are given free and expensive extended medical care for the injuries they inflict upon themselves and others.

Common folks rejected the motos cause because they are fed up with bad behavior and are tired of getting stuck with the bill.  But I saw no coverage of what looked to be a BIG story.  I hope you guys are not giving the motos a pass on this.  Too many stories of bad behavior in one week bad for tourism?  Monday’s coverage was of closing the national park because of petty thieves robbing tourists.

I am counting on both English-language papers to report news and not remain silent on important topics.

P.S.  I was sideswiped by a moto while making a legal left turn on Lindora road.  I had my left signal on, in the  left turn lane, the road ahead was clear ahead.  As I made the left turn, I was sideswiped by a moto passing me on the left in the left turn lane.  The impact sent the moto skidding down the road about 50 meters and the moto driver skidding down the road about 75 meters.  The moto driver got up ran to his moto, picked it up and drove away as fast as his moto would carry him.  Thankfully, no one was hurt, I assume the moto left the scene of the accident because he had no insurance, marchamo or Reteive AND he was at fault.  I was left with a sideswiped car and a hefty repair bill.
William Ruzicka

EDITOR'S NOTE: Since our staffers were not at the unexpected violent confrontation, we were unable to cover it. We do not steal material from other news outlets. However, we have created Costa Rica Report where the news that does not make A.M. Costa Rica is cited legally from the Spanish-language press. We also have a system on this page that converts the Spanish news story to English for those who do not read Spanish. And that is how we handled the motorcycle unpleasantness. See HERE!

Find out what the papers
said today in Spanish

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Here is the section where you can scan short summaries from the Spanish-language press. If you want to know more, just click on a link and you will see and longer summary and have the opportunity to read the entire news story on the page of the Spanish-language newspaper but translated into English.

Translations may be a bit rough, but software is improving every day.

When you see the Summary in English of news stories not covered today by A.M. Costa Rica, you will have a chance to comment.

This is a new service of A.M. Costa Rica called Costa Rica Report. Editor is Daniel Woodall, and you can contact him
From the Costa Rican press
News items posted Monday through Friday by 8 a.m.
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Lost or stolen near Parque Morazan, on Monday, Nov. 26, around 9 a.m.  Lizze, Australian cattle dog, 22 Kilos, black with brown and white markings.  The red vest in the photo is because she is a service dog in the States. She does not wear it here.  Reward.
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A.M. Costa Rica Third News Page
San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2012, Vol. 12, No. 241
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Visitors take a look at the Teatro Nacional portal that is in the theater garden. One is in the process of making a photo of the modernistic display.

Theater portal
A.M. Costa Rica/Kayla Pearson

Modernistic portal draws favorable and unfavorable reviews
By Kayla Pearson
of the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The inauguration of the Teatro Nacional portal was last Saturday, and as patrons viewed the nativity scene they also wondered “What's with the box?”

“The design is hard to explain,” said architect William Monge.  “There was no special theme this year.”

Instead, Monge described the portal as contemporary.

In the past, the portal has had many forms and depicted scenes that were ecological, historical and traditional, to name a few, he said.

Monge explained that in the development stages, various persons get together and go through Powerpoint presentations
of the past nativity scenes.  In this time they discuss what they liked and disliked about the formal portals and what direction they wanted the current year to follow.

The outcome is based on what the director of the theater wants, what materials are available and what will capture the attention of tourists and residents, he said.

Many persons gaze from afar at Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus in a futuristic box structure and remark on the beauty of the scene. But they also give critiques. 

One man said to another in passing that the portal was too low and he didn't like the awkward location, while another man told his wife he didn't like the non-traditional scene.

Still, the portal is enough to catch one's eyes and earn a few “que lindo.”

Police will again create a safe route for museum light show
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The lighting of the Museo de Niños Wednesday will once again feature the "safe route."  Officials said they will navigate the expected 10,000 attendees from different points of the capital to ensure safety to and from the activity.

“Last year it was implemented for the first time and proved a success,” said a release.  “This year again different institutions in the country come together to start a broad deployment of security and control roads.”

From 4 p.m. until the conclusion of the event, Calle 4, Avenida Segunda at Banco Negro and Avenida 9 to the main entrance opposite the children's museum will be closed.

More than 100 Fuerza Pública officers, municipal police, traffic police and museum security agents will be assigned to areas surrounding the museum.

"We are deeply grateful to all institutions that have collaborated in the organization of this safe route, which is done in the interests of the safety of the thousands of families who each year enjoy the illumination of the facade of the children's museum,” said Fabiola Rodríguez, museum director.   “For the second year, thousands of children, young people and adults may walk down the main street of access to the museum from the capital without any fear, enjoying a party atmosphere and hoping to see a show loaded with a message of love, faith and hope."

As a prelude to the lighting ceremony, the museum will have activities along Calle 4.  Children will be able to take photographs aboard motorcycles that the traffic officers use daily, firefighters will be stationed with trucks and Banco Popular will offer carnival-like attractions.

Fuerza Publica officers will provide clowns, music and
Museo de Niños photo
 This is a photo of the Museo de Niños when it was a
 prison. The structure was built in 1907 and rebuilt several
 times since.

dances between Avenida Central and Calle 1.  Information booths will be set up as well, and firefighters will deliver prevention messages to those who participate in the activities.

Families are urged to use public transportation that drops off passengers downtown because parking will be limited.

The Regalo de Fe show will begin at 6 p.m. The show will include original music, plays, projections on the castle wall, giant puppets, and fireworks.

The museum borders an area where even police do not like to go without a heavy escort.

The museum structure was the Penitenciaría Central de San José until 1979, and the towers of the prison now give the impression of a castle. This is part of the area that will be lighted.

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You need to see Costa Rican tourism information HERE!

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Fish Fabulous Costa Rica

A.M. Costa Rica's Fourth News page
San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2012, Vol. 12, No. 241
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Here's a smashing idea to boost cuisine in Costa Rica
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Costa Rica is many things, but it is not the mecca of world food. Tico grub is a bit plain.

But now comes a fast-food hamburger outlet with unique products tailored for Costa Rica.

First there is the Costa Rica Burger, described as hamburg topped with chorizo, grilled Turrialba cheese, refried black beans, fried potato sticks, and Lizano cilantro mayo on a classic egg bun.

Then there are the Pejibaye Frites, described as a side of flash-fried and seasoned peach palm fruit with cilantro mayo, or portabello mushroom fries.  Pejibayes are those orange and green fruit bobbing in the heated water in supermarkets. The pejibaye is a product of a towering tree Bactris gasipaes.
The fruits also make a great soup HERE!

Now the French probably are not eating their hearts out over the new addition to Costa Rican culinary arts, but the new twists on traditional foods is at least a start.

The firm is called Smashburger, and its first Costa Rican outlet opened Saturday in the new Lincoln Plaza in Moravia. The firm said its local partner was Richard Eisenberg of QSR International. The Denver, Colorado,-based firm said that 17 more outlets are planned for Costa Rica. Plans include outlets in other Latin American locations.

The company's name reflects the unusual way a ball of hamburg meat is pushed onto a cooking surface in order, as the company says, to sear and lock in the juices of the burger. The company also tries to create regional menus, like the Costa Rica Burger.

More police
are graduated

Costa Rica celebrated the 54th anniversary of the abolition of the army by graduating 500 new Fuerza Pública, Vigilancia Aérea and Policía Turística officers. The event was at the Museo Nacional, and some of the individuals who fought in the 1948 civil war attended.
Police graudation
Ministerio de Gobernación, Policía y Seguridad Pública/Jorge Alonso Alvarez v

Fishing boat at Quepos found carrying 80 shark fins and sailfish
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Servicio Nacional de Guardacostas, detained a fishing boat Sunday morning and said it contained 80 shark fines. Transporting shark fins is now illegal in Costa Rica.

In addition the fishing boat had more than its allowance of sailfish, a sport fish that can be no more than 15 percent of a fishing harvest, said the Guardacostas.
The boat, "La Z," was registered in Puntarenas. The search by the Guardacosta crew was just off Quepos.  A more complete search was done Monday, officers said. The 80 shark fins represent the death of 20 shark, said the Guardacostas.

Representatives of the Instituto Costarricense de Pesca y Acuicultura and the Servicio Nacional de Salud Animal participated in the search. Some 762 kilos of fish were deemed unfit for consumption and condemned, said the Guardacostas.

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A.M. Costa Rica's
Fifth news page
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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2012, Vol. 12, No. 241
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Future king and his wife
are reported expecting child

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Britain's St. James Palace has announced that Prince William and his wife, Catherine, are expecting a baby.

In a statement Monday, the palace said the royal couple — known as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge — are very pleased to announce they are expecting a baby and that members of both their families are delighted with the news.

The statement added that Catherine, 30, is in London's King Edward VII Hospital for treatment of acute morning sickness. It says the pregnancy is in its early stages, and she is expected to stay in the hospital for several days.

Prince William, Queen Elizabeth's grandson, is second in line to inherit the throne after his father, Prince Charles. William's and Catherine's first child will become the third in line when he or she is born.

Last year, Britain and other Commonwealth countries that recognize the British monarch as head of state agreed to new rules that give females equal status with males in the order of royal succession. Previous laws gave priority to male descendants.

William married the former Kate Middleton on April 29, 2011, at Westminster Abbey in a ceremony viewed by an estimated worldwide audience of 2 billion.

Colombia's president sets
time limit for rebel talks

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Colombia's president has set a time limit for peace talks with the rebels of Latin America's longest-running insurgency.

Juan Manuel Santos said Sunday the talks with the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia, or FARC, should not last any longer than November of next year, at the latest. 

Negotiations between the two sides began in October in Norway and moved to Cuba last month.  Talks are set to reconvene Wednesday in Cuba. 

The first topic on the agenda is the complicated issue of land reform.  Other equally thorny topics will follow, including a mechanism to end hostilities, the political future of FARC, the illegal drug trade and compensating victims of the conflict.

Colombia and FARC rebels have engaged in a bloody civil war that has claimed hundreds of thousands of lives.  Since 1964, the militant group has engaged in political kidnappings and carried out attacks on security forces in its battle against the government.

Collision with suspicious craft
killed Coast guard officer

 Special to A.M. Costa Rica

Federal prosecutors have charged two Mexican nationals in the killing of a Coast Guard officer who died as a result of being thrown from a patrol vessel that was rammed by a small boat operated by the Mexicans.

A criminal complaint filed Monday afternoon in U. S. District Court charges the two men in the death of Chief Petty Officer Terrell Horne III, a 14-year-veteran of the Coast Guard who died early Sunday morning while his boat was attempting to interdict the boat near Santa Cruz Island in the Channel Islands National Park.

The two men charged with killing an officer of the United States while that officer was engaged in his official duties are José Meija-Leyva, who told investigators that he was the captain of the boat, and Manuel Beltran-Higuera, said the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Horne, a 34-year-old Redondo Beach resident, was killed during a law enforcement operation that began late Saturday when a Coast Guard airplane identified a suspicious boat about one mile off Santa Cruz Island. After Coast Guard personnel on the Coast Guard cutter "Halibut" boarded the boat, the airplane identified another suspicious vessel nearby in Smuggler’s Cove on Santa Cruz Island, according to the affidavit in support of the criminal complaint. The airplane reported that the suspicious vessel in Smuggler’s Cove was an approximately 30-foot-long open-bowed fishing vessel, commonly referred to as a panga.

Coast Guard officers aboard the "Halibut" launched the boat’s small, rigid hull, inflatable boat with four officers aboard. The Coast Guard small boat crew located the panga boat approximately 200 yards from the eastern shore of Santa Cruz Island at approximately 1:20 a.m. Sunday. As the Coast Guard’s small boat approached the panga, the officers activated the boat’s police lights and identified themselves as law enforcement. The crew members of the panga then throttled the engines and steered the panga boat toward the small boat, according to the affidavit. As the panga rapidly approached the Coast Guard’s small boat, the officer at the helm attempted to avoid a collision by steering out of the path of the panga, and another officer fired several shots from his service weapon at the panga.

Despite these efforts, the panga rammed into the Coast Guard’s small boat, ejecting Horne and another officer into the water, the complaint alleges. Horne was struck by a propeller in the head and sustained a traumatic head injury. He was subsequently pronounced dead by paramedics. The other officer sustained a laceration to his knee.

After striking the Coast Guard’s small boat, the panga crew fled. Coast Guard aircraft followed the panga until it was intercepted by a Coast Guard vessel approximately 20 miles north of the Mexico-United States border.

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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2012, Vol. 12, No. 241
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Casa Presidencial photo
Jia Qinglin, a member of the Chinese Politboro, greets a woman who sported a flag of the People's Republic when he arrived in Costa Rica Monday afternoon. With him is Enrique Castillo, the foreign minister.

Top Chinese politician
visits to endorse grant

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Costa Rican officials wined and dined a top Chinese politician Monday and pretty well tied up downtown traffic during the rush hour.

The politician is Jia Qinglin, a member of the politburo of the Chinese Communist Party and secretary of the National Committee of the People's Political Consultative Conference.

Costa Ricans are expecting the visitor to endorse a $4.82 million grant and a line of credit in a similar amount. He was the honored guest Monday night at a dinner hosted by Enrique Castillo, the foreign minister.

The visitor will meet with legislators and President Laura Chinchilla, who visited China in August.

Four suspects, eight victims
in Santa Cruz prostitution case

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The number of suspects in a Santa Cruz human trafficking case has grown to four and the number of victims is now eight.

The Poder Judicial said Monday that in addition to the women who appear to be the operator of the prostitution ring at the  Night Club Garden Girls in Santa Rosa de Santa Cruz, a guard and a bartender also have been detained. Prosecutors were seeking preventative detention Monday.

They also said that a cashier has been detained but he was not expected to be jailed.

The night club was the target of a raid by law enforcement last week. Investigators said they got a tip form a 911 call.

The Poder Judicial said that prosecutors might seek a declaration that the case is one of organized crime. That would give investigators more tools to study the case.

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