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(506) 223-1327        Published Monday, Dec. 5, 2005, in Vol. 5, No. 240          E-mail us    
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Fast Internet is great except for ICE shuffle
By Garland M. Baker
Special to A.M. Costa Rica

Everyone knows what a test pilot is. How about a technology tester?  In this day and age, it is almost the same thing.  Pilot program is the term used today.

In Information Technologies, development stage engineering is broken down into three parts:  The alpha stage, the beginning of a technology when it is in a very rough form.  The beta stage, an active debugging or problem-solving phase when a technology is heavily tested preparing it for market introduction.  The stable stage, when a technology is ready.

About five year ago, GrupoICE was looking for testers for advanced Internet also referred to as ADSL, short for Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line.  A technology that allows more data transmission over existing copper telephone lines than is normally possible.  ADSL supports data rates from 1.5 to 9 Mbps when receiving data (known as the downstream rate) and from 16 to 640 Kbps when sending data (known as the upstream rate).

GrupoICE is the country’s monopoly over communications and electricity.  It is made up of the Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad (ICE), Radiográfica Costarricense S.A (RACSA) and Compañía Nacional de Fuerza y Luz (CNFL).

At the time, deciding to sign up along with 600 other techno junkies was easy.  However, years have passed and being a tester for ICE has been no piece of cake.  Costa Rica is famous for implementing something new and then oversaturating the use of it until it blows up and does not work anymore. 

The evolution of ADSL in Costa Rica has been no exception.  At first, the system did not work very well because there were no qualified trained personnel.  After a year of trial and error configurations with ICE technicians, the service stabilized.  However, while using inadequate equipment, ICE started to add more and more customers because they wanted to start charging.  Once the monopoly did, things started to fall apart again.  Conversations with insiders at the phone company found the famous Tico hitch, too many subscribers connected to a test system.

Today there is a new problem.  The service is expanding so fast ICE is running out of certain IP addresses and converting customers from private to public numbers without informing them.

Each machine connected to the Internet has a number known as an Internet Protocol address (IP address). The IP address takes the form of four numbers separated by dots, for example: 123.45.67.890.  The number identifies each sender or receiver of information that moves in a packet across the Internet.  A packet is the fundamental unit of a block of data in modern computer networks.

One public IP address is replacing the five private addresses assigned to most customers over the past years.  This fact is techno mumbo jumbo to most people but it is a nightmare if it is changed without notice.

This was the case at the Cybercafé Las Arcadas in downtown San José, the morning of Nov. 24 when the ADSL just stopped working.  The Cybercafé is the preferred Internet café for tourists downtown.  Frantic

 
phone calls to the support line of ICE ended with technicians stating nothing was wrong and everything should work.  Late in the evening, an ICE employee showed up with a new ADSL modem.

The ICE employee said “Plug in this device (a new modem) and your Internet will work.” It did not work.  “Give me a momentito.”  He went and pulled his personal modem out of the trunk of his car.  “This one will really work, but I need it back in the morning.”  At around 1 a.m. the light bulbs went off.  ICE had changed the IP addresses.  This meant new equipment was immediately necessary.

Calls to local suppliers only turned up SOHO equipment and bottom-of-the-line hardware at that.  SOHO means small office or home not a cybercafé with many users.  Trying desperately to explain this fact to sales persons turned out to be a joke. It was obvious most of them were not even out of puberty.

A full week passed with no Internet connection, ICE personnel did not care in the least.  ADSL hardware suppliers lacked knowledge and adequate devices.  Being a test pilot felt pretty lonely. The financial loss was large.

ADSL is here to stay and ICE will probably get it right given enough time.  When it works, it is the best.  The problem is the lousy service provided by the country’s communications monopoly.

William Burroughs in his book "The Naked Lunch" put it very well when describing monopolies:  Never give anything away for nothing.  Never give more than you have to give.  Always catch the buyer hungry and always make him wait.  Always take everything back if you possibly can.

What to do if you are an ADSL subscriber and this happens to you?  Say a prayer and call 119, the ICE support line for ADSL.  Tell them you are going to support the Free Trade Treaty vigorously if they do not fix your problem immediately.  If they are unresponsive within 24 hours, call Costa Rica’s new consumer complaint unit at 206-1010.

Garland M. Baker is a 35-year resident and naturalized citizen of Costa Rica who provides multidisciplinary professional services to the international community.  Reach him at info@crexpertise.com.  Baker has undertaken the research leading to these series of articles in conjunction with A.M. Costa Rica.  Find the collection at http://crexpertise.info.  Mr. Baker has participated in the pilot program for advanced Internet for the past five years along with Roger Pilon, owner of Cybercafé Las Arcadas.

Copyright 2005, use without permission prohibited.


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Executive branch clears
its obligation to the Caja


By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The 4-year-old debt that the Costa Rican government owed the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social has been paid off, said President Abel Pacheco. 

The agreement, signed by David Fuentes, minister of  Hacienda, and Alberto Sáenz, president of the social welfare organization, transfers some 32 billion colons to the caja, as the agendy is known, from the government.  That's some $64 million. 

Of that amount, 20 billion colons will be invested in the health system, including security, the Casa Presidencial said.  The rest, some 12 billion colons will go to the reserves of the Régimen de Invalidez, Vejez y Muerte, Casa Presidencial said. 

According to Pacheco, the debt was the result of additional government obligations and extraordinary circumstances between 2001 and 2004.  The money is paid on the salary of executive branch employees in the same way employers and employees contribute to the Social Security system in the United States.

The fresh funds are slated to be used in the health system's most pressing priorities namely improving the attention to patients and the hospital security system, the presidential office said. 

Other funds will go towards the construction of a new hospital in Heredia and an intermediary hospital in Desamparados.  Also, hospital officials are hopeful that they will be able to install basic medical attention equipment in Alajelita and Los Guido, the presidential office said.    

Cell phone sales
will begin tonight at 7


By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Those who have been waiting for months for cell phones may be able to get one tonight.  The Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad has announced the availablity of 600,000 new cell phone lines. 

The distribution of the new lines will start at 7 o'clock tonight in the 800 authorized centers in the country.  A list of the authorized centers is at www.grupoice.com.  The ICE agencies will start distributing Tuesday morning, the communications monopoly said.

Initially, the company known as ICE will sell lines to those on a waiting list with a number less than 250,000. Anyone else will have to wait until early next year. 

To get a cell phone line, a customer must have a cedula as well as a copy, a utility bill as well as a copy, the cell phone receipt and a copy and 12,500 colons.  Users must also have no debt to ICE.     

Many private companies who sell telephones will do the paperwork for a customer and present it to the nearest ICE office.

Police take to streets
to guard aguinaldos


By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Like many other state institutions, the Ministerio de Gobernación, Policía y Seguridad Pública has announced that it will direct all of the ministry's resources into guaranteeing the safety of the citizenry during the many Christmas festivities planned for this month.

The Fuerza Pública has been coordinating activities with the Policía Municipal de San José to protect the estimated million persons that pass through the capital daily.  Many residents travel with wallets fattened by the government mandated Christmas bonus.  Thieves and muggers know this and as a result, the extra security is necessary.   

Authorities added that security will be strengthened throughout the 81 cantons of the country as well.  One such action, which nabbed a man attempting to pass a stolen check last week, unites all the country's banks in a communication network which allows workers to contact police in emergencies. 

The operation, “Aguinaldo Seguro,”  also provides for extra officers to patrol troublesome areas like bus stops, parks and commercial centers, the ministry said. 

In addition the police academy, the Escuela Nacional de Policía, will send 120 students to the streets.  They will be under the supervision of regular Fuerza Pública officers but should help to strengthen the overall security, the ministry said. 

The central government alone will be distributing 52 billion colons in aguinaldos starting Tuesday. That's $105 million to be divided among the 156,000 persons who work for the Ministerio de Educación, the Poder Judicial, and other ministries and state institutions. Also getting the bonus are persons on pension.

The law requires a payment of one twelfth of the salary earned during the year to be paid as the aguinaldo or Christmas bonus. For those who have worked a full year, the amount is about equal to a month's pay.

Government workers will not be getting the money in cash. The Ministerio de Hacienda said it would make a deposit to each employee's bank account via the Sistema Interbancario de Negociación y Pagos Electronicos of the Banco Central. Workers of private firms will get their aguinaldo through Dec. 16.

New $10 bills will enter
circulation March 2


Special to A.M. Costa Rica

The U.S. Department of the Treasury and Federal Reserve Board announced Friday that redesigned $10 notes will be issued beginning March 2. On this day of issue, Federal Reserve banks will begin distributing the new notes to the public through commercial banks.

The notes will begin circulating immediately in the United States and then be introduced in other countries in the days and weeks following as international
banks place orders for $10 notes from the Federal Reserve.
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Comisario Walter Navarro Romero, director general of the Fuerza Pública de la policìa helps Laurens Castro Chavarrìa, 7, of the Escuela España, chop up a gun.
A.M. Costa Rica
photos by
José Pablo Ramírez Vindas


A variety of weapons were brought to be destroyed. Among them were AK-47 and M-1 military rifles as well as various handguns.

School children help to chop up excess weapons
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The security ministry assisted by representatives of the United Nations, the Defensor Adjunto de los Habitantes and many students destroyed 3,614 firearms in the Plaza de la Cultura Friday in what was the largest arms destruction in Costa Rica's recent history, the ministry said. 

The weapons – all of which had been seized during different police actions – had been stored at the Arsenal Nacional.  The activity, labeled by the ministry as “Callen las Armas,” allowed the students to participate in the destruction of the guns as a message to the city that the use of illegal arms will not be tolerated.  That translates to "Quiet the guns."

“To find ourselves here for the destruction of these guns, unnecessary for a sovereign country without a military like ours, we are rewarded another time with the privilege to fulfill the mandates that ended our armed forces.  We have sent our resources to improve elements like national development and public
education.  Never again will they go towards useless armed forces,” said Rogelio Ramos Martínez, minister of Gobernación, Policía y Seguridad Pública. 

Last year the ministry destroyed some 1,559 firearms, it said.    

In addition to Ramos and other officials, a special guest was Jesús Umaña Chacón, a member of the nation's Unidad Especial de Intervención. He suffered a wound to his right hand when he tried to deactivate one of the weapons that students later destroyed. He was awarded a medal, the Cruz de Oro, which is given for valor and sacrifice in the performance of duty.

Also present were Miranda Herrera, shot by a former boyfriend several months earlier and Rogelio Vargas, a policeman who suffered a bullet wound when he tried to arrest a young criminal Nov. 13.

The 100 or so students who attended and participated in the destruction with electric saws are from the Escuela España and the Escuela Vitalia Madrigal.


The brook is bubbling with a lot of cool gossip
Cuando el río suena, piedras trae.
 
“When the river sounds, it carries rocks.”
 
We’re not talking here about that pleasant, relaxing gurgle of the babbling brook one might encounter while hiking around the outback. A less literal translation, but one closer to the actual meaning of today’s dicho might be: “When you hear sounds beneath the surface, it means there’s something down there.”
 
Costa Ricans use cuando el río suena, piedras trae to refer to a rumor or a piece of gossip that has some truth to it.
 
You may hear this said about movie stars and popular musicians, politicians, socialites and rich businessmen, any prominent public figure. But you may also hear a Costa Rican murmur cuando el rio suena, piedras trae in reference to the neighbor down the block who is rumored to be having an affair with the owner of the corner pulperia.
 
Now that the presidential election campaign is gearing up, the rumors concerning the character, honesty, qualifications, and especially the more sordid attributes of the various candidates are starting to surface.
 
Elections in Costa Rica have a festive atmosphere about them, and since chismería, or gossiping, is a national pastime on a level of enthusiasm among Ticos only slightly below that reserved for soccer, the fun of electing a new government for Tiquicia is doubled. The excitement mounts with each new tiny tidbit of political tattle.
 
As a teenager, I remember working as a volunteer on the election day. We received training on how to assist people in finding their proper polling place, and how to explain the ballot to them if they had questions. We all dressed in party colors. I wore the colors of the party my parents were supporting. We rose at 4 a.m., as the polls opened at 6. I remember how full of energy and enthusiasm we were. It’s a nice memory.
 
Part of the training we received was in how to assist handicapped people. I was never more thrilled, as a young person, as when my great uncle arrived at my precinct to cast his ballot. He was blind, but as soon as I saw him enter the place I went to him and said: “Tio Carlos, I am your great nephew Daniel, Luis’s son. I’m here to help you to vote today.”
 
“Oh, yes, my boy,” he replied, with a smile. “How are you?” We chatted a bit, and then I took him to the voting booth.
 
Then, as now, in Costa Rica, we voted by paper ballot —­ a bit low tech perhaps, but with proper supervision just as secure (if not more so) as any electronic method available today, and the hard-copy evidence is always available in case a recount becomes necessary.
 
Because my Tio Abuelo was blind, and very old, he was permitted to authorize a poll worker from the party of his choice to help him in casting his ballot. I felt very honored when he chose me to assist him.
 
My first question for Tio Carlos concerned his vote for president of the republic. “Don Pepe Figueres,” was his proud reply.
 
“But, Tio,” I said, a little bemused, “Don Pepe is not running for president in this election.”
The
way we say it

By Daniel Soto


“Well, then,” he said, growing slightly perturbed, “I will vote for Rafael Ángel Calderón Guardia.”
 
“But, Tio,” I again replied, “Mr. Calderón Guardia has been dead for quite a while now.”
 
When the next candidate he mentioned was Manuel Mora, ­also dead, ­ I decided I’d better read him that year's list of candidates or the polls would close long before Tio Carlos had cast his vote!
   
I started down the list of candidates, but my uncle considered the first too young, the second too old, the third was a womanizer, the fourth a hopeless drunk, and so on, and so on. Cuando el rio suena, piedras trae.
 
After a half hour or so of this I finally said, “But, Uncle Carlos you have to make up your mind and vote for one of these guys.”
 
“Well, yes you¹re right, my boy,” he admitted. “I’ve never missed voting yet, and at my age I don’t want to miss out now. I probably don't have that many elections left. ­ So, who did you vote for? I will vote for him.”
 
I explained that first of all I was not old enough yet to vote, and besides that’s not how the process is supposed to work.
 
“Well, then, Mi Hijo,” he said, patting me on my shoulder, “tell me who you would vote for in this election if you could vote and why you like that candidate, and maybe I’ll consider voting for your man. And if I do so, I’ll actually be voting for both of us.”
 
I spent another half hour trying, as best I could, to explain the positions of all the candidates on the various issues of the day, paying particular attention, I must admit, to the one I favored to win.
 
In the end, as you may have already guessed, Uncle Carlos decided to cast his vote that day for the candidate I favored. But, chatting as I escorted him back to his home, it was clear that he felt good about voting with a new generation ­ namely mine, ­ and happy that he was able to find a candidate he could support despite all the chismes, or rumors, that swirled around them all.
 
Folks often decry the fact that they must vote for the “lesser of two evils.” But isn’t this always the case? Politicians are human beings, and as such are subject to all the same faults, flaws and foibles as the rest of us. It’s a mistake to look for saints among the ranks of political parties.

But it’s also a mistake to take the notion behind cuando el rio suena, piedras trae so seriously that we disenfranchise ourselves.



 
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U.S. backs Latin banana exporters in EU trade dispute
Special to A.M. Costa Rica

The United States remains very disappointed with the new European Union proposal for import tariffs on bananas from Latin American suppliers, according to a statement issued by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.

The EU member states have agreed to impose an import tariff of 176 euros per metric ton on bananas for most favored nation suppliers, and also a duty-free annual import quota of 775,000 tons for bananas from the African Caribbean Pacific group of countries.  The measures are set to enter into force Jan. 1, according to a European Council press release issued that day.

Costa Rica is among the countries facing the tax.

Under a 2001 agreement, the European Union agreed to move from a complex import system based on a combination of tariffs and quotas for bananas to a regime based solely on a tariff by Jan. 1.

Latin American banana exporters and the United States long have complained that the EU's banana trading system favored African and Caribbean countries in violation of global trade rules.
"We believe strongly that the EU's unilateral proposal fails to maintain market access for MFN banana producers,” said trade representative spokeswoman Neena Moorjani in the statement.  "The United States remains very disappointed with the tariff level the EU has adopted with respect to implementation for bananas.”

According to news reports, if the proposed system enters into force without waivers from two World Trade Organization rules, it would likely be challenged in the international dispute settlement system for imposing different levels of tariffs on favored nations and African-Cribbean banana suppliers.

In a statement last week, EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson said “the door is not closed to further negotiation with our Latin American partners in order to reach a mutually satisfactory solution,” but the United States urged the European Union to resolve the long-standing dispute before the Dec. 13-18 trade Ministerial meeting in Hong Kong.

"We urge the EU to intensify its negotiations with relevant parties in the coming weeks so that remaining issues surrounding this long-standing topic can be resolved in advance of the WTO Ministerial conference," Moorjani said.


Only about 25 percent voted in Venezuelan national lawmaker election
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff
and wire services

CARACAS, Venezuela — With nearly 80 percent of the voting districts reporting, absenteeism in the election of legislators has reached more than 75 percent.

Both the daily El Universal and El Nacional reported that figure at midnight.

El Universal attributed that number to Jorge Rodríguez, president of the Consejo Nacional Electoral. At the same time, political parties loyal to President Hugo Chávez said they had won all 167 seats in the national legislature.

The bulk of the seats, 114, were won by the government party, Movimiento Quinta República. The remainder were won by other political organizations that support the president won the rest.
Five opposition groups did not take part in the vote, saying the country's electoral council is biased in favor of the president. A pro-government source said that absenteeism for any legislative election runs to about 60 percent.

The opponents of Chavez hope that their failure to participate will destroy the credibility of the new legislature. The boycott gives Chávez the power to rewrite portions of the constitution, such as the clause that sets presidential term limits.

Chávez has said the boycott is a U.S.-backed conspiracy against his government. The U.S. State Department has repeatedly denied the accusations.

The Venezuelan government has deployed thousands of soldiers around the country to maintain order during the vote. Small explosions injured three people in the Caracas area on Friday.


Perú says it will sue to get 'loaned' artifacts back from Yale University
By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Perú says it has formally warned prestigious Yale University that the government will sue if artifacts taken from Machu Picchu are not returned.

Peru's foreign ministry said in a statement on the ministry's Web site that the president of Yale has been told the nation will pursue a lawsuit if necessary, although a settlement is preferred.

Perú is demanding the return of nearly 5,000 objects an American explorer removed from Machu Picchu
during a series of expeditions almost a century ago.

Peru's National Institute of Culture says the treasures were loaned to Yale University in New Haven, Conn., but they were to be returned to Peru in 1916.

The ancient city of Machu Picchu is perched on a ridge more than 2,500 meters up in the Andes Mountains. The city is considered an archeological gem and a display of the Incas' construction techniques.

The city is a major tourist attraction, visited by about 300,000 people each year.


Telethon 2005 reaches goal to raise money for wing at Hospital de Niños
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The 2005 telethon raised more than $500,000 for the Hospital Nacional de Niños over the weekend.

The amount in colons that was chalked up by midnight Saturday was 259 million. The money will go to build a critical care facility at the hospital in San José.
The event was held at the Palacio de los Deportes in Heredia, but collections and related activities were held all over Costa Rica.

Among those who appeared was Mexican singer Pablo Montero and his mariachis, who closed the telethon. All the major television channels carried the event.

Other international stars participated, too.






 
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An investigator's opinion
Court hearing on Flight 800 is test of FOIA credibility

EDITOR’S NOTE: This newspaper has no opinion on the cause of the explosion that claimed passengers and crew just off Long Island, N.Y. However, this newspaper strongly supports the U.S. Freedom of Information Act and similar laws here and elsewhere. Newspaper executives also think that the FBI cultivates a culture of secrecy that is harmful to the hemispheric welfare.


By Graeme Sephton
TWA Flight 800 researcher

BOSTON, Mass. — More precisely than any other evidence dredged up from the Atlantic Ocean in the months after the mysterious explosion of Flight 800 in 1996, the numerous metal fragments discovered during autopsies and taken by the FBI for analysis potentially defined the exact nature of the explosion that ripped the 747 in half and killed 230 people.

In the First Circuit Appeals Court in Boston Wednesday morning, the FBI will attempt to defend how its $40 million investigation could have mislaid this critical information that underpinned their absolute certainty that a fuel tank, and not a bomb or missile, caused the initial explosion.

The most uncontaminated direct evidence of the signature characteristics of the explosion of Flight 800 was “collected” by the victims in their dying moments.  It has taken 9 years to establish that there were scores of small metal fragments and even “BB-like pellets” removed from the victims during their autopsies.

Forensic examination of the residues was expected to determine exactly what type of explosion – fuel tank, bomb or missile?

Was the forensic evidence from all those shrapnel fragments consistent with a fuel tank explosion?  Were the results from numerous residue swabs that are documented as having been collected, consistent with a fuel explosion?  Were the fragment sizes consistent with a “low velocity” fuel tank explosion?  Were the analyses of the composition and direction of those fragments consistent with a fuel tank origin?

Many of those objects were the very first evidence retrieved and they provided a snapshot and an evidentiary collage of the explosion that ripped the 747 into two halves and killed 230 people.

In 1998 this writer, one of many independent researchers on Flight 800, did a freedom of information request to the FBI seeking listings of all the objects collected as evidence from the autopsies and also asking for all of the forensic results, physical details and summaries obtained from the analysis of those items.

In response, over the seven years since, the FBI has only been able to locate one single page of actual forensic results originating from an FBI forensic examination.

The adequacy of this search is the subject of a current appeal in the First Circuit Federal Appeals Court in Boston.

To this day one of the most contentious aspects of the nearly $100 million Flight 800 investigation was that the government found no direct evidence supporting their final conclusion.  In August 2000 the National Transportation Safety Board ruled that the “most likely” cause was a hypothetical short circuit outside the fuel tank that might have found its way into the fuel tank.  They had no actual specific evidence.  The exploding fuel tank was a default conclusion relying on the fact that the FBI had unequivocally ruled out a bomb or a missile through its intensive forensic testing of the crash evidence.
 
For more background:

www.foiac.org
www.raylahr.com
www.flight800.org

Contact Graeme Sephton HERE! or at this number  (413) 367-2253

Other recent A.M. Costa Rica stories:

Lawsuit seeks data used to probe Flight 800 crash

Flight 800 shows that bad science is dangerous
 


This lawsuit has now established that the FBI cannot,
or does not want to find any of these critical forensic results that might easily validate their conclusion once and for all.  FBI documents released over the course of this litigation prove that scores of unidentified “metal fragments” and “metal pellets” were removed during the autopsies of the 230 victims.  But the forensic evidence derived from analysis of those objects or any of the hundreds of others collected during the autopsies cannot now be located in its investigation archives.

The claim by the FBI ever since 1999 that they cannot find any of the requested forensic results makes no reasonable sense at all.  It is also not reasonable that the FBI claimed complete certainty about their conclusion, without them also having a very firm grasp on the forensic results upon which that certainty relied.

This is of greater public concern because those forensic results were never shared or reviewed by the Suffolk County Coroner or anyone else inside the investigation (see: “the Unidentified Shrapnel”)

Daniel Stotter, this writer's lawyer, believes the evidence that the FBI did an inadequate search is very compelling. The FBI also seriously undermined their credibility in the case when they refused to comply with a request by District Judge Michael Ponsor in 2004 for a simple declaration that they had performed a reasonable search.

If the Appeals Court now rules against the FBI it will finally be possible to obtain and independently evaluate this very fundamental evidence about the investigation. Did the FBI do an adequate job and arrive at reasonable conclusions in their 15-month long, $40 million investigation?

Alternately, if the FBI prevails, the public’s right to know under the federal Freedom of Information Act will suffer further erosion, aping the current trend towards greater secrecy. Our ability and the ability of the media to see through the fog of government spin and obfuscation will be further impaired. Much therefore hinges on the results of this appeal.  The public interest needs effective checks and balances such as the FOI laws provide. It is critical to preserve such reasonable means to hold government agencies accountable.

And if the FBI prevails, their win will be counter-productive for them because many of the details in the case, especially the FBI’s inability to locate important evidence, undermine their credibility and erode public confidence.

The Flight 800 investigation will continue to be contentious until the underlying evidence is released. At a broader level Flight 800 is important to the public interest as a case study of how not to do a government investigation. Presently we have a dangerous flaw in our civic infrastructure.  



Readers have opinions on army and other topics
He says relationships
are really prostitution


Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

Please add this letter to the list of letters in your A.M. Costa Rica paper concerning postitution.

First off we are a bit annoyed that you folks even started printing this stuff. However we are even more annoyed at the hypocrites that live in other countries and have to write and judge the beautiful people of Costa Rica.

My wife & I visit Costa Rica regularly, and we have never ever yet seen any prostitutes there, so it makes me wonder if these folks that are writing to you are dreaming about their own back yard. Where we do see lots of prostitutes are in the North America & Europe airports, streets & homes as we travel. The prostitutes that I speak about, they all live under the disguise of a relationship just waiting for the right moment to steal their partner blind and all with the full blessing of the governments.

The truth is that the real prostitutes in society are the ones that live in some sort of a relationship or are married, then they either take advantage of their partner (most often the male is the one that is taken advantage of) by taking all of the persons possessions simply to acquire wealth (oh of course there are a truckload of excuses of why he is no longer the perfect lover or worth living with & of course its all his fault according to the government sanctioned female chauvinist feminist groups). He now ends up after six months to 45 years of work & saving with “nothing,” in some cases not even the shirt on his back. It happens all the time all over the world. The white women are perhaps the best at this type of prostitution.

This of course is legal prostitution and it is fully supported by the government under fancy titles like distribution of wealth. Give me a break. If this is not prostitution then what is? The governments in North America have spent millions to give women equal opportunities. It has had some impact and this can be seen with the millions of displaced children in homes as the women no longer needs to depend on the male for denaro (so some of this type of prostitution has been cleaned up, but ministries of the government are still openly supporting it. Despite the millions of dollars that has been spent on stopping some of this prostitution (destroying family’s), few women have chosen the greasy career of car mechanic’s, or pipe fitters as was promoted by the female chauvinist feminists in North America. Women by nature want to be treated like women, with dignity & respect so those self-righteous people outside of Costa Rica who already have everything are in no position to be throwing any negative crap at any Latino Women.  Just for the record most Latino Women are not only of the most beautiful, but they are also real women who know how to look after themselves, how to conduct thenselves. They cherish and value their familyies.

There are also the occasional small groups or individuals as you read about in the A.M. Costa Rica from time to time who feel that they have to go to other counties and talk about AIDs and related matters. These folks for the most part are their in disguise. They are either legal prostitutes in their own country or slaves from the white man's world. Really Costa Rican authorities should take these folks and have them physically checked for AIDs as they get off the plane & then put them through a mandatory course on real family values and have them sign that they will not tamper or criticize Costa Rican values in any way.

If the man is not able to speak for himself any more (as is usually the case with a North American slave, he should be put back onto the plane and sent home, also if the woman has willfully disposed of her charm by chopped off all her hair & is dressed & painted up like its Halloween then she should also be sent home as there is nothing of value that scum like that can provide to a Costa Rican woman.)

Let me say that the few/minority of women & men who stand on a street corner for their lively hood are 1000000% more honest that the hypocrites that do prostitution under the umbrella of another name like distribution of wealth.

Herb Delmars
Calgary Alberta, Canada




Country wins praise
for army abolition


Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

The people and country of Costa Rica are due great respect, appreciation and congratulations on this past Thursday’s celebration marking the anniversary of the abolition of the country’s military. Very few countries have equaled this grand accomplishment and here’s to hoping many more will soon “see the light” and join the ranks.
 
The expected results were that more capital could be used towards improving education and healthcare availability and quality.  The results certainly  are visible in Costa Rican life in that CR has one of the highest literacy rates in the world and boasts of pretty good healthcare, especially when compared to  it’s Central American neighbors and out into the Caribbean island countries.  Not even the U.S. can boast universal healthcare!
 
The issue of having and maintaining a military in general is as controversial as any subject one could debate and, fortunately, is not the intended purpose of my e-mail of today.  So far, it appears it has served the people of Costa Rica very well and the efforts have translated into tangible, quantifiable benefits.  Combined with a good domestic and foreign policies of keeping the peace, this clearly is an effective, rational plan to avoid the tragic losses that are suffered by warring nations. And allows for maximum, positive benefits to it’s people. Bravo Costa Rica!
 
Chuck Crider
Orlando,  Fla.

He prefers luxury tax
instead of flat tax


Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

About Mr. Alvin Rabushka's proposal of a flat tax of a high of 19% and starting at $25,500. There have been many ideas about what is called a fair tax system. I have to agree the deductions have to be done away with as the rich have their high-cost accountants who know all the loopholes and are able to turn a $20,000 or so investment into a $100,000 or so deduction for them. When I was working (now disabled which is non-taxable and don’t try and touch that!!), I was earning just under six figures and the president of the great U.S. of A. was earning 3 times as much. I paid four times as much in tax as he did. Why is that?

The rich have their great accountants and tax lawyers.

Now lets start a tax system where anyone in the States earning under $25,500 does not pay tax. Well I guess I should move back and start building mobile homes, tents or RV’s as the country will be in great need for housing for the POOR with four children and only $25,500 a year to live on. I thought I read one time it takes about $7,800 a year to raise a child. Guess I could do a Google search on that. The system that is being proposed and should be in effect is a sales tax system for luxury goods. Those who can afford to buy a $30,000 wedding ring (mine cost $25.00) will pay a luxury tax on it. Those who can afford a Bently, Humvie or other $50,000-plus car do not worry about the mileage they get so should not worry about the luxury tax they pay on it.

NOW that is a fair tax system and people like Alvin Rabushka can get out from hiding behind the BUSH!!!

Richard Vienneau
Playa Potrero

He sticks by his stats

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

When speaking of Costa Rica's crime, David Moir said that I quoted the statistics incorrectly in my letter yesterday. However he was looking at a different category. I re-checked my research and indeed Costa Rica is number 46 out of 61 in "total crimes," as I initially reported. It's clear by the response received that crime in Costa Rica is an issue that is important to a lot of people. It's equally interesting to note that not only people have a different view on crime, but interpret the statistics very differently. The question I'm always left with is why people who think this is such a crime-ridden land still live here.

Scott  Pralinsky
Paraiso de Cartago


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