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(506) 2223-1327                        Published Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2012, in Vol. 12, No. 246                        Email us
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A resident of the Caribbean coast said that he got this scar in a dispute over who can live on a native reserve.

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Nation was lucky during an active hurricane season
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Costa Rica has passed though another Atlantic hurricane season with only moderate damage from flooding.

The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has declared the end to the 2012 season. Nov. 30 is the traditional end, but some later storms have sneaked in during past years. However, the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami, Florida, shows an Atlantic from the west coast of Africa to the Caribbean free of any low pressure areas, troughs or other disturbances.

And in Costa Rica the weather appears to be headed for an early dry season or summer. Monday was a day for sunglasses and tanning lotion even in the Central Valley where the mercury reached 30 C or about 86 F. In Liberia at Daniel Oduber airport, the temperature was even higher at 34.5 C or about 94 degrees F.

The 2012 Atlantic Hurricane season was one that produced 19 named storms of which 10 became hurricanes and one became a major hurricane, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.  The number of named storms is well above the average of 12, it said. The number of hurricanes is also above the average of six, but the number of major hurricanes is below the average of three, the agency added.

2012 was an active year, but not exceptionally so as there were 10 busier years in the last three decades, said the agency.

This season marks the second consecutive year that the mid-Atlantic and Northeast suffered devastating
impacts from a named storm. Sandy, and Irene last year, caused fatalities, injuries, and tremendous destruction from coastal storm surge, heavy rainfall, inland flooding, and wind, said the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Storms struck many parts of the United States this year, including tropical storms Beryl and Debby in Florida, Hurricane Isaac in Louisiana, and post-tropical Cyclone Sandy in New Jersey.

Graphic of 2012 hurricane season

An interesting aspect of the season was its early start, with two tropical storms, Alberto and Beryl, developing in May before the season officially began, said the agency. Also, this is the seventh consecutive year that no major hurricanes (category 3, 4 or 5) have hit the United States.

The only major hurricane this season was Hurricane Michael, a Category 3 storm that stayed over the open Atlantic, it added in a summary released Monday.

A persistent jet stream pattern over the eastern portion of the nation helped steer many of this season’s storms away from the United States, the agency said.

Meanwhile the Instituto Meteorological Nacional in Costa Rica says that the winds from the north will increase with some rain continuing in the central and south Pacific and on the Caribbean coast and in the northern zone.

There still remains the possibility of showers even in the northern Pacific and in the Central Valley.

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More firms become involved
in Ruta 1856 investigation

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The financial scandal over the roadway along the Rio San Juan in northern Costa Rica continues to grow.

The anti-corruption prosecutor's office directed the search of six more construction companies Monday. These were firms that had not been involved in the investigation earlier and were not the subject of searches and confiscations of financial records.

But the Poder Judicial said that as judicial auditors continued to look into the case, they found that these companies had bills pending with the Consejo Nacional de Vialidad, the road agency.

The companies are VH Constructora S.A., Movimientos de Tierra y Acarreos ALFRITZ S.A., Constructora Basavi S.A. and Compañía Constructora MONRO S.A., all in various communities of San Carlos and WSP Constructora S.A. in Curridabat and Construtana R&A S.A. in Sarapiquí.

The roadway is Ruta 1856 that was pushed through as an emergency measure to counter the potential threat from Nicaraguans. The project came from direct orders of President Laura Chinchilla, and many of the accounting controls normal for big projects were not applied.

Hotel occupancy reported
to be lower than last year

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Hotel occupancy numbers for the month of October fell in comparison to last year, according to a survey by researchers at the Cámara Costarricense de Hoteles.

The survey reports that hotels were 38.1 percent occupied in October 2012, which is almost 4 percent less than in 2011.

The Caribbean and the northern zone saw the greatest reductions.  These two areas lost between 8 and 12 percentage points.  Also city hotels loss 7.9 percent of occupants, and mountain hotels lost 5.3 percent of occupants, the survey said.

Two-star hotels lost 2.3 percent of occupants, and three-star hotels lost almost 9 percentage points, the chamber reported, adding that hotels with between 21 and 50 rooms lost 7.6 of customers as opposed the to the 3.5 percent lost by hotels with more than 100 rooms.

Puntarenas was the only region to receive an increase, and beach hotels saw a slight increase of .4 percent. 

Immigration moves up date
for some cédula appointments

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Persons who scheduled an appointment to obtain their residency cédulas at the Dirección General de Migración y Extranjería  Jan. 2, 3 or 4, are able to move their appointment to next week.

This advancement is made possible by the central government's establishment of the holiday period, said immigration.

Officials at immigration said they are working to call and email foreigners who scheduled appointments for the first of the year, to let them know they are eligible for the earlier date.

Those who can not make the earlier day will keep their original scheduled appointment.

Judicial agents pay a visit
to home of 
laundering suspect

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Judicial investigators went to the home of a man caught with large amounts of money last week and found 2 million colons, they said Monday. That's about $4,000.

The 38-year-old man, who has the last name of Abarca, was stopped in a pickup near the Zurquí tunnel Wednesday, and investigators located $650,000 in the truck, they said.

So in an investigation of money laundering, the agents decided to search the man's home in Santo Domingo de Heredia.

The individual is the same one who was detained in 2006 when agents found $2 million in U.S. dollars and 1,400 kilos of cocaine. He was on conditional liberty, similar to parole, when he was stopped last week, agents said.

The search Monday was not so much for the money but for documentation about possible crimes.

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
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A.M. Costa Rica Third News Page
San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2012, Vol. 12, No. 246
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A.M. Costa Rica editors do not like to publish pictures of dead animals, but the impact of the adjacent photo might prevent a similar incident in the future or at least encourage expats to call when they hear shots suggesting illegal hunting.

dead animals
Ministerio de Gobernación, Policía y Seguridad Pública

Frontier police and park guards detain three for illegal hunting
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Hunters in northwest Costa Rica appear to be ready to shoot anything that moves.

Frontier police and park guards encountered a shack in an agricultural area Sunday. The shack contained a variety of dead animals, including an endangered ocelot (Leopardus pardalis). The small cat had been hunted for its skin. But also at the location were an armadillo (Dasypus novemcinctus) and an agouti (Dasyprocta punctata).  The agouti is known locally as a  guatusa.
Also found were the skins of two caiman.

Officers quickly detained two persons nearby. The location was in La Garita de La Cruz. Police said they had been tipped off by a citizen.

Later officers detained the man in charge of the farm. Weapons also were encountered.

The park guards are with the Ministerio del Ambiente Energía y Telecomunicaciones and they took charge of the skins and dead animals.

Long-running Caribbean dispute centers on who is a native
By Aaron Knapp
of the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Roger Maxi Cruz stood patiently but resolutely outside of a community meeting Saturday where about 50 residents of the Reserva Indígena Kekoldi in Talamanca had gathered for an emergency meeting.

Most of them came to air their grievances to political figures that they expected would attend. The residents said they lost some of their property and are being denied the right to vote on reservation affairs by the current native administration.

The Talamanca mayor, Melvin Cordero, and national lawmaker José María Villalta Florez-Estrada of Frente Amplio were expected to attend, but only Gerardo Vargas Varela, a Frente Amplio candidate made it in the end.

However, Maxi attended the meeting to hear solutions about growing violence on the reserve against those residents deemed non-native.

Maxi was attacked six months ago because he is a non-native and lives on the reservation with his Bribri wife and their children. He pulled up his shirt before the meeting and showed a long scar he has on his back from being slashed with a machete in that incident.

“You should be able to live with whomever you choose, whether she is black, Chinese or white,” he said.

This was about a month after the attack some members of the Asociación Keköldi ordered him to let them in his house to look around. Maxi said that they claimed to have a right to enter because he was not Kekoldi, but he refused them access.

“I will defend my rights and I will defend the rights of my children,” said Maxi. “I defended the rights of my family, and now I'm in problems.”

The Kekoldi Association governs the affairs of the tribe including dispensing money that the tribe receives from government and non-governmental organizations.

These are reports about a group on the reserve that have harassed and sometimes become violent towards Ticos, expats and other non-Bribri individuals who live on the land there.

Argentinean expat Edwin Salem has been calling on politicians and the news media to cover the situation over the past months. He said that some hostile persons have been trespassing on his property, setting his horses loose and even cut one of his horses across the face with a machete.

He has also done his own investigation and has recorded video interviews of native people living on the reserve who have had their houses burned down.

“They're burning houses of non-indigenous that are titled to the land and cutting down their crops,” said Salem. “Greed has brought violence and corruption into the territory and the government hasn't helped even when they're trying to help.”

Salem and several other community members also recorded an interview with a woman who said that her home was attacked and she was kidnapped for a day and raped.

Edwin Salem is an Argentinean expat who spent years living in California before buying a piece of land outside of Puerto Viejo 20 years ago. At the time he did not know that half of his 18-hectare piece of land is actually in Kekoldi territory.

“If I look at it as a foreigner without knowing anything about the situation with that part of the farm, I got screwed,” said Salem of the purchase.

The problem for numerous expats and Ticos living near Puerto Viejo is that the government set aside areas in
meeting photos
   Gerardo Vargas Varela              Franklin Villa Nueva

Talamanca for native tribes decades ago.

According to another expat in the area named Benjamin Archer Moore, the Fondo Nacional de Financiamiento Forestal pays the governing organization of these tribes a certain amount of money per hectare to not clear or farm the land but leave it as undisturbed forest.

According to Moore and Salem, this money is unregulated.
“When you start giving money without some control, things start to happen,” said Moore in an earlier telephone interview.

Many of the native people who came to the meeting are from another native group called the Cabécar. They and even some Bribri claim that their affiliation with the association has been revoked in the past year, meaning that they cannot vote on the leaders of the reserve, they have no say in the affairs of the reserve and they have no say on how government money is spent.

“The directorate has negated the affiliation of the majority of the indigenous of the Kekoldi community,” said Franklin Villa Nueva after the meeting.

Villa has filed Sala IV cases with numerous government agencies, including one to the forestry fund to stop payment to the Kekoldi altogether until the issues are resolved. If this worked, it would deny him and all of his native neighbors a key revenue stream.

Although Maxi, Villa and most participants were frustrated by how the meeting did not result in solutions, no one disputed the presence of violence on the reservation.

“It didn't produce a ruling,” said Maxi.

Vargas, the Frente Amplio candidate, called on all sides to compromise at the meeting and called for a dialogue between the factions.

“Nobody can get 100 percent of what they're seeking,” he said.

In an interview after the meeting, Vargas, a priest, described the conflict as a territorial dispute where the Bribri want the Cabécars and non-native individuals to leave.

Villa said after the meeting that he and the others wanted these political figures to pressure the reserve's administration to allow everyone to vote and to stop the sporadic violence that has been occurring.

“We hoped that Gerardo Vargas and that Villalta would help us,” said Villa.

Vargas and other representatives of the municipal government assured residents they would hold meetings to bring both sides together to resolve the situation, but that open dialogue was the best solution.

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A.M. Costa Rica's Fourth News page
San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2012, Vol. 12, No. 246
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With a little funding, businesswomen can explore creative bent
By Aaron Knapp
of the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Since she was a girl, Viviana Batalla Otárola has envisioned herself making confections that are both sweet to the tongue and sweet to the eye.

She started paving the way for that reality as a 10-year-old when she began making her own chocolates and selling them at school to her classmates and teachers.

“I always liked to cook,” said Ms. Batalla. “One day I wanted to learn how to make cute-looking food.”

24 years later, armed with a degree in marketing and promotion, Ms. Batalla owns her own business, Kakao, which specializes in designing specialized chocolates.

She was one of about 300 female entrepreneurs who participated in two separate business fairs specifically for women in San José last week.

All of these women had designed their own unique products and started their own businesses with the help of government programs designed specifically to give female entrepreneurs a start.

The Municipalidad de San José and the local Oficina de la Mujer hosted one of these fairs in Parque Central. This was the third annual Mujeres Emprendedoras que quieren salir adelante or "Businesswomen Who Want to Get Ahead."

Executive secretary of the office of women, Rosa María Vargas, said that this fair was made of all women from the San José canton, most of whom had received help from the Proyecto Autonomia Economica de la Mujer.

She said that the objective is to give both single and married women, especially those with families, financial independence.

“Many can support their houses,” said Ms. Vargas. “Many depend on their spouses, but with our program they can help. For us that's very important.”

Santa Morales Molina is married but has her own business. She learned how to craft wooden jewelry boxes and small cabinets and now makes and sells her own products through her business Muebleria y Artesanías Morales out of her own home.

“With  this I work for me,” said Ms. Morales. “I'm my own boss.”

The Feria Nacional de Mujeres Empresaria at the Antigua Aduana hosted by the Ministerio de Economía, Industria y Comercio and the Instituto Nacional de las Mujeres featured considerably more unique products.

The 140 women at this fair sold very specialized products and services like children's party planning, nurse uniforms, organic chai tea and Ms. Batalla's chocolates. Their products were just as diverse as their reasons for starting their individual businesses.

Laura Céspedes Araya said that she's always loved working with textiles, but with her business Ilusiones she specifically focuses on designing toys, blankets and pillows for children. She said that she appreciates that children are always straight forward when they see something they like.

“They are sincere,” she said. “They're not hypocrites.”

One of the younger business owners was 26-year-old Leonela Rojas, who recently was graduated from the Universidad de Costa Rica with a degree in ceramic design.

She has not always appreciated ceramic as an art or an outstanding project, but just two years ago changed her mind and now has her own business selling ceramic art, pottery, mugs and other items.

“At first I didn't understand why people studied ceramics,” said Ms. Rojas. “But when I discovered the world of ceramics, it was incredible.”

She said that she only formally started the business this year,
A.M. Costa Rica/Aaron Knapp
 Viviana Batalla Otárola dips marshmallows in a chocolate

A.M. Costa Rica/Aaron Knapp
 Laura Céspedes Araya with one of the pillows she designed
 for children.

and she appreciates how she does not have to answer to anyone and can focus on whatever works she feels like.

“I can make my own designs,” said Ms. Rojas.

All of these business owners agreed that the fairs are especially valuable, because potential customers get to know their products.

“What's most important about fairs is that the products are introduced to people,” said Ms. Batalla.

“They help me a lot,” agreed Ms. Céspedes, who added that fair organizers helped with making fliers and business cards so clients can contact producers directly.

Both of these fairs as well as a micro-business fair held by the ministry of economy in Limón started and concluded last week, but many of these shops have been featured at other annual fairs and may be featured in futures ones.

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EU officials receive Nobel
for bringing peace to Europe

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The European Union has received this year's Nobel Peace Prize for turning Europe "from a continent of war to a continent of peace" in the wake of two world wars.

Thorbjoern Jagland, the Norwegian Nobel Committee chairman, presented the award Monday to European Union President Herman Van Rompuy, European Commission President José Manuel Barroso and European Parliament President Martin Schulz in the Norwegian capital, Oslo.

Jagland said the political union is more important than ever during Europe’s current economic crisis.

"We must stand together," he said. "We have collective responsibility. Without this European cooperation, the result might easily have been new protectionism, new nationalism, with the risk that the ground gained would be lost.”

The European Commission president said the European Union deserved the award.

"It is in fact probably the most successful ever process of reconciliation," said Barroso, describing the founding of the federation. "The union, in transnational terms — we have now 27, very soon 28, countries — united not only around the value of peace, but freedom and democracy."

The committee credited the 27-nation bloc for being a stabilizing player throughout the last 60 years that have seen Western and Eastern Europe rejoined following the break-up of the Soviet Union and the settling of ethnically based national conflicts.

Critics say the European Union is undeserving of the prize, however, as it suffers from political division and social unrest, triggered mainly by the continent's ongoing economic crisis.

About 200 people marched through the Norwegian capital Sunday to protest against the award.

Peace activists who joined Sunday’s protest said they do not reject the cause of European integration, but view the union as undeserving of a peace prize that was meant to honor contributions to disarmament. Many were angry with the way the EU has handled the continent's financial crisis, especially in Greece, where they say austerity measures have contributed to increased poverty and unemployment.

European Council President Van Rompuy said the European Union is helping struggling countries overcome their financial difficulties.

“Of course, the countries have to put their houses in order, and that is very painful," he said. "We know this, but at the same time we are helping them by providing financial support."

Other critics drew attention to human-rights issues in Europe, including discrimination against Roma and Islamophobia.

Private firm plans flights
for space tourist to moon

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A U.S. company founded by ex-NASA executives says it plans to offer commercial flights to the moon by the end of the decade.

The company, named Golden Spike, estimates it will cost $1.5 billion to send two people to the moon and back for up to two days.

It plans to sell the flights to "nations, individuals, and corporations with lunar exploration objectives and ambitions," at a cost it says is a fraction of similar government-run lunar programs.

Golden Spike said it would reduce costs by using existing rockets and capsules for the launches, needing only to design new space suits and a lunar lander. It is also considering other revenue sources, such as advertising on space vehicles.

The announcement came just before Friday's 40-year anniversary of the launch of NASA's Apollo 17, the last mission that put humans on the moon.

President Barack Obama cancelled NASA's planned return to the moon and oversaw the retirement of the last of the agency's space shuttles as part of a policy meant to help encourage commercial space endeavors in the coming decades.

Some say the plan appears to be working, with private companies having already enjoyed recent success launching rockets into orbit or sending flights to the International Space Station.

U.S. is predicted to become
second in economic power

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A new U.S. intelligence assessment says China is expected to surpass the United States as the leading economic power by 2030, but the U.S. will remain a top world leader.

The assessment was released Monday by the National Intelligence Council of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.   

It predicts that Asia will surpass North America and Europe combined in terms of indices of overall power — in gross domestic product, population size, military spending and technological investment.

The report says the world will see an expanding middle class by 2030, and for the first time a majority of the world's population will not be impoverished.

It notes an expected higher demand on resources, as the global population expands by about a billion to 8 billion people. It says nearly half of the world's population will live in areas with severe water stress. It says China and India are vulnerable to shortages of key resources, while limited resources such as water and arable land could increase the risks of intrastate conflict in sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and parts of the Middle East.

It says the United States will likely be energy independent, while Russia, Europe and Japan are predicated to see slow economic declines.

The assessment anticipates that the Middle East will remain the world's most volatile region, and any future wars in Asia and the Middle East could include a nuclear component, making conflicts hard to contain and with global impact.

It also warns that countries including Afghanistan, Burundi, Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen face a high risk of state failure.

The National Intelligence Council publishes a global trends report every four years. The report is an analysis of information from the U.S. intelligence community and experts in the U.S. and abroad.
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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2012, Vol. 12, No. 246
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Some of the stolen cable is still in cardboard boxes.

Cable robbed from trucker
turning up around the town

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Bandits stuck up a truck driver last Nov. 5 and relieved him of his load that contained electric cables made in Costa Rica and destined for export.

Monday judicial agents located some of the stolen cable in retail outlets in San José. Then they said they received information that a junk operation in San Sebastián might have more. They searched that location and turned up two tons of the cable, all still in spools, they said.

The truck hijacking is a step up from the normal theft of cable by vagrants and small-time crooks who trim pieces of copper wire from electrical lines around the Central Valley.

In the case of the hijacking, bandits in cars forced the driver to stop just a short distance from the company where he picked up the load. They made off with the truck.

Country expresses its concern
for N. Korean rocket launch

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The country is expressing its concern over North Korea's plan to launch a long-range rocket this week.

The Costa Rican foreign ministry issued a statement Monday saying that launching a rocket or missile is a challenge for international peace and security.

The rocket is expected to travel southeast toward Australia. Officials in Washington are concerned because North Korea may be developing a long-range rocket with the capability of reaching the U.S. mainland with a nuclear payload. North Korea says the rocket is just an effort to launch a satellite.

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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2012, Vol. 12, No. 246
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Laura Kahn prepares a low-cost meal

Couple finds that low-budget food
presents challenges and tradeoffs

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A record number of Americans, 47 million people, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, rely on government assistance to keep from going hungry.

The U.S. government provides a stipend for food, but warding off hunger can be challenging on a tight budget.

Laura Kahn recently got a taste of what it's like to live on food assistance after volunteering to take the Hunger Challenge.

Ms. Kahn, who loves to cook, prepared meals for herself and her husband for about $4 each per day. That’s the estimated government food aid benefit for her and her husband. The amount is based on the number of people in the household, the family income and many other factors. Seniors get a bonus amount. The total also depends on the state in which the individual lives.

For the Kahns, their amount is less than half of what the typical American couple spends daily on food.

And that’s the point of the Hunger Challenge, says Charles Meng, executive director of the Arlington Food Assistance Center, a nearby food bank.

“All of a sudden you can understand those tradeoffs that our families make on a daily basis,” Meng says.

Tradeoffs like giving up most fresh fruits and vegetables for canned.

"A fresh apple might be five cents or 10 cents more expensive than the applesauce that's already canned," Ms. Kahn says, "which doesn't sound like a lot, but when you're on $4.03 a day, three cents here, 10 cents here, it all adds up."
Even brand-name canned foods had to go and so did the flavors she liked.

"You almost have to add some sort of spice to the store-brand tomatoes in order to make them taste the same,” she said.

Most red meat had to go, too, so their protein often came from beans.

“I’ve got black beans, red beans," Ms. Kahn says, "got our pinto beans, got our lentils.”

After conducting a great deal of research to keep her recipes on budget, she drew up detailed charts listing the per-serving cost of every ingredient.

“It was a lot of work," Ms. Kahn says. "I enjoy it because I enjoy numbers, but your average person is probably not going to do this.”

But it helped her come up with meals which were healthy, tasty, filling and cheap. One recent dinner, a potato-zucchini-egg frittata, cost about a dollar per serving.

“Yeah, it’s really good,” says Ms. Kahn's husband, Aaron, who adds they've not sacrificed on taste. But, "I’ve also seen all the work that Laura put into it. And I can’t believe the amount of effort it takes to eat on such a tight budget.”

And Laura Kahn says it was an eye-opening experience for her, too.

“I’ve never had to think about where my next meal comes from, and I think that it can be a tremendous amount of stress on people," she says. "And I think I realize that more by having lived it.”

After a week of low-budget cooking, Ms. Kahn ended the challenge with greater respect for those who have to live on government food assistance, people who face the hunger challenge all year round.

Leftist, pacifist Dorothy Day seen
as saint who can unite Catholics

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Dorothy Day is not a familiar name in the United States or around the world.

However, for about half of the 20th century, her name was synonymous with orthodox Catholic teachings on social justice and morality. U.S. bishops hope to have Ms. Day, who died in 1980, canonized.

Some Catholics see the bid to declare Ms. Day a saint as a political move to reconcile the conservative and liberal wings of the American Catholic Church.

Ms. Day did not always fit the common stereotype of a Catholic saint. In a 1973 interview, she offered a no-nonsense rationale for feeding the poor that is earthy, not ethereal.  

“If your brother is hungry you feed him," she said. "You don’t meet him at the door and say ‘be thou filled’ or wait a couple of weeks and you’ll get a welfare check. You sit him down.”

Ms. Day was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1897 to a middle class Protestant family that rarely attended church. She became radicalized at an early age, says biographer Jim O’Grady, author of "Dorothy Day: With Love for the Poor."   ​

“When she moved to New York in her late teens, she was around a lot of radical agitators. She wrote her left-wing periodicals. She was a friend of the labor movement and anti-war groups," O'Grady says. "She interviewed Trotsky when he passed through New York City. She did some heavy drinking with Eugene O’Neill in a saloon in Greenwich Village and at some point she had an abortion and a divorce. So that was her youth.” 

In "The Long Loneliness," Ms. Day’s 1952 autobiography, she recounts a deep spiritual crisis, followed by a religious awakening which climaxed with the 1929 birth of her daughter, Tamar, whom Ms. Day had baptized.

"The way she described it, she was so suffused with gratitude that she turned to God," O'Grady says. "She, herself, was baptized as a Catholic and she embarked on this lifelong journey of learning what that was. But she never stopped having this deep fervor for issues of social justice."

In 1933, during the Depression, Ms. Day and a fellow activist began publishing a newspaper called The Catholic Worker. Its headquarters in a poor New York neighborhood soon grew into a place where the homeless could always find shelter and the hungry could get a meal.

The movement spread. Today there are well over 100 Catholic Worker affiliates worldwide. Sister Mary Ann Walsh, spokesperson for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, says it is these works of mercy which underlie efforts to canonize Day.

“Dorothy Day certainly was an extraordinary person who lived in voluntary poverty and spent her whole life serving the poor and that certainly characterizes a saint," she says, "somebody who could be so selfless in their giving of themselves to others.”

However, Ms. Day often took positions which were at odds with the mainstream Catholic hierarchy. She advocated for the redistribution of wealth, for example, and fought for workers' rights. She was a pacifist, even during World War II, which nearly doomed The Catholic Worker.

Sister Walsh acknowledges Ms. Day's priorities did not always coincide with those of church leaders.

“She was in the trenches," Sister Walsh says. "She didn’t see her role in life as trying to lobby bishops, for example. She never craved the limelight in any way.”

Before Ms. Day can be declared a saint, there must be two proven miracles attributed to her intercession. It’s a bureaucratic process than can take decades to complete. Meanwhile, The Catholic Worker continues to publish.
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