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(506) 2223-1327                          Publihsed Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014, in Vol. 14, No. 249                                  Email us
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Caja rule on foreign spouses upsets many expats
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Some expats are unhappy because they feel the state health provider has thrown them a financial curve.

Foreign residents must affiliate with the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social whether they want to use the health services or not. But in the last month, the Caja has declined to allow spouses to join as part of a family package.

Instead, spouses must apply for voluntary coverage on their own and pay based on their income.

Further infuriating expats, this rule seems only to apply to foreigners.

Great Sunrise Enterprises, S.A. noted on its Web site Nov. 10 that the Dirección General de Migración would enforce a paragraph of the 2010 immigration law as of Dec. 1.

The residency organization interpreted that to mean that all current and future adult applicants to the Caja must have his or her own policy and that spouses are no longer covered by their spouse's policy.

In fact, Article 31(6) is far broader and says only that expats have the duty to contribute to the sustainability of the social security system.

Revised regulations adopted Oct. 8 by the Caja board of directors clearly states that social security protection extends to those persons who are related to a direct insurer and who maintains economic dependency. That is the same set of regulations that said same-sex partners could be enrolled under their companion's policy.

The information about the changes and the impact it is having on those who seek residency was provided by Javier Zavaleta of Residency in Costa Rica, another firm that provides services for would-be expats. He suggested that the origin of the new rule was in the immigration department instead of the Caja.

The Association of Residents plans to challenge the requirement, but first, according to Ryan Piercy, there has to be a clear Caja denial of appeals that have been submitted by three or four couples. He is the association's general manager.

He said he suspects that there will be denials and that there eventually will be a constitutional court appeal filed by the association's lawyers.

Piercy said in one case an expat married to a Costa Rican sought to have his wife included on his Caja enrollment, but he was turned down. The woman complained and noted her citizenship, and a supervisor enrolled her and
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said that making a spouse pay was only for foreigners.

To Piercy that is a clear constitutional violation.

Any reply from the Caja administration is unlikely until at least January. After that a Sala IV constitutional court appeal might take four months, Piercy said. The Association of Residents has been there before with similar grievances related to expats and their residencies.

Piercy notes that the Caja is desperately in need of money, but "We are not a large enough group to save the Caja," he said of expats here.

In addition, people are being turned away from Costa Rica by these rules, he said. He joked that pretty soon the government will be requiring tourists to enroll.

Because expats receive five to 10 foreign visitors a year, based on an association survey, Piercy said that when an expat leaves the country the impact is greater than just one or two persons.

The amount involved for foreigners is not small change. Great Sunrise said that expat spouses should expect to pay about half of what the principal insurer does.

Although some expats welcome the bargain health care provided by the Caja, others consider the fees to be just another tax because they would prefer treatment by private medical providers.

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Page One is HERE!   Go to Page 3 HERE!   Go to Page 4 HERE!    
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Professional Directory
A.M. Costa Rica's professional directory is where business people who wish to reach the English-speaking community may invite responses. If you are interested in being represented here, please contact the editor.

Residency experts

Residency in Costa Rica
A full service immigration agency
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Getting and authenticating documents can be a chore. —

We know how to do it. Experienced with many nationalities. Up-to-date on
Costa Rica's evolving immigration law.

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Toll Free: 1-888-782-1119 or  2643-4334, 2643-3672
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investment climate
Source: Deloitte Business Barometer       

Business leaders seem to be pessimistic

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A survey of top business leaders has detected a deterioration of their vision of the economy in comparison to what they reported in May.

The survey is more of a census of those 137 executives who manage firms that take in $10 million or more a year. The survey was by Deloitte & Co. S.A., and this is the ninth effort.

Those who considered the economic situation to be better than in May were 14.9 percent versus 16.3 percent.

There was also a decline in the opinion of the investment climate. Some 56.7 percent said that the climate was worse compared to 45.2 percent in May.

There has been a steady erosion of those who see the business climate as favorable since a similar survey in March 2010 when some 48.6 percent of the respondents had that view.

Those who thought that the economic situation will be worse in the coming year took a big jump from 23.8 percent to 45.2 percent.

The bulk of the respondents did not approve of the work of the Luis Guillermo Solís administration. Only 16.3 percent voiced approval while 45.2 percent said they disapproved.


Food chamber wants action

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The nation's food chamber is asking the government to take action to improve the competitivity of business, reduce excess regulations and generate employment.

The chamber, the Cámara Costarricense de la Industria Alimentaria, said that the new labor code and the expectation of more taxes creates uncertainty.

Production in this sector only increased 1.79 percent in 2014, the chamber said, adding that this was not enough to create new sources of jobs.

Northern zone struggling with rain

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

While the Central Valley and the Pacific coasts face another day of winds, residents of the northern zone are hoping the water will go down.

Much of the country had been experiencing light rain. But along the Nicaragua border residents report days of heavy rain. More rain is predicted for today.

The entire community of Barra del Colorado on the Río Colorado is under water. A resident there said that one could take a boat down the main street.

The river is running fast because it is fed by rain that has fallen in the mountains and also water from the Río Sarapiquí, residents said.

There has been one fatality. A man fell from a boat last week, and his body was found a short time later.

This is not the first time that the community has been under water, but the residents said it was the worst flooding in years.

There is an up side. The force of the river opened up the mouth that leads to the Caribbean. That mouth had been constricted.

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San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 249                 
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Windy weather has had its influence on Costa Rican Christmas food
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The chilly winds of December have had an influence on Christmas food. This is a time for hot food and hot drinks.

One of the traditional Christmas foods is the tamal, a mixture of pork or beef and vegetables inserted into a corn flour masa and then baked and boiled inside a banana leaf.

Although the tamal is available year round in stores and some homes, it is identified with Christmas. It is similar to the Venezuela hallaca but that dish usually is bigger and has a stronger taste.

Aserrí is the traditional home of the tamal because several companies there make them in large quantities. Those who wish to make their own also can purchase the masa by the kilo at various outlets.

The banana leaves are available all over the country.

Typically two tamales are tied together with string, creating what is called a piña.

These foods have their origins in Spanish cuisine and also what was eaten by the Native Costa Ricans before Columbus. In fact, every Latin country seems to have its version of the tamal.

Tamales usually are eaten with Costa Rican coffee, particularly when the wind is blowing. But there is a holiday drink that will make revelers tipsy and fat. It is rompope, the Costa Rican eggnog. The drink is available all year in major stores. The base is milk and eggs.

A.M. Costa Rica file photo
The typical tamal ready to be consumed with a beer.

Nuns in a convent in Puebla, México, get the credit for this version of the drink. They used a similar drink from Spain as a model in the 17th century. Usually guaro or a light rum is used to spike the drink but non-alcoholic versions are available.

At Christmas some also heat the rompope and add a little cinnamon and maybe some ground walnuts.

There are enough versions of the various Christmas drinks and dishes that the culture ministry has made an effort to collect the recipes. They are available in a number of booklets featuring regional dishes.

For example the food and beverages this time of year in Limón are vastly different than what is served in the Central Valley.

Presidency and Acción Ciudadana reject implications generated in Brazil
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Both the Partido Acción Ciudadana and Casa Presidencial disavowed any knowledge Wednesday of donations from a Brazilian construction firm that was working here.

The Presidency said it rejected categorically the insinuation that tried to relate it to information that linked it to a Brazilian investigation.

The names of both the president, Luis Guillermo Solís, and that of his campaign rival Johnny Araya were found scrawled on documents confiscated by the Brazilian police, a news outlet there reported.

The issue also was raised in the legislature.

Accepting campaign contributions from foreign sources is illegal even though this sometimes takes place. The company in question was OAS, which was supposed to build the San José-San Ramón highway. The deal collapsed after residents demonstrated over the proposed tolls, and then-president Laura Chinchilla canceled the contract and paid off the company.

Acción Ciudadana in a statement said it was loyal to the principles of honesty, transparency and providing its accounts.

The document was in the office of  José Aldemario Pinheiro Filho, president of OAS. He is linked with many others to the Petrobras scandal in Brazil.

The document also includes a list of U.S. dollars, but there is no clear link between the money and Solís or Araya

You need to see Costa Rican tourism information HERE!

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San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 249
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Scammers continue to be creative with ways to steal money from unwary
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The crooks have come up with another good one.

The latest scam is a variation of a friend being stranded in Paris.

According to the Judicial Investigating Organization there is a wave of scams in which crooks tell residents here that a family member has been detained in México and is on the way to a Mexican jail.

Agents think that those who pull these scams have inside information about the victims, who may be seniors, at least to the extent that they know there is a family member working in Canada or the United States.

According to the scammers, the family member was en route

to Costa Rica for vacation but made a stopover at a Mexican airport. There customs agents made an arrest because of the large amount of money the family member was carrying.

The victim here is asked to deposit $1,000 or $2,000 for taxes or similar so that the relative will not go to the Mexican prison.

The money is asked to be sent through a commercial firm that provides this service.

Agents said that there have been 18 complaints.

This type of scam requires personal contact unlike the Internet frauds that claim a friend has been robbed and left without money or documents in a foreign land. The Internet scam usually involves the hijacking of some email user's account. The request is the same: Send money!

Vacation, travel and hospitality

La Fortuna
Comfort of your home in the campo, 5 minutes from Fortuna Centro of San Carlos, in the shadow of Volcano Arenal, Flat screen TV, AC, refrigerator, free coffee. Local area activities like four-wheeling, horse riding, zip lining, hot springs, jungle walking tours. Bring your camera for great photos of nature, fishing and swimming, canyoning and wireless internet. Harry Hart, proprietor.  Call for reservations  (506) 2479-8670   and (506) 8682-9219  Email:

Will Costa Rica Retirement Work For You?
Find out for yourself on Live In Costa Rica Tours

When you visit Costa Rica, you'll want to discover what you need to know to  make the right choice about moving to this tropical paradise.  Our familiarization tours have won hard-earned credentials that prove general excellence and the right focus.  These are the only retirement tours that are licensed and approved by the Costa Rican government and tourism institute  (ICT). In 2006 we were featured on the NBC Today Show and World News.  In 2010, we won the  prestigious Latin America-Asia Travel Excellence Award for the Best and Most Unique Tour in Latin America.

   * Discover how to make the right choices about moving here
   * Find out how to live affordably
   * See how other expats live. Meet other expats who have made
          the move.
   * Access the country's affordable health care system
   * Informative two-day seminar given by local experts in their
          relevant fields.
   * Tours led by Christopher Howard, 34-year resident, citizen,
          and the author of "The New Golden Door to Retirement
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Anywhere Costa Rica plans custom vacations, and has the most comprehensive travel services in the country including travel guides, resorts and vacation homesCosta Rica tours
and car rentals.  
Call 1-888.456.3212 or 2479-8811 locally.

Largest art gallery in Guanacaste
Drop in to see some of Costa Rica's finest art
at the largest gallery in Guanacaste.

The Hidden Garden Art Gallery near the Liberia airport is a great place to find quality remembrances of Costa Rica to take home or to decorate your home or office in Costa Rica.  We also offer commissioned pieces so you can create your own unique masterpiece to cherish forever.  With more than 60 artists on exhibit and fine art in 15 rooms full of paintings, prints, sculptures, and diverse artistic expressions, we are easy to locate just 5 kms west of the Daniel Oduber International Airport. Visit our Web site at
or contact us by email:   
Gallery hours: Tuesdays-Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tel. 2667-0592 / 8386-6872; U.S. telephone 702-953-7073. International shipping available.
Every Saturday - Vendor Fair!

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The Relocation/Retirement tour with the

 (as reported by the moving companies)
Visit many rental options to actually experience the price/amenity options available in more of the areas chosen by Expats for security, comfort, and quality of life.

Meet many Expats who are willing to share their experiences and how the tour has value long after the “lust” wears off.
See how to choose a Retirement tour video by past guest!

Ask the others what you get for your money, and then compare the quality of accommodations, quality, quantity and variety of food and drink to measure the best value for your money. 

Learn how others “talk the talk” and learn who really can “walk the walk”

Please visit my Web site  to contact my references.
George Lundquist, retirement, relocation columnist, Guide & Developer/Builder.


Here's reasonable medical care
Costa Rica's world class medical specialists are at your command. Get the top care for much less than U.S. prices. It is really a great way to spend a vacation. See our list of recommended professionals HERE!amcr-prom

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Enjoy living in the middle of wonderful mountains.
Fresh air, gorgeous forest. Near downtown but away from noisy city.  Nature lifestyle.  Beautiful chalet in a large property located in Monte de la Cruz, Heredia. Two bedrooms, two baths, laundry room, fully furnished, security, electric gate. Rate $500 monthly. Phone  2267-6306  Email


Beautiful cottage in San Rafael, Heredia

Cottage in the mountain.  Surrounded by nature.  One bedroom, 1.5 bathrooms. Beautiful balcony and view. Bus line service, security.  $500 monthly.  Phone: 506-8739-0638  Email:

Maneul Antonio
The vacation homes at Manuel Antonio Estates offers luxury, comfort and peace of mind. We have numerous homes to chose from, all within walking distance of the town’s shops and restaurants and just a few minutes to the best beaches and the famous national park. While the homes are secluded and hidden among the rainforest, the surrounding area offers adventures like zip lines, white water rafting, mangrove kayaking and many more. All of the homes are available for short-term rentals, have easily accessible parking, cable TV, and Internet and are fully furnished. We are happy to assist with all your need for the perfect Costa Rican vacation.
Manuel Antonio Estates        TOLL FREE: 1800 346 9724
011 (506) 2777.3339

Beautiful 2-bedroom 2-bathroom American-style apartments with an elevator to your front door in a secure building located in Gringo Gulch the American Section of downtown San José. Costa Rica. Located between the Hotel Del Rey, the Hotel Mona Lisa and the Sportsman's Lodge and The Zona Blue (AKA) Little Habana across the street from Harry's Poas Bar, and next to the Holiday Inn.
apartment view
 There are 15 restaurants and American- style bars on this block and four supermarkets within a few blocks. There are 5 casinos within 2 blocks and dozens of hotels around this apartment. Included in your rental price, fast Internet, the best they have in Costa Rica, cable TV with 80 stations, water, washer
 and dryer. All you pay extra for is electricity. You have your own meter and receive a bill from the electric company every month.  This apartment has a American-style hot water system, hot water in both bathrooms and the kitchen. There is a 25-foot balcony to sit on and watch the people in San José walk by. The neighborhood Barrio Amón is the safest in San José For photos and more information contact:

Organic farm home
$800 plus utilities.
Two-bedroom, two-bath house, fully furnished, Internet included, cable TV available. Inside organic farm, safe and secure. In the country but close to town. Santa Bárbara de Heredia, Email for more info and pictures. Long term, NO DOGS.

Tropical Homes of Costa Rica is offering the best selection of vacation homes, condos and long-term rental homes in Playa Flamingo, Playa Potrero and Playa Brasilito on  the Pacific Gold Coast of Guanacaste. A wide selection of private residencies is providing an excellent choice for your stay in this beautiful part of Costa Rica.
We are offering homes for every budget and every need.
Please visit our Web page at or contact us at
or call at (506) 2654-5442.

MONTHLY $800 TO $1,200

Villas Casa Loma has everything you are looking for.  Best vistas, climate, value.  Four unique homes in a secure private compound on a ridge near Alajuela overlooking the entire Central Valley.  Two are available fully furnished and equipped, each a complete home accommodating 4 persons in two bedrooms with ensuite baths.  Pool, rancho, mirador, other features.  Ask about part-month rates.  Call Gerry at (506) 2441-8796 or e-mail at  See virtual tour of accommodations HERE!
Get to know the real Costa Rica – you may want to live here someday.

HP Cattle rentals
Mountain homes or farm for rent
Barva volcano, Heredia province
We offer for rent a gorgeous two-bedroom mountain chalet and a one-bedroom mountain home located on the slopes of the Barva Volcano, Heredia Province. The homes are situated at 7,300 feet altitude and within a working horse ranch just three kilometers from the Braulio Carrillo National Park entrance. From our homes one can hike to the Barva volcano crater-lake.  Enjoy a spacious living room, kitchen, fireplace and breathtaking views of the Irazú volcano and the Central Valley. Observe dozens of cloud forest bird species to include the resplendent quetzal.  The homes are incomparable in beauty and attention to detail within the Barva highland area.  We are only 35-55 minutes from Costa Rica’s three principal cities (Heredia, Alajuela, and San José), less than two hours from the central Pacific beaches, and three hours from the Caribbean beaches. Enjoy the tranquility of the mountains while maintaining quick access to the conveniences of the city and rapid access to other eco-tourist destinations in Costa Rica. Additionally, we can board your horses at a reasonable fee.  We can also offer our clients rental of a small and fully functional farm complete with stables, pasture, and office space.
Mountain chalet: $750.  Basic mountain home: $400.
Boutique mountain home: One-bedroom $850. Two-bedroom $1,000.
Small Farm that includes a chalet, basic mountain home, stables, and 8,000m2 of pasture/green areas: $1,500.

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San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 249       
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man and child
Voice of America/Hameedullah Khan
Man, perhaps a father, carries a wounded child.

Funerals for 141 victims
begin in Pakistani city

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The first funerals are being held for the victims of a Taliban school massacre in Pakistan Tuesday that left at least 141 people dead, most of them young students.

Wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives, seven assailants attacked the military-run facility in the northwestern city of Peshawar, shooting children and adults.

Pakistani officials said 132 of the dead were students about 12 to 16 years old. Nine school staff members also died in the siege, which lasted more than eight hours.

A provincial official said more than 120 others were wounded in the assault. A reporter said more than 100 of the wounded were children.

Maj. Gen. Asim Saleem Bajwa, a Pakistan army spokesman, said security forces killed the attackers and saved hundreds of lives in a swift operation after the bloodshed began.

Heavily armed Taliban gunmen entered from the rear of the school "by cutting and crossing the fence," Bajwa said. ". . . They entered the auditorium, where all the children were going through an exam, and they started shooting them indiscriminately and they caused the maximum damage in the first 10 minutes of their attack."

Army commandos responded, killing all seven terrorists, Bajwa said.

The attack on the school, in a highly secured part of Peshawar city, began about 10 a.m. local time and ended around 6.30 p.m. (1330 GMT), police said, according to the French news agency AFP.

The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it was in retaliation for Pakistan's offensive targeting militants in the country's northwestern tribal region, near the Afghan border.

The area has served as a major sanctuary and training ground for Pakistani and Afghan militants responsible for terrorist attacks on both sides.

Pakistan's President Mamnoon Hussain and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif condemned the attacks.

Sharif, who arrived in Peshawar on Tuesday, said the "government will not be deterred by this barbaric act" and vowed to continue military operations against the militants. He also declared a three-day national mourning period.

Bajwa, the Pakistani military spokesman, said the Taliban gunmen made no demands and started killing children as soon as they entered the building.

"They didn't take any hostages initially and started firing in the hall," Bajwa said. But the militants had brought rations for several days, he said, implying that they may have intended to take students hostage.

Bajwa said on Twitter that explosive devices had been planted by the militants and were hampering clearance efforts.

Doctors said dozens of students were hospitalized, some in critical condition. Authorities in Peshawar appealed for blood donors.

Ahsan Mukhtar, a student rescued by security forces, said, "As soon as the gunfire erupted, our teacher instructed everyone to move to a corner of the room for safety.” “An hour later, when the intensity of the fire reduced, army soldiers arrived to rescue us, and on the way out, we saw bullet-ridden bodies of our schoolmates everywhere.”

Although the school enrolls some civilian students, many of its pupils are children of army officials, the Taliban's intended target.

Germans take to the streets
to protest Islamic influx

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

To their detractors, they are known as Nazis in pinstripes.  But their numbers are growing.

About 15,000 people joined a march Monday night in Dresden, part of a movement calling itself Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West.

Protesters chanted, "We are the people," copying demonstrators who took to the city streets 25 years ago in the weeks before the fall of the Berlin Wall.

This time, demonstrators claim 21st-century Germany is being taken over by Islam. The protests have spread to other German cities, including Berlin.

"Today we have shown once again that Germans can walk, that we are adults, that we have made the right choice and that we can slowly, very slowly, make things change in our country," said movement founder Lutz Bachmann.

Analysts say far right, anti-immigrant movements have long existed in Germany, but the trigger for the latest protests appears to be Berlin’s decision to offer asylum to tens of thousands of people who have fled from Syria's civil war.

Ahmed Khawan and his family are among them. They fled to Lebanon before being offered resettlement in Germany.  Ahmed’s son, who was born deaf, has been given medical treatment to allow him to hear.

“First, thanks to God,” said Khawan. “But second, thanks to Germany. There are so many people who are forced to arrive from Syria illegally by sea or air, but Germany made it so we could arrive in a peaceful manner.”

Speaking Monday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned Germans not be taken in by far-right rhetoric.

“There's freedom of assembly in Germany, but there's no place for incitement and lies about people who come to us from other countries,” she said, “and therefore everyone needs to be careful that they're not taken advantage of by the people who organize such events.”

Jeb Bush tests the waters
for 2016 presidential bid

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Former Florida gov. Jeb Bush has taken a major step toward running for president in 2016.

Tuesday Bush posted messages on his Facebook page and Twitter account that he plans to actively explore a bid for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination, with a final decision expected next year.

In his announcement, Bush, 61, said he had discussed a possible White House bid with his family last month over the Thanksgiving holiday.

Bush, the son of one former U.S. president and the brother of another, would be considered one of the favorites for the Republican Party nomination should he decide to run. Pundits expect a very crowded field of Republican presidential contenders for 2016.

Bush’s stance on immigration reform has drawn fire from conservatives within the Republican Party, some of whom are likely to challenge him in the Republican presidential primaries if he decides to run.

Bush said he believes voters are looking for a candidate who embodies big ideas.

“You can do big things if you set the stage in a campaign and then move forward,” he said.

“If you run with big ideas and then you are true to those ideas and get a chance to serve and implement them and do it with passion and conviction, you can move the needle, and that is what we need right now in America,” Bush added.

In the latest McClatchy-Marist poll on potential Republican presidential contenders, Bush came in second with 14 percent support behind 2012 nominee Mitt Romney, who had 19 percent.

Bush’s announcement is likely to set off a chain reaction among other Republicans considering a presidential bid in 2016 and could cause some of them to speed up their timetable for deciding on a presidential run.

John Fortier, a political analyst with the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington, said, “The Republicans will have a large field of people and various wings of the party represented, and it is a little unclear in that multi-candidate race how someone will emerge or who will emerge.”

Bush has strong name recognition nationally and is a proven fundraiser. But he has not run a campaign since 2002 and would be running in a Republican Party that has grown more conservative.

Bush won two elections as governor in Florida with help from Hispanic voters, and Republicans may be looking for a candidate who can appeal more broadly to a 2016 electorate that will include growing numbers of Hispanic and Asian-American voters.  President Barack Obama relied on Hispanic support in his two election victories in 2008 and 2012.

Republican strategist Whit Ayres said Bush’s ability to draw Hispanic votes could be an asset in the 2016 election.

A Bush candidacy would also set up the possibility of another Bush-Clinton showdown reminiscent of the 1992 election in which Bill Clinton defeated President George H.W. Bush, Jeb Bush’s father.

Clinton’s wife, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, is a heavy favorite to win the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination in 2016, should she decide to run.

Jeb Bush is also the younger brother of former President George W. Bush, who left office in 2009 after two terms in the White House.

U.S. warns it will veto
Palestinian-Israeli plan

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The Palestinians say they will introduce a draft U.N. Security Council resolution setting a deadline for Israel's withdrawal from the Palestinian territories, despite the U.S. warning it will block the move.

The Palestinian U.N. ambassador, Riyad Mansour, said the plan for a two-year timetable for an Israeli-Palestinian peace accord would be introduced Wednesday in a form that can be voted on.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met Monday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to develop a response.

In comments to reporters ahead of his meeting with chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat in London, Kerry said it is imperative to lower tensions so there is an opportunity to find a path toward genuine peace.

"We all understand the challenges that are presented by this conflict. We all understand that there are pent-up frustrations on both sides and they run deep. We all know the risk of escalation is constant and it's real," said Kerry.

Kerry said the United States has made no determination about any possible U.N. resolution regarding Palestinian statehood.

The proposal, circulated by Jordan, sets a two-year deadline for the end of Israeli occupation.

Another proposal being discussed by France, Britain and Germany would set a deadline only for the resolution of peace talks.

A Security Council resolution would need the approval of nine of the 15 members.  Any of the five permanent Council members can veto a resolution. That group includes Britain, France, China, Russia and the United States, which has used the prospect of a veto to prevent previous Council action related to Israel.

Apple wins old U.S. case
about iPod music barrier

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A U.S. jury has decided that Apple Corp. did not act improperly when one of its software updates restricted music purchases on iPods to the company's iTunes digital store.

The California jury Tuesday found in favor of Apple in a billion-dollar class action lawsuit filed by a group of individuals and companies that purchased iPods. They sought about $350 million in damages from Apple.

After Real Networks developed RealPlayer, which allowed music purchased there to play on iPods, Apple introduced a software update that restricted the iPod to music bought on iTunes. The company said the upgrade was meant to improve the iPod user experience.

Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers told jurors that legitimate improvements are allowed under antitrust law, regardless of their effect on competitors.

The case was filed nearly 10 years ago and dates to a time when anti-piracy software prevented iPods from playing songs downloaded from competing online outlets. Apple phased out the restrictive software several years ago.

The plaintiffs are a group of individuals and businesses who purchased iPods from 2006 to 2009.

Full investigation promised
over Australian cafe siege

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott is promising an investigation into how a deranged Iranian-born man with a history of violence and extremism was allowed to carry out this week's deadly cafe siege in Sydney.

Man Haron Monis on Monday stormed the Lindt Chocolate Cafe in downtown Sydney, taking 17 hostages. The 50-year-old Monis and two hostages were killed when police commandos raided the cafe.

Monis was well-known to Australian authorities. He had been freed on bail after being charged as an accessory to the murder of his ex-wife. He also faced more than 40 sexual assault and indecency charges.

Wednesday Prime Minister Abbott said at a news conference he wants to know why Monis was not being monitored or detained, given his history of violence, mental instability, and infatuation with extremism.

Monis was not on any terrorist or security watch list, despite posting repeated Internet rants against the Australian government, including some statements that seem to support the Islamic State group.

The prime minister said he intends to publish a transparent report on the lead-up to the siege, why Monis was not on any watch list, and how such an individual was able to acquire a shotgun.

New South Wales police commissioner Andrew Scipione Wednesday said he was concerned from the very beginning that Monis got bail. But he said Monis did not appear on any security watch list because none of his charges were politically motivated.

Monis fled to Australia two decades ago claiming persecution in Iran. He has been referred to in the media as a self-styled Islamic cleric, in reference to the non-Islamic practices in which he claimed expertise, including astrology, numerology, and black magic.
Real estate-related services (paid category)

Real estate brokers and agents (paid category)

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A Buyer’s Broker offering the best
of Costa Rica Real Estate.
For those looking for quality properties and service at quality prices. Central Valley Rentals. Offering honesty, experience and knowledge. Your Villa Real Expert. Call us now  Toll Free (877) 845-4533. In Costa Rica 4030-5480 or 8339-2112.

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Re/Max, the Pacific coast expert

Re/Max offers comprehensive Costa Rica Real Estate, vacation rental and relocation services. Our award-winning team is the largest in the country, and can show you the best lifestyle and financial investment properties in the most desirable locations including prime real estate in Tamarindo, Langosta, Conchal, Flamingo, Pinilla, Coco, Hermosa and Playa Panama.  Give us a call in Costa Rica at 506-2653-0073, or toll free from the U.S. and Canada 1-800-385-5930. Re/Max, the name you trust for the finest real estate services in Costa Rica.

Moran Arenal
Lake Arenal, Costa Rica
The undiscovered jewel of Central America, 35 square miles of blue, pristine, clear water ideal for fishing, swimming, boating, Real estate values still low.
Great lake front, river front land, farms, homes, condos and commercial property. Some with owner financing
This is far and away the most beautiful place in all Central America — cool climate. Try our two-day, all-inclusive discovery tour for $299.

Check with our Web site at
Contact us at the office: (506) 2694-0088
Cell (506) 8880-8888
Phone number from the U.S. (305) 307-0088
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Costa Rica,

Central America
Houses, lots and farms in Grecia,
western Central Valley.
Great climate
and safe communities.

Visit our Web Site:

English calls: (Cristian Arce) Phone: 
(506) 2494-0016 
(506) 8309-0173
English calls :  (Luis David) Phone: 
(506) 6154-1940

Español calls: (Luis G. Jiménez)  Phone:   
(506) 8707-4016
Grecia 884
Beautiful large house in Grecia, Costa Rica, with the best fresh natural weather. The property includes 9 challets and 12.000 m2 of land,  1,000 m2 of construction. Price $498,000. Click HERE!
Grecia 881
Beautiful house in Grecia, Costa Rica,  2 kilometers from the city.   340 m2 of land.
Price $135,000. Click
Grecia 898
Beautiful house in Grecia downtown. Full security cameras. Land 250 m2.  Price $400,000.  Click HERE!
  Send us your request to our email:

Real estate for sale (paid category)

Heredia montage

Cariaria  Los Arcos.
    Lot inside Los Arcos Residence. Absolutely gorgeous right in front of the coffee plantation. The lot is 326.50 meters. Includes the corporation for an easy transfer and the plans for a 170 meter house. Open to all offers.   Architect  plans included (the blueprints). Cost to the seller $4,000 this is included!!   Original Price $97,000 just reduced to $86,000

Also I am selling an Audi A6  2008, 2.0 twin turbo. Full loaded power. Back leather. Full service records at the agency in Costa Rica.  52 kms.  Silver with black. Full computer iPod interface power. Electric moon roof. Everything's a beauty!!  Incredible history and full service at the agency, Costa Rica Audi.

It's a package deal $104.000.  Must sell.  I am moving back to U.S.  Contact me  at my phone:  2260-6979 or cell phone:  8893-8672.

La Fortuna Distress Sale
Divorce forced wife to return to the U.S. with bills to pay. Just wants to get out from under. Modern 2-bedroom home on over 1100m2 intended for apartments or condos. Easy walk to center of town, great volcano view. $140,000 with 50 percent financing arranged. On vacation rental program now producing nice income, but Costa Rica no longer in her future. For details contact

Ringle resort
on one big lot in Esterillos Oeste, (Central Pacific)
Located on a breezy hill just 4 minutes walk to the beach, surf and tide-pools, only 20 minutes drive north to Jacó nightlife and shopping or south to the rural town of Parrita.

First, a 2-storey, 2-bedroom (sleeps 4), 1½-bathroom house with big kitchen and living room.  Full-width verandah with eating and sitting areas, overlooking lawn, pool and gazebo. Sitting balcony at upper, bedroom level.  Carport. and laundry. 

Second, a completely private single-storey. 2-bedroom (sleeps 4), 1-bathroom home with big back yard at a lower level on the same, big fully titled 1,100M2 lot.. Full security bars at all doors and windows, plus locking vehicle access and pedestrian gates at the street. In a very safe neighborhood, with private and natural surroundings

Well maintained, fully and tastefully furnished and equipped, hot water, local phone, cable TV/DVD and high speed wireless internet   The houses have been rented for both long-term and vacation for $100/$80 per day and $1,500/$1,200 per month respectively. See this place, you will love it! Then make an offer. E-mail or call (506) 8386-8825.  Rodney, asking $350,000.

Condo montage
Cariari luxury condo for sale
 PRICE REDUCED FROM $235,000 to $195,000
This is not an ordinary condo. Completed one year ago, a $45,000 renovating made it an exquisite dwelling. As soon as you walk in you know it is a special home. No detail has been overlooked, even minuscule ones. The owner has a need to move on, and someone lucky will be the beneficiary of the fine detailed work. The home itself has three bedrooms, two and half bathrooms plus a maid’s quarters with its own bathroom. Also, it has a living room, dining room and a gorgeous kitchen with a kitchenette. There’s also a small outdoor patio. Being the end unit of this four-home condo complex, there’s parking space for three vehicles.  Approximately 240 sq. meters. All this near the Cariari Golf and Country Club and its renowned Tom Facio golf course. The club also has amenities such as a fitness centre, exercise room, Olympic swimming pool, sauna, 12 tennis courts and many other benefits. Tel:  8384-9608 or 2293-9054  Price $195,000.

Atenas home
This developer's prime lot with super house is being offered in Roca Verde, 7,006 M2 of gentle grade, all landscaped for tropical effect, 3 bedrooms 2 baths with tile floors and hardwood kitchen, near the entrance of the neighborhood. Great floor plan on this one! There is a double carport, and a large patio and pool, wheelhouse style living room and many other features. View, large usable lot, close to town, nice, oh yeah. $495,000.

More photos HERE!
Another 'live in the view' home in Puriscal
$179,900 includes:
Lot on river, concrete road, custom kitchen & bath with granite counter tops, PEX plumbing, 2” Styrofoam, sandwiched in steel roof, 4” concrete/recycled Styrofoam & steel walls, laminated, bronzed windows, custom wood doors, appliances and all transfer taxes, and fees.

2, 900 sq feet under roof, 1,250 sq feet inside walls, 2 bedroom, 2 ½ baths, laundry room, three separate patio areas, covered carport, shade trees, in upscale, secure project.  This project has river with protected areas & walkways. It is only 10 minutes on all paved roads to Santiago de Puriscal, 45 minutes to La Plaza Mall/Hospital CIMA and SJO airport, and 1 ½ hours to Pacific Beaches. It has recently upgraded public water supply and dependable ICE electric and high-speed internet.
Please come visit our projects and meet four new homeowners who have recently moved into their new “live in the view” homes to verify how happy they are and that they all came in under budget. CONTACT: George Lundquist  Home phone: 2417-1041 Cell phone: 8888 4543 Skype glundquist.
To see more Photos of this house, click HERE!

Maneul Antonio
Manuel Antonio Estates focuses on building vacation homes for clients within Manuel Antonio Estates and Palmas Pacifica. We take care of the details from permits and design to supervision of construction and management of the rentals, if needed. We provide privacy and security, and our gated community offers shared common recreational facilities, beautiful landscaping and parking areas. Our homes and lots are located just minutes from the most beautiful beaches in Costa Rica. If you've ever considered buying a second home, just minutes from the beach, do not hesitate, if you have any questions or would like to request more information please take full advantage of our Costa Rica real estate services and contact us today!
Manuel Antonio Estates    1 800 346-9724  (506) 8815-9606.

Ciudad Colon
Great Deal!! Apartment in condo with pool and extensive green areas:
Ciudad Colón, San José $112,000
The apartment has a master bedroom with a large ensuite bathroom with bath tub, and a smaller second bedroom/office with air conditioning. It has a second full bathroom, living/dining room, laundry room with hot water tank and storage area. The kitchen comes with granite countertops, a breakfast bar and new dishwasher. It has 82 m2 of construction. 2 balconies with beautiful views of the river and mountains. Private parking for one car. Elevator and a well presented reception area. Located in a very quiet and private neighborhood just 400 meters from the centre of Ciudad Colón. Within minutes to all major amenities in Santa Ana and Escazú. Easy access to the beach (less than 1.5 hrs).  24-hour security, visitor parking, pool, extensive and lush green areas, BBQ area, children’s playground and its own water treatment plant. Contact (506) 6022-9294 or 6022-9967, for further info or to arrange a viewing.

Suenos montage
Outrageous blowout prices on oceanfront condos in Los Sueños!

Located in the private Bay Residence enclave overlooking the Pacific Ocean in Los Sueños Resort and Marina, there are three gorgeous units available at unbelievable bargain pricing from $589,000.  All of these beautiful units are three bedrooms and two baths, 2,200 square feet, fully furnished and ready to move in.  Development includes a gym, access to 3 pools, jacuzzis, BBQ areas and the Beach Club.  If you’ve always wanted to own in Los Sueños, now is the time!  Contact  or call 8702-0778.  From U.S. call 209-482-1788.

Top floor unit: $649,000   Second floor unit: $675,000  Garden unit: $589,000

Newly available in Roca Verde
Well-built home of 215 m2, 3 bedrooms, two bath on 1,150 m2 of lot, with attractive rock retaining wall, carport, and a pool. Indoors there are high, vaulted hardwood ceiling, bright rooms, a laundry room.  The floor is ceramic tile in pastel shades. $247,000. Photos: 2446-5587.

San Ramon
Mountain home w/million dollar view near San Ramón
Beautiful home in the mountains near San Ramón with 180-degree view of the gulf of Nicoya.7 miles from San Ramón, 1 mile from Interamericana highway. 3,200 ft. elevation so temp is 65 to 75 year around. Electric gate, private drive. house built in 2010. 2 bedrooms, 1 baths, appliances included. High-speed internet installed, Direct TV via sling box on Internet. $199,000 Contact   Check out slide show HERE!


Beach Front Home - Central Pacific Coast
Pristine condition, recently renovated. The best surfing and boogie boarding in the country. The most magnificent ocean and sunset view. New 20-year, fully registered concession on one of the most beautiful beaches in Costa Rica. Easy access from San José (1 hour 25 minutes) located between Jacó and Manuel Antonio, in Esterillos Oeste.  2 or 3 bedrooms. Center room can be living room. House with 2 1/2 baths. Separated rancho with kitchen and large entertainment patio. Landscaped garden with no water shortage. Has both municipal and well water with automatic watering system. Direct access to the beach as no road is in front of property. Protected land on one side of the property for additional privacy.  Alarm system and complete shutters for security while away. Lot approximately 1,725 square meters, Asking price: $385.000.  Contact to Paul at local phone 506- 2637-8858  Cell phone 506- 8823-8550 .  US Mobile 908-400-9772  Emails:  and


Spectacular view property on a ridge near Alajuela.  Large home and 3 rental homes totaling 7,300 square feet (678 square meters) live-in construction.  Property area is 3,376 square meters (0.83 acres) including a vacant lot for expansion options.  In total there are 10 bedrooms, each with an ensuite bath.  Property has pool, rancho, mirador, courtyard and covered parking.  Homes have romantic fireplaces, built-ins, storage, other luxury features.  Turnkey sale includes all appliances, furniture, fixtures, equipment.  Call Gerry at (506) 2441-8796 or e-mail at  See property video here:

See virtual tour of accommodations here:

For more details go to:

ARenal property
Location: Near Arenal        Price: $2.7 million
Size: 113 acres
Web site:

The farm is at the highest point on a stunning ridge bordered by pristine Costa Rican primary forest on all sides of the property, with active wildlife all throughout the area. On each of its gently rolling terraced lomas you get a glimpse of Volcán Arenal from a distance. This property has four different lagunas, a working organic farm and nursery, mature fruit trees, sheep corral, ideal for grazing horses with stunning views from all the hillsides. The Northern Zone of Costa Rica is the country's best kept secret, providing a perfect home base location to travel the country's many destinations while still maintaining the best climate at 400 meters above sea level.

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call center
Call center for rent ready to go !
13 work stations, good equipment, good location, Rohrmoser, two blocks from Plaza Mayor. $4.000 per month. Call Kevin 8366-6861.

Live the dream!
Several profitable businesses, including a regional radio station, are for sale in Costa Rica. Certain purchases can provide the new owner with residency as well as a great lifestyle. So live your dream while making a profit. Contact:

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A.M. Costa Rica's
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San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 249
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News from the BBC up to the minute

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Latin news from the BBC up to the minute
blue frog
Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute photo
The frog is mostly red in Costa Rica

Poison dart frogs might be on menu

By the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute

Eating a strawberry dart poison frog is supposed to be a really bad idea. As a reminder to potential predators, the tiny amphibian advertises its toxicity with its loudly colored skin: bright red in mainland Central America and a rainbow of variations on the islands of Panama’s Bocas del Toro Archipelago. Until recently, it was thought the tiny Oophaga pumilio had no regular predators. That may not be the case.

As part of a team from Tulane University studying the frog on Bastimentos Island, postdoctoral researcher Matthew Dugas photographed a snake consuming an orange-and-black mottled frog. The images, published in Herpetology Notes, are some of the first photos showing snake predation. They contribute to the small body of evidence pointing to strawberry dart poison frog predation.

“Very little is known about natural predators of these frogs but clearly some predators can overcome the frog’s alkaloid defenses,” said Ralph Saporito of John Carroll University, who photographed a rufous motmot, a tropical bird, feeding on O. pumilio in Costa Rica in 2011. His lab is currently setting up experiments with snakes and birds to learn if O. pumilio is a regular menu item for predators and to figure out how the predators tolerate frog toxins.

Saporito asks if the toxins are concentrated in some particular predator body part — muscle or liver, for example. He also wonders if predators are capable of sequestering toxins themselves and using them for defense.

On the same day Dugas photographed the predatory event, a colleague saw another snake of the same species (an adorned graceful brown snake, or Rhadinaea decorata) strike at a frog. The scientist did not see other predation events during seven subsequent visits to the same site over six weeks. “I’m not sure how common this is, but it is awfully important to figure it out when studying the evolution of toxins and warning coloration,” said Dugas, who was hosted by the institute's Bocas del Toro Research Station.

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From Page 7:

Banco Nacional sets up a green fund

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Banco Nacional said that it has joined with an Austrian-German consortium to provide loans for firms friendly with the environment. The European entity is Austria Österreichische Bundesforste AG.

The credit is mainly for small and medium enterprises that have invested in environmental projects.

The type of project that might qualify for this credit would be a hotel that is changing from obtaining power from the electrical utility to creating it with a solar system, the bank said. Also listed were clean water projects.

The bank said that it was reducing the interest rate a half a percent for such credits.

There also is money available for technical advice for potential projects, said the bank.