A.M. Costa Rica

Your daily English-language news source
Monday through Friday

Classified ads 
at the speed of LIGHT!

Click Here
These stories were published Friday, Dec. 27, 2002, in Vol. 2, No. 256
Jo Stuart
About us
A.M. Costa Rica photo 
That was a whole bunch of horses, pardner
The horsie set filled up the downtown Thursday as the traditional tope brought upwards of 4,000 animals and riders out for the post-Christmas display of animals and gear.

The traditional carnival kicks off today over the same downtown route riders used Thursday: along Avenida 2 to Plaza Viques.

The tope connects Costa Ricans with their agricultural and colonial roots. 

The mystique of the horseman is far stronger in Spanish culture than even in the American West, taking on aspects of legendary heroes like El Cid  and even Disney’s Zorro.

The English-speaking community was represented by Georgina Butler, the British ambassador, who covered the route on a borrowed steed. Tico politicians, so much in evidence last year before the presidential election, were hard to find Thursday.

This is a Christmas carol to Costa Rica
The quality of life is not measured simply by efficiency (as the Italians learned during the time of Mussolini) nor by material things. For those who have written asking why I moved to Costa Rica and do I still like it, here is my Christmas Carol to Costa Rica. Here are 12 reasons for living in Costa Rica. 

I am borrowing from some things I wrote after having been here just three years. Costa Rica, like other countries in the world has changed, but even after over 10 years, these reasons still hold. 

1. I was originally drawn to this country because it has no army, and as a result has developed a peace mentality. Costa Ricans do not like confrontations and are not greatly into competition. Perhaps because of this, the minute I arrived, I felt comfortable here.

2. I was charmed (and still am) because when Ticos "Thank you," they don’t say "Gracias." They usually say "Gracias, muy amable," which means "Thank you, you’re very kind." Being told I am kind often enough makes me see myself as kind and wanting to be more so. 

My life here is enhanced each time a Tico says, "You’re welcome." Here they don’t say, as they do in most other Spanish-speaking countries, "No hay de que" or "De nada" (For nothing). They say  "Con much gusto" (With much pleasure or, more loosely, The pleasure is mine.) My friend Jerry has said more than once that giving and receiving are the same thing, and Ticos seem to have recognized this. I have been trying to remember to say both Gracias, muy amable and Con much gusto. Language is a powerful influence on attitude.

3. Although I have learned that there is a downside to a peace-loving philosophy, a trait called passive-aggressive, I have decided that I can handle passive-aggressive better than I can the downside of a personal freedom-loving philosophy, which seems to be aggressive-aggressive.

4. I enjoy walking in downtown San José in spite of the traffic and challenging sidewalks. When I first came here and mixed with the people on the streets, I thought there are as many pedestrians here as there are in New York at Christmas time but without the hostility. Instead, I find myself energized and uplifted. 

5. I also noticed that Costa Ricans as a rule have fine postures. Almost to a person they walk tall and proud. It is a pleasure to see them, and seeing them reminds me to straighten up. It is surprising how much better you feel when you walk tall. 

6. I have had a number of occasions to experience the health care of Costa Rica, both private and public (There is national health coverage here). The cost here for medical care is far less than in the United States, and I always have felt more cared for and cared about in my experiences here. Even in the overworked and under- supplied national hospitals, I have found 
attention and compassion. It outweighs the lack of Kleenex. The last time I was in 

Living in Costa Rica

. . .Where the living is good

By Jo Stuart

Calderón Guardia emergency section, they passed out lunches at noon and coffee and snacks in the late afternoon to the waiting patients.

7. Although business transactions are not always speedy here, how can you not like a country where it is the law that every public building must have a public bathroom? (That doesnt mean they must supply paper.) And it is true one spends considerable time waiting in lines. This is where I get a lot of my reading done. I’ve waited in lines in many countries, and I’ll take an orderly, friendly queue of Ticos any day.

8. There is a custom here that many North Americans have picked up and that is the custom of brushing cheeks when seeing a friend or acquaintance. In the States, after an initial handshake following an introduction, I seldom touch that person again, certainly not my travel agent, my doctor or my landlord. Here, I do. Touching cheeks makes me feel a connectedness to others, and when you think about it, is much more sanitary than a handshake.

9. On the comfort front, it is hard to beat the climate in the Central Valley of Costa Rica. I have lived where there were 15-foot snowdrifts and where I became accustomed to perspiration dripping down my neck all the time. Living where I need neither air conditioning nor a heater is such a pleasure, and I’m sure, far healthier.

10. Something that is changing here that I regret are the window displays in stores. Once there was nothing that caught my attention, and I had no desire to buy. I wasn’t lured into being a consumer. Now they are getting both more artistic and more products, and I have found myself stopping and thinking I would like that something.

11. Because the growing season is so rapid, fresh vegetables and fruits are available most of the year. If one were a vegetarian, one could live very cheaply here.

12. And finally, what cinched my love affair with Costa Rica was discovering that their national bird is the yiguirro. The yiguirro (which I can’t even pronounce) is very similar to the U.S. robin but smaller, and even less colorful. The yiguirro [Turdus grayi] neither threatens anyones existence (it is certainly not a bird of prey) nor is it a rare or endangered bird. It is a common little dun-colored bird, an Everybird, if you will. 

I think a people who chooses the yiguirro as the national bird has something to say to the rest of the world about peaceful co-existence, humaneness, self esteem and equality. 

Happy Holidays to everyone in and out of Costa Rica

More Jo Stuart:


our daily
our site
Check out
greetings from Readers
1  2 3
Check out
our back
Send us
news story
Visit our
Visit our
Visit our
real estate
of Villalobos
Display ad info


We know Customs! 
American-Tico-owned firm 
Commercial and Personal 
Import and Export 
Perry Edwards {Amer} Zinnia Stewart {CR}
Port Limon Agency 
(bonded & licensed) 
(506) 758-2062/2022
How to live, invest or find romance in Costa Rica
Order Now HERE!
Need to rent a car here?
Click HERE!

BAHIA LUMINOSA (Brilliant Bay)
Beach Resort/Hotel, Nicoya Peninsula

Visit our WEB at www.brightbay.info for details then book a room for $55/Night for a couple at the most convenient significant Resort to San José on the Nicoya Peninsula. 
Contact us at tropics@racsa.co.cr
Phone (506) 641-0386 FAX 641-0387
We have vitually everything from horses to yachts for your enjoyment, where our Virgin Forest meets the sea in quiet harmony.

Fotografia Digital
from camera to print
•Fashion •real estate
•commercial •architectural


John Manners
296-3509 or 366-3315

Magnificent Mimosa Sunday Jazz Brunch
10 a.m. to 1 p.m.  Jazz with Fuzzy Rojas

Brunch, Jazz, Mimosa, Atmosphere and Vista
What more can one ask for?
Reservations please! 777-1234    $20 plus tax and tip per person

Hotel California, Manuel Antonio-Quepos

A.M. Costa Rica photo
Bello Horizonte and Escazú bask in a glorious sunset typical of the Christmas season
Leave your bags unlocked, transport official says
Special to A.M. Costa Rica

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Department of Transportation has issued guidelines for foreign travelers coming to the United States to make their passage through security checkpoints at airports easier.

The guidelines include leaving checked baggage unlocked to avoid it being potentially forced open for inspection, said Adm. James Loy, undersecretary of Transportation.

Foreign travelers also should be aware that some items allowed on foreign airlines, such as scissors and sharp objects, are not allowed in carry-on bags in the United States and must be checked, said Loy in a release from his department.

Instead of locks, bags should be secured with cable or zip ties, said the release. The Transportation Security Administration is moving toward 

providing travelers with free, tamper-evident seals that screeners can open if a detection machine alarm or other security concern requires a bag to be physically inspected, the release added.

Loy is asking passengers not to pack food or beverages, which tend to set off alarms, not to overpack, and to put footwear on top of other contents. Personal items should be placed in clear plastic bags, and books should be spread out inside bags rather than stacked, according to the release.

Photographic film should be in carry-on bags because detection machines will damage it, the release added. Gifts should be left unwrapped.

The release pointed out that passengers and their baggage are screened at all 429 U.S. commercial airports.

Full details of the guidelines are at: www.tsatraveltips.us

Foreigners facing new obstacles to enter the U.S.
By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Congress late in its last session approved the creation of the Department of Homeland Security, which not only handles coordinate domestic security operations, it also takes over the responsibilities of the Immigration and Naturalization Service. That has fueled the long-simmering debate over what role immigration services will play in the U.S. war against terrorism. 

Since the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington in September 2001, securing U.S. land, air space and sea borders has become a top priority. So has the need to better screen foreign visitors and would-be immigrants. 

Mike Becraft, acting deputy commissioner at the immigration service, says the war on terrorism, which led to the creation of a Department of Homeland Security, has brought a new reality to immigration procedures. 

"We have had to increase our security checks significantly, and that type of business is not going to stop," he said. "So we have to find systems and develop systems and work closely with other folks that will allow us to improve on the expeditious manner in which we do it but that isn't going to stop." 

But that renewed emphasis on security has alarmed immigration advocates who fear immigrants are being unfairly targeted. 

Donald Kerwin is executive director of the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, which provides legal and social services to immigration programs around the country. 

"While we recognize and appreciate the real security issues raised by 9/11 and the ongoing terrorist threat, our main concern is that this is a nation of 31 million foreign-born people and children, and these are the people we see every day," he said. 

"So to us how we treat and incorporate these people into the U.S. is crucially important. Our fear is that immigrants are now going to be treated as potential terrorists." 

Immigration lawyers also complain about civil rights abuses and unfair profiling of immigrants who are unwittingly caught in the government's manhunt for potential terrorists. 

New rules implemented this year now require the fingerprinting of visitors from more than half a dozen Middle East countries. Foreign students are more closely tracked and many have found it harder to return to U.S. schools because of tighter visa procedures. 

The operations of the Immigration and Naturalization Service should be officially transferred to the Department of Homeland Security on March 1. Becraft says consultations with immigration groups will continue through the transition period to try to address their concerns. 

Job security sought
by Caracas strikers

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

CARACAS, Venezuela — Opposition leaders are urging the government to guarantee the jobs of striking oil workers to help end a nationwide strike costing the country millions of dollars in export revenue.

Strike leaders made the proposal Thursday as thousands of anti-government protesters rallied in the streets and at the headquarters of Petroleos de Venezuela here. 

President Hugo Chavez refuses to yield to opposition demands for his resignation  and he has fired several dissident oil company managers. 

Meanwhile, the country has begun importing gasoline from Brazil and food from the Dominican Republic. Brazil's state-owned oil company, Petroleo Brasileiro, shipped 520,000 barrels of gasoline to Venezuela. Brazilian officials say the tanker should arrive within the next few days. 

In a bid to counter food shortages, Venezuela has negotiated with the Dominican Republic for a rice shipment in an oil-for-food exchange. The month-long strike has put a chokehold on oil production for the world's fifth largest oil exporter, forcing the government to seek fuel and food abroad. 

In November, Venezuela produced more than 3 million barrels of oil a day, and most of the output was exported to the United States. The shutdown has cost Venezuela $1.3 billion. 

To fight back, President Chavez has deployed troops to take over from the strikers the installations and vessels of the state-owned oil company, Petroleos de Venezuela. Venezuela dispatched a tanker late Wednesday, its seventh shipment of oil overseas since the strike began. 

President Chavez's opponents are demanding that he resign and call early elections. They say his leftist policies are hurting the country, but Chavez refuses to resign. 

Meanwhile, U.S. ambassador Charles Shapiro says the U.S. government has closed the trade and agricultural offices at its embassy in Venezuela because of concern about the strike. 

Powerfall winner
will tithe to church

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

WHEELING, W. Va. — The single-ticket winner of one of the largest lottery prizes in the United States says he plans to give 10 percent of his winnings to his church. The winner of the multi-state Powerball lottery came from one of the poorest U.S. states, West Virginia.

The 55-year-old Andrew Jackson Whittaker held the winning numbers for a Powerball jackpot of nearly $315 million. He has opted to take a single lump sum payment, which would total more than $111 million after taxes.

Whittaker told journalists he believes in divine intervention. "I just wanted to say thank God for letting me pick the right numbers or letting the machine pick the right numbers for me. And I want to say thanks to all my family that believes in me, and everything," he said. "And as for your question of that I'm going to do with the money, I'm going to pay tithes on it. That's the first thing I'm going to do."

He said he plans to give 10 percent of his winnings to three Church of God congregations, but said he wouldn't reveal which ones until he has talked to them first.

Whittaker says he also wants to use some of the money to expand his businesses, and help 25 people he recently had to lay off from the several construction and public works companies he owns.

The new Powerball winner said he is content with his own life and doesn't expect too many big changes. "I've been blessed my whole life," he emphasized. "It's really going to excite my daughter and my granddaughter. There're the ones that's going to be spending the money. I get my enjoyment out of them spending the money."

Whittaker said he has been eyeing a helicopter for the past few years, and now may just go ahead and buy it. And, he added, the family is going to New York City to celebrate.

Tickets for Powerball, the largest U.S. lottery game, are sold in 23 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands. 

Taxi driver shot
while on road

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Someone shot a taxi driver about 4:40 a.m. Thursday while he was driving two customers through the center of Alajuelita. The bullet hit him in the back, and he lost control of the taxi and smashed into a tree, according to investigators.

They identified him as Orlando García Carmona, 40. A man, 29, and a woman, 30, inside the taxi also suffered injuries. All went to Hospital San Juan de Dios.
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.


Dr. Luis Carlos Sancho Torres
  bilingual psychiatrist (UCR)

• consulting • depression 
• schizophrenia
 • psychiatric disability VA Affairs
• evaluations for gun permits 
 • bipolar disorders • addictions 
• methadone
Available 24-hour a day
children and adults
office: 233-7782 beeper: 233-3333



Learn how to best protect your interests in the Villalobos case. Explore your options at

Also, we invite you to join one of the most active discussion groups on the case.  Find out what people who care are saying. Join at irccr-subscribe@yahoogroups.com


Law Offices of Lic. A.A. Hernandez Mussio

Attorney, Notary Public, Official Translator
English and Spanish

Specializing in Criminal 
and Corporate Law Practice

e-mail: legalxpt@racsa.co.cr

www.forovial.com                            Ave. 10, Calle 19, No. 1906
Cell: 365-3088                                            San Jose, Costa Rica

      Lic. Gregory Kearney Lawson, attorney at law
Villalobos and Savings Unlimited Collections
*Investments  *Corporations 
*Real Estate Sales in Costa Rica *Tax Shelters 
*Immigration *Intellectual Property
    *Business procedures *Family and Labor Law
    *Locate People *Private Investigations
       Ph/Fax: 221-9462, 394-7007

Real estate agents

15 years Costa Rican real estate experience
Member of the Costa Rican Real Estate Association, Lic. #1000 
Member, Costa Rican-American Chamber of Commerce
(506) 232-5016 home   (506) 233-8057 office  (506) 382-7399 cell 


Empresa de Investigadores Internacionales S.A.
Telephone (506) 280-5217 
FAX (506) 280-5120
P.O. Box 297-2100 Costa Rica
Cédula Juridica #3-101-097681-32

Web design

- Custom Website Design & Development
- Website Hosting
- Website Marketing & Promotion
- E-Commerce Solutions
- Internet Consulting
One Price Websites - "A great service at an unbelievable price! "
For more information visit our website at www.istarmedia.net or call 
399-9642 or email at: info@istarmedia.net

What we published this week: Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Earlier
The contents of this web site are copyrighted by Consultantes Río Colorado 2001 and 2002 and may not be reproduced anywhere without permission. Abstracts and fair use are permitted.