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Published Friday, March 17, 2017, in Vol. 17, No. 55
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Weekend dominated by Festival Verano Transitarte
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The capital’s center is being taken over by tents, dancing, concerts, and a lot more activities for this upcoming weekend.

The Festival Verano Transitarte 2017 will be at various locations spread throughout San José Centro beginning today at 5 p.m. with the Mercado de la Expresión in Parque España.

At those 11 locations including the major parks of Morazán, España and Nacional, over 200 individuals and groups are expected to perform for the festivities. On Saturday and Sunday, Paseo de las Damas, also known as Avenida 3, will be closed and become the scene of activities.

Opening up for the concerts is the famous Costa Rica group Malpaís tonight at 7 p.m. The national symphony orchestra performs in Parque Nacional at 6:30 p.m. Sunday, and the well-known group Sonámbulo performs at Parque Morazán at 7 p.m.

Between the performances are tents full of just about everything. Art and displays, stand-up comedy, hours of music, poetry, food, workshops, reggae, various styles of dance, yoga, tae-kwon-do, cheerleading, zumba, puppets, and board games. Some expats may also want to know that Saturday evening from 6 to 9:30 p.m. are the professional boxing matches.

Outside the capital, the Banda de San José is collaborating with their fellow performers of Alajuela in commemorating the Battle of Santa Rosa with a special concert today at 7 p.m. At the amphitheater of the Museo Histórico Cultural Juan Santamaría in Alajuela Centro.

transitarte
Ministerio de Cultura y Juventud photo
The Compañia Nacional de la Danza and others will be out performing this weekend.

Entrance is free of charge and open to the public, organizers said.

Saturday morning’s event might be of interest to history buffs and coin collectors. The museum is hosting its Fería Numísmática beginning at 10 a.m. on Saturday within the corridors of the museum.

Meanwhile at Museo Nacional, over 174 art pieces will be displayed focusing particularly on the role of women in Native American communities. The exhibition runs until June so expats need not worry if they miss it due to the summer festival. The regular hours and entrance fees are available on the Museo Nacional website.

The Teatro Nacional will be putting up the final set of “La Orestíada” this weekend with the first show being held tonight at 8 and again on Saturday at the same time, the cultural ministry said.

The performance is based on the Greek playwright Aeschylus’ tragedy of legendary Mycenaean King Agamemnon and his choice of accepting an oracle’s ultimatum: sacrifice his daughter in order to ensure victory in the upcoming war against Troy. Ticket prices can be found and seats reserved with the Teatro Nacional.

New corporations tax passes the second, final vote
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

As expected, lawmakers Thursday approved for the second and final time a new tax on corporations. The tax is expected to raise 45 billion colons or about $81 million from entities registered with the government.

Many expats hold ownership in their homes and motor vehicles through establishing a corporation, usually a sociedad anónima or a sociedad de responsabilidad limitada. They are abbreviated S.A. and S.R.L.

The tax replaces one declared unconstitutional in January 2015 due to technical issues.

Sergio Alfaro, the minister of the Presidencia, praised the passage and said that the police will now receive the financing they deserve.

The bill is No. 19.818.

The political party Frente Amplio also praised the legislative action and said that with the money the Ministerio de Seguridad Pública will be able to hire 1,000 new officers.

Edgardo Araya Sibaja, head of Frente Amplio in the legislature, took credit for his party in putting the tax measure on a so-called fast track. He also criticized Movimiento Libertario and the Partido Unidad Social Cristiana for delaying the process by making an appeal to the Sala IV constitutional court. The court rejected the appeal.

The bill exempts taxation of small businesses registered as such with the Ministerio de Economía, Industria y Comercio. Other corporations are assessed based on their level of gross income.

The original law won approval Dec. 22, 2011, but the Sala IV decided it had not been advertised correctly and voided it Jan. 28, 2015. Curiously, the court said that the taxes for 2015 still had to be paid.

A stipulation in the proposed law says that those who owe back taxes on corporations can pay the money without penalty for three months after the law is published in La Gaceta official newspaper. That takes place after President Luis Guillermo Solís signs the bill.

The law goes into effect three months after the first day of the month following its publication. Then a proportional amount of taxes are due within the next 30 days for 2017. One stipulation is that the amount paid in taxes cannot be listed as a deduction for income taxes.

In other words, corporations will have to pay taxes on the money they paid in taxes. The proposed law also provides a way for members of corporation boards of directors and other officers to resign without penalty.

Like many fines and government payments, the proposed tax is determined by the base salary that is in effect. This year the amount is 426,200 colons or about $767. This is the monthly salary listed for a specific job in the Poder Judicial, so the amount will increase each year.

Inactive corporations, that is those that have no economic activity, would pay 15 percent of the base salary for the annual tax. That would be about 68,192 colons or $115.09 due Jan. 1, 2018, for a full year.

Costa Rican corporate entities and local branches of foreign corporations with gross income of less than 250 times the base salary, about 106.5 million colons or  about $192,000, would pay 30 percent, about 128,000 colons or  $230.

Companies with gross income of 250 times the base salary or more would pay 60 percent of a base salary. Companies with economic activity most likely would pass these costs on to their customers. The payment this year would be half the amount for a full year.

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A.M. Costa Rica's  Second news page
San José, Costa Rica, Friday, March 17, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 55
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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.
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Registro Nacional says entities wanting OK
for changes cannot owe money to the Caja


By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Registro Nacional is now applying a new procedure to approve changes in companies, foundations and other legal structures by requesting a debt-free status with the social security system, known as the Caja.

Compliance with that procedure was enforced as of Jan. 9, and it keeps people from making changes in the constitution of organizations. It also halts the issuance of personería jurídicas, which is an official document that proves the existence of a company in the country.

This rule was set down by the Dirección de Registro de Personas Jurídicas last Dec. 22 via the memorandum D.P.J.-018-2016, of which A.M. Costa Rica has a copy.

The Registro Nacional is authorized by law to require debt-free status with the social security before registering a new legal structure. However, there is no evidence so far that it may also freeze other administrative actons and certifications that citizens may request, even if they are behind their payments with La Caja.


Caja gives out new hepatitis medication

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Expats or tourists may recall getting shots prior to traveling abroad or at least seeing recommendation to get them for potential infections. Now, the Costa Rican social security fund introduced a new medication to aid in people’s full recovery from hepatitis-C.

The Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social, known commonly as the Caja, began distributing the medicine to the various hospitals this week. It is called Sofosbuvir + Ledipasvir. According to officials from the Caja, the drug has a cure rate of up to 99 percent and can even aid patients suffering from cirrhosis in comparison to other treatment options that only have a cure rate of 57 percent. Cirrhosis and even liver cancer are sometimes fatal consequences if hepatitis-C is left untreated.

The current cost of treatment per patient, by the Caja’s estimate, is 5.9 million colons with one tablet taken each day for 12 weeks. Officials said that, in Costa Rica, 30 new cases of Hepatitis-C are diagnosed each year.

Hepatitis-C is an inflammation of the liver that is transmitted often through blood transfusions, dirty medical instruments, and sex, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. Basically, anything that penetrates the body and skin can transmit an infection.. The symptoms include: initial anorexia, abdominal discomfort, nausea and vomiting. The condition could progress to jaundice. Half of hepatitis-C cases usually develop cirrhosis of the liver, according to the Caja.

The World Health Organization estimates that between 130 and 179 million people worldwide have a chronic Hepatitis-C infection.

Man found guilty of rape and sex abuse

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The prosecutor’s office in Quepos and Parrita succeeded in winning a guilty verdict that will send a man to 36 years in prison for rape and sexual abuse of a minor.

The man, Virgilio Vásquez Solano, was convicted of three counts of rape and two counts of sex abuse against a young girl. According to the prosecution, the events transpired in Paquita de Quepos for at least five years between 2005 and 2010. The minor was abused in her home from the time she was 9 years old until she became 14, according to a report from the Poder Judicial.

Vásquez took advantage of the girl when she was alone in the home, sid the judiciary. The prosecution elaborated that by the time the girl reached the age of 12, Vásquez threatened to kill her family if she did not have sex with him. The report then goes on to say that the defendant then repeatedly raped her until she was 14.

The victim is now 21 years old, according to the prosecution. Vázquez will spend the next six months in jail awaiting a review of his sentence


88 year old killed in traffic accident

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A car strcuk and killed an 88-year-old man Thursday morning in Cartago Centro.

According to a report, the elderly man was apparently trying to cross the street on the south side of the Iglesia del Carmen when a vehicle struck him. Officials said that the driver of the vehicle was tested for driving under the influence but the results came back negative.

The body of the victim was transferred to the judicial morgue for an autops, said the Judicial Investigating Organization.

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Costa Rica

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10 year old author and prize-winner gives important moral in story
By Rommel Téllez
of the A.M. Costa Rica staff

“Everybody has its own essence and that makes each of us unique. People are what they are. It's not up to us to try to change them.”

That's the moral of Los Zapatos Nuevos, a short tale by Daniela Rojas, a 10-year-old author who happened to win the first prize for fourth graders in the latest edition of Mi Cuento Fantástico, a literary contest organized by the Ministerio de Educación Pública, Asociación Amigos del Aprendizaje and the Universidad Estatal a Distancia, among other cultural associations.

In her short tale, Ms. Rojas takes the reader to a very personal moment when her grandfather decides to move into her parents house in the city because of old age. He walks barefoot and that makes her sad enough to start collecting money to buy him a pair of shoes. When they both arrive at the shoe store, the behavior of the old man turns the plot into an unexpected life changing lesson.

“Well, in reality the grandfather of the story is my great-grandfather, who is 93 years old, but everything else is true,¨ she explained while giggling.

“I really like to write and my teacher helped me out. I got into the contest by the time we were studying the structure of the texts in Spanish. My teacher suggested to me to write the story in a different order, I mean, in a non sequential way and I liked the idea.” Ms. Rojas said.

The literary contest made the girl a young published author, along with the other 15 winners of the 2016 edition. Participants are all students from primary schools, from third to sixth grades and they come from all parts of the country.

The winners were chosen out of 16,000 participants by a jury of teachers, journalists and education specialists.

sofia rojas
Comunicacón Corporativa Ketchum  
Daniela Rojas and her teacher Seidy Madriz.


Each winner got a personal computer donated by Intel, as well as backpacks and school supplies sponsored by Toto, a well known apparel brand.

“I congratulate all of the winners. These events support our new approach to Spanish teaching, which includes a lot more original writing.” said Sonia Mora, the minister of Educación Publica.
The contest also rewarded the teachers who supported each of the winning students, most of them getting a tablet donated by Grupo Monge.

Participants came from all social and geographical backgrounds. In the case of Escuela Altos del Roble, in Guanacaste, all of the students competed in the literary event.

“People say I have a lot of imagination. and I would like to write more. but its hard for me to choose, because I like normal fiction and science fiction.” Ms. Rojas said.  She also said she might participate in the next contest that will accept new submissions as of May.


A toast to family, friends and our Irish heritage: St. Patrick's Day
By Conor Golden
News Editor of A.M. Costa Rica

Today, on the feast of St. Patrick, a staggering amount of people collectively pour alcohol down their throats until they are too drunk to function and have vomited themselves to near-oblivion. As many people crawl their way through multiple bars, clubs, and pubs in the United States and other countries, many people of Irish heritage celebrate St. Patrick’s Day differently.

“You’re not talking about myself or my family and community and what it represents for us,” Ed Gaughan, the former president of the U.S.-based Shamrock Club of Columbus in Ohio said,

“It’s a very calm celebration with little kids running around and that ends early. What is being described is almost akin to New Year’s Eve. I think that’s mainly the influence of corporations getting involved and branding the day to that separate identity,” Gaughan said.

For Gaughan and many other Irish-Americans, it is an opportunity of celebrating the story of the Irish people and Irish-American immigrants, of getting together with family and friends and enjoying each other’s company as much as the music, the food and, yes, the alcohol.
 
Meanwhile, in much of Ireland, people go to church and also gather together with family and friends following a solemn day of Mass. It is true that St. Patrick’s Day is a celebration of Irish heritage, but, for the Irish themselves, they are Irish all the time.

St. Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland whose missionary work in Hibernia, the Latin name for the island of Ireland, was instrumental towards the conversion of the majority of the population to Roman Catholicism during the Fifth century.

To this day, Catholicism remains the dominant religion within the Irish Republic and constitutes an influential minority within the Protestant-majority region of Northern Ireland, which remains attached to the United Kingdom. The influence of the religious sect on the Irish people has had a huge social, cultural, political and religious impact.

That impact continues across the Atlantic to the United States where, according to the U.S. Census, some 35 million Americans can claim Irish ancestry. This is a number seven times the population of Ireland itself and second only to German as the most frequently reported ancestry.

In Costa Rica, most celebrations of the holiday are frequently among expats of Irish stock or heritage. They are mostly private affairs and no parades for St. Patrick’s Day have been announced by Casa Presidencial or any government municipality. As for the Irish embassy to Costa Rica, it is located in México.

Still, Irish-style bars and pubs exist here, and there will be no shortage of celebration today, even if it is for other reasons than celebrating a common cultural identity in the Emerald Isle.
Certainly, the churches will be open, and, of course, interested expats can still give a toast and shout “Erin go bragh.”



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Researchers discover antibody interferes with zika virus infection
By the Purdue University press staff

Researchers have determined the structure of a human antibody bound to the zika virus, revealing details about how the antibody interferes with the infection mechanism. These findings could aid in the development of antiviral medications.

The new findings also suggest the antibody might be especially effective because a lower concentration than expected is needed to inhibit a key mechanism of infection, making it more potent than previous antibodies studied. The research was performed by a team from Purdue University, Vanderbilt University Medical Center and the Washington University School of Medicine.

The human antibody was isolated by the Vanderbilt and Washington University researchers, who reported their findings earlier this year. Those findings showed that the antibody, which was isolated from a person previously infected with zika virus, neutralizes zika strains that belong to African, Asian and American lineages and is able to reduce fetal infection and death in mice.

“However, until now what remained unknown was the mechanism of neutralization of zika infection by the antibody and the structural basis for neutralization,” said Michael Rossmann, Purdue’s Hanley Distinguished Professor of Biological Sciences.

The findings were reported Thursday in the journal “Nature Communications.”

The research team was led by Rossmann and Richard Kuhn, both professors in Purdue’s Department of Biological Sciences, and senior postdoctoral scientist Saif Hasan. Research to isolate the antibody was led by James Crowe Jr., a professor of pediatrics, pathology, microbiology and immunology at Vanderbilt, and Michael Diamond, a professor at Washington University. A YouTube video is available.

Zika belongs to a family of viruses called flaviviruses, which includes dengue, West Nile, yellow fever, Japanese encephalitis and tick-borne encephalitic viruses.

In the new findings, researchers determined the combined three-dimensional structure of the zika virus while attached to a key binding site on the antibody known as the antigen binding fragment, or a Fab molecule.

The genome of the zika virus is housed inside a protective shell that includes 60 repeating units, each containing three envelope proteins, or E proteins.

mosquito
Centers for Disease Control & Prevention photo
Mosquitoes are well known to transmit zika virus.


As the virus attaches to a host cell’s outer membrane a difference in pH, or acidity, in the membrane causes these trimers to transfer the viral RNA genome, a step critical to infection.

The new findings show the antibody’s binding to zika inhibits this pH-triggering mechanism, neutralizing the virus by preventing their reorganization.

Moreover, considering that the surface of zika is made of 60 copies of three E proteins, it would be expected that 180 copies of the antibody’s Fab molecules would be needed for neutralization.

“However, one antibody binds for six E proteins, so only 30 are needed,” Hasan said. “Therefore, you don’t need a high concentration of antibodies to achieve neutralization.”

The findings primarily will aid in the development of antiviral drugs but also will help researchers identify important sites on the virus for human antibodies to hook onto, which could be useful in developing vaccines down the road, Kuhn said.

The zika virus has been associated with a birth defect called microcephaly that causes brain damage and an abnormally small head in babies born to mothers infected during pregnancy. The virus also has been associated with the autoimmune disease Guillain-Barré syndrome, which can lead to temporary paralysis.

The first major outbreak of the zika virus was recorded in 2007 in Micronesia and then in 2013-14 in Oceania. The latest outbreak, which started in Brazil in 2014-15, has spread to other countries in South America, North America and the Caribbean. Four cases of fetal deformities were reported in December 2016 in New York City. Future research will include work to study other antibodies. The research was funded by the National Institutes of Health.


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9140-5/1/17

George Lundquist header

The Relocation/Retirement tour with the
 *HIGHEST SUCCESS RATE
OF RELOCATION*

 (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!
HERE!

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. lundquistgeorge@gmail.com

George Lundquist

experience Costa Rica
Costa Rica Travel In Paradise Group Tours

Looking for easy booking process for a smooth Costa Rica trip?   We customize wonderful trips to Costa Rica.  We offer you our wealth of knowledge for a great experience . . . a trip of a lifetime!!!

* FAMILY VACATIONS. Our travels take into account the different ages of your family enjoy the most from your Family vacations. Click HERE!

* GROUP TOURS. Whether for a church group, couple of friends, Scout troop or a family group. We provide excellent quality service in your Group Tours. Click HERE!

* EDUCATIONAL TOURS. Tours for universities to schools to elementary schools. We have professionals to help you discover the secrets of Costa Rica in a fun way. Costa Rica Educational Tours. Click HERE!

* GUIDED TOURS. General holiday planning giving you the best value for your investment Costa Rica vacation Packages. Click HERE!

Contact us: 
Dial toll FREE from USA or Canada:  1.800.901.0114
CR local phone:  +506-2274-3231
Cells:  +506-8380-5919  and +506-8302-5877
Email:  info@travelinparadisecr.com
Web:  www.travelinparadisecr.com
8995-4/17/17

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



Need a book about Costa Rica?


Check out our special selections available at Amazon
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HERE!

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COSTA RICA SOLAR
solar one

solar two
NOW with the New Power Company Regulations, we're installing photo voltaic systems for solar electricity.
PV systems: we use Enphase micro-inverters. More flexible. Add panels whenever you like. More reliable than any other system and fully guaranteed!

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NOW is the time to install our new super-efficient solar hot water! New model for condos
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BUY NOW! Your solar hot water system, so in three months, we can calculate a lower install price for your PV system.  Perfect for homes and hotels. Save up to 40% of your electric bill.
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Office: 506-2446-0543
Andre 506-8314-8090
Paul 506-8898-9398
OUR EMAIL:
 andrefurlong@gmail.com
Paul.Furlong@CR-Solar.com
VISIT OUR WEB:
www.crsolar.net 
9118-6/26/17

Real estate rentals (paid category)

rental home
Beautiful Home for Rent
San Isidro Del General, Perez Zeledon. The beautiful southern zone. By week or month.  Only 10 minutes to town. Fabulous, artistic, one Bedroom, elegantly furnished home, overlooking river,  and near to attractions at the beach or mountain. Comes completely furnished with custom queen bed, orthopaedic mattress, all linens, large kitchen, all pans, dishes, silverware, blender new refrigerator, stove with oven, washing machine, glove leather couches, breakfast nook, patio with hammock.  Has also large bodega, with extra full sized bed, can sleep 4. Comes with satellite TV & WIFI. Located next to small river, with access to river pools, and over 60 varieties of rare, tropical birds. Only 45 minutes to beach, Playa Dominical and 40 minutes to National Park Chirripo. Perfect weather. Not hot like the beach. No car needed, bus take 15 minutes to town, costs 30 cents. Gated private and secure, near bus, mini markets. This is a complete home, artistic, beautiful surroundings, with convenience and privacy, yet near to it all. Nice folks.  For more photos and information: james43michael@gmail.com  Costa Rica phone: (506) 2771-4339
9178-4/7/17

Poas chalet
What a chalet!
We offer for rent a boutique quality 2-bedroom (BR)/1-bath mountain chalet, and a 2-BR/2-bath mountain home located on the slopes of the Barva Volcano, Heredia Province. The homes are situated at 7,300 feet altitude within the limits of a small horse ranch.  Located just three kilometers from the Braulio Carrillo National Park entrance, our homes sit on the strategic high ground of Costa Rica’s Central Valley, and are contiguous with the park’s 47,000 hectares of primary cloud rainforest. The chalet and mountain home include a spacious living room, kitchen, fireplace, and covered parking.  All utilities and wifi internet included. Please contact Allan or Cristina at barvavolcano@gmail.com for photos, pricing and contract details.
9163-3/10/17


Tropical Homes logo
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 www.tropicalhomesofcostarica.com or contact us at rentals@tropicalhomesofcostarica.com or call at (506) 2654-5442
9055-2/23/17

Spectacular rentals are available for low weekly prices on SellMyTimeshareNow.com at resorts such as Bahia Turquesa Residences and Villas Sol Playa Hermosa in Guanacaste. We have 
Timeshare
1- to 3-bedroom ocean and garden view timeshares available and most offer air conditioning, cable TV, fully equipped kitchens, and relaxing hammocks on private balconies. Enjoy the unique combination of seclusion and convenience as all resorts listed on our site are close to popular Costa Rican attractions and downtown 
centers, but are surrounded in lush, tropical forest. Villas are also available for sale in our inventory, so you can enjoy yearly vacations to this mesmerizing rainforest paradise. Please visit our rental inventory HERE!  or call us toll free at 877-815-4227, International: 603-516-0200.  Email: info@sellmytimesharenow.com
9049-7/31/17





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A.M. Costa Rica's
  
Fifth news page
Salsa Lizano
San José, Costa Rica, Friday, March 17, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 55
Calendar
Opinion
Classifieds
Real Estate
Lifestyle
Food
About us
 
Foreign tourism slowing
under Trump administration


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Foreign tourism to the United States, which supports millions of American jobs, is slowing, possibly because President Donald Trump sought controversial travel restrictions on visitors from some Muslim majority nations. Online searches for flights to the United States are down in most major nations, but not just those hit by restrictions.

The travel restrictions sparked demonstrations, critical press coverage and a flurry of lawsuits. A petition drive gathered thousands of signatures in support of British citizen and mathematics teacher Juhel Miah, who was removed from a U.S.-bound plane as he was escorting British students on a school trip to America.

“I really think I was being targeted. Is that because of my name? Is that because of the way I look or the color of my skin? Who knows? I do not know,” Miah said.

Miah is one of thousands of people tangled up in the recent restrictions. He thinks his experience may mean fewer British tourists and students will head to the U.S.

“I have been approached by other teachers, and they have told me until this is settled they are questioning whether they are going to bring their pupils along to America,” he said.

Pace University Professor Andrew Coggins, who researches travel issues, said the Trump administration's push to restrict immigration is making some foreign tourists and students wary of visiting out of concern they might face bigotry and prejudice. He said such worries mean New York City alone will see hundreds of thousands fewer visitors and lose millions of dollars in revenue. Coggins said efforts to revise the restrictions are pointless.

“The damage has been done. I think the resentment is there. It has been generated and it is not going to go away that fast,” he said.

Coggins and other travel experts said worries about the welcome they get in the United States are likely to hurt visitation even from nations, like Canada, that do not have a Muslim majority. These concerns come at a time when the strong dollar makes the United States an expensive destination for foreign visitors and as competing nations are stepping up efforts to attract tourists.

Tourism is extremely competitive, according to Patricia Rojas-Ungar of the U.S. Travel Association.

“Travelers have a choice, and if they feel any concern or anxiety about traveling to a destination, they can very well pick another destination,” she said.

Ms. Rojas-Ungar said if visitors head elsewhere it could hurt an industry that is important to every one of the U.S. States.

“Travel and tourism is a top economic driver for the U.S. economy. It is a $2.1-trillion industry, and we support 15 million American jobs," Coggins said, "Tourism creates jobs on the ground. It supports restaurants, it supports hotels, all of which are jobs that can't be exported."

Ms. Rojas-Unbar said she hopes the Trump administration will make policies clearer in the future and work to project a warm welcome to visitors. Meantime, Juhel Miah has received encouraging emails and letters from Americans, including one from a fifth-grader in Atlanta. The teacher said he is still eager to visit America.


Group wants tax collection
on U.S. foreign corporations


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

President Donald Trump’s blueprint budget calls for a dramatic increase in defense and homeland security spending, offset by deep cuts to foreign aid and federal agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency.

But could there be another way to build up the military without taking money away from other valuable programs? Americans for Tax Fairness thinks so.

“American multinational corporations owe $700 billion in U.S. taxes on profits they are holding offshore much of it earned in the United States,” said spokesman Ron Eckstein. “Before cutting spending on important services that affect people's lives, President Trump should make these giant corporate tax dodgers pay what they owe.”

Multinational corporations, like their domestic counterparts, are taxed at the rate of 35 percent. If a company operating overseas pays taxes to a foreign government, these are deducted from its U.S. tax bill, which means that its effective tax rate may be much lower.

Through a nearly century-old provision in the tax code known as deferral, the U.S. doesn’t tax multinationals on their overseas income until they repatriate the money back to their parent companies on U.S. soil.

Deferral was originally intended as a way to encourage overseas investment and provide relief for U.S.-based multinational companies paying taxes to foreign governments.

But it didn’t take long for multinationals to figure out that by setting up subsidiaries in overseas tax havens, they could avoid paying tax indefinitely by stashing profits in those subsidiaries, a process known as inversion.

Today, U.S. multinationals hold more than $2.4 trillion offshore, that’s more than Trump’s $1.15 trillion budget, and currently owe the U.S. government about $700 billion in back taxes on all that money.

The Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy released a report March 9 showing that 100 Fortune 500 corporations paid no federal income taxes at least once in the last eight years. Eighteen corporations, including General Electric, International Paper, Priceline.com and PG&E, even received tax refunds from the IRS on their combined profits from 2008 to 2015.

She says 48 corporations paid an effective tax rate of less than 10 percent over the same period. On average, large, profitable corporations in the United States paid an effective federal income tax rate of 21.2 percent over the eight-year period, significantly below the statutory 35 percent tax rate.

“There’s a huge tax advantage to multinationals with deferral,” said Frank Clemente, executive director of Americans for Tax Fairness in an earlier interview. “Essentially, they get to use this money for free without paying any taxes on it indefinitely. It makes them look more profitable; the more profitable they are, the higher the value of their stock.”

And these companies apparently work hard to see that the loophole stays in place. According to Oxfam America, between 2008 and 2014, the top 50 U.S. multinationals spent about $2.7 billion on lobbying against any changes.

Over the years, lawmakers have floated a number of proposals for either ending deferral outright or encouraging corporations to bring their profits back home.

In a 2004 experiment, Congress enacted a voluntary tax holiday, offering corporations that brought their profits home a highly-discounted tax rate of 5.25 percent, with one caveat: the repatriated funds should be spent on research, development and new jobs.

More than 840 companies took advantage of the holiday, bringing back about $312 billion. That’s a tax break of about $100 billion collectively.

But studies have since shown that most of the money wasn’t reinvested; it ended up in the pockets of executives and shareholders.

Worse, said Clemente, the holiday encouraged corporations to continue stashing profits offshore in the hopes of another tax holiday in the future.

Between 2008 and 2013, U.S. multinationals nearly doubled their offshore holdings to more than $2.1 trillion.

Even so, lawmakers have continued to consider repatriation holidays as a remedy to offshore tax avoidance. In 2014, Rep. John Delaney, Democrat from Maryland, proposed a mandatory repatriation at an 8.75 percent tax rate.

Sen. Rand Paul, Republican from Kentucky, and his former Democratic counterpart Barbara Boxer proposed a 6.5 percent tax on funds voluntarily repatriated, to help encourage companies to bring money home.

Trump’s 2015 tax plan called for ending deferral altogether: “Corporations will no longer be allowed to defer taxes on income earned abroad, but the foreign tax credit will remain in place because no company should face double taxation,” it read.

Later, his language shifted, according to Scott Greenberg, an analyst at the Tax Foundation’s Center for Federal Tax Policy.

“In fact, the latest version of his tax plan, released in September 2016, makes no mention of ending deferral, or any other changes to how income earned overseas will be taxed going forward,” he said.

To try and keep companies from deferring offshore profits, Trump indicated he would lower the corporate income tax from 35 percent to 15 percent. He would also enact a compulsory repatriation of foreign profits, which would be taxed at 10 percent.

House Republicans, however, appear to have different ideas. In June 2016, they released a tax reform proposal that would move the U.S. from a worldwide tax system, meaning that companies pay taxes on both domestic and foreign earning, to a territorial system, by which they would only pay taxes on profits they earn at home.

And they would lower the corporate tax rate to 20 percent. Ending deferral appeared not to be an option.

Last week, Senators Bernie Sanders and Brian Schatz introduced a bill to end the deferral loophole.

“The truth is that we have a rigged tax code that has essentially legalized tax-dodging for large corporations,” Sanders said during a press conference.

The Corporate Tax Dodging Prevention Act would tax all funds currently held offshore at the full corporate tax rate of 35 percent. Rep. Jan Schakowsky, Democrat from Illinois, introduced a companion bill in the House.

Trump had promised to make tax reform a priority during his first 100 days in office and in February said he hoped to release a plan sometime this month.

But analysts say that between debates over Obamacare, the federal budget, Trump’s travel ban, and allegations of wiretapping by the previous administration, that tax plan will likely be many more months in coming.


White House stands by
Trump's wiretap tweets


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The White House is continuing to stand by President Donald Trump's insistence that former President Barack Obama wiretapped his phones at Trump Tower in New York, despite a complete lack of evidence.

Spokesman Sean Spicer faced off Thursday against a roomful of reporters who wanted to know why Trump keeps insisting it is true, even after top lawmakers on the House and Senate intelligence committees say it never happened.

Spicer accused the journalists of mischaracterizing what happened in the Senate committee.

He also accused reporters of cherry picking what they choose to cover, and of ignoring House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes, who said it was very possible there was surveillance of Trump.

But Nunes said he does not believe Trump's phones were tapped. Spicer said Trump put the word wiretap in quotes in his original Twitter accusation. Spicer said that means there was widespread surveillance if not actual phone taps.

But the two top senators on the Senate Intelligence Committee, Republican Richard Burr and Democrat Mark Warner, said Thursday: “Based on the information available to us, we see no indications that Trump Tower was the subject of surveillance by any element of the United States government either before or after Election Day 2016.”

Their statement followed one from House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan, who also dismissed the president's explosive claim March 4 that Obama ordered the eavesdropping.

Trump, however, told Fox News late Wednesday that he very soon will produce evidence of Obama's actions.

Top leaders of the House Intelligence Committee said Wednesday that Trump's allegation is unfounded, but the president said his administration will be submitting things to the panel and that he perhaps will be speaking about his claim next week.

"You're going to find some very interesting items coming to the forefront over the next two weeks," Trump said.

​Numerous congressional leaders, both opposition Democrats and Republicans, have sharply rebuked Trump's claim that Obama wiretapped Trump Tower, the skyscraper where the billionaire real estate mogul ran his campaign, and his home before winning the White House.

Trump made the wiretapping charge against his predecessor two Saturdays ago in a string of Twitter comments.

Obama dismissed the allegation as simply false, and Trump since then has not substantiated his claim. Until the Fox interview, Trump dodged reporters' questions about the allegation.

Trump told Fox his Twitter comment really covers surveillance and many other things. Nobody ever talks about the fact that was in quotes, but that's a very important thing.

On Wednesday, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Republican Devin Nunes, who has been supportive of Trump, held a news conference about Trump's wiretapping allegation.

Nunes and Schiff said they are waiting for information from the Department of Justice by next Monday about whether the agency knows of any court ordered wiretaps of Trump, but said they have learned of no such bugging in their investigation.

The congressional probe was requested by the White House after Trump made his wiretapping allegation.

The House Intelligence Committee also is looking at links between Trump campaign aides and Russian officials during the billionaire real estate mogul's long run for the White House, and in the weeks after he won the election.

Nunes said James Comey, director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the country's top law enforcement agency, will testify next Monday before the Intelligence Committee about the wiretapping allegation and the agency's investigation of Russian meddling in the election aimed at helping Trump win.

One key U.S. senator, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, said, "I'm going to get to the bottom of this. Congress is going to flex its muscle."

He vowed, if need be, to subpoena the FBI to determine whether any U.S. judge issued a secret wiretapping edict that the FBI carried out.


More news of the Americas
From the Voice of America

Real estate services
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Real estate for sale (paid category)

Puriscal home
GORGEOUS MOUNTAIN & OCEAN VIEW HOME
REDUCED $40K - $355,000
HEALTH CONDITIONS REQUIRES QUICK SALE
This is a gorgeous, new, 3-bedroom luxury home on 2.2 flat acres in a secure, gated community, high in the hills of Puriscal, with stunning, 180-degree views of the ocean, city and mountains of the Central Valley in Costa Rica. Centrally located in the heart of Costa Rica, you are never more than an hour from the Pacific beaches while being much less than that to the culture, shopping, services and night life of the San José, Escazú, Santa Ana and the whole Central Valley. The Altos de Antigua gated community sits at an altitude of 2,800 feet with mild temperatures year round. Features wide paved roads and cement culverts throughout, a large community pool & spa with changing rooms & showers. The community association fees are $42 a month ($500 annually).
This property is currently being offered for $355,000.00 U.S.
Purchase adjoining 2.2 acre investment lot with the home sale for $35,000.00 U.S. or separately for $55,000.00 U.S.
 
    Summary of House Features:

       * Completed 2012 to North American standards
       * 3 large bedrooms, 2 full baths
       * Custom designed kitchen w/granite countertops
       * Frigidaire Professional appliance package
       * State-of-the-art solar hot water
       * Eco-friendly Toshiba LED lighting
       * LG Multi-Split air conditioning system
       * House & perimeter security alarm system
       * 2-car closed garage w/large paved driveway
 
Video Tour: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AUEAmahIU9A
Community Web Site: http://www.altigua.com
Photos: HERE!
Costa Rica # 506-8985-6705 or from the States call # 561-740-0651 or email gary_one@msn.com
9173-9/1/17

colinasdelsol
COLINAS DEL SOL Fenced Gated Lots for Sale

* Colinas del Sol is a fenced and gated project  in a quiet area.
* There are 88 clear titled lots.
* Mountain areas with great views.
* Gently sloping level areas ideal for hobby farms, gardening, fruit trees.
* Quiet place to get away from the busy city and beach crowds.
* All lots have gravel roads to them, water and electricity at each.
* Lots are 5,000 sq. meters or larger, starting at only $40,000 USD
* Located in Libertad, Guanacaste, northwest Pacific area of Costa Rica.
* 20 minutes to the Liberia International Airport
* 15 minutes to the Pacific Beaches
* 10 minutes to Medical Facilities
* 25 minutes to the Liberia Hospital
* 5 minutes to Vista Ridge Golf Club

Contact:
In Costa Rica, Jeffrey Sandi Murray:  jsandimurray@colinasdelsolcr.com
In the USA and Canada contact Jim Day: jimday50@aol.com or call 517-484-3675

For more information Click Here: www.colinasdelsolcr.com
9056-2/28/17

Etlinger
                                      Farm rollover
Beautiful farm in excellent location
At only an hour's drive from San José, minutes from Guápiles, and boardering Braulio Carrillo National Park, Etlingera Farms is one heck of an amazing farm. We purchased this 77-acre farm 10 years ago after many trips, and an exhaustive search. It has a little bit of everything we were looking for and a whole lot of beauty. Our average elevation of 600 meters helps to keep Bella Vista cool year round. This farm is nearly level with a semi-modern 2-bedroom house. A fairly rustic 2-bedroom caretaker's home. And, a comfortable, 1-bedroom cabin where we stay. We have 2 large barns, a chicken coop, and a 3-stall pig pen. There are two tilapia ponds and 2 hectarias, (approximately 5 acres) of different species of bananas. The property boarders Rio Blanco in the rear and has 300 meters of public road frontage. Water, electricity, and telephone are all serviced by public utility. Etlingera Farms was reforested with several thousand wood trees of different tropical varieties. We truly believe this farm is spectacular. Our neighbors are selling for as much as $20 per meter. We are negotiable, motivated and open to offers. Our location can be found by searching Etlingera Farms on Google Maps. Our webpage is www.etlingerafarms.com and photo album can be found at www.ticorico.com
9170-3/24/17

horse
                                      ranch rollover
Spectacular Horse Ranch and Spiritual/Yoga
Retreat Center For Sale

We invite you to a horseback tour of 187 acres of pristine farm land with breathtaking vistas, including the islands of the Gulf of Nicoya. There are multiple springs and streams, wooded areas, hard-wood and fruit trees, rolling hills with a geat variety of birds and wildlife. This property boasts the privilege of being bordered by thousands of acres of forest preserve down a steep canyon, offering its own spectacular views, which will never be developed. The many hills provide a builder an endless array of possibilities for nestling buildings in where they will have both views and privacy. The elevation of the property at 1,200 to1600 feet above sea level ensures fresh breezes and ideal year-round temperatures with a day-time average in the low 80's for open-air living. There is a ranch-style house with guest house with 8 total bedrooms, 5 modern baths, huge eat-in kitchen, landmark palm-thatched giant rancho, stable, and storage buildings. The home will come partially furnished, including beds, ample dishware for large groups, housewares, linens, washer/dryer, and fine hard-wood hand-built cabinetry. The remaining horses, 4 to 6 of them, will also convey if one wishes. We are also including a LARGE BEACH LOT in nearby Playa Bejuco. San Rafael de Nandayure is a tiny rural village nestled into the mountainside above Carmona with all the charms of the simple good life of a BLUE ZONE. Carmona is a thriving town with a clinic, restaurfants, shopping, and everything else one may need. The price of our listing Rancho Ricco is $799,000. More information
go to www.ranchforsalecostarica.com  Call Darin Ricco, phone +619-846-8249 or email:  darin_ricco@hotmail.com

Kkpit
                                      rollover

FURNISHED  APARTMENT for SALE.
CONDOMINIO SATURNO, LA URUCA, OUTSKIRTS
of SAN JOSÉ, COSTA RICA
Situated 3 miles west of the capital, 8 miles from the airport. Quiet, secluded area within walking distance to a commercial center including a hotel, 6 restaurants,  next to 2 bus line stops. Car ownership is not needed. January-March air temperatures are 72 to 80 degrees F.  Apartment 1,200 sq. ft (100 sq. meters), on ground floor, indoor  patio. Large windows without bars, parquet floors.  Spacious living room-dining area, 2 bedrooms, maid's room, 2 bathrooms, 4 closets  (including walk in), fully equipped kitchen (refrigerator, washing machine,small appliances, all necessary utensils, work tools). Close covered parking space in guarded area.  Many amenities, (pictures, indoor plants, sewing machine, books, keyboard, dishes, glassware,silverware). Annual cost of maintenance about $1,350 includes water, landscaping service, garbage disposal, 24-7 security and property taxes.
PRICE $120,000
 Available for viewing:   CONTACT:  USA :  (585) 969-3413 or (585) 266-7418 or in COSTA RICA : (506) 2231-0410.   email: boriskopit@yahoo.com
9143-4/17/17

rollover
Owner Financing in San Ramon
New Construction, and Ocean View 
Brand new home with 4-plus bedrooms and 3 baths all overlooking an incredible 180-degree view of the Pacific Ocean and mountains. Located only 45 minutes from the San Jose airport and about the same to the Pacific Ocean.  The lower level could be used as a separate apartment or mother-in-law setup. Home includes HUGE master  suite, CLOSETS, custom cabinets, granite counter tops, high wood ceilings, and all in an area that is 70-80 degrees year round. Priced at $199,000. Completion date is January.  See the Virtual Tour CLICK HERE or see our site here  www.whynotcostarica.com. If you would like to take a look at this amazing house, please give me a call at  Costa Rica # 506-8755-6743 or if from the States call # 509-570-1928 or email tim@whynotcostarica.com 
9143-2/3/17

Penthouse rollover
Costa Rica penthouse for sale
 5 -story penthouse for sale.  One of a kind penthouse on top of the Corobici Hotel in Sabana overlooking the Central Park and new Soccer Stadium in San José.  Excellent location provides you easy access to everywhere.  Other benefits include 24-hour security, 2 restaurants inside the hotel providing 1st class room service plus shared common areas in the hotel. Commercial license is in place. Seller will consider owner financing.  Asking $795K U.S.  Also available for monthly rent for $3,400 per month on an annual basis. Go to www.ThePenthouseCostaRica.com  Owners U.S. cell phone: 813 310-7402  Email crstratton@ymail.com
9132-6/1/17

Business for sale or lease (paid category)

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: manager@crbusiness.biz.

Real estate brokers and agents (paid category)

Remax
                                        Tamarindo
www.remax-oceansurf-cr.com The experts in buying property in Costa Rica, with more than 20 years experience and the largest networked team of agents in the country.  We can help you learn if investing in Costa Rica is right for you with our low-key, educational approach to sales. Our professional agents can tell you more about Costa Rica properties, including condos, homes, lots and & commercial real estate. Twelve (12) agents to serve you, from Playa Marbella to Playa Dante in the Guanacaste, through our Tamarindo and Flamingo offices. For more information, please contact our local phones: 506-2653-0073 Tamarindo / 506-2201-9056 Flamingo ~ Toll Free: 1-866-976-8898 or email:  info@remax-oceansurf-cr.com  or click here www.remax-oceansurf-cr.com
9145-1/2918

ReMax Playas del Coco
We are an award-winning Team of Professional Agents working with Costa Rica’s #1 Selling Real Estate Agency RE/MAX Prestige Ocean Properties. Get to KNOW, LIKE & TRUST us and let us help you find YOUR Pura Vida! We have over 30 years of experience to educate our buyers and sellers in all aspects of Real Estate.  For Information on condos, homes, lots, farms, ranches, commercial or development property
CONTACT US TODAY with NO OBLIGATION whatsoever.

Playas del Coco Click Here!

Playa Panama Click Here!

Playa Hermosa Click Here!
Peninsula Papagayo Click Here!

Playa Matapalo Click Here!
Toll Free 1-877-293-1456
Email: michael@costarica-realestate.com

9174-2/7/18

Real estate-related services (paid category)

A-1
                                        graphic
A1 MASTER BUILDERS COSTA RICA
SMALL and LARGER jobs welcome !!!. We can build from any plan you bring us all work done by USA codes master electric and plumbing Better quality and lower prices than USA. We do it all Right  + Reasonable.
Call us: Toll Free 877-778-8515   
     Text from US: 804-313-6382 
     CR phone: 506-8307-0164
     Email: hotelescazu@aol.com
     For more info also see our sites:
    www.a1masterbuildercostarica.webs.com
    www.hotelsescazu.com
    www.hotel4salecostarica.com
    www.wind-solar.webs.com 
9142-7/27/17

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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, March 17, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 55
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Solis and
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Gen. John Kelly and Solís during their meeting Thursday

Trump budget could have impact here


By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Trump administration submitted its 2018 budget proposals to the U.S. Congress Thursday, and politicians and others here will be following the debates closely because major impacts on Costa Rica are inevitable.

Among other cuts, Donald Trump is seeking major reductions in the State Department budget. The initial proposal is to consolidate the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development. That includes the country’s diplomatic network as well as programs like the U.S. Peace Corps and some overseas programs seldom mentioned to the public, such as the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

Congress may not accept many of the Trump cuts, but some reductions are certain. Some would directly affect Costa Rica and others would have an indirect effect, such as cuts to what the United States gives to the World Bank and the United Nations. The University for Peace in Ciudad Colón is a U.N. entity.

Trump also wants to cut the grant program of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and similar scientific support. Some of the research involves Costa Rican coastal waters and the nearby oceans.

At the very least, the proposed budget will lead to overdue reviews of some of the programs, such as the $410 million spent every year on the Peace Corps. The budget seeks to end money for the Inter-American Foundation, an obscure agency that provides development assistance to the poor in Latin America and the Caribbean.

The U.S. Embassy brings a lot of money into the country. The U.S. citizens who staff the embassy have children who go to expensive private schools, live in embassy-provided luxury homes and make local purchases. Like any business, the embassy has many costs related to each employee. Some diplomats most certainly have cause to worry about their future employment.

Winners in Costa Rica might be the police agencies. Trump is proposing increases in budgets for relevant U.S. agencies, including the Department of Defense. Costa Rica gets a lot of assistance each year to support the hemispheric war on drugs.

Expats who are U.S. military veterans might see improvements in their pensions and medical care. Trump has proposed boosts for agencies involved with veterans.

The budget first has to be approved in the U.S. House where members are elected based to some extent on how much Washington money they can bring home. Then the budget will go to senators, which might have broader concerns.

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From Page 7:


ExpoPyme expands as regional business fair

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The sixth annual ExpoPyme business event is being transformed into the largest small business fair in Central America, according to the economic ministry.

The three-day series of events will occur from April 7 until the 9th at the Estadio Nacional with over 300 stands expected to be set up for the expo, the Ministerio de Economía, Industria y Comercio said. Businesses and groups from other countries such as Belize, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panamá will also be participating.

The ExpoPyme will include a business roundtable, a networking space and a lecture series over the course of the three days. The goals include that of research and development of strategy as much as the consolidation of growth and networking amongst different individuals and groups. The expanded nature of the fair will allow for Costa Rican businesses to directly collaborate with members of the business sector in other Latin American countries.

The European and Latin American Technology Based Business Network, which aims to generate business opportunities between the two regions, is another special event being added to the fair.

This is a part of the wider Sistema de Integración Centroamericana. Costa Rica is the member country that is currently the president pro tempore for the group.