|ID verification now may include a
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff
A new system is online that will allow those in business to check
electronically the validity of a person's identity.
The system uses the data base of the Tribunal Supremo de Elecciones to
display a photo of an individual if their fingerprint coincides with
the information on file.
The system may prevent some cases of property theft by impersonators.
Notaries are being encouraged to use the system to verify the identity
of those who appear before them to make real estate or other business
been working since May, but it has not been publicized widely. The
Tribunal is home to the Registro Civil where Costa Ricans go to obtain cédulas de identidad. At the
time the identity document is requested, the Registro takes and files a
To use the system, notaries and other business firms have to sign up
for a contract with Radiográfica Costarricense S.A., the state
Internet service, and obtain a device to read fingerprints. Some banks
already are using the system.
The U.S. Embassy here has used a similar system for years to obtain
prints when foreigners seek visas to the United States.
The proponents for the system assume that notaries are honest. Those
who are have an affirmative obligation to check the identities of those
who appear before them.
However, a lot of property fraud is the product
of crooked notaries who knowingly fake property transfer documents.
And some notaries are arguing about the cost of
the system, which can
be as much as a U.S. dollar for each verification plus the cost of
equipment. They aired their complaints on a judicial
Others say that such a system has been a long time in coming.
Currently, expats are not included in the system, although those who
have legal residency already have provided the Direccion General de
Migración y Extranjería their fingerprints.
When the fingerprint system gives an electronic alert that the
fingerprint and the data stored by the Tribunal do not match, notaries
and others in business have to revert to simply checking the
presented by the individual whose identity needs to be verified.
The Costa Rican property transfer system goes back to a time when many
residents could not read or write. Consequently the procedure is for a
seller to appear before a notary, a special kind of lawyer, who then
prepares documents based on what the seller says. So there is wiggle
room for a crooked notary to simply make up documents.
Notaries also are involved in vehicle transfers, among other
This was the scene today, Thursday, as downtown workers poured into the
streets and parks to do their part in a simulation of a major
Freddy Roman photo
|Simulation today is a reminder of what
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff
The emergency simulation this morning will take some 60,000 persons
away from their jobs, but the scenario is a common one: An earthquake
of some magnitude that rattles a few metro area buildings.
Such events are common here, and Costa Ricans pretty well know how to
act: They go racing into the streets.
The 1991 Limón earthquake jostled some buildings in the
downtown, but none fell. The Sept. 5, 2012, Nicoya quake was of the
same magnitude, 7.6, but there was no major damage reported in the
By contrast, the 1972 Managua, Nicaragua, quake had just a 6.2
magnitude but devastated that city.
The most damaging earthquake in historical
|times here was the one
4, 1910, in Cartago. From 600 to
1,200 persons died, and many structures were
destroyed. The ruins there of the Templo de Santiago Apóstol are
a reminder of that day. That quake was just slightly
stronger than the one in Managua later.
Costa Rica has made a lot of progress since the unreinforced masonry
buildings collapsed in Cartago. Today buildings can withstand
earthquake shock, and business owners who remodel have a shock of their
own when inspectors require them to make the building earthquake
The Cartago quake was well documented, and an anniversary story is HERE!
The simulation today has as a goal to save lives. The national
emergency commission and the Municipalidad de San José certainly
be getting the attention of the thousands of workers who participate.