Costa Rica News 6-11-15 posted by on June 11, 2015
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Update: Missing US tourist found dead in Costa Rica

Update Tuesday, 4:30 p.m.: Richard Jean-Georges was found dead off the coast of Jacó on Tuesday afternoon, according to Red Cross spokesman Freddy Roman. Costa Rican authorities are preparing to collect the body. 

A missing U.S. swimmer in the central Pacific Costa Rican beach town of Jacó has been identified as Patrol Officer Richard Jean-Georges, from Bristol, Rhode Island, in the United States.

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Private-sector employers offer 0.94 percent wage increase for second half of 2015

Business leaders on Monday filed two salary increase proposals for private-sector employees for the second half of this year. Employers submitted to the Labor Ministry’s National Wages Council a 0.94 percent increase proposal, which is lower than figures requested by unions last week. Union leaders on June 1 submitted proposals ranging from 1.46 to 5 percent.

Luis Mesalles, director of the Union of Private-Sector Chambers and Associations (UCCAEP), said the employer proposal is based on projected inflation for the second half of this year plus a compensation for variations registered in inflation during the same period in 2014.

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Legendary oceanographer Sylvia Earle releases first interview filmed at depth off Cocos Island

“Most of the ocean is cold and dark. Most of what is known about the ocean is in that upper 1,000 feet or so. You look at a spot on the map and if you only know what’s at the surface you don’t really know what’s going on, any more than you would know about New York City if you just looked at the tops of the buildings. It’s really important to have information about what’s in the deep sea,” said world-renowned oceanographer and explorer Sylvia Earle during an interview shot 1,000 feet underwater at Cocos Island, Costa Rica’s most remote territory located in the Pacific Ocean.

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Marvin Camacho’s musical mission: ‘One does not choose, it’s a need you feel’

Marvin Camacho began his musical career at the age of 9 when he sang at a community event in his hometown of Barva, Heredia. Four decades later, he’s a renowned composer whose instrumental music has circled the globe, earning him honors including the National Arts Award and National Composition Award.

I have had the good fortune to know Camacho for the past several years, and sat down with him recently at his University of Costa Rica office to discuss his life and caree

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Costa Rica starts aid distribution to Guanacaste farmers stricken by drought

Officials from the Agriculture and Livestock Ministry (MAG) and the National Emergency Commission (CNE) began distributing animal feed and other supplies to help nearly 4,000 farmers affected by a lack of rainfall in the country’s northwestern province of Guanacaste.

MAG officials will distribute aid throughout this month and into July, including seed, bales of hay, minerals, molasses, dried orange pulp, corn and concentrated food. Later this month, MAG also will begin distributing sugar to beekeepers.

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Costa Rican sets milestone upon reaching summit of Yosemite National Park’s notorious El Capitán alone

Alejandro Soto on Tuesday became the first Costa Rican to climb alone to the summit of El Capitán, an iconic rock formation in Yosemite National Park in the U.S. state of California, according to media reports. Soto climbed 550 vertical meters over six days along the Zodiac route to reach the peak.

One of Costa Rica’s most decorated climbers, Soto made the climb alone with ropes, a first for a Central American, reported the daily La Nación. Sleeping along the climb involved securing a hanging sleeping bag from the granite face and dangling several hundred meters off the valley floor.

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In Guatemala, anti-establishment presidential candidate benefits from corruption scandals

GUATEMALA CITY – In the wake of two major corruption scandals that have led to seven consecutive weeks of anti-corruption demonstrations, a new poll in the run-up to general elections in September shows right-wing populist Manuel Baldizón still leading. But his popularity has stagnated due to a widespread perception that his administration is likely to be as corrupt as that of current President Otto Pérez Molina’s.

Conducted by Costa Rican polling firm Borge y Asociados and published by Contrapoder magazine and Canal Antigua TV channel on June 5, the poll shows 34.5 percent of those surveyed would vote for Baldizón, while 12.9 percent would vote for center-left National Unity of Hope party candidate and former First Lady Sandra Torres, and a surprising 10.4 percent would vote for comedian Jimmy Morales, of the minuscule and under-funded FCN party.

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Hiring outlook in Costa Rica up 3 percent over last quarter, survey finds

Employers in Costa Rica reported slightly optimistic hiring plans for the next three months, according to the latest Employment Outlook Survey released Tuesday by consulting firm Manpower.

The country’s Net Employment Outlook increased from 11 to 14 percent from the previous quarter, although it decreased by 2 percent compared to the same quarter last year

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Costa Rica News 6-10-15 posted by on June 10, 2015

“Marijuana is a plant of God,” says Costa Rica’s Lutheran Church

English: Close up shot of some high quality ma...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

June 8th, 2015 ( Gilberto Quesada, president of Costa Rica’s Lutheran Church described marijuana as a “plant of God” in a recent interview with the daily tabloid, Diario Extra.

Quesada, expressing his approval for the medicinal use of the plant, said that “[marijuana] should not be demonized, the plant itself is harmless and can have a proper use.”


For his part, Monsignor Angel Sancasimiro of the Diocese of Alajuela expressed the view of the Catholic Church, telling Diario Extra that the use of marijuana leads to the use of harder drugs as one of the reasons his church opposes legalization.

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AyA to borrow $130 million to fix leaking water system

June 8th, 2015 ( The Costa Rican Institute of Aqueducts and Sewers (AyA) is in the final stages of securing $130 million in financing in order to repair leaks in its distribution network.  More than 600 kilometers of aqueducts would be completely replaced, while nearly 5,000 kilometers will be inspected and repaired.

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U.S. citizen missing in waters of Jaco beach

Rescuers continue the search for a missing U.S. citizen at Jaco Beach. (Photo courtesy of the Red Cross)

June 8th, 2015 ( A U.S. citizen who’s identity has not been officially released remained missing early Monday morning after disappearing into the waters of Jaco Beach on Costa Rica’s central Pacific coast on Saturday.

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Costa Rica News 6-4-15 posted by on June 4, 2015

FIFA: Blazer details bribe taking; Warner says he “fears for his life”

June 4th, 2015 (VOA) U.S. court records unsealed Wednesday revealed that Charles Blazer,  a former FIFA executive committee member admitted to accepting bribes in connection with the 1998 and 2010 World Cups in November 2013.

Blazer, a U.S. citizen who spent two decades as one of the world’s most powerful sports officials, secretly pleaded guilty to 10 criminal counts in New York as part of an agreement with U.S. prosecutors, according to the partially redacted transcript of the hearing.

Blazer told a U.S. judge that he and other members of the global football governing body’s executive committee accepted bribes in conjunction with the choice of France as the host of the 1998 World Cup host.

The American said he also accepted bribes over the 2010 event awarded to South Africa.

Warner makes explosive allegations

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Route 27 closed after major landslide; engineers had warned of danger

June 4th, 2015 ( Route 27, which connects the western suburbs of San Jose to the Pacific port of Caldera, remained closed Thursday morning after a major landslide Wednesday afternoon.  The highway is an important route connecting San Jose to the country’s Pacific coast.

The landslide occurred at kilometer 45 after heavy rains Wednesday afternoon.

The National Laboratory of Materials and Structural Models (LANAMME) has repeatedly warned of the risk of landslides on the highway, including on May 24th when engineers specifically warned of the hazard on the stretch between kilometers 38 and 48 where yesterday’s landslide occurred.

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Costa Rica’s best coffee comes from this hillside in Alajuela

LOURDES DE CIRRÍ, Alajuela – Large burlap sacks of coffee, green and roasted, covered the kitchen floor in Antonio Barrantes’ home in Lourdes de Cirrí, north of Naranjo, Alajuela.

He opened one bag to sift the jade-colored unroasted beans through his hands. These pale green beans, known as “oro” in Spanish, or gold, might well be worth their weight in the precious metal. They were ranked as the best coffee in Costa Rica in May. A trophy saying so sat on the dining room table.

Barrantes, still wearing his floppy canvas hat from outside, apologized for the mess and cleared some room to sit in his living room looking out over Costa Rica’s Central Valley below. Two small dogs, Choco and Tonkey, flitted in and out the door as Barrantes explained what makes his coffee so special. To start, he lives in Lourdes de Cirrí.

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Costa Rica reports fewer cases of dengue this year

The number of dengue cases in the first five months of this year in Costa Rica dropped by 50.4 percent compared with figures from last year, the Health Ministry reported.

From Jan. 1 to May 23 the ministry registered a total of 1,254 cases, compared to 2,528 cases during the same period last year.

Coastal areas are the most affected, with Guanacaste registering 448 cases, Puntarenas with 303 and Limón with 145. San José and Alajuela saw 132 cases, followed by Heredia with 72 and Cartago with 18.

The number of dengue cases usually spikes during Costa Rica’s rainy season, which begins in May and lasts until November. Health officials are continuing to ask residents to remove tires, vases, bottles and any other objects that collect stagnant water. These objects are the main breeding habitat for the Aedes aegypti mosquito, a carrier of the dengue virus, and the Aedes albopictus, which transmits both dengue and the Chikungunya virus, a disease that causes symptoms similar to dengue, but more severe, and that can last for up to 10 months.

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ICE to stop printing monthly bills

Aug. 1, customers of the state-owned Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE-kölbi) will no longer receive printed bills for landline phone service, Internet and cable TV.

Instead, ICE will send electronic invoices, and the company is asking customers to register email addresses at its website: or at any kölbi store, ICE location or via the customer service hotline 1193. Customers also can call ICE’s automated system at 1187.

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President Luis Guillermo Solís confirms new culture minister

After his weekly Cabinet meeting on Tuesday President Luis Guillermo Solís confirmed Sylvie Durán Salvatierra as the new culture and youth minister and appointed current Film Center Director Max Valverde Soto as the new vice minister.

Durán has been filling in as temporary minister since May 12 following the scandal involving the failed edition of this year’s International Arts Festival (FIA 2015), which cost ex-minister Elizabeth Fonseca and vice ministers Alfredo Chavarría and Luis Carlos Amador their posts.

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Costa Rica News 6-3-15 posted by on June 3, 2015

Transnica Invests US$4 Million in Managua

QCOSTARICA) Costa Rica’s transport company providing daily service between Costa Rica and Nicaragua, TRANSNICA, announced the construction of a new bus terminal, hotel and shopping centre, in the centre of Managua.

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Sharks and Costa Rica

QCOSTARICA TRAVEL Via National Geographic) Sharks are an essential part of the oceans. Their presence is an indicator of the good health of an ecosystem; their absence is representative of an overfished and out of balance

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Closings in Barrio Amon and Barrio Otoya (San Jose)(QCOSTARICA)


(QCOSTARICA) By Michale Miller – In the past few months, a surprising number of establishments in San José’s Barrio Amon and Barrio Otoya have closed. Some have closed for good, and some just temporarily.

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Costa Rica Sees ‘Intel Effect’ Ending as GDP Poised for Pickup

(QCOSTARICA Via Bloomberg) — Costa Rica should see accelerating economic growth in the second half after the country struggled to recover from Intel’s closing of export facilities last year, Central Bank (Banco Central) President Olivier Castro said.

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President Luis Guillermo Solís confirms new culture minister

After his weekly Cabinet meeting on Tuesday President Luis Guillermo Solís confirmed Sylvie Durán Salvatierra as the new culture and youth minister and appointed current Film Center Director Max Valverde Soto as the new vice minister.

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Costa Rica lawmaker to promote bill improving sex workers’ rights

Broad Front Party lawmaker Ligia Fallas Rodríguez has offered to assist a group of sex workers in Costa Rica draft and submit legislation to improve sex workers’ rights at public health agencies.

Fallas on Monday met at the Legislative Assembly with representatives of Asociación La Sala, a group that requested her assistance in submitting a bill to allow sex workers to apply for insurance with the Social Security System, or Caja, and a special regime at the Labor Ministry for regulating vacation and sick leave.

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Residents Erect Sign in Protest of CONAVI’s Failure To Build Their Community A New Bridge

(QCOSTARICA) It is not known who put up the cardboard sign, but there it was, signed on behalf of the national roads council, the Consejo Nacional de Vialidad (CONAVI), saying “disculpe, este puente no es importante” (sorry, this bridge is not important).

The message is clear: the sign was a protest against the CONAVI not giving much importance in erecting a permanent concrete structure, rather maintaining a one lane Bailey bridge, in the communities of La Trinidad and Paracito, in Moravia, on the north side of San Jose.

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Market with international flair offers goods in Santa Ana

A group of 50 women will be selling their handcrafted goods at the Zoco Bazaar market, which takes place today starting at 10 am at Villa Maori in Santa Ana.

The Tico Times spoke to Rosanna Modenesi, organizer of the event. The idea of Zoco Bazaar started about two years ago, beginning as a small bazaar made up of friends and family members who sold various products.

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Costa Rica takes New York: Gala evening supports new expat mentoring program

On the streets of midtown Manhattan, another cloudy, muggy mid-week work day was wrapping up.  Inside one event space, however, a very colorful Tico scene was just getting started. “De Verde a Gris” (“From Green to Gray”), the first-ever fundraising gala organized by the Costa Rican Networking Group (CNRG), took place at the Art Director’s Club in midtown Manhattan on May 28. The gala was not an isolated event, but rather one component of a relatively new, multi-city effort to connect expatriate Costa Ricans, empowering them to support each other and the country they left behind.

Founded in 2013 by Carol Guzowski, 26, a Costa Rican who has been living in the United States off and on since her teens, the Networking Group’s core mission is to unite Costa Rican professionals in the United States in order to strengthen ties among the relatively small but growing population. The group has amassed 215 members thus far, and has now launched a mentoring component so that members can share their expertise with younger Costa Ricans.

According to Guzowski, who runs the group pro bono and has sponsored the group through the company she created, Coral Communications and Design, the group’s mission is “to become … continue reading

Is The Costa Rica Wastewater Treatment Problem Going to Be Addressed?

Costa Rica News – The Ministry of Health has a big project on its hands, as the Comptroller General of the Republic has requested that it exercise much better control over industries that have wastewater treatment systems.

One of the concerns that Costa Rica’s CGR has is that the residues generated from these wastewater treatment processes could be being mixed with waste in open dumps, vacant lots, or worse, rivers.

The Comptroller made a report between January and December 2014.

It stated that the Ministry of Health exercises “insufficient control” over the process of collection, treatment and disposal of the sludge generated from treating industrial wastewater.

The Ministry of Health hasn’t established any protocols for this matter.

It has not even requested that companies with these systems present a report of the management of the waste. Ensuring safe waste disposal is essential to protecting the health of citizens.

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Jairo Mora murder case: Costa Rica prosecutor seeks new trial

A prosecutor requested a new trial in the 2013 killing of Costa Rican sea turtle conservationist Jairo Mora on Tuesday morning at an appeals court in Cartago, east of the capital, local media reported.

The prosecutor, Julián Martinez, called for a new trial with new judges after the seven accused killers of Mora were found not guilty, the daily La Nación reported.

Three of the suspects were acquitted of all charges on Jan. 26. The remaining four defendants were found guilty of raping and robbing a Costa Rican couple and their young nephews nearly two weeks before Mora’s murder.

Mora was killed on May 31, 2013 while patrolling Moín Beach north of the Caribbean city of Limón to protect nesting turtles from poachers.

The prosecutor argued that the trial in Limón illegally excluded important evidence, including telephone recordings that were ruled inadmissible. Rodrigo Araya, a lawyer for Mora’s family, told the news site that the family requested the appeal in February, citing missing evidence and constant delays in the proceedings, among other technical errors in the trial.

Araya was not alone in critiquing the state’s case. The criminal investigation and trial were so badly bungled by the state that the judges … continue reading

Is Pilsen’s Costa Rican Billboard The Most Obscene Ever?

Costa Rica News – Look up in the sky…….It’s a Bird……it’s a plane……….no it’s a penis………..

Costa Rican drivers are getting an eyeful when they pass this billboard for Republica Parrillera Pilsner beer. Looking at the front of the billboard, nothing seems amiss. But when viewed from behind … well, yeah, that does look like a giant penis, doesn’t it?

As always with such placements, there’s debate over whether this was intentional or a mistake.

Proponents of the former say it’s brilliant marketing, as drivers who approach the ad from the back are probably fairly likely to check out the front of the ad as they pass—behavior that precious few billboards provoke.

Those who think it’s a mistake can’t fathom the kind of balls it would take to put a giant wiener on a billboard.
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