Friday, April 28, 2006

Costa Rica seeks to shut its doors to illegal migrants from Nicaragua

Nicaraguan immigrants protest against restrictive immigration laws outside the Presidential House in San Jose, Costa Rica, Tuesday, April 25, 2006. Between 500,000 and 1,000,000 Nicaraguans live and work in Costa Rica according to government studies.(AP Photo/Kent Gilbert)The Central American nation is worried that the unchecked influx is straining its services.

By Marla Dickerson and Rebecca Kimitch
Special to The L.A Times

SAN JOSE, Costa Rica — Crime and joblessness have long been part of the tough Leon XIII neighborhood of Costa Rica's capital, where residents such as Alexandra Martinez do their best to steer clear of broken pavement and street-corner drug dealers.

But the 37-year-old homemaker says that things have gotten worse in the last few years. Her explanation: "There are a lot of Nicas here," she says, using a slang term for Nicaraguans.

Martinez says these immigrants, many of them undocumented, are hard-drinking, aggressive people who compete with Costa Ricans for jobs and drain the nation's public services. She approves of a recent federal law aimed at stemming the influx.

"It's the biggest problem we face in the country," she says.

Many Costa Ricans are more temperate than Martinez when discussing immigration. But the continued southward flow of impoverished Nicaraguans into Central America's most prosperous nation has inflamed tensions between these neighbors.

To read the entire article click here.

OK this is a March 23 story, but with all the immigration issues being so relevant in the U.S right now I thought it might be a good time to share it with all of you. The situation in Costa Rica and the U.S regarding illegal immigration may have more similarities than you might think. Both countries are trying to pass new laws to control it, both have immigrants in their streets protesting for their rights and both are divided on how to act on this sensitive issue.

Uri Ridelman

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Presenting the cabinet

Costa Rican elected President Oscar Arias, speaks as he presents his cabinet of government, for the period 2006 - 2010, in San Jose, Costa Rica April 27, 2006. Arias will take office as Costa Rica's president on May 8. REUTERS/Juan Carlos Ulate

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Nicaraguan protest

Nicaraguan immigrants carry a banner reading 'IMMIGRANTS DEMAND RESPECT OF OUR HUMAN RIGHTS' during a protest against restrictive immigration laws outside the Presidential House in San Jose, Costa Rica, Tuesday, April 25, 2006. Between 500,000 and 1,000,000 Nicaraguans live and work in Costa Rica according to government studies.(AP Photo/Kent Gilbert)

Monday, April 24, 2006

Lost Costa Rica minister found with tapir bite

Carlos Manuel Rodriguez, energy and environment minister, getting off from a police helicopter after he was found. (Photo: Rafael Pacheco/Al Dia)SAN JOSE, Costa Rica (Reuters) - Search parties found Costa Rica's missing energy and environment minister on Saturday suffering from a nasty bite by a wild tapir, after he got lost in a jungle reserve two days earlier.

Carlos Manuel Rodriguez, 46, was found in the Sirena section of the Corcovado National Park in southern Costa Rica after getting separated on Thursday from a group of ministry employees which was patrolling the park for poachers.

The minister was taken to hospital in San Jose to treat a tapir bite in his side, Interior Ministry spokesman Benigno Rodriguez said.

"He was bitten by the tapir, otherwise he was in good health," he said.

Corcovado National Park, located on the Osa Peninsula near Costa Rica's border with Panama, is home to a myriad of wild animals, including jaguars and peccaries, whose numbers are being threatened by poaching.

The ministry patrol in Corcovado's 162 square miles (420 sq. km) of virgin rainforest was part of a government crackdown on poachers. Rodriguez is a keen conservationist and outdoorsman.

Costa Rica's lush, wildlife-filled National Parks are one of its main attractions for tourists, the country's top source of foreign exchange income. Hikers can easily get lost by wandering onto the wrong path, however.

Tapirs are generally shy and do not attack humans, tending to crash off into the bush when threatened, but when scared they can defend themselves by biting with very powerful jaws and large sharp teeth.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Oscar Arias in Colombia

This photo released by Colombian official press agency shows Colombia's Presidente Alvaro Uribe, left, embraces Costa Rica's President-elect Oscar Arias at the presidential palace in Bogota, Colombia, Friday, April 21, 2006. (AP Photo/Fernando Ruiz-SNE)

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Oozing sewage pollutes "green" Costa Rica

A heron stands on debris-draped logs in the sewage and pollution-filled Tarcoles River in Tarcoles, Costa Rica April 5, 2006. (Juan Carlos Ulate/Reuters)Powered by CDNN - CYBER DIVER News Network

TARCOLES, Costa Rica (11 April 2006) - Tourists once flocked to the surf and wildlife of this tropical town on Costa Rica's Pacific coast, but the filth of a sewage-rich river that oozes through Tarcoles has driven them away.

This Central American nation is reputed to be one of the world's most environmentally friendly corners, helping to make it a top destination for international travelers.

But the lack of sewage treatment for most its people is typical of much of Latin America and other poor areas of the world, where improper sanitation poses health risks and destroys valuable resources.

Almost all the sewage from Costa Rica's urbanized central valley is pumped untreated upstream into the Tarcoles River.

"Fifteen years ago ... the town lived on tourism. Now it's a ghost town," said Diego Vargas, 39, owner of Crocodile Man Tours, a company that takes tourists up the river.

To read the whole article click here.

Although this is a story 11 days old it still is worth reading. Wish I had found it online earlier, however with my vacations and everything I've been through since my family's car crash I hadn't had time to surf the net for interesting stories.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Earth day in Tiquicia

Costa Rican students plant trees as part of reforestation program on a water shed to celebrate Earth Day in Patarra, Costa Rica, Friday, April 21, 2006.(AP Photo/Kent Gilbert)

Thursday, April 20, 2006

The highs and lows of my vacations

The Ford Explorer of my family after the car crash with the trailer truck.Between the 9th and 15th of April I was vacationing in the U.S.A, thus that explains the lack of posts for those days. Since this is a blog that I mantain all by myself there was no way of updating it while I was away. I already took to the task of updating the relevant information for the period in question and I will now resume regular posting. Thanks for your comprehension.

I also have to say that although I came back from my vacation on April 15th, that same day my family suffered a car accident coming back from Limon, where they spent their Semana Santa (Easter Week) vacations. I was just getting off the plane at Juan Santamaria International Airport when one of my aunts met me there and gave me the bad news.

Around 4 p.m. local time the Ford Explorer my stepfather was driving was hit by a trailer truck. Apparently the driver of the trailer was trying to avoid a pothole and invaded the opposite lane thus hitting my family's Explorer.

Miraculously, all members of my family (my mom, my stepfather and two younger brothers) survived the crash.

My stepfather was the one who got the worst part. He badly injured the c5 and c6 vertebrae and had two broken ribs. His right ear was partially cut and he may have suffered some jaw trauma.

My mom injured her right knee and also suffered cuts and bruises on her leg, hand and arms. My brothers suffered cuts and bruises, with one of them needing stitches on the forehead.

As bad as all this sounds it not as bad as it could have been and I can undoubtedly say that it's a miracle they're still alive after their SUV overturned and was completely wrecked in the crash.

On Monday my stepfather was flown to Cleveland, Ohio to have surgery on his back on Tuesday. Apparently at the surgery it all went ok and he is now recovering at the clinic. For the time being I'm taking care of my two younger brothers.

For all the family members reading this and that had not found out about the accident you can write or call me using the usual means to find out more. Thanks for your support.


Uri Ridelman

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Indigenous voice in Costa Rica

Pablo Sibour, right, a member of the Ngobegue indigenous tribe, speaks during an activity celebrating the National Day of Costa Rica's Indigenous at the Legislative Assembly in San Jose, Costa Rica, Wednesday, April 19, 2006. (AP Photo/Kent Gilbert)

Monday, April 17, 2006

Easter Sunday in Costa Rica

Costa Ricans take part in a procession celebrating Easter Sunday in Alajuela, Costa Rica, Sunday April 16, 2006.(AP Photo/Kent Gilbert)

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Costa Rican croc tradition

Costa Rican children look at a crocodile caught during a tradition to celebrate Good Friday in Ortega de Santa Cruz, north of San Jose, Costa Rica April 14, 2006. People of this small town catch the crocodile while hundreds watch from the riverbank during Holy Week celebrations, a tradition going back more that two hundred years. Traditionally, the crocodile is sacrificed and is believed to have healing powers. The ritual also reminds the people of Ortega that the crocodile is the main symbol of their culture. REUTERS/Juan Carlos Ulate

Friday, April 14, 2006

Tico Good Friday celebrations

An unidentified believer, represents Christ carrying the cross, in San Lorenzo, Costa Rica during the Good Friday procession during Holy Week celebrations Friday April 14, 2006. (AP Photo/Cristobal Herrera)

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Palm Sunday in Tiquicia

Costa Ricans wave palm fronds during a celebration of Palm Sunday in San Jose, Costa Rica, Sunday April 9, 2006.(AP Photo/Kent Gilbert)

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Parade for Juan Santamaria

Costa Rican students march in a parade in front of the statue of National Hero Juan Santamaria, seen at right, during celebrations, in Alajuela, Costa Rica, Friday, April 7, 2006. Santamaria is celebrated as the soldier who used a torch to burn down La Casona, causing the defeat of U.S. citizen William Walker and his filibuster troops in 1856. (AP Photo/Kent Gilbert)

Monday, April 03, 2006

Sting in Costa Rica

The British singer Sting shined in Costa Rica.British singer Sting performs in La Guacima, 20 km (12 miles) northwest of San Jose, Costa Rica April 2, 2006. Eight international musicians, including The Rasmus, Jamiroquai and Sting, were invited to the Imperial Music Festival 2006. REUTERS/Monica Quesada

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Jamiroquai in Costa Rica

Jamiroquai in Costa RicaJay Kay, lead singer of the British funk band Jamiroquai performs on stage during a concert in La Guacima, 20 km (12 miles) northwest of San Jose, Costa Rica April 1, 2006. Eight international musicians, including The Rasmus, Jamiroquai and Sting, were invited to the Imperial Music Festival 2006.

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