Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Prison poetry

Costa Rican inmates and prison guards listen as Daniel Mareno, center, reads one of his poems during a poetry reading at the San Sabastian prison in San Jose, Costa Rica, Wednesday, May 31, 2006. Local poets read their works at the prison as part of an International Poetry Festival being held in Costa Rica. (AP Photo/Kent Gilbert)

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Costa Rica’s high court rejects gay marriage

Photo: REUTERS/Anthony P. BolanteCatholic News Agency

SAN JOSE, Costa Rica (CNA) – The Supreme Court of Costa Rica has declared homosexual marriage to be unconstitutional.

The case arguing for the legalization of gay marriage was brought before the court in 2003 by Costa Rican lawyer Yashin Castrillo Fernandez, who claimed limiting marriage to persons of the opposite sex was discriminatory. The high court rejected his arguments in a 5-2 ruling, according to Notivida news agency.

The justices said that the alleged discrimination does not exist, because “the concept of marriage embraced by the political constitution stems historically from a context where it is understood to be between a man and a woman.”

Chief Justice Luis Fernando Solano suggested that the issue be taken up by the Costa Rican parliament in order to come up with a specific law for “civil unions.” Notivida reported that most of the justices agreed that the court could issue a different ruling in the future if changes to the law were enacted.

While Costa Rican population is more than three quarters Roman Catholic, Solano said that “juridical, and not religious, principles were applied in the ruling.”

Should civil union legislation be raised Costa Rican lawmakers could find opposition from the church. Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo, president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, has repeatedly said that legal recognition of civil unions is the first step towards legalizing homosexual marriage.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Franklin Chang wants to bring space industry to Tiquicia

Franklin Chang. Photo by NASASAN JOSE, Costa Rica (AP) - Former NASA astronaut and researcher Franklin Chang-Diaz wants to bring the space industry to his native Costa Rica, and says he will start looking for 50 Central American investors to fund rocket production in the region.

Chang-Diaz told the newspaper El Financiero he hopes to set the project rolling in July and start producing his Magneto-Plasma Rocket by 2011 for sale to space agencies.

Chang-Diaz seemed surprised by the positive reaction to plans for bringing the space industry to Central America, a region where many people's main activity is still subsistence farming.

"We were positively surprised that there are investors in the region are interested in this type of business," said Chang-Diaz, who went into space on U.S. space shuttle flights and led research projects into rocket propulsion while at NASA.

He resigned from NASA and founded a private company, Ad Astra, to develop the plasma rocket design. The system uses radio waves to heat rocket fuel to temperatures high enough to classify as plasma _ a hot mass of electrically charged gas _ giving rocket engines greater power and efficiency.

Chang-Diaz calculates that a total of about $150 million to fund the project, and says he already has backing from European and American investors, as well as universities. He hopes to raise about $15 million from Central American investors.

About 90 percent of the rocket production process would be done in Houston, Texas, but about 10 percent would be performed at a laboratory Chang-Diaz has on Costa Rica's Pacific coast.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Nicaragua complains about border 'militarization' by Costa Rica, which has no army

Nicaraguan President Enrique BolanosNicaragua on Saturday objected to supposed plans by neighboring Costa Rica to "militarize" the border between the two nations though Costa Rica has no army.

Nicaragua's Foreign Ministry said in a statement that it "views with great concern" a Costa Rican proposal to strengthen security in the region. It claimed that Costa Rican Security Minister Fernando Berrocal had talked of "militarizing the border."

Berrocal had proposed a creating a small, specialized police force for the border zones. Costa Rica abolished its army in 1948.

The tension echoed concerns expressed by Mexico earlier this month after the U.S. government said it would send National Guard troops to help secure its southern border.

The two Central American countries have been engaged in a lengthy dispute over navigation and other rights along the San Juan River border. During a flare-up in tensions last September, Nicaraguan President Enrique Bolanos ordered his own country's army to increase its vigilance of the border.

Nicaragua's Foreign Ministry said it respected other nations' right to safeguard national security, but it would "remain vigilant" to prevent any abuses against Nicaraguan migrants.

Mexico adopted a similar stance regarding the United States, threatening to bring lawsuits if any U.S. National Guard units become directly involved in detaining migrants, reports AP.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Shooting of Costa Rican man is ruled justified

Rigoberto Alpizar resided in Mailtand, Florida but was a native of Costa Rica.Posted on Wed, May. 24, 2006

The air marshals who shot and killed a bipolar man who said he had a bomb aboard a plane at MIA won't face any charges. Rigoberto Alpizar, a resident of Maitland, Florida was born in Costa Rica

Miami Herald

Two federal air marshals who shot to death a Central Florida man at Miami International Airport last December after he bolted from an American Airlines flight, telling some passengers he was carrying a bomb, were ''legally justified'' in their actions, the Miami-Dade state attorney's office announced Tuesday.

The death of Rigoberto Alpizar, 44, of Maitland drew international attention because he was the first passenger killed by air marshals since the federal government sought to bolster air security after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

''The shooting death of Mr. Alpizar, while tragic, is legally justified in light of the surrounding circumstances presented to the air marshals,'' the state attorney's office wrote in the 46-page report concluding its investigation.

The marshals ''demonstrated remarkable restraint in dealing with Mr. Alpizar,'' investigators noted. Neither will be charged with any crime.

The report also suggested a partial explanation for Alpizar's actions: ''It is reasonable to conclude Mr. Alpizar was not properly medicated for his bipolar disorder on the incident date,'' investigators wrote.

To read the whole article click here.

To read the official State Attorney's office report (in Adobe Reader format) click here. Warning: page 36 contains graphic photographs.

Costa Rica: bananas outside EU trade agreement

Tholen - The Costa Rican government will request the European Commission to leave bananas out of considerations when negotiating a trade agreement between the EU and the Latin American block of countries. As a reason for this, the lack of a common viewpoint on the issue of banana exports is mentioned. Costa-Rican minister of Foreign Trade, Marco Vinicio Ruiz is quoted saying that the subject should be resolved in the next World Trade Organization round, which will be held in June or July and is to end before December 2006

Monday, May 22, 2006

Mexico, other nations condemn U.S. fence

Foreign Ministers from, left to right, Guatemala's Jorge Briz, Mexico's Luis Ernesto Derbez and Costa Rica's Bruno Stagno are seen here participating in a news conference in Mexico City, Mexico, Thursday, May 18, 2006. The Foreign Ministers had a meeting to talk about illegal immigration from Mexico and Central America to U.S. (AP Photo/ Claudio Cruz) MEXICO CITY, Mexico (AP) - Mexico and four Central American nations condemned the U.S plan to build hundreds of miles of triple-layered fencing on its southern border, saying it would not stop illegal immigration.

In a joint news conference in Mexico City late Thursday, the foreign ministers of Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Mexico said that building barriers was not the way to solve problems between neighboring nations.

"The position of Mexico and the other countries is that walls will not make a difference in terms of the solution to the migration problem," said Mexican Foreign Secretary Luis Ernesto Derbez.

On Wednesday, the U.S. Senate approved a proposal to build 370 miles of triple-layer fencing along parts of the 2,000-mile border separating the U.S. and Mexico. The Senate also agreed to give many illegal immigrants a shot at U.S. citizenship. (Full story)

Guatemalan Foreign Minister Jorge Briz said a major immigration overhaul in the United States was the only way to stop the wave of people heading northward.

"All of us are looking for a comprehensive migratory regulation so that millions of Latin Americans can continue working in and supporting the United States economy," Briz said.

Earlier Thursday, Mexico's Foreign Relations Department sent a note to the U.S. State Department outlining the nation's concerns about the proposed barrier.

Honduran Foreign Minister Milton Jimenez said he expected several South American and Caribbean countries to join Mexico and the Central Americans in issuing a joint declaration on the matter soon.

In December, the U.S. House of Representatives approved a bill to build a fence about twice as long as the one approved by the Senate. The House plan sparked a wave of criticism from Latin American leaders, with Mexican President Vicente Fox comparing such a barrier to the Berlin Wall.

Fox reiterated his criticisms on Thursday.

On the border with Arizona, bedraggled migrants who had been turned back by the border patrol said that more fences would not keep them from crossing but only make smugglers charge more money for the trip.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

San Jose patrol

Police in the Spotlight: Cecilio Torres, on duty near the Children's Museum in San Jose, is one of the capital's 70 mounted police. The Public Security Ministry is planning to add 4,000 new officers to the nation's police force of 10,000 during the next four years, including a new unit of 500 Tourism Police. (Photo by Tammy Zibners/The Tico Times)

Friday, May 19, 2006

Costa Rica wants exclusion from US coalition

Bruno StagnoSan Jose, May 18 (Prensa Latina) The Costa Rican Government officially requested to be excluded from the list of nations which supported the war against Iraq.

In line with a decision taken by former president Abel Pacheco (2002-2006), Costa Rica figures in the list of countries grouped in the coalition which supported the intervention in Iraq, in total disregard for how most of the population felt about the issue.

In a note addressed to US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Foreign Minister Bruno Stagno (pictured) demanded the exclusion of the name of Costa Rica from any White House web page referring to such backing of the US-led invasion and occupation.

The request was given to Brian Simmons, who is second secretary of the US Embassy in Costa Rica, according to the Foreign Ministry press office.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Costa Ricans split on CAFTA ratification

A Costa Rican homeless man sleeps under graffiti reading 'TLC = HUNGER' in San Jose, Costa Rica, Sunday, May 7, 2006. The letters TLC are the abbreviation for 'Free Trade Agreement' in Spanish. Opponents of the Free Trade Agreement between the United States and Central America plan to march tomorrow as President Elect Oscar Arias is sworn into office. (AP Photo/Kent Gilbert)Angus Reid
May 18, 2006

(Angus Reid Global Scan) – Adults in Costa Rica are divided on how to sanction the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA), according to a poll by CID-Gallup. 42 per cent of respondents think the commerce deal should be ratified in a nationwide referendum, while 35 per cent would allow the Legislative Assembly to endorse the treaty.

In May 2004, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua agreed to the CAFTA with the United States. The Dominican Republic followed suit in August. The agreement—which would reduce or eliminate taxes and tariffs on imports—must be approved by each country’s legislative branch.

To date, Costa Rica remains the only country that has not ratified CAFTA. Former Costa Rican president Abel Pacheco postponed debate on the trade deal, hoping that the Legislative Assembly would approve a series of bills related to the country’s fiscal system.

Oscar Arias—a member of the National Liberation Party (PLN)—won the February presidential election with 40.92 per cent of all cast ballots. Arias, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, headed the government from 1986 to 1990, and was able to run again after the Costa Rican Legislative Assembly opted to bring back presidential re-election in 2003. Arias, who was sworn in on May 8, supports CAFTA’s ratification.

Earlier this month, Citizens' Action Party (PAC) lawmaker Alberto Salom urged the government to hold a referendum, saying, "If the Legislative Assembly sanctions CAFTA without listening to the people, there could be violence."

Polling Data
Should CAFTA be ratified in a nationwide referendum or through the legislative branch?

Nationwide referendum 42%
Through the legislative branch 35%
No opinion 23%

Source: CID-Gallup
Methodology: Interviews with 1,100 Costa Rican adults, conducted from Apr. 29 to May 4, 2006. Margin of error is 3 per cent.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Costa Rica farmers win suit vs. DuPont

Dover, Del. (AP) - A group of Costa Rican fern growers received a multimillion-dollar award against DuPont Co. on Wednesday for damages to their crops caused by the fungicide Benlate.

A jury in Miami, Fla., returned the verdict against the Delaware-based chemical company on its fourth day of deliberations, agreeing with the plaintiffs that Benlate had damaged the ferns' underground stem systems, resulting in annual crop losses that continued for years.

Plaintiffs' attorney Don Russo said they relied on new scientific evidence suggesting that Benlate promotes excessive bacterial growth in plants it is used on, resulting in recurring losses in perennial crops such as leatherleaf ferns.

"It explains why the symptoms don't go away," Russo said.

DuPont spokesman Clif Webb said the company would appeal.

To read the whole article click here.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Costa Rican bishops: Davinci Code an offense to Christians

The position of the Costa Rican church was brought to light yesterday (May 15, 2006) in a press release, four days before the world premiere of the film.

By Uri Ridelman

The bishops of the Catholic Church of Costa Rica consider the movie "The Davinci Code," based on the book of the same name, an attack to Jesus and the Christians of the country because it offends the faith practiced by the majority of Costa Ricans.

According to the bishops, the movie does not present a healthy search for the truth, but it generates mistrust and confussion thru fantasies.

"We are facing a novel in which the author mixes the plot of the story with ideological and religious prejudices, and thus manipulates historical data thru myth and legend," state the bishops in their press relese.

The Davinci Code was written by Dan Brown. The book has caused controversy worldwide because the plot suggests that Jesus married Mary Magdalene and had children. Costa Rica, where the official religion of the State is Catholicism, has not been the exception.

For the Bishops, Dan Brown's claim that his book is based on actual facts is ridiculous because it is easy to find many historical imprecisions and out-of-context references that show a lack of knowledge of the history of the arts and a clear anti-ecclesiastical prejudice.

"To change the historical testimonies of Jesus as a person to defend hidden, ideological, religious and comercial intentions, is usually the path taken by those looking to make money at any cost," the bishops said in their press release.

They called on all the Christians of Costa Rica to react to the movie in a serene and constructive way to avoid falling in the game of those looking to profit from it.

Although the bishops stated that they are not calling for a boycott of the movie, they do want people to distinguish the truth from the simple fiction. To accomplish that the bishops are asking for all the priests and religious communities of the country to increase the instruction of the faithful because "only the truth shall make us free."

The leaders of the Costa Rican church also stated that the best way to face the offenses of the movie is by becoming real disciples and missionaries of Christ.

"Today, more than ever, lets announce Christ to the world, and give testimony of our faith thru a lifestyle inspired by He who is Way, Truth and Life," conclude the bishops.

Monday, May 15, 2006

CNBC Video - Costa Rica: hottest place for technology

Here's an interesting news video reported by CNBC's Melissa Francis on the economic growth of Costa Rica caused by the arrival of international technology and software companies. It explains why Costa Rica is preffered by these companies and how it has changed since their arrival. Image is kind of blurry but if you have a high speed internet coneection it is worth watching.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Costa Rican government opens animal health lab in Guanacaste

The cattle of Guanacaste, Costa Rica now has its own lab for tests and diagnostics. (Photo: Getty Images)By Uri Ridelman

During the fist week of May the Government of Costa Rica innaugurated in Guanacaste a new lab to diagnose sick animals.

The Animal Health Regional Lab, which will run tests on cattle and other animals like porks and chickens, will be used to detect several illnesses that could affect them in Costa Rica. The facility is located in the city of Liberia, in the headquarters of the Ministry of Agriculture and Cattle (MAG).

Carolina Elizondo Ovares, General Services Chief for the MAG's Department of Veterinarian Diagnostic, said that although the lab has already been innaugurated it won't start to run actual tests on animals for about eight weeks because the technicians have to calibrate and test the equipment they will use.

The lab, with an equipment valued at about $4000, will be open to the public Monday to Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 3:45 p.m., but in case any illnesses are detected in the region's cattle the lab will extend its working schedule.

The cattle and animal breeders of the province of Guanancaste were left without a regional lab 12 years ago when the one in Nicoya shut down its operations. The new one will help them save time and reduce costs as they won't have to travel far and wait for results that come from outside their province.

Alexis Sandi Munoz, Director of Animal Health, said that current tests for the animals of Guanacaste take place in a MAG lab at Barreal de Heredia, which is almost 130 miles away.

Sandi said that if a contagiuos disease infects the Costa Rica cattle the international markets would ban Costa Rican products and cause huge economic losses.

"A diagnostic in time is essential to contain a disease and avoid a market shut down," Sandi said.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Costa Rica: a new destination for medical care

Americans head south for back surgery and face lifts -- at half the cost

Updated: 5:00 p.m. ET May 11, 2006
By Melissa Francis

SAN JOSE, Costa Rica - Imagine a place where you receive the best care in the world from some of the best doctors in the world, while having access to some of the latest medical technology. It’s a short plane ride from the U.S. and it’s about half the cost.

Look no further than Costa Rica. Here, doctors limit themselves to the number of patients they can handle at one time, making the patient feel special.

To read the whole article click here.

Also, on June 2004 the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation mentioned Costa Rica in a medical tourism article. If you want to read it click here.

Medical tourism in Costa Rica has been attracting many Americans and some Europeans for several years, but recently it seems to be picking up. Costa Rican media have been reporting extensively about it, and it seems that international media are starting to take note, something that will only help attract more potential tourists/patients.

Uri Ridelman

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

ICE selects Lucent Technologies to offer next generation voice and data services

Solution featuring platforms from Lucent and key partners will enable ICE to rapidly develop and launch capabilities such as Voice over IP and virtual private networks

By Uri Ridelman

SAN JOSE, Costa Rica - Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad (ICE), the sole telecommunications provider in Costa Rica, has awarded Lucent Technologies a $29 million contract to offer next generation voice and data services.

ICE, a state entity, initially will use the Lucent solutions to provide voice over IP (VoIP) calling, pre-paid services and virtual private networks targeting the international segment for both business and residential customers.

In addition to VoIP services, ICE is preparing to offer its customers a comprehensive set of IP-based services, including high-speed Ethernet connectivity.

"This initiative is part of our commitment to continue to offer our customer advanced services in a timely and cost-effective manner," said Claudio Bermudez, ICE's Telecommunications Manager.

Lucent Worldwide Services will provide multivendor network integration services for the project.

"Lucent will provide a broad range of Value over IP solutions designed to help ICE to introduce multimedia services that combine voice, data and video capabilities," said Javier Falcon, regional vice president for Lucent Technologies in Latin America.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

The ugly side of Oscar Arias' innauguration ceremony

Protestors demanding the rejection of a free-trade pact with the U.S (TLC), opposing the Bush administration and the newly-elected government of Oscar Arias made themselves heard in the areas surrounding the National Stadium. Here's a look at some of them:

An unidentified person holds a poster reading 'Say no to the green old man, say no to the TLC (Free Trade Agreement)' and showing a photo of new President Oscar Arias during a demonstration against CAFTA and Arias's presidential inauguration on Monday May 8, 2006 in San Jose, Costa Rica near the National Stadium. (AP Photo/Cristobal Herrera)
A Costa Rican student takes part in a protest march near the National Stadium where President Oscar Arias is holding his inauguration ceremony, in San Jose, Costa Rica May 8, 2006. Nobel laureate Arias begins a second stint as president of Costa Rica on Monday, taking power in a nation divided over free trade with the United States and widely seen as rudderless. Arias, is the 53nd president of Costa Rica, dating from 1848. REUTERS/Oswaldo Rivas

Costa Ricans attend a demonstration against CAFTA and the new Costa Rican President Oscar Arias on Monday May 8, 2006 in San Jose, Costa Rica near the National Stadium where President Oscar Arias is holding his inauguration ceremony. (AP Photo/Cristobal Herrera)
A Costa Rican protester burns a U.S. flag during a protest march near the National Stadium where President Oscar Arias is holding his inauguration ceremony, in San Jose, Costa Rica May 8, 2006. Nobel laureate Arias begins a second stint as president of Costa Rica on Monday, taking power in a nation divided over free trade with the United States and widely seen as rudderless. Arias, is the 53nd president of Costa Rica, dating from 1848. REUTERS/Roger Benavides

A Costa Rican man wears a mask with the words 'No TLC' (No Free Trade Agreement) during a protest march near the National Stadium where President Oscar Arias is holding his inauguration ceremony, in San Jose, Costa Rica May 8, 2006. Nobel laureate Arias begins a second stint as president of Costa Rica today, taking power in a nation divided over free trade with the United States and widely seen as rudderless. Arias, is the 53nd president of Costa Rica, dating from 1848. REUTERS/Oswaldo Rivas

Monday, May 08, 2006

Students greet Laura Bush

U.S. first lady Laura Bush (R), poses for a photo with students of a Costa Rican school named 'United States of America' in San Joaquin de Flores in Heredia, Costa Rica May 8, 2006. The first lady visited Costa Rica to attend the inauguration ceremony of new Costa Rican President Oscar Arias. REUTERS/Pool

Costa Rican Presidents hugging

Costa Rican President-elect Oscar Arias, left, hugs outgoing President Abel Pacheco, at his presidential inauguration at the National Stadium in San Jose, Costa Rica, Monday, May 8, 2006.

This picture showing a sad Abel Pacheco and a beaming Oscar Arias may very well reflect the mood of the two political parties they represent. Arias and his National Liberation Party (PLN) begin a four year reign in our country. On the other hand Pacheco and the Chrstian Social Unity Party (PUSC) leave office marred by the corruption scandals that surround two former Costa Rican presidents: Miguel Angel Rodriguez and Rafael Angel Calderon.

PUSC not only ranked third in February's presidential election with just about 3.5% of the total votes, but barely won five out of 57 seats in the newly-elected Costa Rican Congress.

Despite being one of the two main Costa Rican parties for more than 20 years, many analysts consider this a blow that may have officially killed the PUSC as a Costa Rican political power.

Uri R.

Costa Rica's Oscar Arias takes office again

Costa Rican President-elect Oscar Arias (C), raises his right hand as he is sworn in as President by the president of the Costa Rica's Congress Francisco Pacheco (L), as outgoing President Abel Pacheco (behind Arias) looks on at the National Stadium in San Jose, Costa Rica, Monday, May 8, 2006. (AP Photo/Leslie Mazoch)

Traditional dance for the President

Costa Rican dancers perform a traditional dance outside the National Stadium during the inauguration ceremony of the President Oscar Arias in San Jose, Costa Rica May 8, 2006. Nobel laureate Arias begins a second stint as president of Costa Rica on Monday. Arias, is the 53rd president of Costa Rica, dating from 1848. REUTERS/Juan Carlos Ulate

Oscar Arias walking to his inauguration ceremony

President-elect Oscar Arias (2nd L) is greeted by school children as he walks towards the National Stadium to his inauguration ceremony in San Jose, Costa Rica May 8, 2006. Nobel laureate Arias begins a second stint as president of Costa Rica on Monday. Arias, is the 53rd president of Costa Rica, dating from 1848. REUTERS/Juan Carlos Ulate

I think Costa Rica is one of the few countries in the world where a president can still walk to his swearing in ceremony with nothing but a personal escort beside him. Sure, many streets were sealed off by police , but he was walking out in the open and virtually defenseless to any threats. Sometimes you just gotta love this country!

Uri R.

Vicente Fox in Costa Rica

Mexican President Vicente Fox (R) speaks with his wife Marta Sahagun as they arrive at Juan Santamaria International Airport in Alajuela, Costa Rica May 8, 2006. Fox arrived in Costa Rica to attend the inauguration ceremony of President-elect Oscar Arias. REUTERS/Oswaldo Rivas

Alvaro Uribe visits Costa Rica

Colombian President Alvaro Uribe arrives at Juan Santamaria International Airport in Alajuela, Costa Rica, May 8, 2006. Uribe arrived in Costa Rica to attend the inauguration ceremony of President-elect Oscar Arias. REUTERS/Oswaldo Rivas

Foreign leaders keep on coming to Costa Rica

Taiwanese ex-patriots greet Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian at the Hotel Herradura outside San Jose, Costa Rica, Sunday, May 7, 2006. Chen Shui-bian arrived in Costa Rica to attend the swearing in ceremony of President Elect Oscar Arias on Monday, May 8, 2006. (AP Photo/Cristobal Herrera)

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Laura Bush arrives to Costa Rica

U.S. First Lady Laura Bush arrives to Juan Santamaria International Airport outside San Jose, Costa Rica, Sunday, May 7, 2006. On May 8, Laura Bush will attend the swearing in of Costa Rica's President-elect Oscar Arias. (AP Photo/Kent Gilbert)

Prince Felipe in Costa Rica

Spain's Crown Prince Felipe looks at the drawing of a Costa Rican school boy during his visit to the neighborhood of Desamparados in San Jose, Costa Rica, Sunday, May 7, 2006. Prince Felipe was in Costa Rica to attend the swearing in ceremony of President Elect Oscar Arias on Monday, May 8, 2006. (AP Photo/Kent Gilbert)

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Overlooking preparations

Costa Rican President Elect Oscar Arias, left, looks at the preparations for his swearing in ceremony at the National Stadium in San Jose, Costa Rica, Saturday, May 6, 2006. Arias, a former president of Costa Rica and recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, will be sworn in as president on Monday. (AP Photo/Kent Gilbert)

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Without a home

Nicaraguan girls Dashli, 1, left, and Danjeli, 5, eat a meager lunch of rice and beans outside their home in the shantytown of La Candelita outside Alajuela , Costa Rica, Wednesday, May 3, 2006. Approximately 1,000 families of mostly Nicaraguan immigrants were being evicted from the land they have been squatting in for several years. Nicaragua accused the Inter-American Commission of Human rights (CIDH) of the OAS of acting with ' apparent bias ' on having granted Costa Rica an untimely extension to answer for their violations of human rights to Nicaraguan immigrants. (AP Photo/Kent Gilbert)

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Turkish adventurer rows across Atlantic , will visit Costa Rica

Eruc hopes to reach the Costa Rican city of Limon in June.By AA, Madrid

( - Erden Eruc, a 45-year-old Turkish adventurer, started his around the world adventure by successfully rowing a 7.9- meter long boat across the Atlantic Ocean.

Setting off from Lisbon in Portugal on 19 October 2005, Eruc successfully crossed the Atlantic rowing to the Caribbean Barbados Island arriving on April 30.

He is the first Turkish man to cross the Atlantic Ocean powered only by his own muscle. Still rowing on the ocean, Eruc hopes to reach the Costa Rican city of Limon between June 5 and 10.

Dreaming of rowing around the world since 1997, Eruc first rowed from North America to Alaska in 2003.

Also planning to climb the world’s highest summits on six separate continents, not including the South Pole, the Turkish adventurer hopes to realize his dreams by 2011, if everything proceeds as planned.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

San Jose will collapse within 15 years: UCR report

Costa Rica's capital, San Jose, could collapse before 2020, according to a new UCR report.( - A study by the University of Costa Rica (UCR) concludes that if the disorderly growth of the Great Metropolitan Area (GAM) - San José and its surroundings - continues, contamination will quadruple and quality of life will be practically unsustainable.

The report says that by 2018 the government should build at least 21 kilometres of new roads to meet the growing number of vehicles, which will add to the contamination of the air.

Also required to meet the growth is the construction of at least 335.000 homes to meet the demands of a growing population, will all add to the social disorder if no measures are taken today. As the infrastructure fails and cannot meet the number of vehicles, the city will come apart and will see an increase in conflict for services and hostilities between the rich and the poor.

The experts recommend that the cities find a balance between built up areas and conservation and recreational areas. The report says that the cities that make up the GAM need to put into place a system of public transport that has priority and study the models of other urban centres that have placed a priority on public transit.

Some alarming numbers from the report:

- In the last 11 years the GAM has grown by 80%

- More than 1.000.000 vehicles are now circulating the streets, a 10% growth in the last year

- 80% of the contamination is caused by vehicles

I wanted to post this article to show readers from all over the world that I also post the ugly news about Costa Rica. Although, so far, none of you has accused me of showing only the nice side of Tiquicia, I decided to be proactive and prove that I'm trying to be as impartial as I can on my blog. With this post and the one about the sewage problem I want to prove that I'm not just trying to lure tourists to Costa Rica with a "Costa-Rica-is-a-paradise" approach.

Monday, May 01, 2006

May day march in Costa Rica

A protestor dressed as death carrying a shotgun and a sign reading 'I AM THE TLC (FREE TRADE AGREEMENT)' drags a Costa Rican farmer though the streets during a May Day march in San Jose, Costa Rica, Monday, May 1, 2006. Thousands of Costa Ricans marched to protest against the Free Trade Agreement between United States and Central America. (AP Photo/Kent Gilbert)

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