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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, April 28, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 84
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Fillibusters
Ministerio de Cultura y Juventud photo
Surrender of Filibusters occurred May 1
May Day parade
A.M. Costa Rica photo/Rommel Téllez
And marches like this will occur on May 1
May 1 represents a calico holiday of celebrations
By Rommel Téllez
of the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The upcoming celebration of International Labor Day in Costa Rica is not only just a holiday many Ticos use to flee to the beaches and mountains. It is a significant day for local politics and social activists who traditionally gather at Avenida Segunda to march towards the Asamblea Legislativa.

On the one hand, it is a good opportunity to take a walk in downtown San José and become aware of how many small and micro political parties lean to the Left and revere old-school leaders such as Mao, Fidel, Cháves and Manuel Mora, the local equivalent to those big names.

Mora was the founder of the very first Costa Rican Communist Party and an activist who had a huge role in the creation of the country's social security system and the so called Garantías Sociales, established in the constitution.

It is also a good opportunity to witness how many different causes may fit into a single march.

From indigenous associations demanding more empowerment to New Age Anarchist waving black flags with their faces covered as if to ambush the rest of the marchers at any time. From animal rights advocates to vegan socialists fighting the repression of the military forces of the state; sometimes that is represented in the form of a chubby police officer with a stick watching the passersby.

Other groups include feminist associations marching to end gender violence, flamboyant LGBTQ organizations making sure their community is no longer disrespected or made invisible. Students, Movimientos Bolivarianos, ice cream sellers, clowns, unions and religious groups complete the mix of ideologies.

On the other hand, It is the best chance to get close to many legislators. This specific day they have a tendency to show themselves as irresistibly charming. Maybe it is because this is the day they get the most media coverage.

By law, May 1 is the day the assembly starts its new term and lawmakers chose a new directory, sort of their internal government.
Electing the directory could be described as organized chaos with many legislators changing their minds last minute according to last minute alliances between the parties.

In past years, some of them have cried, fought against each other or gone mad with rage when not chosen for a position in the directory.

And there is a reason for so much passion.

The directory has a lot of power. Its president is the one in charge of starting and finishing legislative sessions.

They allocate the budget for the other political parties. It creates the Comisiones Permanentes, sort of mini legislatures with the power to approve laws of certain nature.

The directory has also the power to call off some bills and stop their discussion, authorize paid leaves and approve the payments of all the 57 legislators.

Let's not forget that in case President Luis Guillerno Solís and his two vice presidents are all out of the country at the same time, the president of the assembly becomes the president for all.

The voting process is broadcasted all day long. As of 2015, it is tradition that on the same day the president would address the country and give their state of Costa Rica speech.

As of 2016, the president will do the same thing but the next day at 3 p.m. It is a way to make the Workers Day a little less chaotic, specially taking into consideration that ministers, diplomats, prosecutors, former presidents and the San José Catholic Bishop attend the event.

There is more significance to the day for Costa Rica.

Among the arsenal of remembrances include: the Chicago Haymarket massacre that inspired the Second International to create the socialist holiday, the surrender of U.S. Filibusters in 1857 as well as the signing of the border treaty with Panamá in 1941.

All of these things happened on May 1 and are the reasons why some others Ticos celebrate this celebration.


Companies using strange methods to evade taxes
By the A.M Costa Rica staff

In the pursuit to evade taxes, some companies are using peculiar methods to cheat the finance ministry. One of them is filing dead people as suppliers, said the vice minister Fernando Rodríguez Thursday at a press conference.

According to him, Hacienda officials recently tracked down a company that declared about $3 million paid in supplies and tried to deduct that money from its income tax. However, further investigation showed that these people were deceased.

On top of that, the company used the names of the deceased even though their identities were reported on the crime section of a local newspaper.

Both of these deceased persons were registered as independent contractors a few days after their deaths through Hacienda's information system called Tribunet.

One year later, the same notary who enrolled them in the system took them out.

The addresses provided matched that of an abandoned property.

The company imported cell phones and respective accessories, according to Rodríguez. The total amount of unpaid taxes could be close to $4.5 million since the company had a cash flow of at least $16 million, the finance ministry said.

The case was transferred to Ministerio Público for further prosecution.

Fernández said that 100 similar cases are under investigation by Hacienda’s investigators. These cases were spotted by using mathematical models cross-referencing several databases.

Ministerio de Hacienda said on a press release that complex investigations have been taking place using data filed by companies from 2011 to 2015.

According to Hacienda, behind these cases there is a need, not to only evade taxes, but also to hide contraband and money laundering.


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