Vol.18  No. 622 Friday Edition, June 22, 2018
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6-year-old Tico child found in the Arizona
desert could be returned to his mother

By A.M. Costa Rica staff

Update at 4:00 p.m.

The Foreign Ministry confirmed the child will be under the protection of the Department of Health and Social Services of the United States.

The Consul General of Costa Rica in Los Angeles, Mabel Segura and the Honorary Consul in Arizona, Carmen Bermúdez, agreed with the authorities of the Border Patrol of Tucson, in Arizona, to transfer the child on a direct flight to New York, according to a press statement.

"The responsible social services will determine if he can be returned to his mother. To do so, she must prove her socio-economic capabilities. The process will involve interviews and home visits," Segura said.

A.M. Costa Rica wire services photo shown
is for illustration purpose only  

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs  will maintain a constant communication to guarantee the protection of the child human rights.

U.S. authorities find abandoned Costa Rican
child in the Arizona desert

By A.M. Costa Rica staff

Published at 12:00 a.m.

U.S. border patrol officers found a 6-year-old Costa Rican child Tuesday afternoon in the Arizona desert. 

The boy carried his birth certificate and a paper with several phone numbers of relatives in Costa Rica, the Foreign Ministry confirmed Thursday.

He was found north of the border between the United States and Mexico, west of the town of Lukeville, Arizona, where the temperature had reached 38 degrees C.

Now both U.S. and Costa Ricans officials are trying to clarify the conditions in which the child traveled.

"We are investigating this. It is still not clear. The child carried his birth certificate in a small bag and also some telephone numbers that his relatives gave him," said María Cristina Castro, head of the Consular Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

As of Thursday, the boy was being sheltered in the city of Tucson, Arizona. On behalf of the Costa Rican government, Carmen Bermúdez, honorary consul in Arizona, and Mabel Segura, consul general in Los Angeles, are watching over him.

The Costa Rican authorities have already managed to communicate with the mother of the child who lives illegally in the United States and now they are analyzing the steps needed to resolve the situation.

When found in the desert, the child was alone. As he told the police, he was left there by an uncle who told him that someone would come to rescue him.

The minor was on his way to the place where his mother lives, officials there said they were told.

A.M. Costa Rica wire services photo shown
is for illustration purpose only  

The boy is in good health, despite being alone in the middle of the desert, according to Foreign Minister Campbell. 

The Foreign Ministry told local media that Foreign Minister Epsy Campbell spoke by telephone with the child and found out that he is in good condition.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not reveal the minor's identity or the region of the country he comes from in order to protect him, said the ministry.

The National Board of Children was in charge of locating and contacting the family of the child in the country.

Government promises to deliver an urgent
action plan for Puntarenas province in July

By A.M. Costa Rica staff

The minister of the Presidency, Rodolfo Piza, announced that the government will present a plan for immediate actions to generate employment and opportunities for the Puntarenas population with the aim of restoring the trust and hope of the people of that province by improving their quality of life.

The plan will be presented in July.

The announcement was made at the end of a meeting with 40 representatives from different sectors of the central canton of Puntarenas and legislators representing the region. The meeting took place at the fisheries institute facilities Wednesday afternoon.

The government delegation learned firsthand the concerns of the productive, business sectors, cooperatives, associations and even priests from the area.

Among the most pressing issues are the housing, the construction of recreation centers, the fight against drugs, caring for minors and elderly people, improvements in roads and highways and greater employment opportunities linked to tourism.

Members of the delegation also expressed the need to solve the water problem, strengthen technical education and garner greater support from the social sector.

A.M. Costa Rica wire services photo   
In the past election, President Alvarado lost the Puntarenas province by a high margin against the evangelical National Restoration Party.

Piza pointed out the importance of the presence of the legislators throughout the day. "The effort to help Puntarenas must be common between the Executive Power and the Legislative Assembly."

He announced that in the month of July, Alvarado will visit Puntarenas, "to address the problems and rethink the issues that allow the development of employment and growth in the area."

In May Costa Rica's fiscal deficit reached
2.6 of the gross domestic product

By A.M. Costa Rica staff

The nation’s fiscal deficit during the first five months of 2018 reached 2.6 percent of the gross domestic product, higher than the 2.2 percent registered in the same period last year.

According to data released by the Ministry of Finance, between January and May of 2018 the total revenues were $3.3 Billion, while the expenses accounted for $4.9 billion, leaving a deficit of $1.6 billion.

The Ministry of Finance report shows that revenues grew 1.7 percent, but expenses grew 8.1 percent driven by a 48 percent increase in interest payments on debt.

"We continue to see with concern the income and expenditure of the central government," Finance Minister Rocío Aguilar said in a statement.

Aguilar said the government is taking administrative measures to cut public spending, carrying out a program to fight tax evasion and intensifying operations to attack smuggling and further control over declarations of individuals and companies.

"The results will not be enough without the new legal powers that Bill 20.580 would give us and the other legislative bills for the strengthening of public finances that are in the legislative discussion," Aguilar said.

Bill 20.580 calls for a new value-added tax.

The fiscal deficit of 2017 closed at 6.2 percent of gross domestic product and for 2018 it is projected to reach 7.1 percent if the tax reform is not approved.

The Legislative Assembly of Costa Rica has been studying the bill for strengthening public finances for more than two years.

A.M. Costa Rica wire services photo   
If the fiscal reform is not approved, the expected fiscal deficit may reach 7.1 percent by the end of the year.

The bill consists of a tax reform that introduces changes in income tax, capital income and reduction of salary incentives in the public sector.

But the main point of the project is the transformation of the sales tax of 13 percent into the value-added tax at the same rate, which will expand transactions subject to the tax.

International entities such as the International Monetary Fund, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development and the World Bank have expressed their support for the tax reform and measures to cut public spending.

However, these agencies agree that, although Costa Rica is taking necessary and adequate steps, it will need more comprehensive actions to resolve the deficit in the long term.

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