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Vol.18  No.1023 Tuesday Edition, October 23, 2018
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 Rafting accident survivors ask for funding help

By A.M. Costa Rica staff

A group of 14 tourists from the U.S. hired the services of a rafting company Saturday, as part of a bachelor party for their friend, Luis Beltran. The group went to the Naranjo River in Quepos where they divided themselves among three rafts and began to navigate through the Rio Naranjo rapids.

"We decided to celebrate Luis Beltran's bachelor party in Costa Rica on the weekend of October 18, 2018. We've been friends for many years and we wanted to do something special for our friend before his wedding. We planned a few activities, one of them being a white water rafting tour on the Saturday of our trip," said Antonio Castro one of the survivors of the accident.

For reasons that are still under investigation, the three rafts were overturned, throwing tourists into the water. Most managed to save their lives by holding to the rafts and letting the current take them to the riverbank. However, five men were dragged by the strong current and drowned.

"Within minutes, all of us were careening down the river with life jackets and helmets just trying to stabilize and find something to hold on to. Throughout the dangerous ride down the river, all of us struggled to stay above water, swallowing lots of it. All of us [the survivors] were so lucky. Four of our dear friends drowned in those waters," said Castro.
 
Antonio Castro created a campaign to raise $100,000 to help with the funeral expenses of the four friends.

"This GoFundMe has been created to help raise money for the families of our friends Ernesto Sierra, Andres Denis, Jorge Caso, and Sergio Lorenzo (including his children) with their devastating losses. They had so much life left to live as sons, brothers, fathers, cousins, and friends before this devastating tragedy occurred," said Castro

If you want to help with the U.S. Citizens funeral go to
GoFundMe Costa Rica Water Rafting Tragedy.


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  Quepos Red Cross courtesy photo


"Throughout the dangerous ride down the river, all of us struggled to stay above water, swallowing lots of it" said accident survivor Antonio Castro.



Agents of the Judicial Investigation Organization confirm that two raids were carried out in relation to the rafting accident that happened on Saturday, where five people died. Both raids took place on Sunday.

Elioth Barquero, a judicial investigator, confirmed that in addition to the raid on the rafting tourist company and an owner’s house. Barquero stated that they searched the company’s facilities and found “important information for the case.”

Barquero confirmed Monday that they are continuing to interview the survivors of the accident before they leave the country for the United States. He called interviewing the survivors “of great importance” as the ministry wants to learn as much as possible quickly.

The case continues under investigation, but, at the close of the edition, the Public Ministry has not announced any actions against the tour company or its agents. 



Country cannot cope with difficult
fiscal situation, said Finance Minister


By A.M. Costa Rica staff

Finance Minister, Rocio Aguilar, made a presentation of the results of government revenues and expenditures in the month of September this year, the confirmed that, "the country can no longer cope with the difficult fiscal situation" due to the absence of a law to increase government revenues.

In addition to the "difficult situation," the minister also refers to the country's problems such as: scarce resources to meet the expenses of the government, the announcement of the next review of the country’s risk rating, the poverty index and the increase in the delinquency of the financial system.

According to the report of the Finance Ministry, in the third quarter of the year, "the government's financial deficit reached 4.5 percent of the Gross Domestic Product." This result maintains the trend observed since July, when the largest deficit of the last five years was reached.

According to the ministry, one of the expenses that increased was the payment of interest, which went from "2.4 percent of GDP, in September 2017, to 2.6 percent of GDP in September of this year."

The ministry has reported that, although the expense growth rate is lower than that registered in 2017, the growth of current expenses has reached 7.3 percent despite the actions that the government continues to take to contain spending.

On the income side, the ministry reported that in the third quarter of the year, "tax revenues showed a slight growth, but its pace is much slower than the previous year." The report suggests that this as a result of the decrease in the importation of vehicles, "a smaller increase in the collection of sales tax and the continuous disconnection between economic growth and tax collection." The economic imbalances of the government increase.


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Finance Ministry  courtesy photo

"Government's financial deficit reached 4.5 percent of the Gross Domestic Product." , said Minister Aguilar



Minister Aguilar stated that, "Faced with the panorama that we face today,” he is confident that all of the people participating in the process of confirming the Law of Strengthening Public Finance will approve this reform and prevent “a crisis that would cost us many years to reverse.”

Currently, the new tax plan, known as the Law #20.580 the Law of Strengthening the Finances, is under analysis in the Legislative Assembly, where the government seeks the support of 38 deputies for the approval of the law.


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