de San José photo
Cheerleaders introduce the
logo for the Festival de la Luz.
|Countdown begins for this
year's Festival de la Luz
A.M. Costa Rica staff
The Comisión de Fiestas de San José
began the countdown Thursday for the
big Christmas parade, the Festival
de la Luz. The event draws
perhaps as many as a million
spectators and participants to the
downtown of the capital.
This year the parade will be Dec.
17. The event is featured on
national television, too.
The gathering Thursday was to
officially award the prizes for the
2015 parade. But there was the Banda
Municipal de San José and male and
female cheerleaders doing acrobatics
in front of the La Solidad church.
The municipality is reinstating the
carnival this year. It will
be Dec. 27 starting at noon. That is
a day after the Tope Nacional that
brings 5,000 horses and riders to
the capital streets.
Those who wish to participate in the
carnival still have time to sign up
through Nov. 4. There are prizes in
several categories of 1 million
All three parades will begin in the
la Sabana and head east up Paseo
Colón and Avenida 2.
The carnival was suspended after
2005 when there were some court
actions and also because some
spectators complained that there
were participants too scantly
dressed. Desamparados began its
carnival in 2006.
All three events are designed to
lure spectators to Zapote for the
Festejos de San José that begins
there Christmas Day and runs through
The traditional kickoff to the
Christmas season is the Entrada
de Santos al San José, which
takes place on the last Sunday of
This is the parade of some 300
oxcarts, their bueyes and
their drivers. The oxcarts carry
life-sized statutes of Christian
saints, including, of course, Saint
Joseph, San José.
The Asociación Boyera Nacional and
the municipalidad are sponsors. The
boyeros and their families
spend the day before camped out in
Parque la Sabana for something that
resembles a ranching fiesta.
de Seguridad Pública photo
Law officers gather in advance of
cleared from site of controversial project
A.M. Costa Rica staff
Law officers evicted Thursday squatters
who occupied land in Esterillos Oeste for
months. The property is that of the Las
Olas residential project that was operated
by a U.S. citizen.
Jovan Damjanac, an employee of the
development firm, said in a mid-afternoon
email that all squatters had been evicted
and that shacks they had built have been
The accumulation of squatters was a
security concern for some neighbors.
Damjanac said that about 30 law
enforcement officers showed up in the
morning. They included Fuerza Pública
officers, judicial agents, conservation
agents and prosecutors, he said. There
also were municipal police officers from
He said he thought the police operation
was done with a purpose.
“We believe country wanted to have this
issue resolved before our Dec 5 hearing in
Washington at World Bank,” he said. We are
suing country for unlawful closure of the
project with $90 million in damages
The developer is David Aven of New Castle,
Pennsylvania. He and his investors have
brought the country into international
arbitration under the Central American
Free Trade Treaty. The allegations
official corruption, perjury, inaction by
criminal investigators, misstatements and
inequitable treatment in a criminal court
case, according to news files.
Aven said in an
arbitration filing that the government
shut down the project in 2011 over claims
that part of the property was a protected
wetland. He also alleged he was solicited
for a bribe and said he was shot at by a
man on a motorcycle.
The record shows that his project, condos,
a hotel and a beach club, was fully
approved before the municipality issued
the stop-work order five years ago.
There also was opposition by neighbors.
The case will be heard by a three-judge
panel at the World Bank’s International
Centre for Settlement of Investment
Squatters occupy land in hopes of
eventually obtaining possession rights. In
some cases, this can be a scam engineered
by powerful local figures. The squatters
may have homes elsewhere and after they
win possession, the properties are
transferred back to the originators of the
The legality stems from the belief that
the poor should have access to land that
rich owners may not be using. There is no
movement in the legislature to change the
laws that favor these types of land
thefts, even though they jeopardize