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A.M. Costa Rica
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San José, Costa Rica            Published Friday,  February 23, 2018             Vol. 18,  No.223

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American business sector demands
an emergency decree on infrastructure

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Costa Rican-North American Chamber of Commerce, known as AmCham, requested road infrastructure be declared an emergency issue.

"The road infrastructure of Costa Rica is at emergency levels to the point that the competitiveness report 2017-2018 places us in the penultimate place in the ranking of roads in Latin America,” it said.

“That shows the urgent need to execute the pending projects to solve the serious mobility problems that affect us, such as the sectorization and trunking of public transport units, electronic payment, the passenger electric train and the extension of Route 27," AmCham said in a press release.

The chamber added that in the present condition the Costa Rican State cannot weaken the institutions responsible for dealing with the emergency, especially the Public Transportation Council and the National Council of Concessions and considers that the latter is at the point of technical closure due to lack of budget.

"AmCham reiterates that through the public works concession model, the state of emergency in which we find ourselves can be overcome and for this the review of the internal procedures of the CNC and the allocation of sufficient budget will be the key to executing the control functions and the implementation of new concessions," added the representatives of U.S. businessmen.

According to Elías Soley, president of AmCham, "it is worrisome that some decisions have been taken to de-fund the operation of institutions such as the CNC, when it is by concession and other forms of public-private partnerships that we can achieve the qualitative leap that we require.” The National Council of Concessions has been responsible for projects that build infrastructure with private money.

Infraestructure022318.jpgPresidential House courtesy photo    
  The sector also encouraged presidential candidates to promote public-private partnerships to face the challenge of infrastructure.

“If the institutions are weakened, we will aggravate the road emergency, we will affect legal security, the predictability that investors require and we will drive away foreign direct investment that might be interested in these developments."

AmCham also made an urgent appeal to the presidential candidates to prioritize the figure of public-private partnerships, including the concession of public works, as it is an optimal instrument to rescue road infrastructure, increase the country's competitiveness and guarantee the quality of life.

"For AmCham the attention to the road emergency is a task of immediate attention of the new administration starting on May 8," the chamber concluded.

Legislature investigates the export of
fake organic pineapples
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By A.M. Costa Rica staff   

The Commission for the Control of Income and Public Expenditure of the Legislative Assembly, started an investigation into the alleged irregularities in the export of false organic pineapple.

Present at the first hearing on the subject were the Minister of Agriculture and Livestock, Luis Felipe Arauz Cavallini, Vice Minister Ivannia Quesada Villalobos, Francisco Dall'Anese, former director of the State Phytosanitary Service and the Board of Directors of the National Chamber of Organic Agriculture.

The parliamentary investigation arises after a complaint filed before the agricultural ministry by members of the National Chamber of Organic Agriculture, which brings together producers mainly from the northern part of the country.

The organic agriculture chamber has questions regarding companies Valle Verde Corp, L and L Proyectos, MMV S.A and Congelados y Jugos Valle Verde S.A which the chamber alleged exported ordinary pineapple, making it look as if it was organic.

Dall'Anese ordered an investigation entrusted to agriculture official José Miguel Jiménez, shortly after checked in hundreds of technically designed sheets to see if there was a fraud.

According to the complaint of the organic agriculture chamber, several conventional pineapple exports could have been passed off as organic pineapple and placed in international markets, thus generating millions in profits.

Even the U. S. Department of Agriculture filed a complaint in this regard during a meeting held in Vermont with Costa Rican producers at the end of October 2015.

Part of the complaint was due to the Ministry of Agriculture’s suspension of several export permits for producers who work with organic pineapple. The complaint suggests that the ministry allowed some entrepreneurs to sell traditional pineapple as if they were organic.

According to a statement provided, after the exporting company was suspended, irregular acts occurred within the government.

"The suspension of activities was revoked. Subsequently there were a series of persecutions against the agronomist who denounced the alleged fraud with organic pineapple,” officials were told.

The denouncing investigator was suspended for eight days without pay, accused of sharing information with the members of the organic agriculture chamber who filed the complaint.
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A.M. Costa Rica archive photo  
The United States also filed a claim regarding the subject in a meeting with Costa Rican producers in 2015 in Vermont.


Arauz eventually said in a radio show that everything was due to a problem of business competition and that the actions of the ministry regarding the complaint had been unquestionably lawful.

Now legislators will examine the behaviors of agriculture ministry officials and of private companies delegated by the state to certify exporters and producers.

Organic chamber members said they consider that this issue should be of national relevance and put in the spotlight by the media, so they said that they will remain vigilant.

After the first hearing, the legislators said they were not satisfied with the answers issued by the agriculture ministry leaders and, on the contrary, they hinted at the need to receive more information about the certification process that guarantees that an exported product is truly organic .

"We believe that the organic agriculture sector of this country should be strengthened, but when a complaint of alleged fraud is presented we are putting our little chicken of gold eggs at risk. We will only solve this problem by pointing out, attacking and removing from circulation those who are committing a fraud with such significant production," said the legislator Frank Camacho.

The commission will extend the investigation on the subject and will call José Miguel Jiménez, an agriculture technician, and representatives of the companies involved.


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San José, Costa Rica         Published Friday,  February 23, 2018         Vol. 18, No. 223
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Low hopes of getting new taxes approved any time soon

By AM Costa Rica staff

There are no current indicators that the Legislative Assembly is going to approve the fiscal bills with the most important changes.

On the contrary, everything seems to point out that the problem will be inherited, once again from one legislature to another legislature. The difference is that the next government will have less room to react to their predecessors.

Currently, with a deficit of 6.2 percent of the gross domestic product projected to reach 7.1 percent by 2018, the 57 legislators seem determined to leave the country's finances on the edge of the cliff, without major spending cuts or generation of enough financial resources.

To date, the agreements for the approval of the bill for the Strengthening of Public Finances (No. 20.580) are insufficient and seem to disappear, which would result in a new four-year period without any solutions.

This file is the last option left for these legislators to stop a public debt of around 50 percent of the gross domestic product, a burden that, without prompt attention, threatens the sustainability of the country's social advances and its institutional framework.

Among other ideas, the fiscal bills includes the transformation of the sales tax into a value added tax, as well as some reforms to the income tax and public employment, and a fiscal rule that would allow controlling the expenses in relation to the country's indebtedness.

Everything seems halted in the full Legislative, where the initiative of constitutional fiscal rule is hardly discussed (No. 20.179). That bill would be a fast track to new taxes.

The Broad Front Party bloc openly opposes the fiscal rule and has already submitted 44 motions to block the project.

The head of the Broad Front Party, Francisco Camacho, said they have a direct disagreement against the bill, since it would open little gates to breach state obligations and make cuts.

Libertarian legislator Otto Guevara, has already said that he is ready to block any proposal that creates new taxes.

The support of minority groups and the independent deputies to the fiscal projects also remain in the air, since together they add 11 votes that could be crucial to any ballot.

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A.M. Costa Rica archive photo      
The second election round and changes to be made to the legislative drafts forecast low possibilities for at least part of the fiscal reform.

As a result, everything stays in an environment of intrigue and paralysis, while the growing monster of the deficit and debt is observed on the horizon if no action is taken.

Parliamentary inactivity has been evident in recent weeks with quorum breaks and the impossibility of starting legislative sessions, an inhospitable context in which to find solutions.

Meanwhile, the fiscal rule remains stagnant in the full legislature and the bill to strengthen public finances is in the same condition in the legislative Treasury Commission.

The 12 lawmakers of the ruling party seems to have a sense of resignation.

In this regard, the head of the faction, Javier Cambronero, said that "space is too small to maneuver," which implies the need to prioritize discussions, such as No. 19.144, another fiscal rule that limits the creation of expenses without sources of financing.

According to Cambronero, the strengthening project would allow cutting the deficit between 1.5 and 1.8 percent of gross domestic product and for the state to continue functioning, so "there should be more pragmatism so that other parties could understand the situation and harmonize wills."

Authorities confirm the presence of
clandestine tourists at Poás Volcano

By AM Costa Rica staff

In order to deceive the authorities and with the audacity to expose themselves to danger, groups of people have climbed clandestinely to the top of the Poas volcano.

They do not mind walking up to five hours in mountainous areas and do so from Bajos del Toro seven kilometers away.

The Poás Volcano National Park has been closed since April 13 last year due to the increase in eruptive activity, although that activity has been decreasing since November.

Preventive measures on the site were not issued without reason. Even workers of the National System of Conservation Areas waited five months after the closure to return to their active crater viewpoint in an effort to protect their health.

The order that restricts access to visitors to an area two kilometers around the crater is still valid for health and safety reasons, officials maintain.

Conservation officials explained that they have already caught two groups of people for illegally entering the park.

Both were reported to the Public Ministry for the crime of contempt of authority and are subject to criminal prosecution.

However, park officials believe there are many more who defy the danger due to the impossibility of full time monitoring.

Apparently the groups leave a private estate located in Bajos del Toro and climb to the edges of the crater.

Although there have been no eruptions in recent weeks, the Poás Volcano constantly issues gases and vapors requiring permanent safety measures.

Between April and May last year, the National Commission of Emergencies recommended caution for those who tried to climb the volcano with the help of private guides.

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A.M. Costa Rica wire services photo       
In the last two weeks small business owners have demanded the park to be re-opened before Holy Week.

Currently the state authorities are working on a plan to reactivate the entry of tourists to the national park.

It is estimated that the conservation system has lost about $ 2 million since Poás was closed.

At the moment, there is no definite date to reopen since some improvements requested by the emergency commission and accredited scientific bodies, such as the National Seismological Network and Volcanological and the Seismological Observatory of Costa Rica, are required.

The park still requires installation of protective posts and equipment that serve to measure the gases, officials said.

The necessary investment is not yet quantified but all parties agree that opening the park is a priority for the tourism sector.







Residency experts

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RESIDENCY IN COSTA RICA
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Telephone 8305-3149 or 2256-8620
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Medical Services

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A.M. Costa Rica: Third newspage









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San José, Costa Rica       Published Friday,  February 23, 2018         Vol. 18, No. 223
Calendar
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Real Estate
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About Us
...
Corcovado is one of the most dazzling parks in the world, international media says

By A.M Costa Rica staff

Corcovado National Park appears in third position in a list of the 25 most dazzling national parks in the world.

The classification was made by the El Viajero segment of the Spanish newspaper El País.

Corcovado on the Osa Peninsula was cataloged as an exotic and exuberant place.

"One of the largest and only tropical primary rainforests in the world, where various ecotourism agencies operate, Corcovado was created to protect natural wealth from gold prospectors and forestry exploitations. . . ," said El País.

The list is completed by other impressive sites such as Vatnajökull in Iceland, Iguazú waterfalls between Brazil and Argentina, the Glacier National Park in Argentina, the Komodo National Park in Indonesia or the Plitvice Lakes National Park in Croatia.

Corcovado is a place characterized by a huge volume and variety of fauna and for monkeys, sloths, anteaters, poison dart frogs, alligators, crocodiles and dozens of bird species.

The national park is located 350 kilometers from San José.

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A.M. Costa Rica wire services photo       
Corcovado is 350 kms. away from San José. 

It has more than 42,000 hectares of land and 5,000 ocean hectares, including coral reefs, mangroves and freshwater marshes.

The park has six trails, where visitors can walk for more hours to observe the abundant biodiversity there.




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A.M. Costa Rica: Fourth Costa Rica news page









San José, Costa Rica           Published Friday,  February 23, 2018         Vol. 18, No. 223
Calendar
Tourism
Classifieds
Real Estate
Lifestyle
.....Food
About Us
...
Legislators asked to take immunity away
from Magistrate Celso Gamboa
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By A.M. Costa Rica staff

A special legislative commission recommended that the full congress lift the immunity of the suspended magistrate, Celso Gamboa, so that he can be criminally prosecuted in at least one case of supposed influence peddling.

The commission includes the legislators Edgardo Araya of the Broad Front Party, Juan Luis Jiménez of the National Liberation Party, and Marvin Atencio of the ruling Citizen Action Party.

These legislators said that they endorse the investigation being carried out on the magistrate by the Public Prosecutor's Office, and now it will be the duty of the full congress to vote whether to lift the political immunity of Gamboa.

Gamboa, a former security minister and former anti-drug commissioner, has been suspended from his post as magistrate of the Third Chamber of the Supreme Court in October, while he is being investigated for eight supposed cases of influence peddling.

The Supreme Court of Justice agreed Feb. 5 to accept the request of the Office of the Prosecutor and ask that congress lift Gamboa’s immunity. The legislature has set up a special commission to comply.

The case in question is an apparent favor from the magistrate to the current mayor of San José, Johnny Araya, who asked that his name be removed from a judicial file.
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A.M. Costa Rica archive  photo     
Celso Gamboa is also a former minister of Security.


Among the remaining seven cases for which the magistrate is being investigated is as a suspect in the cementazo case, a supposed network of influence peddling to grant businesses to importer Juan Carlos Bolaños.

This case has involved the executive, judicial and legislative branches, for the alleged relationship of Gamboa with officials from those branches.

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218-8/25/17
U.S. Income Tax Services (paid category)

Summers102317.jpg U.S. Income Tax Services
Marlene B. Summers
T
ax Accountant
Let’s discuss your tax situation.

Marlene
                                  Summers
The IRS has become more aggressive and if you have not filed, you must do so. 

However, there are solutions to problems and your situation may be better than you think.

If your filing is not up to date, Streamlined Filing can be used with no penalties.

Including disclosure of foreign corporations to avoid serious problems.

If tax payment is holding you back, the IRS has options to solve payment problems.

You can file current or past due FBARs without payment to meet IRS  requirements.

If you have yet to file, do it now as there is still time.

Over 20 years in Costa Rica
and Silicon Valley.
Competitive rates.

Phone (506) 2289-6590 ; Cell (506) 8750-2316
Email: marlene.summers@gmail.com
9186-6/30/17

James Brohl
James Brohl, C.P.A. & M.B.A.
US Income Tax,  U.S. GAAP Accounting
& Business Consulting
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Specializing in all matters of concern to U.S. taxpayers residing abroad including:
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• IRS filing requirements of foreign income tax exclusion (up to $102,100 for 2017).
• Past-due tax returns: Taxpayers filing before an IRS notice do not face criminal sanctions.
• Reporting foreign financial assets: FBAR and foreign corporations.
• Up-to-date FATCA news.
• All US Tax return preparation:
individual, business, estate and trust.
• eFile returns: secure with faster refunds.
• Business consulting to facilitate working in Costa Rica.
Telephone 8305-3149 or 2256-8620
E-mail jrtb_1999@yahoo.com


Real estate rentals (paid category)
....
Beautiful House for Rent
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2 bedrooms, 1 bath furnished house inside gated farm. Close to town. $650.00 Includes Electric, Internet, WiFi, Cable TV, water Santa Barbara de Heredia American owner lives onsite, quiet, secure.
Email: organicfarmhouserental@gmail.com
....
9326-02/13/18

Tropical Homes
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Tropical Homes of Costa Rica is offering the best selection of vacation homes, condos and long-term rental homes in Playa Flamingo, Playa Potrero and Playa Brasilito on  the Pacific Gold Coast of Guanacaste. A wide selection of private residencies is providing an excellent choice for  your stay in this beautiful part of Costa Rica.We are offering homes for every budget and every need. Please visit our Web page at www.tropicalhomesofcostarica.com or contact us at rentals@tropicalhomesofcostarica.com
or call at (506) 2654-5442
9055-2/23/17


Spectacular rentals are available for low weekly prices on SellMyTimeshareNow.com at resorts such as Bahia Turquesa Residences and Villas Sol Playa Hermosa in Guanacaste. We have 
Timeshare
1- to 3-bedroom ocean and garden view timeshares available and most offer air conditioning, cable TV, fully equipped kitchens, and relaxing hammocks on private balconies. Enjoy the unique combination of seclusion and convenience as all resorts listed on our site are close to popular Costa Rican attractions and downtown 
centers, but are surrounded in lush, tropical forest. Villas are also available for sale in our inventory, so you can enjoy yearly vacations to this mesmerizing rainforest paradise. Please visit our rental inventory HERE!  or call us toll free at 877-815-4227, International: 603-516-0200.  Email: info@sellmytimesharenow.com
9049-7/31/17


Real estate-related services (paid category)

CRsolar

COSTA RICA SOLAR
Serving All of Costa Rica

BUY YOUR SOLAR HOT WATER SYSTEM NOW!
Perfect for hotels, Save up to 40% of your electric bill.
LATER we'll calculate a lower install price for your PV system, now More Watts per Panel, Smarter and more Capable Enphase Micro Inverters mean Less Cost and more Flexibility for You. Fully Guaranteed!

Canadian Solar
Enphase M250 Microinverters
New experienced install crews

CALL TODAY!
Paul 506-8898-9398

Email: Paul.Furlong@CR-Solar.com
WEB: http://www.cr-solar.com/en/
Blog: www.crsolar.net


        Household Furnishings

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Fine Furniture of Sarchi
All our handcrafted products are made in Sarchi with pride and quality by artisans who are dedicated to designing, crafting, and delivering our furniture to you. Please visit our website and send us a picture and specifications of what YOU like, or just send us pictures from anywhere you wish. We will quote you right back with a more than competitive price and an on-time delivery date. Delivery and set up available throughout Costa Rica. We have different Costa Rican woods from which you may choose. 
www.FineFurnitureOfSarchi.com
Contact information:
Adolfo's Cell: +506-8831-4306
E-mail: Info@FineFurnitureOfSarchi.com
or FineFurnitureOfSarchi@gmail.com




Shipping services (paid category)

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Moving to Costa Rica or Back to the U.S.?

  10 Years of Happy Clients
Canadian English or Spanish Spoken
Excellent Service, Competitive Prices
Call  (772) 361-1050
Email:   shippingcostarica@gmail.com
Our Web:  http://shippingcostarica.com
Free Ebook: How To Import to Costa Rica HERE!



Psychotherapy


Dr. Gray
Dr. Lucinda Gray
California Licensed
Psychologist
International Practice

• Anxiety
 • Depression
 • Relationship Problems
 • Trauma EMDR click here
 • NWM Training
 
CR (506) 2228-2041
US (310) 827-4241
doclucinda@gmail.com
www.LucindaGray.com
Learn more about 
New World Meditation: (Second Edition) Discover True Happiness Thru
Experiential Healing 
Click Here
9057-2/25/17


                     Legal Services
Adrian Fernandez
Attorney & Notary
A Fernandez
Notary services and registrations. Collections and foreclosures. Real estate and litigation. Corporate Law. Immigration. Estate planning wills and testaments, probate.

I provide the highest professional standards. Official documentation and Notary deeds are always translated in English for better comprehension, client satisfaction and safety.

 Call me for advice
    Phone:  2280-9692 / 2253-3705
    Email: ajfernandez@racsa.co.cr
    Law Office is conveniently located near  Mall San Pedro, 350 meters south  from the Hyundai dealer, Los Yoses, San José.
9181-7/3/17







A.M. Costa Rica fifth news page