Vol.18  No. 528 Published Monday, May 28, 2018            / First news page
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Casas Vita business group faces another 84
investigations before the Ministry of the Economy

By A.M. Costa Rica

Citizens have filed a total of 157 complaints alleging fraud against Grupo Empresarial Casas Vita S.A. before the Directorate of Consumer Support from 2015 to date, according to data provided by the press office of the Ministry of Economy, Industry and Commerce.

Out of that figure, 84 of the accusations were sent to the National Consumer Commission for further study and the remaining 73 were archived by conciliation, extra-procedural agreement or because they were dismissed.

"Since last year, we have initiated contacts with the Public Prosecutor's Office, which is an investigation where the office has collaborated," said the director of the ministry's Consumer Support Department, Cynthia Zapata, to the local press.

The complaints are processed as follows: the first step is to seek a conciliation process. If that is not possible, a hearing is held and the related documents are presented.

Then the commission analyzes and issues the vote with a resolution.

Last Tuesday, the Prosecutor's Office raided offices of Casas Vita in Santa Ana and La Guácima. Raids also took place at at the office of a lawyer in Heredia, as well as two other houses in Santa Ana and San Rafael de Escazú as part of a search for documentary and electronic evidence for the investigation.

Three men and a woman are being charged by the prosecutors.

The manager of Casas Vita S.A Business Group, was released Thursday morning after being arrested Wednesday, despite the fact that the prosecution requested  that he be placed in preventive detention.

A.M. Costa Rica wire services photo  
Police raided Casas Vita headquarters last week.

Judicial authorities investigate them because of accusations that by using two corporations employees of the firm provided misleading information to supposed victims who gave a large sum of money as a down payment for the purchase of houses. Instead, that money financed the operation of the company, according to allegations outlined by prosecutors.

The lawyer of a group of 100 plaintiffs, Mario Valverde, said on Tuesday he estimates the alleged fraud exceeds $3 million.

Money laundering and organized crime are the two biggest challenges for the national police, says President Alvarado

By A.M. Costa Rica staff

"We face one of the most complex challenges in the recent history of Costa Rica in terms of citizen security, the challenge to fight the phenomenon of organized crime and money laundering," said President Carlos Alvarado during the inauguration of the National Police Academy last week.

The president pointed out the efforts made by the police to carry out their work and showed his confidence that the country will improve the security indicators.

"We have to tackle this task with great courage and directly and frontally. There must be confidence in the public that these phenomena can be reversed so that peace and tranquility will be the rule," he said.

Alvarado described that an important step in improving security was the creation of the National Police Academy because that institution will be able to train and professionalize the police forces so officers may better fulfill their tasks.

The academy will operate in a modern headquarters in Guápiles, province of Limón, and was built with a $50 million donation from the government of China.

Alvarado also pointed out the support that Costa Rica has received from partner countries in recent years, especially the United States, in strengthening the nation’s security capabilities, mainly by donating vessels, aircraft, equipment and training.

"Costa Rica has shown that well-equipped forces provide the best results in the region. Costa Rica can improve its indicators and recover tranquility," he said.

A.M. Costa Rica wire services photo   
President Alvarado witnesses the inauguration of the National Police Academy which occurred last week.

Costa Rica closed last year with a homicide rate of 12.1 per 100,000 inhabitants, the highest in its history, and almost half of those crimes have been attributed to drug trafficking and organized crime.

In 2017, the Costa Rican authorities also marked a record seizure of 30 tons of cocaine.

Costa Rica abolished its army in 1948 and currently has about 13,000 police officers to maintain the country's security.

Traffic police urge drivers to
reconcile in cases of minor accidents

By A.M. Costa Rica staff

The director of the Traffic Police, Germán Marín Sandí, emphasized the lack of staff in the rainy afternoon and said it is difficult to ask traffic police to perform regulatory work to ease traffic if officials must address minor accidents that can be resolved with a conciliation.

In the first four months of the year, 28,689 accidents were taken care of by the police officers who could have been carrying out other regulatory and sanctioning tasks in other places, he said.

"Every hour we take care of about 10 accidents, on average, we are sure that it would be much less if the drivers understand that they can reconcile in minor accidents," said Marin.

The decree that allows drivers to reconcile in minor accidents, without the presence of traffic officers, went into effect on Jan. 7, 2016. With this mechanism, drivers can settle the consequences of road events, as long as there are no injuries and vehicles can move without the help of cranes.

Reconciliation is made by filling out a form called DAM, which is available at the Ministry of Public Works and Transportation website, so that users can print it and carry it in the vehicle.

The parties must complete and sign the Declaration of Minor Accident, which can be complemented with photographs or videos. If there is an insured vehicle, the procedure established by insurers for such purposes must be followed, officials said.

The conciliation between the involved parties is only valid if there are no injured parties, otherwise the transit official should be called, officials noted.

Those involved could agree to reconcile, but if one of the parties does not agree, the form is not completed and the parties can call a transit inspector, they said.

A.M. Costa Rica wire services photo  
Repair agreements in minor car accidents are only possible if there are no injuries.

This type of conciliation does not require the parties to have insurance, because conciliation made in this way determines the commitment in good faith of one of the parties to pay or the acceptance of both parties to cover the damages.

If the form is signed but then one of the parties fails to comply with the agreement, those involved must go to the corresponding judicial office where they can present as proof the declaration signed at the time of the accident.

If the parties have insurance, they must first communicate with their insurer and follow the procedure established for these cases.




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Published Monday, May 28, 2018  / Second news page .....
Families affected by Hurricane Otto will have
their rent paid by the government for six more months

By AM Costa Rica staff

The Minister of Human Development and Social Inclusion and the executive president of  Social Assistance Mixed Institute, Maria Fullmen Salazar, met Friday morning in Bagaces with families who lost their homes during Hurricane Otto.

During the meeting she guaranteed that the government will continue the rent payments for their homes for six more months.

The deposits will be made to 22 more families that were affected by the storm.

A few weeks ago, the families were informed that the benefit would not be continued because the regulations establish that support is only offered for three months, but it can be extended up to one year, depending on the situation.

"I have asked people in charge to address this issue as high priority and solve the needs of families that require the support of the department, then I spoke directly to them and guaranteed payment for six more months," Fullmen said.

15 out of those 22 families live in extreme poverty or basic poverty. Seven others are under the no poverty line, but the institution has carried out studies that support the need to continue with this benefit.

A.M. Costa Rica wire services photo        
Hurricane Otto hit the country in November 2016.

Those affected have received rental assistance for one year and three months, the last payment being in April. However, the new executive president of the agency has requested that it be extend it for another six months, while the families continue with their efforts to obtain a definitive solution.

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Published Monday, May 28, 2018  / Third news page

The construction of safety shelters at Poás Volcano starts today

By A.M. Costa Rica staff

The construction of five security shelters in the Poás Volcano National Park will start today. The shelters are part of the requirements demanded by the Technical Advisory Committee before the park reopens. The park has been closed since April 2017 due to volcanic activity.

The shelters will be built with a joint team from the Costa Rican Tourism Institute and the National Emergency Commission along with the Poás Volcano Opening Committee.

The public bidding process for the acquisition of a real-time gas meter will end next week at the same time when a training phase will be implemented for the residents of the community.

The other measures requested by the Technical Advisory Committee have already been executed. Those measures included the reconstruction of trails, the placement of safety signs and the training of officials of the National System of Conservation Areas.

The shelters are expected to be ready, the training finished and the gas meter installed in two months.

This coming Thursday, an inter-institutional mission will visit the Poás National Park to inspect the work and follow up on the reopening process.

"The objective is to know closely the needs of the people of the area and design initiatives to promote economic stability in the region through inter-institutional coordination," said the deputy minister of Environment, Pamela Castillo.

A.M. Costa Rica wire services photo      
The shelters are part of the measures required for the reopening of the national park.

"We feel very positive because we saw the authorities' concern and the concrete actions they are taking to provide a real answer to the difficult situation we are facing," said Luis Ángel Salazar, spokesman for the Pro-opening Commission of the Poás Volcano.

"As a committee we were able to express our concerns about the economic needs of families and businesses affected by the closure of the volcano. We will work closely with the TAC and we are committed to generating new tourism options to attract visitors," he added.











Published Monday, May 28, 2018  / Fourth news page
Gasoline and diesel more expensive next week
By A.M. Costa Rica staff

Drivers will have to pay up to 22 colones more per liter each time they fill the tanks of their vehicles with gasoline or diesel because the Public Services Regulatory Authority approved an increase.

Mario Mora, head of the energy department, said that international prices influenced the cost of fuel that will be applied throughout the country.

"This adjustment is applied due to tensions in the international market of hydrocarbons, as a result of the actions filed by the United States to Iran and Venezuela. The actions caused speculation in the raw oil market, generating an increase in the price as there was also a reduction in inventories of the refined product of the Gulf Coast due to an increase in demand,” he said.

As a result, drivers will have to pay 22 more colones in the price of diesel, 20 colones more in regular gasoline and 18 colones in the super. The new prices will apply as of next week.
A.M. Costa Rica wire services photo    
U.S. actions against Iran and Venezuela raised
the oil international prices.

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Published Monday, May 28, 2018  / Fifth news page
Power outages scheduled in Heredia today

By A.M. Costa Rica staff

A total of 42,000 residents of San Rafael and San Isidro de Heredia will not have electricity today.

The cut in the service is due to improvement works in the electrical network.

Through a press release, the Public Services Company of Heredia announced that the suspension will also affect the water pumping system, so the water service will be suspended during that period of the day in several areas, mainly in San Isidro.

Concepción de San Isidro, Calle Chilillal, Santa Cecilia, Santa Elena and Breña Mora, are some of the places where there will be no water.

If you would like information about scheduled works, you can call 2562-3774 or review the affected places here: www.esph-sa.com in the section called Suspensiones Programadas.

A.M. Costa Rica wire services photo
The cut in the service is due to improvement works in the electrical network.

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Published Monday, May 28, 2018  / Sixth news page...
Country under green alert due to heavy rains

By A.M. Costa Rica staff

The National Emergency Commission decreed a green alert in most of the country on Thursday due to the strong activity recorded in the Intertropical Convergence Zone, which is expected to cause strong showers and thunderstorms.

According to the National Hurricane Center, Tropical Storm Alberto originated 90 km away from the Yucatan Peninsula as a result of the rapid intensification of low pressure systems.

As a result of the strong activity of the Intertropical Convergence Zone, heavy rains will continue in the Central Valley, the North Zone, the Caribbean Region and in the North, Central and South Pacific.

Rains are expected to intensify during the night in the Northern Zone and Guanacaste, while fog will fall on the Great Metropolitan Area during that period.

The emergency commission asked the population to take extreme measures in mountainous and vulnerable areas.

A.M. Costa Rica wire services photo
Authorities call on drivers to be extremely careful.

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Beautiful Balinese Style House
Price $299,000


Beautiful villa of 120m2 with pool overlooking the sea and the valley of 5400m2. Magnificent house with charm in wood and refined marquetry, furnished, very beautiful Balinese style. With its two very spacious bedrooms and bathrooms, plus a mezzanine also very spacious that can accommodate another room and / or an office. A living-dining room with its American kitchen and its large wooden terrace of 70 m2, overlooking the pool and the green and tropical valley of 180 degrees, which ends with a view of the sea. To these is added a beautiful garden of 5400 m2 of tropical trees and decorated with Indonesian imported stone elements. Ideally located in terms of calm and serenity of the place. Finally, being in this heavenly environment, the property is less than 15 minutes from beaches and shops.

More information here

Contact Us:
Email: mariogendron93@yahoo.ca
CR cellphone: (506) 8360-6620

Visit Our Contact Page http://www.palmaspacifica.com/


Colinas Del Sol


Fenced Gated Parcels for Sale
* Colinas del Sol is a fenced and gated project in a quiet area. * There are 88 clear titled parcels. * Mountain areas with great views.
* Gently sloping level areas ideal for hobby farms, gardening, fruit trees. * Quiet place to get away from the busy city and beach crowds. * All lots have gravel roads to them, water and electricity at each. * Parcels are 5,000 sq. meters or larger, starting at only $50,000 USD * Located in Libertad, Guanacaste, northwest Pacific area of Costa Rica. * 20 minutes to the Liberia International Airport * 15 minutes to the Pacific Beaches * 10 minutes to Medical Facilities * 25 minutes to the Liberia Hospital * 5 minutes to Vista Ridge Golf Club

In Costa Rica, Jeffrey Sandi Murray: jsandimurray@colinasdelsolcr.com
In the USA and Canada contact Jim Day: jimday50@aol.com or call +517-484-3675
For more information: www.colinasdelsolcr.com
Code: 9342-090318


Vista Verde Del Mar
(Green View of the Sea)

* 4.4 hectares / 10.91 acres.
* All roads on property are complete on solid, original ground...
no "fill" areas.
* Four private 2+ acre parcels available within a ten acre property.
* 12 minutes to the Quepos airport or Quepos Hospital.
* 17 minutes to the new Marina Pez Vela in Quepos.
* Unsurpassed 360 degree vistas of ocean and mountains.
* All legal work to convey clean / clear / legal title is complete.
* NO PRE-SALE glitches, ready to build on !
* Price to sell $299,000 Brokers Protected.

Mike Michael email: mikemichael@bellsouth.net
U.S.A. phone: 770-310-1351
More information Click Here
Code: 9350-050419


Brand new Casa Palmera
Reduced from $389,000 to $349,000

This exquisite home is located within the EXCLUSIVE gated community. Casa Palmeras has 3 bedrooms with 3 bathrooms, large BBQ area and a spectacular pool over 12m long. The gated community offers the perfect location for home buyers who are seeking true relaxation and peace, also offers 2 tennis courts, miles of hiking trails through primary and secondary rain forest, serenity and privacy! Casa Palmeras is a 5-minute drive from the town of Quepos and the new Marina and just short drive to Manuel Antonio Park and beach. More information here http://palmaspacifica.com/home-for-sale/by-owner-casa-pacifica-3br-2ba/

7 Apartments for Sale
Price reduced to $289,000 USD

7 Apt Building For Sale By Owner- * 2000 m2 of property with room for additional apartment construction in the future. * GREAT INCOME POTENTIAL $25K- 540K yearly income potential with live in caretaker! *7 furnished studio apartments with sunny and bright open sliding window doors. Minutes from Quepos and the new Marina and a short drive from Manuel Antonio National Park and beach. More information here http://palmaspacifica.com/home-for-sale/7-apt-building-for-sale-by-owner-299000

Casa Palmera II
Price $299,000

Located within the EXCLUSIVE community , it has 3 bedrooms with 2 bathrooms, situated on a 50,000 sq ft lot with large BBQ area, private pool and a huge backyard, ideal for pet owners. It is a 5- minute drive from the town of Quepos and the Marina and a short drive to Manuel Antonio Park and beach.The community offers 2 tennis courts , miles of hiking trails through primary and secondary rain-forest, serenity and privacy!
More information here

Contact Us:
Local Office Phone (506) 2777-3339
Phone Rentals: 1-800-381 3770
Real Estate: 1-800-346 9724
Email: richard@manuelantonioestates.com
Visit Our Contact Page http://www.palmaspacifica.com/


Business For Sale
(paid category)

For Sale Versatile 2 Floors Building
in La Sabana


Completely remodeled building. 14 areas for residence and/or offices, call center, upscale storage. Transportation within 50 meters, commuter train, buses and taxis. In La Sabana, San Jose. School, park, gymnasium, tennis club and National soccer stadium walking distance. 24-hour security, many restaurants, clubs and social facilities nearby. Approximately 323 meter construction. Asking $295,000.
Contact Jim Holley
E-Mail: jimmy6902001@yahoo.com
Local CR phone: (506) 8912-5651

Three Cabins For Sale


In La Fortuna San Carlos. Price $145,000 USD
Three cabins for sale fully furnished with AC, hot water, micro waves, refrigerators, flat screen TV. three years old.Lot is 22 meters by 49 meters. fenced and gated with private drive.Fish and shrimp pond on property with several tropical plants as well as several fruit trees.Room for more new construction house or cabins. This property is in the country but close to Fortuna central.Cabins advertised on AirBnB. Good income property.
Call Harry +(506) 8682-9219


(paid category)


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Published Monday, May 28, 2018  / Seventh news page

Berries and thorns and such

It’s black raspberry season! Oh my, such deliciousness.

When I was a kid, summer was berry season. Strawberries, raspberries – red and black – blueberries, and blackberries. Berries on your cereal, berries over ice cream, berries made into jam – the world was full of wonderful berries.

We arrived in Costa Rica six years ago, to find only two little black raspberry bushes growing near the road. Thanks to the birds, and a little transplanting of small bushes, we now have six large patches of raspberries on various parts of the property, and we have a lot of room for more. More is better. We have gone from picking a handful now and then to picking a gallon or so every two days. Since blueberries don’t grow where we live, black raspberry pie has come to dominate the “dessert” menu (thank you, Betty Crocker).

And what a dessert it is. There is only one problem. My oven has died an unnatural death. At least we think it’s unnatural…. So now I need a new oven. The berries? A simple solution – freeze them. Even we can’t pick and eat a gallon of berries every two days.

Come to think of it, we don’t want to pick a gallon every two days. Black raspberries have thorns. If you pick berries every two days, you really don’t give the old scratches time to heal before you get new ones. Oh, you could wear long sleeved shirts but it’s too darn hot for that. Long pants, yes, shirts with long sleeves? I will take a pass.

What to do, what to do. My solution is to shower and then slather antibiotic ointment all over my arms. If that seems excessive to you, you haven’t done much berry pickin’. Berry thorns embedded in the flesh require a different tactic involving needles…enough said. Just try not to get them in your fingers.

Fortunately our friends also like the berries and this solves the “problem” of the little bushes springing up everywhere (thank you, birdies). Anyone with a shovel and a will to dig can go home with a few and come back later for a few more. In a few years, they can bake their own pies.

But me, bake? Not until I get another oven. Plus I am running out of antibiotic ointment.

Note: It is time for my annual reminder about tetanus vaccinations. If you haven’t had one in a while, you should probably schedule one. When you are out digging in the dirt, you will probably run into some rusty wire…. Get a booster shot at least every ten years.

Plant for the Week

Victoria Torley photo

The Plectranthus called Mona lavender is a wonderful short edging or accent plant that does well in the ground or in a pot or hanging basket. It will grow to about 2 feet tall and two wide. Keep it trimmed for neatness. In our bright sun it could probably use a bit of afternoon shade.

Editor's note: Victoria Torley, gardener columnist, can be reached at victoriatorley1@gmail.com