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(506) 2223-1327       Published Wednesday, June 3, 2009,  in Vol. 9, No. 108       E-mail us
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Mrs. Clinton promises more money to fight drugs
By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services
(Related story HERE!)
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has pledged new support to Central American and Caribbean allies to combat violent drug traffickers. Mrs. Clinton was meeting counterparts from across Latin America in San Pedro Sula, Honduras.

Mrs. Clinton met with leaders of the Caribbean Community before the annual meeting of the Organization of American States in Honduras. She said President Obama's administration is seeking broader ties with the region, especially to help in the fight against drug traffickers.

"You are being subjected to relentless pressure from the narco-traffickers and the criminal gangs," said Mrs. Clinton. "We want you to know that President Obama is ready to do whatever we think will work to assist you."

U.S. officials say counter-drug efforts have pushed traffickers to use new routes through the
Caribbean, as they seek to ship drugs from South America into the United States or Europe. Battles between drug gangs and police in Mexico have killed hundreds of people in recent months, and experts fear violence could spread to other countries in the region.

Monday, Clinton was in El Salvador, where she pledged counter-drug support to that country's new president, Mauricio Funes.

Shortly after taking office Monday, Funes said he welcomed U.S. support to counter organized crime and drug traffickers. He said one of his first priorities as president is to investigate reports that violent drug gangs have infiltrated the nation's police force. Funes said he will wage a relentless battle in the fight against criminals and rid the police force of corrupt officers.

As Mrs. Clinton was talking, Costa Rican officials were announcing the arrest of members of yet another drug smuggling group.  HERE!

U.S. soccer team faces Costa Rica here tonight
By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The U.S. Men's National Soccer Team takes on Costa Rica tonight in a final round World Cup qualifying match. The U.S. leads the group standings but has never won a qualifier in Costa Rica, whose team could take over the top spot with a victory. The United States is trying to reach the Cup for a record sixth consecutive time. 

The match will be in Estadio Ricardo Saprissa, where the Costa Rican team enjoys a strong home field advantage. The venue is infamously loud. The playing surface is artificial turf, and its boxy design puts the seats at a steep angle, making it seem as though the 24,000, chanting, stomping, drum-beating fans are almost on top of the field. 

While such an atmosphere could present an intimidating and nerve-racking experience for the visiting squad, U.S. national team head coach Bob Bradley has a positive outlook about the game. He says a win in Costa Rica is a good example of something his team still wants to achieve.

"Costa Rica has had great success at Saprissa stadium. It is loud, and they are very comfortable there. They have great confidence there. And certainly we are aware that we have never won there. We know these kind of games require a real commitment as a team, a good game plan, and finally just good efforts on the day. It is a big challenge, but one that we are very excited about," Bradley said.

As for the slick, plastic field, "players will tell you that the game is not the same on artificial turf. I think we always feel that the game is best, on a very good natural surface," he said.

Tonight's match in Costa Rica is game four of 10 final round qualifying matches for the six-team group. Game five against third place Honduras is Saturday in the U.S. city of Chicago, where the Americans will have a heavy home field advantage. The United States has not lost at home to a regional opponent in 52 straight games since 2001. 

Bradley says the U.S. has had a good start in its
soccer players
U.S. Soccer photo
U.S. players practice at Saprissa stadium

qualifying matches, but the team is aware that Costa Rica and Honduras also have played well so far.

Mexico, El Salvador, and the twin island nation of Trinidad and Tobago are the other three nations in the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football World Cup qualifying group. The top three teams will earn berths in next year's World Cup tournament in South Africa.

The United States leads the group standings with seven points from the first three games. Costa Rica is second with six, Honduras is third with four points. Mexico is fourth with three points, while El Salvador, and Trinidad and Tobago are tied at the bottom of the group with two points each. 

U.S. defender Frankie Hejduk has been ruled out of the match against Costa Rica as he continues to recover from a strained groin, the team said Tuesday. The veteran of four World Cup cycles is targeting a return to action for the Chicago game against Honduras. Meanwhile Bradley has summoned Houston Dynamo midfielder Ricardo Clark to Costa Rica. He was part of the team's last visit to Estadio Ricardo Saprissa in 2005.

The U.S. team has been in Costa Rica practicing since Monday. The evening game is on ESPN as well as the local San José television stations.

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Flu cases here in Costa Rica
jump by 19 more sufferers

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff
and wire service reports

Costa Rica swine flu cases have grown to nearly 70 with 19 more being confirmed since Thursday. The Ministero de Salud put the number at 69 Tuesday.

Health officials were reported in search of contacts for the individuals who make up the new cases in an effort to prevent futher transmissions.

In Chile officials say a 37-year-old man has died after contracting the swine flu virus, in what is South America's first death from the new flu strain.

Officials said Tuesday that the man, identified as Fernando Vera, died early Monday in the city of Puerto Montt, about 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) south of the capital, Santiago. He is reported to have suffered respiratory failure.

Chile has 313 confirmed swine flu cases, more than any other country in South America. 

Before the Chilean death was announced, the World Health Organization had put the global death toll from the flu strain at 117. The health organization also said it is closer to declaring the swine flu outbreak a pandemic as the infection appears to be taking hold outside North America.

Keiji Fukuda, the World Health Organization assistant director general, Tuesday said a number of countries appear to be making the transition from travel-related cases to sustained patterns of infection in local communities.

The agency has said previously it needs to see clear evidence of sustained community transmission of the virus from person to person in at least two regions of the world before it raises its alert to the Phase Six pandemic stage.

The alert level is currently at Phase Five. The organization says 64 countries have officially reported nearly 19,000 flu cases. Fukuda has said a pandemic has nothing to do with the severity of the disease, but rather with its geographic spread.

President of Brazil visits
for discussions with Arias

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio da Silva arrived in Costa Rica Tuesday afternoon for an official visit. The discussions are likely to revolve around energy and access to markets.

The visiting president will be the guest of honor at a luncheon today in the Teatro Nacional.

Da Silva has been successful in negotiating with all Brazil's trading partners, including the United States, the People's Republic of China and the more leftist governments of Venezuela, Ecuador and Bolivia.

On his arrival, da Silva praised President Óscar Arias Sánchez for his contributions to peace.  He noted that Arias had visited him in Brazil.

Little progress reported
on Cuba's suspended status

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says no consensus has been reached on re-admitting Cuba to the Organization of American States, which suspended the country in 1962 in response to its Communist government.

Secretary Clinton made the comment Tuesday as she wrapped up a day of negotiations in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, where foreign ministers from the 34-member organization have been holding their General Assembly. 

Clinton, who now heads to Egypt, has said Cuba must meet certain conditions before it can rejoin the Organization of American States. She says Cuba must release political prisoners and improve basic rights first. 

Earlier, Honduran President Manuel Zelaya urged that the resolution suspending Cuba's membership be revoked. He told the gathering of foreign ministers it is time to correct what he called "that mistake."

Zelaya said failure to rescind the suspension would make Latin American nations accomplices in the decision.

The U.S. stance has left it increasingly isolated as several Latin American countries have restored diplomatic ties with Cuba and pushed for an end to the decades-old U.S. embargo.

Other Organization of American States members, including Bolivia, Nicaragua and Venezuela, have described Cuba's exclusion from the organization as a mistake. Cuba, for its part, has said it has no interest in resuming its membership.

Teacher convicted of sex abuse

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A male teacher was convicted Tuesday in Liberia of sexual abuse of a female student and sentenced to 16 years in prison. The crimes took place from April to August 2007, said the Poder Judical, which identified the teacher by the last names of  Morales Bejarano.

Our reader's opinion
He opposes income tax
on U.S. citizens overseas

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

I moved to Costa Rica in 2003 because I no longer wanted to live in a country that would elect a truly venal man like George Bush as president. I have no property or assets there, haven't returned since I left and have no plans to go back there ever. So I have not used/consumed any goods, services nor have I had any impact on any infrastructure supported by taxpayer dollars in the U. S. since 2002.

It should come as no surprise that I think I should be exempt from paying taxes of any kind to the IRS, (Infernal Revenue Sheisters) But more than that, I think it's unconstitutional for the government to demand that I do so. The fact that I was born in the U. S. and am still a U. S. citizen should not give the government the right to permanently tie me to their system of taxation when The System isn't doing anything/I'm not asking it to do anything for ME.

I find this tax precept particularly odious because the same people in the government who are now making the most noise about chasing down private citizens who may be making money abroad are the ones who have studiously avoided doing anything about the billionaires and their billion dollar corporations who for years have been shipping hundreds of thousands of U. S. jobs overseas in order to avoid paying payroll taxes, (among other things.) Apparently Obama, et. al., want to do something about this by proposing new taxes on companies that "outsource." This is long overdue and is totally appropriate because these companies and their wealthy owners still live/work/consume services in the U. S.

Someone suggested to me recently that if I have no plans to return to the U. S. and don't want to pay taxes, I should renounce my citizenship. This would be a really bad idea. I've spoken to several Gringos who've renounced after coming here, and they all tell me that they were treated like terrorists by immigration officials when they wanted to return to the U. S for a visit.

I understand that there is an $86K exemption, but the principal still reeks.
Dean Barbour
Manuel Antonio

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San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, June 3, 2009, Vol. 9, No. 108

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A guest editorial
Quick trigger on boat import tax weighs against tourism

By Elena Ross V.
Special to A.M. Costa Rica

I am writing from Puesta del Sol Marina in Nicaragua.  I joined a friend on his 41-foot sailboat in Mexico April 28, and we are having a delightful time. (Swine Flu epidemic and all.  I haven't had my temperature taken so many times on one month in my life. But at every border they want to practice emergency preparedness)

I'm always promoting Costa Rica.  Unfortunately many "Yates" have chosen to bypass Costa Rica entirely.  No. 1 reason, crime of course.

The No. 2 reason, after 90 days Costa Rica wants to bill you for the IMPORT tax.  So, many people just sail on by and never get to discover the beauty of Costa Rica nor the wonderful Ticos.

One boat was on the dock at Bahia del Sol in El Salvador for 18 months, and NO ONE ever mentioned a theft or loss!!!!  We all have nothing but good things to say about our time in El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua. How ironic, that Costa Rica with nearly 20 years of high tourism, has the worst roads in the region.  ONLY Costa Rica has a 90-day limit on your boat. Sailors are free to enjoy these other countries as long as they like, and spend their $$$ at the marinas or in the little towns
boats in Nicaragua
Elena Ross V. photo
Puesta del Sol seen from the top of a 50-foot mast

for MONTHS and years at a time.

What a disappointment: Costa Rica, a land so rich with potential, has allowed crime and corruption to reduce the very tourism the tourism institute is spending millions to create!!!!.

I LOVE the Ticos, and their land.  When will they wake up and address the problems?

Drug police round up five as suspects in tanker scheme
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Drug investigators detained five persons Tuesday in an investigation that began April 13, 2008, when police in Nicaragua stopped a Costa Rican-registered tractor trailer containing 705 hidden kilos of chlorohydrate of cocaine.

The driver, identified by the last names of Marín Jiménez, was carrying a legal load of cabbage, carrots and tomatoes, anti-drug police said here Tuesday.

Police here began the investigation and formalized it with the filing of documents last October. What they uncovered, they reported Tuesday was an elaborate scheme to ship cocaine from Costa Rica through Central America to México. There, of course, the drugs were smuggled into the United States.

The key element in the scheme were tanker trailers of the type used to transport agricultural chemicals. Smugglers would put packages of cocaine in the tankers and then fill the tanks with ammonium or other caustic liquids.

It was not until last April 29 that anti-drug agents in Peñas Blancas intercepted one such tanker. They said it was carrying 1,560 kilos of cocaine, some 3,432 pounds.

The arrests Tuesday of four men and a woman were related to the operation and the cleaning of these tanker trailers.  The Policía de Control de Drogas still is seeking an individual they identify as a ringleader.

There may be some environmental concerns, too. Police said the tankers were taken to a location in the Provincia de Limón where they were cleaned of chemicals, which were dumped on the ground. A man with the last names
drug tanker
Ministerio de Gobernación, Policía
y Serguridad Pública.
Here is the tanker trailer police searched April 29

of Montealto Calderón was detained Tuesday in Matina, and police said he was involved with cleaning the tanks.

Also detained was a man with the last names of Ugalde Jiménez who lives in the southern zone. One of the vehicles involved is registered to a woman with the last names of  Cubillo Elizondo. She was detained in Cariari de Pococí.

Another vehicle is registered to an individual with the last names of Castro Vargas, who was detained in Coto Brus. A man who is accused of taking care of the vehicles also was detained and identified by the last names of Molina Araya.

A man identified by the last names of Arias Fallas still is being sought, said the Ministerio de Gobernación, Policía y Seguridad Pública.

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San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, June 3, 2009, Vol. 9, No. 108

Local veterans will commemorate D-Day this Saturday
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff
and wire service reports

Local veterans will commemorate D-Day Saturday with a gathering at a local pub.

Although many are retired, most still are too young to have participated in the World War II beach landing 65 years ago.

The event at Stan's Irish Pub in Zapote is being organized by the American Legion, although others are welcome. Most Legion members are American, but the Normandy landing included troops from Canada, the United Kingdom and Norway, as well as Free French units.

Pub owner Stanley Salas, himself a U.S. veteran, said that the 4 p.m. commemoration might include the showing of an appropriate movie about World War II.

The pub is on the north side of the highway east of the bridge over the Circunvalación and west of Casa Presidencial. Salas said his business is opposite the Cruz Roja in Zapote.

On June 6, 1944 over 160,000 Allied troops landed on the beaches of Normandy, in northern France, in a push to liberate Europe from Hitler's Nazi forces. Now, 65 years later, the memories of that day linger along that windswept coast and its quiet villages.

Stretches of broad, sandy beach form much of this coastline in northern France. It is a good place to walk and think.

But, on June 6, 1944, it was not so. American, British and Canadian troops and French commandos stormed these beaches from their landing craft. They ran, crawled and fought their way through German gunfire from above the beaches.

This was "Operation Overlord," commonly known as D-Day.

The Allied operation took place on beaches all along the Normandy coast. Over 150,000 Americans, Canadians, Britons and French came ashore here. Another 20,000 Americans parachuted behind enemy lines.

Stephane Simmonet is a military historian at the War Memorial Museum in nearby Caen. "It was the beginning of the liberation of Europe. The objective of the Allies was Berlin, not Normandy, not Caen," he said.

In the months after D-Day came the liberation of Paris,
Navy memorial
Stars and Stripes photo
Visitors observe the U.S. Navy memorial on Utah Beach

the push across the Rhine River into Germany and onward. It would be another year before the war in Europe was over.

The sacrifices were great. In the U.S. cemetery at Colleville-sur-Mer lie the remains of more than 9,000 Americans who died on the beaches of Normandy or fighting in the hinterland in the weeks that followed.

In the nearby German war cemetery in La Cambe lie nearly 20,000 German soldiers.

More than 425,000 Allied and German soldiers were killed, wounded or missing in action during the fighting in Normandy.

Thousands of French civilians were also killed, mainly in Allied bombings.

Eight allied ships were sunk here, and 1,068 sailors and coast guardsmen died. Roughly one-fifth of all U.S. casualties on the first day of the invasion were Navy. Last year a memorial to the Navy and coast guardsmen was inaugurated at Utah Beach.

These were the combatants who ran the landing craft that brought troops to the beach or brought fire on the enemy from offshore.

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San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, June 3, 2009, Vol. 9, No. 108

A.M. Costa Rica
users guide

This is a brief users guide to A.M. Costa Rica.

Old pages

Each day someone complains via e-mail that the newspages are from yesterday or the day before. A.M. Costa Rica staffers check every page and every link when the newspaper is made available at 2 a.m. each week day.

So the problem is with the browser in each reader's computer. Particularly when the connection with the  server is slow, a computer will look to the latest page in its internal memory and serve up that page.

Readers should refresh the page and, if necessary, dump the cache of their computer, if this problem persists. Readers in Costa Rica have this problem frequently because the local Internet provider has continual problems.


The A.M. Costa Rica search page has a list of all previous editions by date and a space to search for specific words and phrases. The search will return links to archived pages.


A typical edition will consist of a front page and four other newspages. Each of these pages can be reached by links near the top and bottom of the pages.


Five classified pages are updated daily. Employment listings are free, as are listings for accommodations wanted, articles for sale and articles wanted. The tourism page and the real estate sales and real estate rentals are updated daily.

Advertising information

A summary of advertising rates and sizes are available for display and classifieds.


A.M. Costa Rica makes its monthly statistics available to advertisers and readers. It is HERE! 

Contacting us

Both the main telephone number and the editor's e-mail address are listed on the front page near the date.

Visiting us

Directions to our office and other data, like bank account numbers are on the about us page.

Air Force general vows he'll
continue SouthCom effort

Special to A.M. Costa Rica

President Barack Obama’s nominee to lead U.S. Southern Command promised Tuesday to continue the interagency approach that has been successful in the region.

The nominee, Air Force Lt. Gen. Douglas M. Fraser, told the Senate Armed Services Committee that the
Gen. Fraser
Lt. Gen. Fraser
interagency approach must be the template for Southern Command.

“As I’ve studied what SouthCom is already doing, I think they already have a very robust program that lets us do that, a very interagency, very cooperative program,” Fraser said. The general is currently the deputy commander at U.S. Pacific Command based in Hawaii.

If the Senate confirms Fraser as the commander of U.S. Southern Command, he would become a
full general and replace Navy Adm. James Stavridis, who has been nominated to be the commander of U.S. European Command. Southern Command headquarters is in Miami, and it has jurisdiction over all U.S. military operations in the Caribbean and Latin America. Fraser is a command pilot with 2,700 flying hours.

The issues in Central and South America cannot be solved by the military alone, Fraser said, adding that many countries need financial, economic and governmental expertise to move ahead.

The U.S. military can work with nations in the region to improve security and increase the professionalism of the militaries, but it is only part of what is needed, he said.

“It's a whole-of-government approach; it's an interagency approach; it's an international approach,” the general said.

Fraser said he sees two basic issues that U.S. Southern Command needs to work on. The first is to defend the southern approaches to the United States.

“It is and will remain a key effort,” he said. The second, he said, is to develop “an international and interagency approach. The issues that are resident there require us to take that approach.”

“I am no stranger to Latin America,” he said. “I spent three years in high school in Bogota, Colombia, graduating there in 1971. During this time, I gained a life-long appreciation and affection for Latin America.”

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A.M. Costa Rica
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San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, June 3, 2009, Vol. 9, No. 108

Latin American news digest
Residents in west will get
improved alternate route

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The transport ministry has told residents of Santa Ana and the Ciudad Colón area that there will be improvements made on the alternate route from Ciudad Colón through Santa Ana and Escazú.

At issue is the 310-colon toll expected to be charged shortly by Autopista del Sol, the concession holder that has improved the Autopista Próspero Fernández.

Residents of the area have been protesting the toll and note that it will put a burden on individuals who have to travel the route several times a day.  The toll is collected coming and going instead of just one way, which had been the case.

The amount of the toll has been set by the Authoridad Reguladora de Servicios Públicos, not the concession holder. It is about 54 cents, but considerably higher than the former 80-colon toll charged just one way.

In addition the transport minister, Karla González, said that bus turnouts will be constructed along the highway and that a pedestrian bridge will be put up over the improved highway at The Form office center in Pozos de Santa Ana. These also have been demanded by residents.

Ms. González met with residents.

One issue was the time period. She said that enlarging the tunnel underneath the autopista at Pozos was a legal issue. In order to do so, the ministry has to take over two adjacent lots. The number of owners total 42, so contacting them has been a problem, she said.

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