Vol.18  No. 605 Published Tuesday, June 5, 2018   / First news page
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The U.S. and Costa Rica offer aid to
Guatemala after the eruption of Volcán de Fuego

By A.M. Costa Rica staff

The U.S. government said Monday that it will help families affected by the eruption of the Volcán de Fuego that took place Sunday. As of Monday night, the eruption had already left 62 dead, 45 injured and more than 1.7 million people indirectly affected.

"The United States will help families affected by the eruption of Volcán de Fuego in Guatemala and sends its condolences to the loved ones of those who perished as a result of this terrible natural disaster," said Heather Nauert. She is acting under secretary of State for public diplomacy at the U.S. State Department.

In addition, Nauert said that the embassy in Guatemala is in contact with the Guatemalan authorities and willing to support their efforts.

"We express our firm support for the Guatemalan people during this difficult time," she added.

Costa Rican President Carlos Alvarado said he called his Guatemalan counterpart, Jimmy Morales, to offer help from the country.

Alvarado expressed solidarity and support on behalf of the Costa Rican people.

"We have placed ourselves at the service of our brother country, Guatemala, in the face of the situation they are experiencing. Our condolences and solidarity are with all the relatives of the victims and affected people," said the president.

The National Emergency Commission activated its Emergency Operations Center  to analyze the situation in Guatemala and define possible support efforts.

Likewise, the Legislative Assembly of Costa Rica approved a letter to express its solidarity with the people and government of Guatemala and urged Alvarado to collaborate with that Central American nation.

The president of the emergency commission, Alexander Solís, said that "we are waiting for the formal call for international assistance from Guatemala to provide the specific collaborations that they require."

A.M. Costa Rica wire services photo   
Ashes thrown by the Volcán de Fuego has
affected people and infrastructure.

"We believe that we can contribute in the search and rescue of people, technical evaluation, both infrastructure and agriculture, humanitarian assistance and collaboration in the recovery phase," said Solís.

Solís said that at the moment no Costa Rican institution is receiving donations or has any organization set up bank accounts or collection centers of goods.

The National Institute of Forensic Sciences of Guatemala said that 62 people have died due to the eruption of the Volcán de Fuego, which has also caused an undetermined number of missing people.

Although the activity of the volcano has decreased, authorities of the Central American country do not rule out that it can revive, warned the secretary of the National Coordinator for the Reduction of Disasters of Guatemala, Sergio García Cabañas.

The president of that country, Morales, visited the area of the tragedy Monday and asked patience to the inhabitants of El Rodeo in the southern department of Escuintla, one of the areas most devastated by the violent volcanic eruption.

The Fuego volcano is located between the departments of Escuintla, Sacatepéquez and Chimaltenango, in the south central zone of Guatemala.

Costa Rica shows strong concerns over
the Nicaragua and Venezuela crisis before the OAS

By A.M. Costa Rica staff

Costa Rica Foreign Minister Epsy Campbell underlined the Costa Rica concern regarding the alleged violation of human rights in Nicaragua and Venezuela, in the context of the socio-political crises that these nations are experiencing. She spoke before the 48th Annual General Assembly of the Organization of American States.

In the case of Nicaragua, thousands of citizens have taken the streets to protest against the government of Daniel Ortega after April 16 when he approved a reform to the Nicaraguan Institute of Social Security which increased the amount that the workers had to pay. In response to the demonstrations, the government reacted with violent measures that have claimed the lives of more than 100 people in the last month, according to Interamerican Court of Human Rights.

 Venezuela is experiencing conditions of social unrest due to the results of the vote  May 20 in which President Nicolás Maduro was re-elected in an election international organizations have said did not adhere to the standards of a democratic process.

The annual Organization of American States assembly takes place in Washington.

"Costa Rica refuses to remain silent before the escalation of violence in Nicaragua and joins the rejection of the international community to the deplorable events that have occurred in recent weeks, which have claimed the lives of more than 76 people and left hundreds injured and disappeared; figures that continue to increase," said the foreign minister who also is first vice president.

Campbell said that "as a nation that believes in and promotes respect for human rights and the rule of law, we urge the government of Nicaragua to immediately cease all repression of protesters and the arbitrary detentions."

She added that Costa Rica shares with the Nicaraguan people "much more than a geographic neighborhood," therefore, "the suffering of its people is a pain that also reaches the people of Costa Rica, both brother countries who yearn for a just, peaceful and inclusive society."

Along the same lines, the foreign minister referred to the situation in Venezuela and said that, since Costa Rica is a defender of democracy, development and human rights, "it can not look away from the situation with the Venezuelan country."

"My country cannot recognize the results of the electoral process, which was recently carried out by Venezuela which had great vices of legitimacy and fails to meet the minimum international standards of a pluralistic, free, democratic and transparent electoral process," she added.

The foreign minister's statement was not well received by Venezuela's Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza, who labeled Campbell's proclamation as violent. "We did not expect Costa Rica to integrate so quickly into the aggression against Venezuela," he said.

Arrenza added that Venezuela was leaving the Organization of American States, and that officials were counting the days for it. "How are they going to suspend us from an institution we left,” he asked. “We're leaving now."

A.M. Costa Rica wire services photo   
The country's position on Venezuela was not welcomed
by that country's representative.

During the 48h assembly of the Organization of American States, members will likely focus on two topics: the crisis in Venezuela and the situation in Nicaragua.

The issue of the Nicaraguan country was not planned to be raised as part of the official agenda a few months ago, as Venezuela's had been. that had even been discussed in the last two Organization of American States assemblies in Cancun last year and in Santo Domingo in 2016, but not as part of the official agenda.

For the inclusion of the situation of Venezuela within the official agenda, a vote was taken in the early hours of Monday and the approval was obtained, where two thirds of the member states agreed.

The elections May 20 in Venezuela assured President Maduro he could serve until 2025. However, the opposition and the international community refuse to recognize the results.

The Lima Group met this Monday morning to agree on the final text of the resolution they will take to the General Assembly. The group consists of most Latin countries concerned about the Venezuelan situation.

Although this text contains content similar to the statements made previously, the difference would be that this resolution may include a paragraph that calls for the suspension of Venezuela from the Organization of American States.

This mechanism responds to the highest form of sanction of the organization and previously has only been applied in two cases: Honduras in 2009, after the coup d'état that deposed Manuel Zelaya as president and Cuba after the triumph of the Revolution of Fidel Castro in 1959.




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  Published Tuesday, June 5, 2018   / Second news page
Country invests $7.5 million in flu vaccines

By AM Costa Rica staff

Costa Rican health authorities announced that the annual vaccination campaign against four types of influenza will begin Monday. Officials have invested $7.5 million in vaccines.

The coordinator of immunization of the Costa Rican Social Security Fund, Leandra Abarca, said in a statement that the entity acquired a high-quality vaccine, as it protects against four different types: two of influenza A (H1N1 and H3N2) and two of influenza B (Yamagata and Victoria), which are the ones that most affect the population.

She said Costa Rica is one of the few countries in the region that acquired this vaccine, which is the one recommended by the World Organization for the coming years.

The authorities will deliver free, priority vaccination to children over 6 months and under 5 years, those over 60, as well as people with risk factors such as the obesity, diabetes, a heart condition, respiratory problems and pregnancy.

In 2017, 76 people died in Costa Rica due to causes associated with influenza, 43 fewer victims than in 2016.

A.M. Costa Rica wire services photo        
Seniors will be among the priority population
to have access to the vaccine.

President faces the renegotiation
of several collective bargains in the coming month

By AM Costa Rica staff

The collective bargaining pact of National Registry employees is the first one in a list where the presidency ordered the renegotiation.

The agreement expires July 21, according to information provided by the Ministry of Labor and Social Security.

Among the bonuses that the workers of that institution have is a vacation period from 15 to 30 business days.

In addition to this agreement, in 2018 those of the the Port Administration and Economic Development Board of the Atlantic Coast, known as Japdeva, and the National Institute for Cooperative Development, known as Infocoop, will expire.

President Carlos Alvarado signed on Friday a directive that had been announced by the minister of Finance, Rocío Aguilar, before the full legislature.

The document obliges all institutions that have such agreements to renegotiate them after their expiration date. The agreements resemble union contracts that are negotiated by employee organizations with the state agencies.

A.M. Costa Rica wire services photo        
The worker's benefits will be one of the most challenging initiatives of this government.

Aguilar said the government will include a representative of the Ministry of Finance in the negotiations during the talks.

By 2019, the collective bargains of the Technological Institute of Costa Rica, Costa Rican Petroleum Refinery, Bank of Costa Rica, Fire Department, Social Protection Board and National Institute of Learning will expire. Some labor agreements have been criticized as being overly generous.

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Published Tuesday, June 5, 2018   / Third news page

Golfo Dulce Forest celebrates its 40 anniversary

By A.M. Costa Rica staff

Thanks to funding coming from the I Exchange of Debt for Nature between the United States and Costa Rica, the Arboretum Project will celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Golfo Dulce Forest Reserve in the southern region of the country.

The first stage of the Arboretum Consolidation project, according to the Neotrópica Foundation, is an initiative focused on conservation, research, local tourism and environmental education through the empowerment of neighboring communities, which was celebrated with a festival with the communities benefiting from it.

The Arboretum project was financed with funds from the I Exchange of Debt for Nature with the United States.

The first stage of the project has been called Consolidation of the Arboretum of the Golfo Dulce Forest Reserve as an instrument to increase the knowledge and awareness of local actors in the field of forest conservation, according to the foundation.

The execution of the project was a three-year work process of a collaborative platform composed of community institutions, the Osa Conservation Area and the Neotrópica Foundation, through which three rural communities in the area benefited directly: Chal Bay, Alto San Juan and San Juan de Sierpe, totaling around 3,393 people, the document added.

The Arboretum project aims to ensure the conservation of the tropical forests of the Osa Conservation Area, in response to illegal logging, hunting, deforestation and changes in land use for the development of other commercial activities such as livestock and African palm, said the foundation.

An arboretum is a collection of trees of ecological value and in this case, it is composed of species of high biological value for the Osa Peninsula since many of the species found there are endemic. The project also strengthens mechanisms that allow opening spaces for the development of knowledge, research and awareness on the part of neighboring communities, according to the document.

A.M. Costa Rica wire services photo      
The project was mainly funded by an alliance with the U.S.

Javier Carazo, a biologist at the Neotrópica Foundation, said that the "organization has coordinated this process involving local communities in the management and conservation of natural resources, the three neighboring communities, which work together to achieve the objectives.

Adriana Fernández, environmental manager of Neotrópica, said "this process has become a truly enriching experience, where the foundations have been laid to achieve true sustainable development, providing local people with key tools to enhance the value of the Arboretum and contribute to local development. "

"One interesting thing about the project is that initially it was thought to be assumed by adults only, but as it moved forward children and young people where the most interested parties, who will now be an active part of the local committee of the Arboretum," said Juan José Jiménez, administrator of the conservation area.










Published Tuesday, June 5, 2018   / Fourth news page
The legislative bill seeks to create a space registry in Costa Rica
By A.M. Costa Rica staff

A new legislative bill will seek the creation of a registry of space objects, which will be responsible for documenting and promoting research in this area. The proposal was filed last week by Pedro Muñoz, a lawmaker from the Christian Social Unity Party.

The draft will also ask Costa Rica to comply with the commitments acquired by the country in 2010 when it adhered to the U.N. Convention on the Registration of Objects Launched into Outer Space.

Muñoz said Costa Rica needs to promote actions to encourage research and development in the field.

"The National Registry plays an essential role in putting the law into practice. That's why when I found out about the joint efforts that had been taking place for a long time, not only to put a satellite in space but to give legal protection to the issue, I did not hesitate to give my support to it," said the legislator.

Muñoz was part of an event to present the initiative along with members of the Foreign Ministry and several representatives of the National Registry, which would be in charge of the new unit, and the minister of Justice, Marcia González.

In general, the proposal says that all objects thrown into space or driven by the country's initiative, whether or not placed in orbit from the national territory, should be registered.

The president of the Central American Association of Aeronautics and Space, Carlos Enrique Alvarado, said the plan will serve to strengthen the capabilities of the National Registry and help develop skills in the matter.
Julio Knight courtesy photo    
This is the first satellite launched by Central America on April 2 in a project led by Costa Rica.

Likewise, he said his organization has been working and talking about the country having this type of registry for almost a decade, added the proposal is an incentive to "properly insert ourselves in this new technological paradigm."

Finally, the director general of the National Registry, Agustín Meléndez, said that the space issue requires joint efforts at the institutional level.

After its approval, its regulations would be promoted with the technical, legal and formalities necessary for the operation of the registry," he said.

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Published Tuesday, June 5, 2018   / Fifth news page
Contest seeks young people who want to sing for peace

By A.M. Costa Rica staff

By creating your own lyrics, you can be the creator of peace. That's the message the contest Song for Peace wants to deliver to students and youth in 2018.

"Let our voices be heard" is this year's motto, in order to celebrate the 70 years of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The contest is aimed at students enrolled in the primary and secondary levels of the educational system, with ages between 12 and 21 years, according to the National System of Music Education.

"It is important that young people participate in this contest since, through music, values can be promoted, both in relation to peace, and the alternative solution of conflicts," said Ernesto Brenes, academic director of the system.

Finalists will be able to participate in a creative training camp that will take place at the Juan XXIII Social School in Tres Ríos in July.

In 2017, the first place winner was Jessica Matus Moreno of the Professional Technical High School of the East. Her song was “Only with a Word.”

In second place was Angelica Blanco and Bryan Monge of the San Vito Nocturnal Academic High School, with the song "Faces of joy."

A.M. Costa Rica wire services photo
The contest is open to all students countrywide aged 12 to 21.

The young winners received various awards offered by companies and civic organizations. The winner also had, as part of the prize, an audiovisual production and musical arrangements.

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The Trouble with Cash
By John H Paterson
Greg and Liz must sell their property in Costa Rica to finance their retirement. They receive an offer for their full asking price of $1million, but it comes with one condition... the payment is to be in cash. They go for it. Things go wrong. The money is stolen.The local police are no help so Greg devises his own plan to get their money back. Buy the book on Amazon. Click Here

Published Tuesday, June 5, 2018   / Sixth news page
The 'yes' option is apparently winning
the plebiscite to create the municipal council of Nosara

By A.M. Costa Rica staff

The 'yes' option leads in Sunday's referendum in Nicoya, which aims to create of the municipal council of Nosara and provide greater administrative independence to that community in Guanacaste.

"Preliminarily, there has not been a definitive result, but we do have the participation of 5,293 people going for yes and 2,680 going no," said Raymer Loaiciga, the president of the organizing committee in a video provided by the press office of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal.

The tribunal said that 34 votes were declared voided and 193 were blank.

For the plebiscite to be valid at least 15 percent of the 40,863 enrolled Nicoyans must vote for the council. That is 6,130 people. The proposal still requires 837 votes more.

The preliminary result does not include the count of nine polling stations, according to Loaciaga. "They remain pending review, we have not been able to process them."

If the new municipal council is created, the district will acquire functional and budgetary autonomy and may organize its municipal services while still attached to the City of Nicoya, according to the Costa Rican Municipal Code.

If the council is created, an intendant must also be appointed, a position of a popular election that has powers similar to those of a mayor. This post would be voted on in 2020.

Thursday the electoral authority said that results of this plebiscite will be ready 15 days after the referendum. Loaciaga said in the video that during this week the manual counting will begin.

A.M. Costa Rica wire services photo
The results need at least 15 percent participation from registered voters to be valid.

In the country there are currently eight municipal district councils. They are in Peñas Blancas de San Ramón, Tucurrique de Jiménez, Cervantes de Alvarado, Colorado de Abangares, as well as Monteverde, Lepanto, Paquera and Cóbano de Puntarenas.

The most recent antecedent of a plebiscite to create a municipal jurisdiction of this type occurred in 2008 when Pejibaye de Cartago sought that goal. However, the votes necessary for that purpose were not reached.

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Published Tuesday, June 5, 2018   / Seventh news page

Public spaces influence the mood and productivity of citizens

By A.M. Costa Rica staff

The design of public spaces, such as streets, parks or squares, can generate positive or negative emotions in passers-by, a design expert said.

According to the interior designer and researcher, Marcela Soto, it is essential to beautify the environment through public spaces and help citizens have a better mood and get along better with each other.

"The ideal is to design spaces that motivate. Good design definitely makes us much more productive and also helps us to be happier," she said.

Also Soto said that the alteration of the mood of the pedestrians is due to the harmony of the environment, since these spaces with an appropriate design, transmit positive energy and even peace.

According to Soto, harmony is achieved through the correct application of color and design.

Therefore, all the details can make the difference: from the location of a dumpster to the correct lighting, she said

A.M. Costa Rica wire services photo
Public design could be used as a tool to improve citizen's
mood and well-being, according to the expert.

"Harmony in the environment is fundamental. This is not only design thinking but also caring about all the people who visit or transit in those public spaces, thinking about the needs of the elderly, people with reduced mobility, and even people living in the street.