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These stories were published first Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2001
Uncle Sam set another visa lottery

Costa Ricans who want to win an immigration visa to the United States have to apply between Oct. 1 and Oct. 31, according to the U.S. Department of State.

 The so-called diversity visa lottery makes available up to
55,000 permanent resident immigrant visas each year by random selection. Central and Latin America represent one of six regional areas whose citizens are entitled to apply for entry in 2003.

 Citizens of countries that send more than 50,000 immigrants to the United States each year are barred from the lottery. Those countries include Canada, mainland China, Colombia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Haiti, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Pakistan, the Philippines, South Korea, the
United Kingdom and dependent territories and Vietnam.

 Because no country can win more than 7 percent of the visas, small Costa Ricans would seem to have a statistical advantage. In addition, the Nicaraguan and Central American Relief Act passed by the U.S. Congress in November 1997 stipulates that up to 5,000 of the 55,000 annually allocated visas will go to that area.

 Further information is available at the U.S. embassy, on the web (e-mail: kccdv@state.gov or browser: http://travel.state.gov) by telephone [(202) 331-7199] and by automated FAX [(202) 647-3000 (code 1550)].
 
 

Both parents must sign for minors 

Passport applications for minors under the age of 14 require the consent of both parents or legal guardians, The U.S. Department of State announced.  The new regulation is designed to make it tougher for one parent to take children and run out on the other spouse. 

The new regulation is available at: http://travel.state.gov/specialreq.htm
 

Ambassador appointment moves to Senate

John J. Danilovich of California officially got the nomination to be U.S. ambassador to Costa Rica July 31. that was the day that President Bush's staff sent the nomination to the U.S. Senate, the White House said.

Danilovich, who is now living in England, is considered a good choice by Republicans in Costa Rica. Susan Tessem of Republicans Abroad praised Danilovich Tuesday for his work with Republicans Abroad in Europe during the last 10 years. 

The nomination will be taken up by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Bush announced his intention to nominate Danilovich July 19, so the nomination was not a surprise.

"John Danilovich is a successful business leader with a strong background in foreign affairs and international trade.  John will further strengthen our ties to Costa Rica and I am confident that he will be an effective Ambassador," said President Bush at the time.

The White House gave this biographical summary:

Danilovich is currently principal of Danilovich and Co., a consulting group specializing in joint ventures between the United States and Europe. Additionally, he is a member of the Board of Directors of Cross Border Publishing and Tabley Ltd, as well as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Bear Stearns Emerging Markets Fixed Income Fund.  From 1987 to 1990, Danilovich was a partner and consultant with the Eisenhower Group, and from 1977 to 1988 he served as a member of the Executive Management Board of Interocean Shipping Group. 

He was appointed by former President George Bush to be a member of the Board of Directors of the Panama Canal Commission and was chairman of the Commission's Transition Committee. He is a graduate of Stanford University and received a master's degree from the University of Southern California. 

Have you a local news item that should be in our news columns. Send it today to editor at A.M. Costa Rica.
 

 

Solís brings program

to Republicans

Special to A.M. Costa Rica
 Lies and unethical behavior by politicians have undermined Costa Rica so badly that no major party can orchestrate changes the country needs to prosper, according to Ottón Solís. 
 Solís is the former Liberation Party official who has put himself forward as a third-party, middle-of-the-road alternative in the 2002 presidential election. He spoke in English to Republicans Abroad of Costa Rica Tuesday.
 Because the Costa Rican people are wary of politicians, they will not accept the sacrifices that are necessary to snap the country out of a stagnation of 15 to 20 years, he said.
 Costa Rica is living in the past on the great reforms of the Post-World War II period and "we are not preparing for the future," he told the largely North American group in the Melía Confort-Corobocí La Sabana.
 Solís said his third-party effort came about because the existing major parties are paralyzed by their ethical transgressions. He said other minor parties were too extremist, either to the far left or far right.
 If he is not elected, he predicted that the Costa Rican people will seek desperate changes in 2006 by electing someone who resembles Daniel Ortega, the Sandinista leader of Nicaragua, or Hugo Chavez, the populist president of Venezuela. He blamed the current majority party in Nicaragua for creating the conditions that favor Ortega's likely election there.
 "When the moderate forces . . . do not sort out problems . . . . When the masses, get desperate they vote for anything, he said.
 In order to provide the transparency in government Costa Ricans need, his party, Partido Acción Ciudadano, will nominate non-party members to legislative and other political positions upon the recommendation of various social groups, he said. But to avoid political corruption "we are going to require every candidate to sign a commitment concerning ethics and our constitution," Solís said. 
 And as a first step when elected, he promised to target tax collection for a year with special emphasis on customs officials.
 "We don't plan to raise the tax rate. We plan  to go very heavy on tax evasion starting at customs," he said, adding that customs officials steal nearly 3.5 percent of the country's gross domestic product each year. He will go so far as to order his minister of finances to spend at least half a day each week at Juan Santamaría Airport keeping an eye on imports and customs payments.
 "Paying taxes in this country is more or less of a joke," said Solís, a British-trained economist and a former minister in a previous administration.
 He also will take steps to abolish political appointments in the police department and in education so that the true leaders and hard workers can emerge and be rewarded, he said. 
 "We are being governed like an African country," he said of the current system of political appointments. 
 Solís stopped short of telling the Republican crowd that he would reduce government in all areas. He said with the increasing amount of poverty in Costa Rica, the state has an important role with electricity, telecommunications and others aspects of the infrastructure he termed social mobilizers. 
 A recent poll conducted for the Spanish-language newspaper La Nación gave Solís about 8 percent of the vote from about half of the respondents, those who said they had made up their mind. Social Christian candidate Abel Pacheco had 44 percent, and Liberation candidate Rolando Araya had 35. 
 But Solís was upbeat and said his political support and party were growing fast: "Those of you who think you are listening to the Ralph Nader of Costa Rica are very, very wrong." 
 Nader, of course, is the consumer advocate and U.S. Green Party candidate who ran a presidential campaign last year that earned fewer votes than his supporters expected.

 

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