A.M. Costa Rica
Your daily English-language news source
Place your free classified ad


Click Here
Home
Calendar
Jo Stuart
Classifieds
Letters
 Food
About us
San José, Costa Rica, Monday, Oct. 1, 2001, Vol. 1, No. 33

A.M. Costa Rica photos
Pavas market a deal
Saturday is the big day at the Pavas farmers' market where vegetables, flowers and other home-produced goodies sell for from 40 to 60 percent of the supermarket price. The market takes up five city blocks from Avenida 2 north to the Pavas boulevard in Pavas Center. 
TV marathon ties up downtown traffic big time
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

San José faced near gridlock Friday night as vehicles were backed up for miles, in part because of temporary construction on Avenida 2.

The tieup actually began about 4:30 p.m. when a minor accident near Curridabat in San Pedro stopped eastbound traffic out of the San José downtown. 

Then as the bulk of the office workers downtown hit the road about 5  p.m. they were faced with construction of temporary stands for the Cadena Major, a Saturday marathon to raise money for the elderly.

Workmen had taken over the entire avenue between Central Park and the Melico Salazar Theater. Traffic police were detouring vehicles eastbound on Avenida 2  south to Avenida 10 and beyond. Normally heavy traffic became totally clogged as motorists and buses doubled back in an effort to continue their eastbound travel and mixed with vehicles coming northbound into the city 

center. Others, delayed by the tieup, turned into side streets and secondary routes. Minor accidents were common.

By 6 p.m. nearly all the major and minor routes in the center of the city were clogged with slow- moving traffic. In the west, the jam was bumper to bumper as far as the Pavas boulvard. Paseo Colon was totally jammed bumper to bumper. 

Traffic never returned to normal but the crush abated somewhat by 8 p.m.

Saturday traffic congestion continued as the Avenida 2 area became center stage for the televised marathon.

After serving as a performance area for some of the 30 groups that appeared on the television marathon, the temporary stages vanished overnight as workmen moved in seconds after the event ended at midnight Saturday.

Organizers reported that they raised 43 million colons (abut $128,000) for the event. 


Danilovich confirmed as ambassador by U.S. Senate
Special to A.M. Costa Rica

WASHINGTON — John J. Danilovich, President Bush's nominee to be ambassador to Costa Rica, has been confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

The action took place Wednesday amid a flurry of approvals of nominations by the president, the U.S. Senate staff reported.

Danilovich's nomination was considered by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Tuesday. Senate confirmation is required of nominations by the U.S. president. Danilovich presented a statement at that time saying that his priority as ambassador here would be to look out for U.S. citizens.

He also pledged that he would "work diligently to advance U.S. investment and commercial interests, strengthen counternarcotics cooperation, encourage environmental collaboration and enhance U.S.-Costa Rican relations overall."

The nomination carries with it the requirement that the nominee agree to appear before any congressional committee, if so requested in the future. 

This is a routine requirement for nominations that are approved without extensive consideration by senators. Senators are in a hurry to act on Bush's nominations so that the United States has 

ambassadors in place in light of the Sept. 11
terrorist attack in New York and Washington.

At the time of his appointment Danilovich was principal of Danilovich and Co., a consulting group specializing in joint ventures between the United  States and Europe, according to the staff at the U.S. White House.  Additionally, the White House said he was 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 from1977 to 1988 he served as a member of the Executive Management Board of Interocean Shipping Group, the White  House said. 

Ambassadors in the United States are drawn either  from the ranks of professional diplomats or from  political supporters. Danilovich is among the latter. He donated $20,000 to the U.S. Republican Party Committee before the last presidential elections, and he donated $1,000 to the campaign of George Bush, according to the Center for Responsive  Politics, which keeps track of such donations. 

"Compared to some of Bush's other nominees, John  Danilovich, an international consultant and President Bush’s pick to be ambassador to Costa  Rica, isn’t a major political contributor," said the center. 

Once upon a time at a bank in a magic land far, far away
by Patricia Martin
Special to A.M. Costa Rica

Hello there. It is storytime for all you grown-up boys and girls. Oh, not a big adventure saga . . . . we will just spend an average day with Pat in Costa Rica, doing ho-hum things. Clap your hands if you would like to come along. 

The sun is shining. See Pat smile. She is on her way to nearby San José. It is the capital city of this Central American country squeezed between 
A bedtime story of Costa Rica
Nicaragua and Panama. Some people confuse it with Puerto Rico. Some think it is an island. Others have never heard of it. Still others wish they hadn't. 

In the city, Pat will draw money from her bank in the U.S.A., far, far away. To do this she will use a machine called the ATM. With her magic card she will push some numbers and watch the cash pour from America into her apron. Goody. Her companion, Peter, has joined her to share the fun.

Why does Pat need this money today, you wonder? Because she already sent out checks to pay the local bills from her Costa Rican bank, in the funny money called colones. That account is not exactly bulging, boys and girls. Between us, it has squat in it. 

Oh my. If those checks go bouncy-bouncy, the landlord will be cross with Pat. Likewise the phone and light companies. Pat must hurry to her own bank, which alas has no ATM, to make a deposit and fluff up the colones. But first she has to get the magic machine in San José to spew out U.S. dollars from home. Nothing could be simpler, wouldn't you agree? Except that these automatic tellers are fairly new to Costa Rica, and often do not function. Ho ho, what larks. 

When the ATM does not connect, she reports it to that office. A proud official takes the complaint like a sword through his heart. He insists that the machine is perfect and that if Pat cannot obtain funds from the land far, far away, it is surely because she has none there. See Pat frown. She knows that there is money, boys and girls, because that is America, the land of plenty!

She confronts the stubborn ATM again, but fie, her apron remains empty. Back she goes to the official, who hisses her away. She and Peter go off to try the other fun machines across the city.

The sun is no longer shining in San José, no no. It is raining rivers now, and who has no umbrella, can you guess? Ah, but after many hours, one ATM connects. Pat hits the jackpot, boys and girls! Her soggy apron bulges with the bounty of that land far, far away. God bless America. 

See Pat run to her neighborhood bank for the deposit. But lo, some of the bills have tiny pencil marks at the corners, and the teller refuses them. Pat must return to the ATM office in San José to make them give her prettier ones. Oh oh. The same man greets her with froth around his mouth. 

Pat fears she may end up on a WANTED poster. When she promises to never come back, he agrees to change the money, oh joy. Away she rushes to her own bank to complete the deposit! Hear Pat pant. See her sweat and tremble.

Remember Peter, boys and girls? Not up to simple banking, he falls exhausted into a big hole in the 

street. Yes, the streets and roads of Costa Rica collapse into amusing craters, except where the politicians live. 

Poor Peter has his wind knocked out. His body bleeds and aches with cuts and bruises. Soon he can breathe again, but his foot turns into an eggplant. See Peter hobble. Hear him say words that boys and girls will not find in the dictionary.

A nice taxi driver picks up Pat and Peter in the flowing street. Reaching back to close their door, he leaves his hand in it, good grief. Hear the driver howl, shifting gears with his purple hand. Peter with the matching foot joins him like a fellow wolf. 

Watch them speed through the downpour, missing cars by inches. Trapped in the blood and wailing, what does our brave Pat do? She hyper-ventilates. See Pat lose it. The driver hears her screaming to stop for ice-cream! He is not amused, by golly. What she meant was ice, for the wounded limbs, but oops, mixed up the Spanish words hielo and helado. The driver thinks her cruel to demand ice-cream amid the carnage, and waves his stump at her. Pat cannot explain because she is busy fainting. All three end up in Emergency.

Not to worry, boys and girls. The taxi driver can work again, with a metal claw attached to his bandaged fist. As for Peter, the crutches suit his personality. Psycho-therapy is required, though, to help him face another routine day in Costa Rica. He longs for America — the Statue of Liberty, Mom's apple pie, — even the IRS. 

And what of Pat? In shambles back at her apartment, she sees the landlord coming with a scowl. Perhaps, good grief, her checks have bounced! See Pat test the phone and lights. - Nada, boys and girls. But does she weep and rend her garment? Nay, not our girl. Instead, she pours herself a great big glass of something, ho ho, for the nerves. See her light a nice big fire on the rug and throw her magic ATM card on top. Watch her dance around the flames. Hear her cackle. 

If you promise to be good, tomorrow you can hear another story: "Pat Goes To The Post Office." We will spend all morning with her lining up to buy a postage stamp. We will see the window close for lunch as she approaches it. We will hear the gurgles of the postal worker with Pat’s hands around his throat. 

Which leads us to the final sequel "Pat Goes To Jail." Oh oh, boys and girls.


Civil liberties under siege due to terror attack
By Edward B. Winslow 
edwardwinslow@home.com 

Saying that we are in desperate times, government leaders on both sides of the political aisle warn that Americans' civil liberties are in danger.

But the danger is not from an evil Communist regime or from a cruel fascist dictator. Nor is the danger from shadowy terrorist groups that are said to be lurking in our very midst. Indeed, the danger to our civil liberties is from our own democratic government, the government that was born of the U.S. Constitution.

The Freedom Forum reported that Rep. Richard A. Gephardt (D-Mo.) and Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.) warned of cutbacks in civil liberties. "We're in a new world where we have to rebalance freedom and security," said House Minority Leader Gephardt. "We're not going to have all the openness and freedom we have had," he continued.

Senate Minority Leader Lott echoed this sentiment. "When you're in this type of conflict, when you're at war, civil liberties are treated differently."

In its panic to catch terrorists, America’s leaders, including members of the Bush Administration, seem to be in a mad rush to pass legislation that will impact basic rights that are guaranteed by the Constitution. This week the Los Angeles  Times reported that Attorney General John Ashcroft gave the House Judiciary Committee his recommendations for broad expansions in the government's right to wiretap telephones in the United States. Ashcroft’s recommendations would expand government's authority to monitor conversations of a particular person without regard for whose telephone he or she might use. The result of this proposal would be an invasion of privacy of those who own a telephone that a suspect might use.

Another one of Ashcroft’s proposals would have allowed law enforcement to use in court telephone calls that are illegally intercepted by a foreign government, according to a Los Angeles Times story. This practice could encourage police abuses of civil rights by allowing them to employ foreign governments to allow our own country's police to skirt the law.

Fortunately, cooler heads are prevailing in the House Judiciary Committee, where House negotiators have convinced Justice Department officials to drop that proposal and a second proposal, according to a news report in The Boston Globe. The second proposal called for indefinite detention of suspected terrorists. The administration is now calling for a seven-day  detention period. After seven days the government would have to deport the detainee, file charges or let him or her go.

Even a nationally known journalist and a law professor are getting on the bandwagon to trample the notion of due process. On Wednesday’s News Hour with Jim Lehrer that aired on PBS, guests discussed the issue of racial profiling in connection with national security. 

Stuart Taylor, a columnist for National Journal and Newsweek argued, "A form of racial profiling, depending on how you define it, at airports, people 

A personal view from the U.S.

getting on airplanes or giving special scrutiny to people who look Arab, for a limited time, may be a justifiable exception to the general rule I would apply against racial profiling."

Law professor Gail Heriot of the University of California at San Diego agreed, "I'm not willing to categorically rule out racial or ethnic profiling in this very specialized context." But Heriot was less definite about who would decide which passengers are to be subjected to increased scrutiny. "I think we're going to have to rely upon those people who are expert in airport security for trying to come up with the least intrusive system possible," she said.

At the site of the destroyed World Trade Center, where more than 7,000 people are feared dead, New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani’s office issued a statement banning photographers from the scene, possibly breeching their First Amendment rights. In an Associated Press news story, a spokeswoman is quoted as saying the ban does not apply to press photographers. "It doesn't affect anybody who is authorized. Obviously, a news organization, that's their job," she said.

Yet, despite her statement, police turned away several news photographers, according to Associated Press.

Governments that are insecure want to garner more power for themselves at the expense of the governed. During other crises in America's history, leaders initiated extreme policies. A Metropolitan State College of Denver history professor, Dr.  Rebecca A. Hunt, said that in 1920 the FBI rounded up 6,000 people suspected of being communists. They were held in custody and interrogated without benefit of legal counsel.

During World War II, some 120,000 Japanese-Americans were incarcerated in concentration camps, according to Kristine Minami of the Japanese American Citizens League. Two thirds of these were American-born U.S. citizens, she added.

Subsequent to World War II, Red baiters Richard M. Nixon, Joseph R. McCarthy and even John F. Kennedy were hysterically warning of Communists infiltrating the government. Loyalty boards in government agencies that employed some 2.5 million people were set up throughout the nation, resulting in civil rights restraints against many. This dark period in America's history ruined the lives of many loyal Americans.

While Americans worry about the dangers imposed by the possibility of more unforgivable attacks, we must remember, if left unchecked, irrational government leaders, supported by a press and a population caught up in a paranoid fervor, can do more damage to our nation than any terrorist attack.
 

Edward B. Winslow is a freelance newspaperman from Denver, Colo.



 
Wife of Colombian national prosecutor found dead
By A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A beloved cultural figure in Colombia has been found shot to death days after she was kidnapped, reportedly by leftist guerillas. The body of the  62-year-old Consuela Araujo was found by troops late Saturday in a  northern rural region. 

Mrs. Araujo was culture minister until January and is the wife of the country's national prosecutor, Edgardo Maya. 

Her kidnapping and slaying has been blamed on the rebel Revolutionary  Armed Forces of Colombia, or 
FARC, and has raised calls by top Colombian politicians to end peace talks with the FARC. A 
 

candidate in next May's presidential election, Noemi Sanin, called for an immediate  suspension to the peace process. 

Peace talks with FARC began three years ago in a safe haven Colombian President Andres Pastrana granted to the guerrillas in southern Colombia.  President Pastrana convened an extraordinary meeting of his country's security council Sunday to analyze the consequences of the murder. In  October, he must decide whether FARC should continue to control the safe haven territory. 

Critics say the government should take back the area because the guerillas use the enclave to imprison kidnapping victims and run drug-trafficking operations. 


 
What we published this week: Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Earlier