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(506) 2223-1327          Published Friday, Dec. 16, 2011, in Vol. 11, No. 249       Email us
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Doves on parade
A.M. Costa Rica/Shahrazad Enciniaas Vela
A painted dove was positioned in Parque Nacional in front of the famous Monumento Nacional.

Those big birds are
part of Peace Parade


By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Giant, painted doves are taking over the public spaces of San José.

The invasion of fiberglass doves is reminiscent of Cow Parade that placed 130 creatively colored, life-sized statues in the metro area.

There are supposed to be 70 of the 55-inch dove statues, each decorated by a team of local artists.

Grupo Vallas y Gigantografías, the outdoor advertising company, is the prime sponsor of what is being called Peace Parade. This is the same company that sponsored the Cow Parade. There also is support from the municipality.

Like Cow Parade, the doves in Peace Parade will be auctioned off with the proceeds going to charities. The
 official inauguration is to be today.



Sala IV forbids final vote on administration tax plan
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Sala IV constitutional court has agreed to accept a case challenging the way the package of new taxes is being handled in the legislature.

At issue is the so-called via rapida in which debate is limited to 10 minutes on each amendment. The method originally was designed to speed passage of the free trade treaty with the United States and related measures. There are thousands of proposed amendments.

Our view on tax protesters
HERE!


The constitutional court did not freeze discussion on the tax proposal, which is now on the floor of the legislature. But it did order that no final vote be taken until the appeal is decided.

President Laura Chinchilla Miranda is seeking to have the measure passed during what would be the Christmas break. The legislature is being asked to stay in session.
The tax plan would raise an estimated $500 million in new taxes to offset a crippling deficit.

The uncertainty surrounding the tax plan has caused a noticeable slowdown in business activity here.

The challenge was submitted in October by Luis Fishman of the Partido Unidad Social Cristiana. He opposes the new taxes.

At some point the tax bill will be submitted to the Sala IV for review, but that is not the purpose of this action. The current challenge is to the constitutionality of the fast track method. Usually debate is as long as lawmakers want.

Lawmakers voted Sept. 27 to put the tax plan on the fast track. That vote came after the Partido Liberación Nacional and Partido Acción Ciudadana entered into a coalition to pass a revised tax plan submitted by the executive branch.

The tax proposals are controversial. The bill proposes a 14 percent value added tax, extends the tax to professional services and taxes private education at 2 percent

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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, Dec. 16, 2011, Vol. 11, No. 249
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Professional Directory
A.M. Costa Rica's professional directory is where business people who wish to reach the English-speaking community may invite responses. If you are interested in being represented here, please contact the editor.


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Gold mining firm lays off
the bulk of its workers


By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Industrias Infinito S.A. has laid off nearly its entire workforce, the gold mining firm said Thursday.

The company said the layoff of more than 200 persons was because of a Sala I vote that upheld a lower court's annulment of the company's concession.

The firm sought to operate the Crucitas open pit gold mine in Cutris de San Carlos not far from the international border with Nicaragua. The firm estimates that there are a million ounces of gold in the rock. The project has been controversial and strongly opposed by student activists and environmentalists.

The company noted that those laid off were Costa Ricans and mostly residents of the area. Many already had been suspended due to the prolonged legal process and a stop-work order that a court issued.

The company said that the fired workers would receive the benefits outlined in legislation. Depending on the worker and the time at the company, that could mean several months pay.

The Óscar Arias administration backed the gold mine as a way for bringing development to the rural area, at least for the estimated 20-year life of the mine. That view is not shared by President Laura Chinchilla Miranda, who was vice president under Arias.

The firm is a subsidiary of a Calgary, Canada firm, and it has endured a long legal battle. The firm said that it may seek international arbitration to compensate it and its stockholders for the financial loss because the mine never was opened. Costa Rican officials have tried to minimize estimates of financial exposure, but some of the gold mine companies are pushing for billions in compensation.


Agricultural experts warn
of cows infected by rabies


By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Agriculture officials reported Thursday that they have detected four separate cases of paralytic cow rabies on a farm in Caño Negro in Alajuela Province.

The Servicio Nacional de Salud Animal said that to counteract the threat it has implemented quarantine measures against the affected farm. The agency will continue to survey neighboring farms and promote the use of vaccines against rabies to protect cows, horses and dogs who can also be affected, it said.

Rabies is most commonly spread by blood sucking bats, officials report. Rabies is a viral infection that affects warm-blooded creatures, including humans by attacking the nervous system. As the disease takes hold, the afflicted will exhibit impeded coordination, difficulty walking, increased salivation and paralysis of the lower legs, making the victim unable to stand upright. The final stage is death.

People who came in contact with the infected cows are being treated with vaccines, the agency reports. Experts suggest no contact with seemingly infected animals be made and that all cases be reported to the nearest government agricultural office.

The last outbreak occurred in September in the District Rio Cuarto de Grecia. It led to the death of five animals.

 
Find out what the papers
said today in Spanish


By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Here is the section where you can scan short summaries from the Spanish-language press. If you want to know more, just click on a link and you will see and longer summary and have the opportunity to read the entire news story on the page of the Spanish-language newspaper but translated into English.

Translations may be a bit rough, but software is improving every day.

When you see the Summary in English of news stories not covered today by A.M. Costa Rica, you will have a chance to comment.

This is a new service of A.M. Costa Rica called Costa Rica Report. Editor is Daniel Woodall, and you can contact him HERE!
From the Costa Rican press
News items posted Monday through Friday by 8 a.m.
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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, Dec. 16, 2011, Vol. 11, No. 249
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Costa Rican version of Christmas caroling is called posada
By Shahrazad Encinias Vela
of the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A little boy dressed as Joseph and two little girls dressed as Mary stood outside a door in a house in Barrio Aranjuez Thursday night. They were surrounded by other children and a woman playing the guitar. This is not a scene to a play or some sort of costume contest. This is a re-enactment of the biblical moment when a pregnant Mary and her husband Joseph went home to home asking for a place to stay, or in Spanish posada. Except that the modern Mary and Joseph and their followers are granted entry.

During the end-of-the-year holiday celebrations in a Catholic Latin American country, it is very common to celebrate the search by Mary and Joseph for lodging. This is done in nine evenings prior to Christmas.

The nine days are supposed to represent the nine months Mary was pregnant. And every night has a theme in which a few biblical verses pertaining to the topic are read. When the praying is complete, there is music and singing. The songs are all Christmas classics in Spanish such as “Silent Night” and “Little Drummer Boy.” The participating children and adults represent pilgrims, or peregrinos.

In “Anno Domini,” it's the children and adults who go house-to-house asking for lodging, but in song. The peregrinos don't go to random houses like Christmas carolers. Rather there are host houses whose occupants volunteer. They set up a space for music and then end the evening with snacks and beverages.  At least this is the way it is celebrated in Costa Rica. The tradition varies with the country.

Posada songs
A.M. Costa Rica/Shahrazad Encinias Vela
The predominately young crowd is treated to traditional Christmas songs on the guitar and in vocals. The nativity scene at the fireplace is typical in Costa Rican homes this time of year.


Search is on for 68 missing Milanes investors who get cash
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

There are 68 persons who contracted legal services to recover funds from Luis Milanes who cannot be located to receive their money.

That is the report from Gina Renault, herself an investor, who has taken on the chore of trying to locate missing litigants.

Milanes has agreed to settle with his former investors for what Ms. Renault said will be 20 percent of the amount deposited. But Milanes fled Costa Rica in 2002 and did not return until six years later.

All of the former investors who could not be located are clients of Ewald Acúña. The lawyer had a full power of attorney from his clients, so he agreed to the settlement on their behalf even though they were not contacted.  Ms. Renault can be contacted at the lawyer's office:  506-2221-0320.

Almost certainly some of the investors have died, but their heirs would be entitled to their share. Three listings are for families and one is for a corporation.

Ms. Renault is a member of the five-person investors committee that is overseeing the settlement. So is Acuña.
Although the loss to investors was estimated to be about $200 million when Milanes fled and cleaned out his Centro Colón office Nov. 22, 2002, only a fraction of the investors followed up with legal action. They will be the only ones to share in the recovery.

Although Milanes originally agreed to pay $100,000 a month into a trust for distribution to the victims, that amount has been reduced to $30,000 a month, Ms. Renault said.

The investors who have been located so far have received two payments of about 1 percent of their investment, Ms. Renault said. She said she expects that investors will get much more money after properties Milanes turned over to the trust are sold and the proceeds distributed. She said there already has been some interest shown by buyers in the Hotel Europa, the largest asset in the trust.

Ms. Renault also said she has learned that investors in a similar high-interest scheme run by Luis Enrique and Oswaldo Villalobos will be getting a financial distribution in that case in mid-January. Oswaldo Villalobos was put in prison for aggravated fraud.

Enrique Villalobos still is a fugitive.

A.M. Costa Rica has agreed to publish the names of the missing litigants as a public service.

This is the list of Milanes victims who cannot be located.
Helen Barbera
Pamaneita Barret
Donnie Boles
Clarence Brygelson
Michael Birtch
Jonathan Curshen
Ronald Catalan
Ralfh Chavez
Mark Earle
Lynn Francoeur
Gahn (FAMILY)
Willam Gibson
Trudy Gardner
John Godwin
Lawerence Golden
Gonsalves (FAMILY)
Robert Gorden
Ricahard Greenkow
Judith Gryson
Walter Harrison
Donlon Havener
Christopher Howard
Bryan Johnson
Dessiree Katrim
Joseph Latimer
Dominik Lestienne
Martin McDonald
Loredano Marangoni
David Marchant
Vincint Meilhac
Lisa Minneti
Joseph Mobilio
Clayton Moulder
Marc Noben
Robert OConner
Jeffery Pearson
Heinich Penner
Leonard Pelletier
Wayne Reeves
Frank Rice
Collin Richards
Janet Lee Richardson
David Roberts
Iris Santamaria
Kenneth Seid
Robert Shafer
Noel Small
Thomas Sourse
Lavon Phillis Taylor
Ureñas (SISTERS)
Robert Waddington
Hermann Wennekes
Beaulieu (Corporation)
Mary Beckwith
Bret Berkowithz
Tracy Casbon
Guiseppe Caviccia
James DeVries
Kelly Dunagan
Rino Fazio
Sophie Gomez
John Lillwhiler
Makin Paren
Joseph Mannion
Walter Ray
Julie Rose
Helen Sedyn
Christopher Topel


Here are a trio of good reads for the holiday season
Lately the weather has not been the kind that encourages you to go to the park, or take a walk, unless you like singing in the rain.  It’s supposed to be the beginning of summer, but nothing about the weather is predictable anymore.

Reading is always a good pastime when the weather isn’t great.  You can read almost anywhere, anytime. (I used to hide in the corner between the dresser and the wall to read in peace and avoid housework when I was a kid).  What to read is another matter, and I have three suggestions, both for your pleasure and for ideas for gifts. 

One book I contributed to, and one I just finished reading and loved. All three books are by writers who live in Costa Rica.

The first is “Costa Rica Kaleidoscope, an anthology of stories about and by expatriates in Costa Rica.”  There are seven of us who met and wrote and chose the stories to be included.  You probably will know at least one of the writers (besides me) if you live in Costa Rica.  Some of the stories are funny, some pretty scary, others are wonderful insights into the culture from an outsider’s view and others are informative and helpful.  Greg Bascom who wrote several of the stories, also – with the help of Robin Kazmier, another of the contributors – edited the volume.  The book will soon be available on Amazon.  You can go to www.createspace.com/3719745 for more information about the book and the authors.

If you are in the mood for a thriller, get “Lawless Elements.” It’s Greg Bascom’s award winning mystery adventure and is now available at Amazon.com.  Or if you order before Christmas you can get it at www.createspace.com/3561240  with discount code 9CA2JEMX.

If you live in Costa Rica, are thinking about moving here, or just wonder what there is about Costa Rica that is so luring to many gringos, read “Kaleidoscope.”  If you want a good thriller and to learn about a part of the world you probably know nothing about (I didn’t), read, “Lawless Elements.”

And finally, if you want to read a book that just might change your life, I recommend Harry Strachan’s “Finding a Path:  Stories of my Life.”  It is by a man who today has been or is a successful businessman, consultant, professor, philanthropist and crackerjack poker player.

Harry came to Costa Rica as a child with his parents who were dedicated evangelical missionaries. His grandfather
Butterfly in the City
 
. . .  Musings from San José

By Jo Stuart
jostuart@amcostarica.com

Jo Stuart

began, as a clinic for women, what later became Hospital Clinical Biblical.

But this is not so much the story of his family as it is about the author’s search for his own faith and future and coming to terms with the challenges and opportunities in his life…overcoming the first, which include some serious illnesses, and taking advantage of the second, learning many lessons on the way.  They are lessons that are easy to adapt to one’s own life because there are so many experiences that Harry has had that one can say, “I know how that feels.”  And he is willing to face with honesty, his shortcomings.

The author is likable, intelligent, curious, creative and even pragmatic in his search for and finding his own mission in life and someone to love and share it. His story is always interesting and will leave you satisfied. This book, too, is available in various forms, including at Amazon.  You can go to www.harrystrachan.com for information on how and where to buy it.

If, on the other hand, you plan to eat drink and be merry throughout the season, remember the immortal words of Cato, who, being a Roman should know whereof he speaks:

“If, at a banquet, you wish to dine a lot and enjoy your dinner, then eat as much cabbage as you wish, seasoned with vinegar, before dinner, and likewise, after dinner eat some half-dozen leaves.  It will make you feel as if you had not eaten, and you can drink as much as you like.”

I have not tested this prescription so I cannot vouch for it.  But I have tested by reading, the above recommendations, so if your taste is similar to mine, check them out.  Either way, enjoy the holiday season, which is upon us.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Jo Stuart may be too shy to plug her own book for Christmas, but we should mention that she has written “Butterfly in the City: A Good Life in Costa Rica” that gives her own interpretation of this exciting and interesting country. The book is available at local stores or by writing Jo at the email address above.

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A.M. Costa Rica's
Fourth news page
renes law firm
San José, Costa Rica, Friday, Dec. 16, 2011, Vol. 11, No. 249
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Cheap international calls with Localphone

Agents detain three more persons in Heredia robbery-murders
By Andrew Rulseh Kasper
of the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Judicial agents have detained three suspects, two sisters and a male cousin, believed to be involved in a string of homicides supposedly motivated by financial gain. The arrests were Thursday morning.

The separate crimes took place earlier this year in San Joaquín de Flores and San Isidro, both Heredia. In late October police detained two other suspects in the killings, one Costa Rican man and one El Salvadoran man, also believed to be involved in the homicides. Agents also said they have the firearm supposedly used in the murders.

In one incident three women were murdered. The victims were supposedly familiar with the two female suspects, and allowed them to enter the front part of their residence allowing the crime to take place. The women operated a store in their home, Also killed was a store clerk.

In the other incident, a married couple died. Investigators said they believe the motive was to rob the victims of their valuables and cash. One of the suspects apprehended Thursday, identified by the last names of Benavides Hernández, acted as an informant relaying information about the couple and their meat shop, agents alleged. He was identified as an employee there. The informant presumably tracked the couple's finances and waited until the victims had a large amount of money in
their possession before the killing took place, they said.

The Judicial Investigating Organization reported that the acts were committed violently and, despite the appearance that the victims did not resist the criminals, they were each shot in the head, from behind and above, execution style.

Agents from the Judicial Investigating Organization said there was an undeniable link between the two incidences and that they each appeared to have been done with the participation, whether directly or indirectly, of five people. Officials also report that one of the sisters detained Thursday is believed to be the girlfriend of the detained Salvadoran suspect.

The two jailed suspects have the last names of Gutiérrez and Salguero.  The sisters detained Thursday were identified by the last names of Mena Hernández.

The couple who operated the meat store died June 18 in San Isidro.

The three women were murdered July 6 at the clothing and shoe store. The owners, two sisters with the last name of Rodríguez, were dead at the scene. The employees, a woman with the last name of Herrera, died later at a hospital.

Agents said that the two sisters detained Thursday arrived at the store pretending to be customers and opened the way for the murderers.


Agents said they broke up gang that terrorized Cartago town
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Law enforcement agents claim to have dismantled and apprehended Thursday a band of criminals who supposedly terrorized the community of Diques de Cartago with violence, drugs and rape.

Drug agents with the Ministerio de Gobernación, Policía y Seguridad Pública apprehended the two suspected leaders, brothers known as Los Chacales, along with 10 other suspects, 658 doses of crack, 147 pouches of marijuana and other illicit items. Many of the suspects detained have criminal records, according to police. Some are women.

One of the more grave accusations levied against the illicit narcotics ring is that its members threatened the fathers of underage girls with death and violence unless the fathers permitted the gang members to rape their daughters.

The ministry reports that the gang dominated over the zone with firearms and fear. The investigation started months ago and culminated with the large raid Thursday morning. One of the detained brothers was previously wanted for a homicide, agents said.

In a separate anti-drug action Thursday, police reported that a trucker was transporting 58 packages of cocaine when he was
los diques
Ministerio de Gobernación, Policía
y Seguridad Pública photo

Some of the suspects are led to waiting police cars.

arrested Wednesday night. The man is a Guatemalan, and he had the drug hidden in the roof of his rig, they said.

The arrest was at the Peñas Blancas border crossing in northern Costa Rica

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A.M. Costa Rica's
Fifth news page
Fashion CR
San José, Costa Rica, Friday, Dec. 16, 2011, Vol. 11, No. 249
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Medical vacations in Costa Rica

Medical ethics panel doubts
new Guatemala case likely


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A report commissioned by the Obama administration concludes that despite some egregious past abuses, people taking part today in medical tests and clinical trials enjoy adequate legal protections. The report follows the disclosure last year that the U.S. Public Health Service in the 1940s supported unethical research involving inmates at a Guatemalan prison. 

Between 1946 and 1948, U.S. public health officials, hoping to test the effectiveness of the antibiotic penicillin against syphilis, reportedly exposed 1,300 Guatemalan prisoners to the potentially fatal venereal disease. Prostitutes known to be infected with syphilis were sent into jails to have sex with the inmates. Men who did not become sick from these contacts were purposely infected with syphilis, through cuts researchers made on the prisoners' genitals. Eighty-three people died in the experiments.

This little-known research project was brought to light in 2010 by a medical historian at Wellesley College, and reported widely by the news media, including The New York Times. In response to the public furor that ensued, the Obama administration issued an apology to the Guatemalans affected by the research, and called for a study to determine if current rules and regulations adequately protect human research subjects from similar abuse.

Amy Gutmann, president of the University of Pennsylvania, heads the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues, which issued its final report on the matter Wednesday.

“The commission is confident that what happened in Guatemala in the 1940s could not happen today," said Ms. Gutmann. "We also are confident that there is room for improvement in protecting human subjects from harm, avoidable harm, and unethical treatment.”

In its survey of 18 U.S. government agencies, including the Pentagon, the commission found that few could easily access information on the more than 55,000 human test subjects worldwide currently involved in some kind of medical research.

As a result, the ethics panel recommends more than a dozen changes to current practices to ensure the well-being of those taking part in clinical trials. A key recommendation is that all federal agencies supporting human research abroad must maintain accurate and accessible electronic records of all experiments, including the nature and purpose of the research, the names of the researchers, and the names and locations of all test subjects.

Ross McKinney, director of the Trent Center for Bioethics at Duke University in North Carolina, has lectured on the Guatemala experiments. McKinney, who describes the 1940s syphilis research as barbaric, said he believes it’s highly unlikely that something like that could happen again.

“There are many levels of oversight now that didn’t exist at that point in time," he said. "The entire structure of institutional review boards, IRBs, which independently review research, didn’t exist. And now, most countries, most medical centers, require things to have IRB approval, essentially approval by a neutral body that judges the ethics. I don’t think they would let slip something as grotesque as the Guatemalan experiment.”

The bioethics panel also recommends that the U.S. government consider a way to compensate any of the affected Guatemalan prisoners who might still be alive, more than 60 years after the experiments.


Venezuela turns over
major drug suspect to U.S.


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Venezuela has deported a top Colombian drug trafficking suspect to the United States, where he will face charges of shipping tons of cocaine to the U.S.

The man, Maximiliano Bonilla Orozco, was turned over Thursday to U.S. authorities at an airport in Caracas, where he was led aboard a plane.

Orozco, who also goes by the name Valenciano, was arrested last month in central Venezuela.  The United States had put out a $5 million award for information leading to his capture.

Orozco is accused of shipping tons of cocaine to the United States with the help of a Mexican drug cartel. He allegedly used legitimate companies as fronts to conceal the drug shipments.

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A.M. Costa Rica's
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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, Dec. 16, 2011, Vol. 11, No. 249
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U.S. woman found dead
in Jacó rented cabina


By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A 28-year-old U.S. woman died either Wednesday night or Thursday morning in a cabina in Jacó Centro. The Judicial Investigating Organization identified her as Cody Baran.

A worker at the Hotel Cabinas Jaco Mar found her body Thursday afternoon when she did not respond to her door.

Agents said that two syringes were found near her body and that one contained a brown liquid.


Pact expected today
for Calla Lajas relocation


By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Municipalidad de Escazú is expected to enter into an agreement today to provide land for homes of residents driven from theirs by Tropical Storm Tomas a year ago.

The residents are those who lived on Calle Lajas when a side of Pico Blanco gave way and ripped through the residential community in San Antonio de Escazú.  The slide killed 24 persons.

Some 19 families still lived there when emergency officials and health experts deemed the area to be too dangerous. The families were evicted.

The agreement today sets up a trust to purchase the land for new homes, Participating will be the Ministro de Bienestar Social.


Holiday play in Dominical
will begin its run Monday

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Dominical Little Theatre has put together a holiday play that will open Monday at the Hotel Roca Verde at 7 p.m. There will be a cocktail hour that starts at 5 p.m. before the show on the inaugural evening.

“Fudge-Raiser for Mrs. Claus” is the holiday play that the theater group will perform for three nights at the hotel in Dominical. The additional days are Wednesday and Friday The one-hour show is for the entire family, the group said. The costumes were brought from the United States just for the play, said a spokesperson for the Uvita Information Center, the contact center for more information on the play.

Tickets cost 5,000 colons for general adult admission. There is a special family rate. Those interested can visit the Web site www.littletheatregroup.org.


Policeman is suspect
in stealing credit card


By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Judicial agents said Thursday they had arrested a Fuerza Pública officer in the La Milpa de Guararí de Heredia area on suspicion of stealing a credit card from a man injured in an automobile accident.

Agents said the police officer took charge of the accident scene, and the traffic victim realized some days later that the credit card had been used three times at service stations.








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An A.M. Costa Rica editorial
They were not against taxes, just against paying it themselves

Even those who believe in a broad-based democracy would have been chilled by the attitude of anti-tax marchers Tuesday.

The truth is that the marchers were not against taxes. They just were against taxes levied on them. They want those they consider rich and corporations to pay the taxes. Of course these are many of the same people who have received money and benefits from a string of governments that brought the country to the brink of bankruptcy so they could buy votes.

Clearly basic economics has not been taught adequately in the Costa Rican school system. The marchers Tuesday seemed to be blissfully unaware that corporations and high-income earners already pay more than their fair share and that they provide jobs, products and economic security.

The attitude is that those who have more should pay more. This is the concept in many developed nations where the rich are content to pay higher taxes so the governments can provide bread and circuses for the masses. Socialism magnifies this inequality.

Costa Rica's problems have their origins in many of the attitudes and actions that are similar to those in many other countries. The central government simply spent a lot more than it earned.

The special case of Costa Rica includes massive tax evasion. The mechanisms for tax collecting are not up to the job despite recent efforts to improve.
Those who evade know that they never will see the inside of a courtroom because this is a society that cannot even prosecute the fraudsters and street crooks.

The courts are dysfunctional.

There also is the attitude here that the personal world ends at the household door. Costa Ricans do not rush to fix broken sidewalks or crumbling streets. That is the job of the government or at least someone else. And this is the same attitude that influenced those who took to the streets Tuesday.
Let someone else do it, and let someone else pay for it.

But at least the marchers can see through the dissembling of politicians who say the proposed taxes are a reform or just another percent on the sales tax.

The proposal is not reform. It is just more taxes which the government will lavish on the well-connected. And rather than just another percent on the already confiscatory 13 percent sales tax, the 14 percent value-added tax is far broader.

Central government leaders appear to have ducked basic economic classes, too. The proposal will not bring in the $500 million they suppose. Citizens and expats alike will take steps to minimize their tax exposure. Evasion will flourish.

And creativity will reign as it did when the United States had a 91 percent marginal tax rate.
— Dec. 15, 2011