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Editorial Note: Though I have not published it, as it was quite short, we did receive a letter from a member regarding the magazine, and he felt we had not done much to change the content for some time. There are many current events that effect foreigners currently, and did we have any other means of communication? Well, one problem with the magazine being bi-monthly, is that covering current events is almost useless. In fact we know (from experience) that most foreigners ďŹ nd the Tico times weekly much to slow. We would be 10 times slower. Still, we do try and re-cover very important issues where we see the need. Also, life is what you make of it! Any suggestions for new content would be highly appreciated. On another note, we are also communicating through our forums at if you wish to keep in touch. - Ryan Piercy

Are your membership dues paid up?



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This magazine has been published every two months for 9 years as the official communications media of the Association of Residents of Costa Rica. Our organization provides service to thousands of foreigners who have chosen Costa Rica to reside for short periods or for permanent residence. Over the last 20 years the Association of Residents of Costa Rica has been offering reliable SERVICES, INFORMATION and ADVOCACY to Costa Rica’s foreign residents. We have the experience and ability to help you with your residency application, immigration, business and financial management, real estate purchases and rentals, property management, insurance, pet importation and much more. If you wish to place an ad in El Residente, please contact the ARCR main office.

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Presidents Report by Bob Miller Helping the Helpers It’s that time again. Time to get out the President’s Report. I must be sick, because I am looking forward to doing it. So here goes. Welcome to all of you who look forward to reading this report, what can I tell you that you don’t already know, or will be interested in learning? If you are in San Jose you can look around you and say, “What the He-- am I doing here?” You will be saying that if you came down here to sit around until your maker decides to call you for your reward.

Then find a place to live. Check various areas where you think you might want to live. Don’t buy a house until you have seen all areas. Even then you might prefer to rent. Well whatever. Here you are. Look around meet you neighbors. They may be a little stiff at first. After all you are the stranger in their midst. They will accept you after a reasonable period of time. One of the major pastimes that most ex-pats participate in is the TV. But after a while you will realize that TV is the key to two things. One is to know what is going on in the world. The other thing is to hear what is mainly the bad, evil and negative that is going in the world. You will hear it over and over and over. The reason is simple. Broadcasters know and believe that the listening audience mainly wants to hear the bad and the negative. The broadcasters cater to their advertisers. It’s simple the advertisers pay the bills.

You can and should enjoy your stay in Costa Rica. Initially do that which most of us do. See the country. There is a lot to see and a lot to enjoy.

To prepare yourself for the time when you are expected to sit and await your maker, Continued on page 4...

COVER PHOTOThe Costa Rican Oxcart: The Sarchi Oxcart is not just a symbol, but a work of art. Its beauty was acclaimed around the globe even before it was declared a National symbol in 1988 during the government of Dr. Oscar Arias Sánchez. It is the youngest of the official symbols of the country. The ‘Carreta’ is in fact the National Labour Symbol, a decision based on the contribution it has made to the development of the country. Sugar-cane, tabacco, and coffee were all passengers during the colonial period, and a very important factor in the development of agriculture at the time. The first shipment of coffee to London was transported from the coffee plantations to Costa Rica’s main ports by oxcart in 1843. Even today one can see the oxcarts at work throughout the country, as well as taking parts in parades, and other cultural celebrations. Hand-painted since the early 20th century, today they are not only an important representative of local handcrafts, but are especially symbolic of the national pride.

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do the following. When on your initial trip visiting the country, take along a notebook and pencil. Observe the people and areas you are passing through. Take notes observing the good and bad. Then write a critique of what you have observed. Forward it to me and I will see that it gets to the right person or group. This will not only improve your outlook on Costa Rica, but you will be surprised how you can help the people of Costa Rica. It will also help you when the time comes and you say “the he... with TV.” Which? you will say. It was a wise person who said, “I may not be able to give them food, but I can tell them how to grow it.” You can help. You can teach English or you trade or profession. However before you proceed. There is a problem.

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It is your problem, unless you can speak Spanish that is the local language. If you can’t speak Spanish, take the step. The BIG step. Study Spanish. It is not too difficult. It is tougher if you are pushing 70. But Give it a try. You can succeed. Now once you can speak the language. Speak to the children. They aren’t stupid or backward. Talk to them. You will find them inquisitive, intelligent and gregarious. They are interested in what you are saying. Now you will have a new take on Costa Rica. Go out and help. Teach English, your trade or your profession. While you live here be positive, and remember, we are guests in this country.


Association of Residents of Costa Rica On October 12th the ARCR will hold its Ordinary General Assembly at the Hotel Occidental Torremolinos. First call 9:30, Second call 10:30 (meeting actually stsrts at second call) Agenda: Election Board of Directors, Charity Committee. please contact Bob Miller or Earl Tomlinson at the ARCR (233-8068 or 221-2053) website and December 10th, annual Christmas Event with the Canadian Club EVERYONE is welcome to the annual Christmas Dinner & Dance with the ACCR & ARCR. Dec 10th from 6pm to Mid Music, Dinner, Dancing and FUN! Call Bob or Elsa at 228-1250 website Bird Watching Club The Birding Club of Costa Rica sponsors monthly trips to observe local and migrant birds in various areas of the country. For more information contact us at 282-5365 or at

Send us your club news or activities for free publication in this column

PC Club of Costa Rica This computer Club meets on the third Saturday of each month at Pan American school, in Belen, 9 am to Noon 2 months Free Trial for newcomers For information call Chuck Jennings. Phone 266-0123 Republican Abroad The Republicans Abroad of Costa Rica meets the second Tuesday of each month Contact Francis 286-6060, 386-1420 Radio control Sailing Club Meets at Sabana Park Lake For information contact Walter Bibb.

The Toastmasters Club Wine Club of Costa Rica Improve your public speaking skills 1st and 3rd Monday of each month 9 A.M. Contact Natalie 296-3059 Democrats Abroad The Democrats Abroad of Costa Rica meets the last Saturday of each month at the Aurola Holiday Inn, 9:30 a.m. to noon, coffee break menu. Visit or call David Sagel 249-1856 for information and reservations. Golden Era Movies A film club: Classic films, World Cinema, PBS, BBC, books, discussion Michael Bowman Phone 272-5492 Newcomer’s Club A women’s social organization that meets the 1st Tuesday of each month. We welcome English speaking women who reside in Costa Rica. New and long term residents-contact Carol phone 232-3999

September-October, 2005

Please mark your calendars The wine club usually meets at 1 P.M. on the last Sunday of each month. Join us to tantalize your taste buds and expand your education on one of the finer things in life. For more information on upcoming events please contact us Phone 279-8927, 257-2223, 285-1276 Women’s Club of Costa Rica THE WOMEN’S CLUB ANNUAL BAZAAR --- 2005 EDITION Mark your calendars…November 19th is at the Country Day School in Escazu from 10 am to 3 pm. Lots of great activities: the largest used book sale in the country; great value for Already-Loved Clothes; a new Children’s Corner with fun for the kids including face- painting, races, used toys, children’s books and clothes; a new mini international food court; terrific baked goods and tico specialties from our super cooks. Also lots of interesting and new vendors with crafts, plants, and edibles! Watch this news source for details in the coming months, but join with Women’s Club members now by donating books, clothes, children’s toys, books, and clothing. For nearest drop-off center, please contact: Engl 267- 7042/Spanish 268-3748 website


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El Residente Update Jay Brodell- AM Costa Rica Taxistas divided on new train The planned commuter train between Pavas and San Pedro is getting mixed reviews from local cab drivers. Some, like Gerardo Castro, are sure the train will cut down on business. It’s difficult enough for day-shift cab drivers to compete with the buses, he said, but when the train carries passengers business will suffer even more. The train, which should start running in late September, will cost commuters 300 colons (62 cents) to ride from Pavas. Officials still have not announced a price for half the ride to San José, but Castro says that with a cab fare of about 3,000 colons ($6.20), he can’t hope to compete. The problem is that day shift cab drivers have to compete with buses and soon, the train, Castro said. Night commuters don’t have that option, and as a result, night-cab drivers won’t feel the pinch as much as their day-shift counterparts, said Castro. Some cab drivers aren’t worried about the extra congestion. One, Edwardo Calvo, is convinced that the train will do what officials hope it will do and he will have less people to compete with on the road. As a result, the train passing through Avenida Principal shouldn’t be a problem, he said. Nation will take over airport if necessary Costa Rica is getting ready to take over operations at Juan Santamaría airport if that becomes necessary, according to Randall Quirós. He is the minister of Obras Públicas y Transportes and it is in his ministry where airport matters are decided. Quirós appeared at a press conference Wednesday to respond to allegations that he had pressured members of the Consejo Técnico de Aviación Civil. Four members of that council quit last week and said they had been pressured to approve a revised contract with Alterra Partners, the private firm that has a concession to manage the airport. The consejo and Alterra had been conducting secret negotiations. The resignations caught the attention of legislators who have asked Quirós to visit next week and explain what happened. The minister showed a stack of papers lawmakers had asked him to fill out in answer to their specific questions.

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Alterra says that it is entitled to millions in reimbursements for expenses. The government and the fiscal watchdog, the Contraloría General de la República, says the amount is much less. Because of the dispute and lack of money, Alterra has frozen work on a number of projects at the Alajuelabased airport west of San José. It now appears that much of the work will not be done as the country enters high tourist season in December. Quirós said he is hopeful that an accord can be reached. Early end to rainy season The weather bureau has some good news and some bad news in its predictions for the remainder of the rainy season. More rain than normal is expected in the north Pacific and the Central Pacific as well as in the Central Valley. But the Caribbean slope will continue to experience the drier weather that has been seen there since March. Elsewhere, rains will be about normal. And it looks like the rains will diminish sooner in the Central Valley where the estimated arrival of the dry season, Costa Rica’s “summer,” is expected between Nov. 12 and 21. The estimates by the Instituto Meteorológico Nacional show the arrival of the dry season everywhere slightly earlier than normal. First, in Guanacaste, the prediction is for sometime between Nov. 2 and Nov. 16. The Pacific Central will get its annual respite from rain between Dec. 1 and 16, while the south Pacific will have to wait for sometime between Dec. 17 and 31. Based on estimates in previous years, the periods seem about 10 days earlier. American Airlines- more flights to Liberia In February, American Airlines will have flights to the international airport in Liberia from its Dallas/Fort Worth hub, officials with the airline said. The airline already has flights to Juan Santamaría airport in Alajuela. The flights to Daniel Oduber airport in Liberia will depart Dallas/Fort Worth at 9 a.m. and 5:15 p.m. twice a week and arrive at 2: 15 p.m. and 9:13 p.m. The airline plans to fly to Liberia on Wednesdays and Saturdays and fly back on Sundays and Thursdays, officials said. American also has U.S. flights to Guanacaste from Miami, officials said.


Commuter Train Hits the Tracks

After many years, and amongst much debate, it appears as if some train service will be returning to San Jose starting in late September of this year. The reason for the decision to resurrect the service is based in many factors. Rising world fuel prices, increased traffic due to more vehicles, and growing pollution concerns are some of the reasons playing into things. The trains were originally shut down due to extensive damage received during the massive earthquake that hit Costa Rica early in the 90’s. The same quake that eliminated the coastline in Limon also destroyed the infrastructure for the trains that ran there, as well as to other locations.

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Now the Old Iron will be put back into service after over 10 years absence. Price wise the service will be economical in comparison to the alternatives, and officials expect that many commuters will switch for this alternative. The ride is also expected to take only about 61 minutes in total, compared to bus service, which takes about 90 minutes for the same trip as well as requiring a switch in the city. For those interested in this option, trains will run the planned route 13 times daily starting at 5:40 a.m. The last scheduled run departs at 7:20 p.m. The full schedule of stops can be found on the chart below.


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El Residente



disasters (such as the required amounts for Pensionados, and the near elimination of Rentista) but there will still be changes in procedure without a doubt.

by Ryan Piercy

The current most important aspect is that the new law has not yet been passed. This means that requirements currently still remain the same regarding amounts and procedures. There have been many rumors otherwise (such as you MUST apply through a Consul of Costa Rica). Certain types of residency, such as Pensionado, Rentista, or some Permanent residencies can still apply from in Costa Rica, as long as documents are in order.


We feel that one of the most important aspects of the ARCR is to keep abreast of the issues we all face at immigration, and with the current administration making constant changes, this has become more necessary than ever. For example, last issue we informed you of the importance of keeping your airplane boarding passes for proof of entry or exit. Please check it out if you missed it.

The proposed law, once past, will change this. Most countries do in fact require that you make known your intention to obtain residency prior to arrival. In any event the ARCR will continue to do its best to keep the most up to date information on hand, both for new applications or renewals. If you have any questions or concerns please contact us any time.

One of the most recent changes is the requirement of an appointment, or Cita. This change was made to make immigration more efďŹ cient than ever before, so now we must wait longer. Appointments are being required for all aspects in the procedure now. One to submit papers, one to check process, one for anything needed. And of course, one for picking up the new or renewed cedula. In many cases, appointments will be given in the next month or two. However PLEASE try not to miss the appointment to pick up the cedula. We have seen cases in August of missed appointments, and replacements were being given for next year. Immigration feels there is no other activity more important than maintaing your status with the government. Other changes in the wings of course relate to the propesed law in front of the legislature. We have managed to make great inroads to prevent any major

September-October, 2005


Wild Side XXVII Butter flies? by Ryan Piercy Costa Rican territory is known to host an abundance of butterflies and moths. Recently we managed to escape to Monteverde, which is one area alive with them, as well as dozen of bird species and other wildlife. On our final day, having sent most of the family off on horseback, I decided to pass time with our baby at the local butterfly garden, and I am quite glad I did. Having been able to observe many species over several days, I enjoyed the opportunity to observe these insects up close as well as put names to them all. In fact I managed to locate nearly 2/3rds of the nearly 50 species housed within. These insects generally feed on the nectar of flowers, and are responsible for pollinating plants for reproduction. Though similar, moths and butterflies differ in various ways. General differences are that butterflies are chiefly active in the day, while moths are mostly nocturnal, and most moths are dull while butterflies are more colourful, however many exceptions exist. The real main difference is the knobs, or clubs, found on the ends of butterflies’ antennae.

Lepidopterans mate by perching and bringing the tips of their abdomens together. The male holds the female tightly with hand like structures on his abdomen called claspers, and if threatened the pair can fly away while still maintaining their embrace. Mating lasts from several minutes to several hours, depending on the species. Most butterflies live just one or two weeks after emerging from their cocoons, assuming they survive other dangers. Their predators are many, but for butterflies birds are the primary threat, while for moths bats tend to be the danger in the darkness. Over their many millions of years of existence, many strategies have evolved to evade these predators. Some species are poisonous or simply taste bad. Another strategy particularly common among moths is camouflage. They often blend in with the barks and mosses where they most often settle and become practically invisible. Of course this also means you have to keep your eyes open to spot them as well! Conservation is very important, due to their importance in the food chain. Of course Costa Rica does a lot in this area, not only through preservation of habitat, but there are in fact many private farms who harvest, and even sell them worldwide like Alajuela’s Butterfly Farm. This of course helps not only in conservation, but also in our own education, and I highly recommend them as a fascinating place to visit.

Butterflies and moths, or Lepidoptera make up the fourth largest species of insects. Butterflies account for approximately 18,500 of these, but this is far outnumbered by moths, accounting for over 200,000 identified species. Still it has been the butterfly, due to its brilliant colours, that has caught the admiration of humankind. Numerous artists have painted, drawn, sung, and written about these beautiful and delicate creatures over the centuries.

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September-October, 2005


Saving the AnimalsAHPPA by Leigh Monahan In the hills north of San Rafael de Heredia is the country’s busy animal shelter/spay- neuter clinic that is buzzing with activity 7 days a week. The AHPPA (Asociacion Humanitaria Para la Proteccion Animal) a.k.a. Refugio de Animales is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping the animals of Costa Rica. One of its primary objectives is to reduce the number of strays and unwanted dogs and cats; and the way to do that is with a serious neuter program. Each day, 35 – 50 animals are sterilized, most for owners who can’t afford the surgery. For those who have no

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money, they only pay what they can afford whether it’s 500 or 1000 colones; the rest they try to subsidize with donations.

WHAT WE DO There are Costa Rican volunteers who help inside and outside the Refugio from all over the central valley. From Monday to Friday volunteers organize groups of 12 – 20 dogs to be picked up by two full-time drivers and delivered to the Refugio for sterilizations. The dogs arrive after noon and are operated on by the full time veterinarian after the waiting room patients have been seen. The animals recuperate and are returned later in the evening or the next morning. Once again, they come from homes that can’t afford the surgery, but the owners pay what they can afford. Continued on page 15...


behavior problems or with incurable diseases are euthanized. All of the others are housed and very well fed and loved at the Refugio until they find homes. There is room for about 150 dogs and puppies and 75 cats and kittens. More then 6000 pets are placed in homes each year, an impressive number from any shelter in the world.

Pepito, the mascot at the Refugio for the past 12 years died of cancer in June. Pepito came to the Refugio when he was a puppy, the only survivor of a litter that had been set on fire and left to die. The day he arrived, much of his body had suffered 2nd and 3rd degree burns and the vets gave him the best treatment possible. He was left blind and scarred for life by that incident, but he never let those handicaps interfere with his life and work at the Refugio. He was a very special little dog and comforted thousands of scared newcomers who arrived at the shelter. Pepito was a ‘symbol’ for surviving human cruelty, and his story has been told at many meetings around the world. In addition to the sterilization program, the Refugio finds homes for kittens, cats, puppies and dogs. Animals are not put down due to over-population. Only animals with vicious

September-October, 2005

The veterinary clinic handles a broad array of medical cases too…in fact about 25,000/year. Furry patients pack the waiting room each day waiting to be seen for annual check-ups and vaccinations, an assortment of medical ailments such as allergies, broken bones, parasites, auto-immune diseases and other illnesses, including those requiring surgery. In the treatment room there are four tables for IV hook-ups; even blood transfusions and sonograms can be done here. They have also been known to help wildlife on an emergency basis…a macaw or a pregnant sloth or a baby porcupine needing to be bottle fed! Needless to say, the Refugio de Animales is a busy place!!

THE SAD TIMES This program doesn’t exist without its problems. Distemper is a disease that is rampant in Costa Rica, and if an animal is infected (because it has never been vaccinated) it can transmit the disease to other dogs that also haven’t been vaccinated. Once an animal has contracted distemper, an injection no longer works; and a Continued on page 16...


quarantine for each infected animal that comes in is very expensive and beyond the Refugio’s financial capabilities. And some animals arrive so abused that they cannot be saved. But even with these health problems, only about 10% of the animals are euthanized; this compares to an average 50% in the U.S. The Shelter concentrates on the lovable animals they can save! Each animal that is placed for adoption is neutered, vaccinated and de-parasited before they leave for their new homes.

THE CAUSE FOR PAWS The next AHPPA fundraising activity will be a silent/live auction, THE CAUSE FOR PAWS, held on November 3rd at the Costa Rica Country Club in Escazu from 6pm to 8pm. Tickets are 10.000 colones, which covers the cost of bocas and postres, wine, beer and sodas for the evening. All profits will go directly to the Refugio. The funds will be used to buy a badly needed x-ray machine and build a dark room. Diagnosis of scores of animals is difficult because there is no modern equipment to do a proper x-ray and owners can’t afford to go to a regular veterinarian. When the AHPPA has this equipment, they will charge accordingly to one’s ability to pay, the same as the neutering program. The costs for the new equipment are $24,600.

EDUCATION PROGRAM One of the Refugio’s biggest endeavors yet is an educational program that is just about to begin. A new school has been built and it is located 50 meters south of the main AHPPA buildings, on the road to El Tirol north of San Rafael de Heredia. Busloads of schoolchildren are booked to attend the “animal and environmental welfare classes” to learn the importance of both animal and environmental welfare and how it affects their lives. Education of young people is the key to reducing the suffering of animals and the well being of the planet. It’s best to catch them young before their brains are molded in the wrong way! The AHPPA has two retired teachers volunteering their time to this project. The school has been financed by AHPPA fundraising activities and also donations from two world renowned animals rights groups – the RSPCA (Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty of Animals of Great Britain), the SBA Holland, and the William and Charlotte Parks Animal Welfare Foundation in the United States. All of these groups are heavily involved in animal educational programs.

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If you wish, there are many ways you can help with THE CAUSE FOR PAWS . For those who can’t spend the time volunteering, perhaps you can donate something for the auction. Or get someone you know to donate an item, a trip, vacation home, painting, piece of jewelry, a restaurant gift certificate, etc. We need all the help we can get. Plus, it’s a great way to meet other animal lovers. The AHPPA is also looking for people to join the team and help by selling tickets, or assisting the night of the auction (collecting money, helping with set-up etc). Or maybe helping with some great ideas! Or even just attending the event! Whatever time and items you can donate will be greatly appreciated by the animals of Costa Rica! The contact for THE CAUSE FOR PAWS is Joyce Kober at 267-7118 or 352-3927, email: For more information on the Refugio, please call the office at 267-7158, email: or visit the website at: About the author: Leigh Monahan is VicePresident of the Board of Directors and has been volunteering at the Refugio for more than five years.


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Business Briefs By Casa Canada Group ARCR exceeds 2,000 members The Association of Residents of Costa Rica now has over 2,000 members and is growing at over 50 new members per month. June and July saw 86 and 92 new members respectively. The ARCR assists foreign residents living in Costa Rica, including providing a discount program with local merchants. It also arranges residency, import and other services for new residents moving to the country. ARCR Administración S.A., the administrative company, acts as advocate for foreign residents. In this capacity it was successful in reversing a government decision to rescind the rights of thousands of pensioners and rentistas whose residency was processed by the tourism institute when that organization was in charge of the program. Four test cases were taken to the Constitutional Court by Casa Canada lawyers and in all four cases the court ruled that the government could not rescind the residency status. In addition, a large publicity and lobbying campaign by ARCR Administración S.A. was instrumental in having clauses in the new immigration law that would have eliminated the category of rentista and raised minimum pensions to $US 3,000 per month to be removed. When the law passed the status quo for pensioners and rentistas remained as in the previous law. Growth less than average Costa Rican economy will grow this year less than the average for Latin America, according to the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean. While the overall growth for the region averages 4.3 percent, the figure for Costa Rica is 3 percent -down from 4.2 in 2004-, even though Central Bank president Francisco Gutierrez forecasts 3.5 percent in 2005 and 2.4 percent in 2006. This means that family income and employment will have limited growth. Argentina is at the top of the Commission’s list, with 7 percent, while El Salvador and Paraguay are at the other end, with 2.5 and 2.8 percent respectively. Costa Rica faces crucial decision Costa Rica has until January 1, 2006 to endorse the Central America-U.S. Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA); otherwise, it would sacrifice exports, investment, and jobs that would be taken by its regional competitors. While several sectors have asserted the need to endorse the agreement, President Abel Pacheco has not submitted the CAFTA to Congress yet. He claims that every nation has its own pace, and that there is no need to rush the procedures.

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In the opinion of many in Costa Rica this is simply cowardice on the part of the president, who does not want to face the unions of the government telecommunications and insurance companies. Under the free trade agreement both must be opened to competition by 2008 and are already making moves to ready themselves for that eventuality. Fortunately the term of this president, who had an approval rating of 17% in the last poll, will end in May 2006 following elections in February 2006. The fact that the Costa Rican economy has been able to survive this presidency is certain proof of its strength. No respite from inflation The price index for 264 basic products increased 1.28 percent in July. This took inflation to 8.23 percent for the first seven months this year. The National Statistics and Census Bureau explained that the increase varies by sectors, and that food has suffered the heaviest increases, recording an average 16.36 percent during the last 12 months. During the first six months this year fuels went up 12 percent and coffee increased by an unprecedented 80 percent due to most coffee being exported. The Central Bank has reviewed its forecast for inflation in 2005, taking the average from 10 percent to 12.7 percent by the end of next December. The Bank’s forecast for inflation in 2006 is between 10 and 11 percent. Tico software makes inroads Costa Rican software is earning a niche in the U.S. and Mexican markets, and it is foreseen that it will continue expanding its presence in North America. This fact surfaced in a study by the Costa Rican Chamber of Technology, with the support of the Central Bank and the Central American Institute of Business Administration (INCAE). Relatively young in Costa Rica, the first software industries were established here 20 years ago. Now, there are 150 developers that employ 4,800 people, 96 percent of them Costa Ricans. East Coast Tourism Project Nears Completion Casa Canada Group, in partnership with Canadian investors, has a tourism project near the City of Limon on the east coast of Costa Rica. The property, which has two swimming pools, docking area on the canal system, rail and road access and miles of sand beach in front is scheduled to open next month. The facility is the largest of its kind on the east coast, with bar and restaurant seating for as many as 400 people. The 9 ha of land will provide hiking trails, horseback riding, wildlife tours by boat and various other attractions. It will target both the local and cruise ship markets. A San José restaurateur will lease and operate the property.



Take Time to Learn Time by Christopher Howard

The word tiempo translates into the English ‘time’ when it refers to scientific measurement or to the word in a philosophic or abstract sense. No tengo tiempo para hacer el trabajo hoy – I don’t have time to do the work today. Tiempo also refers to the meaning of ‘weather” in certain expressions. Hoy hace buen tiempo - The weather is good today. Although tiempo refers to the total idea of measured time, the word cannot be used when asking a specific time of day. In such a question, the word hora is correct. Que hora es? – What time is it? It is incorrect to say Que tiempo es? Tiempo may also never be used in the sense of ‘occasion’ or ‘diversion’. To express the idea of ‘having a good time’, the expressions pasarlo bien or divertirse are used. Esta semana voy a pasarlo bien, or Esta semana voy a divertirme – I’m going to have a good time this week. Don’t say Voy a tener un buen tiempo! To express the idea of ‘occasion’, or when referring to a repeated occurrence or a number of times in a series, use the word vez. Vez translates into the English word ‘times’. Esta vez voy a Costa Rica – This time I’m going to Costa Rica. Here are a few more common expressions with vez: A la vez A veces Otra vez En vez de Dos veces Cada vez Tal vez Muchas veces Varias veces

at the same time at times again instead of twice each time perhaps many times several times

Appropriately, here is your Costa Rican expression or tiquismo for this week: “El tiempo es oro.” literally translates as ‘time is gold’ or, in other words, time is money.

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PUBLIC NOTICE: BANCO ELCA The management at Casa Canada recently had a meeting with Mr. Vincenz Schmack, the representative of the investors on the three-person liquidation committee of Banco ELCA. Currently all the owners of accounts have to be registered legally again. This was done when SUGEF had intervened, but apparently that is not good enough for the court so it must be done again. The deadline for confirmation of balances owing on accounts by depositors is October 24, 2005. Any ARCR member not yet registered (this started in June of the current year) should go as soon as possible or lose the possibility to recuperate their funds. Once the registration period is finished, the liquidation committee will apply to the court for permission to distribute 50% of the balance of all deposits with the bank. We are hoping this will happen before the end of this year, however that will depend on how long it takes the court to give permission. This means that each investor with a bank account in ELCA will receive half the balance of their account at that time. Additional distributions of funds will be made as assets are liquidated, something the liquidation committee is now working on. Mr. Schmack feels the amount recovered will be from 70% to 75% of the amount of the deposits.

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with a per capita GDP higher than Germany, France, and Britain. This is truly an amazing story. Ireland’s turnaround began in the late 1960’s when the government made secondary education free, enabling a lot more working-class kids to get a high school or technical degree. As a result, when Ireland joined the EU in 1973, it was able to draw on a much more educated work force.

GLOBALIZATION RE-VISITED by Alan Weeks Welcome to the Bubble Economy 2005 This article was inspired by several knowledgeable and informed Americans who expressed their very serious concerns about, and bleak outlook for, their country’s economic future as the US faces such serious fiscal and competitive challenges. The information used here was gleaned from recent NY Times and Washington Post articles by prominent US authors and economic journalists. They presented compelling reviews of the different national strategies adopted by selected countries around the globe to prepare for, and embrace globalization. Also revealed were key differences in the majority of the people’s attitudes and qualifications in nations taking advantage of opportunities presented by free trade compared to those in major nations who still “don’t get it” when it comes to being a winner in this rapidly shrinking world. Powerful lessons are demonstrated by the globalization winners. Also revealed are the very serious implications for the people of those nations that fail to change strategies and attitudes developed decades ago, which are continuing to weaken them.

By the mid-1980’s, Ireland had reaped the initial benefits of EU membership – subsidies to build better infrastructure and a big market to sell into. However, it still did not have enough competitive products to sell, because of years of protectionism and fiscal mismanagement. The country was going broke and most college grads were emigrating. “In fact, the borrowing, spending, and taxing spree, nearly bankrupted us”, Mary Harney, the Deputy PM said. “It was because we nearly went under that we got the courage to change”. And change they did! In quite an unusual development, the government, trade unions, farmers, and industrialists came together and agreed on a program of fiscal austerity, moderating wages and prices, slashing corporate taxes, and aggressively courting foreign investment. In 1996, Ireland made college education basically free, creating an even more educated work force. The results have been phenomenal. Many top pharmaceutical and medical device companies, computer software, chip, and hardware producers, and others, were attracted to set up and subsequently expand operations. Overall government tax receipts are way up. And, the work force has doubled over the last 15 years, with no unemployment, and 200,000 foreign workers. What attracted companies like Dell Computer to Ireland? Michael Dell says, “A well-educated work force – they’re competitive, ‘hungry’ to succeed, and know how to win; and an industrial and tax policy which is consistently very supportive of businesses, independent of the political party in power. Ireland also has very good transportation and a good location – to move products quickly and easily to major European markets”.

THE SHAMROCK ISLE Our first stop on this global journey is Ireland. “It was best known for hundreds of years for emigration, tragic poets, famines, civil wars, and leprechauns”, said Thomas L. Friedman. (1) He recently reviewed how Ireland has coped successfully with joining the European Union (EU), as the sick man of Europe, and competing with the major EU nations. In less than one generation, Ireland became the second richest country in the EU,

September-October, 2005

“It wasn’t a miracle, and we didn’t find gold,” said Mary Haney. “It was the right domestic policies and embracing globalization”. Ireland has shown the way for a poor country, without natural resources except for a people educated, and ‘hungry’ to succeed, and to do so even when located on the doorstep of much larger, resource rich, and powerful neighbors. Continued on page 24...


NOW TO THE NORTHERNMOST EU COUNTRY According to Robert G. Kaiser, (2) Finland faced a full-scale depression fifteen years ago brought on by the loss of the country’s major markets, as the Soviet Union disintegrated. Unemployment soared to 20%. But the Finns took control of their future, made painful adjustments, and came out of the crisis with an economy that is ranked as the most competitive in the world. It took strong political, business, and scientific leadership to achieve this. However, the most important difference from other nations for the Finns success was probably their willingness to change. “It was actions and not words that created the Finnish model”. Those actions reflected a pragmatic spirit typical of Finland in its brief history since 1917 as an independent country. A relatively backward agricultural country became a high-tech powerhouse with labor productivity as good as or better than the US, but also a welfare-state as generous as any in Europe. Finland’s ability to perform with the best in the world depends on its educational system, widely recognized as the finest in Europe. The most revealing statistic behind their economic transformation, however, is Finland’s commitment to research and development. The Finns put 35% more of their GDP into R&D than does the US, and about 75% more than the EU as a whole. About one-third of R&D funding comes from public institutions and the rest from businesses. They have concentrated on centers of excellence. Finland is optimistic about the future. Of course, it will take continuing Finnish resolve to preserve a comfortable place in a globalized world for an underpopulated nation.

HOW ARE THEIR NEIGHBORS COPING? The voters of France and the Netherlands recently rejected the proposed EU Constitution. Many believe they were expressing dissatisfaction with their national governments, particularly over their failure to deliver stronger economic growth and more jobs. They were probably also expressing a strong hostility to a remote, bureaucratic, and intrusive European Union. However, in spite of the continuing failure to create jobs of the so-called social model adopted generations ago by some older EU members, France and Germany for example, the preferred solution of their leaders now, is to turn inward and seek to shore up protectionism. As Tony Blair of the UK exclaimed recently; “What kind of a social model is it that continues to leave more than ten million workers unemployed?” The solution preferred by Mr. Blair and most of the new EU members of central Europe, is to press forward with an economically liberal, outward looking, and expanding EU, free from bureaucratic interference, to regain their economic dynamism and to create jobs.

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THREE BILLION NEW CAPITALISTS As Thomas L. Friedman analyses in detail (3), “the surge in competitiveness on the part of the rest of the world, especially China, and India, now presents a very serious problem for the US. Even if the playing field were level, which it isn’t, the US would not be able to compete with the combination of low-cost labor, talent, and the ‘fire in the belly’ of these two behemoths”. Globalization and offshoring have always been very touchy subjects, as the many stormy words and violent demonstrations have illustrated. The fact is that many US companies cannot survive today without offshoring. As Clyde V. Prestowitz Jr.(4) explained, “you do save money for example by sending semi-conductor work to India. But pretty soon, you realize the work is getting done faster and better, and you start sending more and more of it. You also start to send more advanced work, and then have to figure out what, if anything, you don’t want to send. The situation today is that China’s and India’s incentives, resources, and talent pool are so compelling that the high-tech work is leaving the US too.” “The work is getting done faster and better”, Prestowitz argues, “because Indians are not only ‘hungrier’ (to succeed) than we are, but better educated. In fact, China, India, Japan, and Europe all churn out more science and engineering graduates than the US does”.

THE GREAT SHIFT OF WEALTH AND POWER TO THE EAST Friedman and Prestowitz present compelling evidence that both India and China, with three billion new capitalists, are now fully embracing globalization. They argue that the sheer size and surge in competitiveness of these two behemoths requires a strong, decisive, US response to the new global situation. In his book with the above in the title, Prestowitz argues that the United States faces such serious fiscal and competitive challenges that it may be headed not only for a declining standard of living, but for a 1930’s-style depression with a capital D. His message is that, “in the golden age from 1950 to 1973 the US had it all - low cost manufacturing, rising wages, technological dominance, a highly educated and motivated workforce, a trade surplus, and reserve currency backed by gold. As a result, the US had control over its economic destiny. Since then, bit by bit, the US has lost much of its strength and is in danger of losing the rest”. Continued on page 25...




Prestowitz contends: “Americans still think they are living in the golden age.” “In fact”, he states, “they are suffering from a misguided sense of superiority, profligate spending habits, a weak education system, mammoth debts, a ballooning trade deficit, and a religious devotion to free-trade theories developed before the Industrial Revolution”.

Has anyone yet heard of a national movement in the US to develop a consensus among government, businesses, academic leaders, and labor, to implement a whole series of cooperative policies to return the country over the long-term to global competitiveness, and fiscal responsibility, as Ireland did? As Prestowitz ponders, “will Americans ‘get it’ before the well-paid, skilled jobs are replaced by low-paid, menial ones, and America is permanently in hock to the world’s next economic leaders? If not, the US economy and the dollar should continue to decline significantly.”

Unlike the political panderers, who branded corporations and executives that send jobs offshore as “Benedict Arnold’s”, he blames the US governments of the last decades. As he states, “the US has a de facto economic strategy to send the country’s most important industries overseas”.

Long-term investors should take note and act accordingly. REFERENCES

Another shocking example he provides of America’s superiority complex is that of its high school graduates. To illustrate how weak the US education system is, he states that, “globally, US 12th graders rank in the bottom 10% in math. And yet, American students rank themselves first in assessing their own performance. Thus, not only are these young Americans poorly prepared, they have delusions of grandeur”.

THE DEFACTO US TRADE POLICY The common theory is that the US can afford to lose jobs in low-tech manufacturing because it retains its hightech design and manufacturing capabilities. However, manufacturing has long been declining as a percentage of the US economy, but until recently jobs lost have been more than offset by growth in services (in health care, financial services, law, retailing, etc.) However, these are now being offshored at a rate threatening the main US growth industries.

(1) Thomas L. Friedman, THE END OF THE RAINBOW, NYTimes Article, June 29/05 NYT Foreign Affairs Columnist and 2002 Pulitzer Prize Winner. (2) Robert G. Kaiser, INNOVATION GIVES FINLAND A FIRM GRASP ON ITS FUTURE, Staff Writer Washington Post, Jul. 14/05 (3) Thomas L. Friedman, THE WORLD IS FLAT: A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE 21st CENTURY National Bestselling Book, Excerpts in NYTimes Article, July 3, 2005. (4) Clyde V. Prestowitz, Jr., Author, THREE BILLION NEW CAPITALISTS: THE GREAT SHIFT OF WEALTH & POWER TO THE EAST. Excerpts in NYTimes Article July 3, 2005, Former Reagan Commerce Counselor & Trade Negotiator. President of the Economic Strategy Institute. (5) BARRON’S ONLINE, Private Investor Opinion, July 2005.

For more information, please contact Alan Weeks at 256-5848

As another economic opinion writer (5) stated; “Since the time of Ronald Reagan, our government has pushed the theory that we can thrive by being a service economy and that we do not need to manufacture. Now, that idea would work out just fine, if some bright minds that run our government could figure out how we could export a dollar’s worth of services for every dollar of manufactured goods that we import!” His advice was to stock up on gold or silver until that miracle takes place. Another popular argument to curb imports and stimulate exports is to insist that the Chinese yuan be revalued, and thus, repair the US trade deficit. However, Prestowitz asserts that “US manufacturing capacity has been so gutted that it couldn’t export its way out, even if the dollar’s value dropped to zero. The only path is to cut spending dramatically”. In his view, “the laissefaire US trade policies of the 19th century have had no place for several generations”.

September-October, 2005


Exchange rate of the Costa Rican ¢ to the US Dollar 464.25 February 467.46 March 470.41 April 473.72 May 476.91 June 479.97 July Basic Interest Rate February 14.75 % 15.00 % March April 15.00 % 15.75 % May June July

15.75 % 15.75 %

Exchange rate of other currencies to the US Dollar Japanese Yen 111.96 Swiss Franc 1.2747 Canadian $ 1.2163 Giro (DEG) 1.4562 ÂŁ Sterling 1.7707 Euro 1.2225 Mexican Peso 10.601 Korean Won 1,026.5 Danish Krone 6.1027 Norwegian Krone 6.4220 Argentine Peso 2.8602 Colombian Peso 2308.4 Brasilian Real 2.3835 Libor Rate 1 month 3.5338 % 3 month 3.7100 % 6 month 3.9506 % 12 month 4.2200 % Prime Rate

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6.25 %


Holidays Of Costa Rica September 15th ‘Independance Day’ October 12th ‘Columbus Day’ ‘Dia de la Raza’ November 2nd ‘All Soul’s Day’ ********************

A Touch of Wisdom “Gratitude is the sign of noble souls.” Aesop (620-560 BC) “It’s an ill wind that blows no good.” John Heywood (c.1497-1580) “Nothing is impossible to the willing mind.” Books of the Han Dynasty ********************

Cautionary tales of dealing with cultural exchanges ... When FedEX (Federal Express) decided to expand into Europe, they established a centralized “hub and spoke” delivery system similar to their US operations. They eventually became well established there - but not before having to shut down over 100 European operations and experiencing $1.2 billion in losses. Why? Analysis: They had not considered cultural differences. Their US-style centralized system proved inappropriate for overseas distribution in multi-cultural Europe. For example, in Spain the workers preferred very late office hours.

September-October, 2005


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