Category Archives: Costa Rica

US warships headed to Costa Rica

Militaryless, democratic, non-conflict-having Costa Rica is the new front in the United States’ War on Inanimate Objects. The country’s  national assembly has given the OK for a veritable US invasion force to enter Costa Rican territory: 7,000 marines on 46 warships, including the Wasp-class amphibious assault ship the USS Makin Island, pictured. La Nación quotes a [...]
Also posted in Politics, War on drugs | Tagged , , , | 27 Comments

Save our Park! Oh, and the turtles, too.

Legislation to downgrade Costa Rica’s Las Baulas National Park to a refuge has been shelved – at least for now. The country’s transnational environmental lobby is sighing relief. But what about the turtles? Downgrading a park is admittedly poor form – and sets an awful precedent. The reality, however, is that the critically endangered leatherback [...]
Also posted in Environment | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Untethering

Everyone seems to agree that the economies of Latin America are experiencing a nice little recovery. The IMF, for example, just raised its forecasts for the region and is now projecting 4.1% GDP growth for the region, with 4.2% growth for Mexico and 5.5% for Brazil. Oh boy, numbers. But here’s something interesting. In an [...]
Also posted in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Economy, El Salvador, Mexico, Peru, Venezuela | Tagged | Leave a comment

Crucitas: Loss or opportunity?

Crucitas, a controversial gold mine proposed for a desperately poor region of Costa Rica that is also home to the critically endangered green macaw (why does that always happen?), has hopped the obligatory Supreme Court hurdle. So what’s next? The environmental lobby will keep pushing back, as it should, but it must be careful not to [...]
Also posted in Environment | Tagged , | 3 Comments

Rolling southward

Last week I laughed when I read a comment from a Mexican health insurance executive blaming a 16% increase in the cost of health insurance last year on “people getting sick more.” Then my wife said, “Diet?” and I said, hm. And now I read this great post from Structurally Maladjusted on The NAFTA Diet. [...]
Also posted in Arts and Culture, Mexico, Trade | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Costa Rica and China have signed a free trade agreement. The agreement comes three years after the two countries formed diplomatic relations for the first time and removes tariffs on 90 percent of goods traded between them. It’s the first FTA China has signed with a country in Central America. [link]
Also posted in Side notes, Trade | Leave a comment

Arias in favor of homosexual unions

In kind of a surprising turn of events, lame duck Costa Rican President Oscar Arias has come out rather strongly in favor of state recognition of homosexual unions. He told local daily La Nación: “Yes, there should be some legal recognition. One doesn’t pick one’s sexual inclination. It comes from nature or from God. One [...]
Also posted in Human Rights, Politics | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Cheapskates

You would think if you were inviting a dozen heads of state and their entourages to a party at your house, you would want to make a good impression. But not if you’re Costa Rica, which has budgeted a measly $179,000 to cover the costs of both its 2010 presidential inauguration ceremony and lodgings for [...]
Also posted in Politics | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Arias out of bounds

Sometimes, almost-former Costa Rican President Oscar Arias is insufferable. He has this schtick where he travels around the world preaching that other countries should abolish their militarys like Costa Rica did, and then the world will be a better place. No doubt it would be, but this is exactly the kind of self-regarding smugness that [...]
Also posted in Politics, Uruguay | Tagged , | 4 Comments

Wrong way

Costa Ricans are terrible drivers, and they know it. Pretty much every day in this country of 4.5 million, I can open the newspaper and read about someone dying somewhere on the roads: Pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists, head-on collisions, drunk drivers, people driving off cliffs. I have no idea if it’s a statistically significant number of [...]
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  • DAILY LINKS

    • The Nation has a long, wonky, wonderful article on Mexican maize cultivation, the effects of NAFTA, and the dangers of genetically-modified seeds. Author Peter Canby backs up his excellent writing with piles and piles of meticulous research. Not to be missed. [link, via SM] (Image from Joel Penner.)

    • Cuban dissident Guillermo Farinas ended his hunger strike yesterday after 134 days. Farinas decided to end his strike after the Cuban government said it would release political prisoners rounded up in the "Black Spring" crackdown of 2003. Get well soon. [link]

    • The Uruguayan selection, which has made it to the quarter finals of the World Cup, just received a shipment of half a ton of fine cuts of beef for the mother of all asados in preparation for a contest against Ghana on Friday: "450 kilos of lomo, 200 of entrecot, 75 of vacío, 75 of colita de cuadril, 150 of ojo de bife and 50 kg of picaña." [link]

    • Hitmen have assassinated the PRI candidate for governor of Tamaulipas State, Rodolfo Torre Cantú. Torre was gunned down along with six others at about 10:30 this morning on a highway on the way to a campaign event. Drug mafias are assumed to be responsible. [link]

    • From the days when coups were something of a regional sport, new documents detail a famous British ballerina's role in a plot to topple the government of Panama. The plan was to use her yacht to gather men and arms, then "land somewhere and collect in the hills." It didn't work. [link]

    • Mexico's Attorney General's Office has posted on its web site irrefutable evidence that gold-plated AR-15s and diamond-studded pistol grips are not nearly as cool-looking as they sound. The deadly knick-knack collection is said to belong to Valencia Cartel leader El Lobo. [link]

    • Two Brazilian ranchers were sentenced to 30 years in prison apiece for ordering the killing of an environmentalist nun: "Prosecutors said the pair offered to pay a gunman $25,000 to kill the 73-year-old [Dorothy] Stang because she had prevented them from stealing a piece of land that the government had granted to a group of poor farmers." [link]


    • This video of a kidnapping and car chase in Mexico is notable mainly for the bad-assitude of the TV journalists who were on this like white on rice. Well done, gentlemen.

    • The Economist takes a peak at the Mockus phenomenon in Colombia: "His moustacheless beard gives him the air of a Baltic pastor... He is financing his campaign with a bank overdraft. His supporters rely on Facebook and make their own posters; street vendors sell unofficial campaign T-shirts." [link]

    • Some cruise lines will cease traveling to Antarctica after this cruise season, as a ban on the use and carriage of heavy fuel oil goes into effect next year. The ban came after a 2007 incident when a Gap Adventures ship got punctured by ice and sank, causing a mess. [link]