In the report, titled “New Law in Costa Rica for Perpetual Tourists,” the web site claimed that new immigration laws “aimed at cracking down on perpetual tourists” were to go into effect on March 1st, citing statements from “Mario Zamora, director general of Migracion y Extranjeria.” The report quickly spread on social networks.
However, Zamora has not headed immigration in nearly four years.
Readers quickly pointed out that the article was in fact a word-for-word copy of an article that appeared on another news web site, AM Costa Rica, on February 19th, 2010, as new immigration laws were debated that year.
The Costa Rica Star later issued a statement in which it claimed that the erroneous report was in fact intentional, in order to “prove how misinformation online can cause problems.” The report as originally published, however made no mention of such an intent.
“That was the purpose of this article that we published, to prove that it is always best to consult a lawyer in legal matters related to immigration and residency. So much inaccurate content is published online about the subject, we had to blow it wide open, and we did,” Adrian Vargas, the web site’s editor and publisher, said in an emailed statement to Inside Costa Rica.
No changes in Costa Rica’s immigration laws are slated for March 2014.