Minister Bites the Dust
With the resignation of Esmeralda Britton, the Ministra de la
Condición de la Mujer, the total number of ministers and president of
public corporation to have resigned or fired during the first two years
of the Pacheco administration comes to 17.
During the past month, the government has been investigating
excessive expenditures at the Instituto Nacional de la Mujer (INAMU).
Pacheco had questions various invoices paid by the Institute and had
called a meeting with his Minister for Monday to receive an explanation.
However, Britton tendered her resignation before starting the meeting.
Pacheco told local news television channel 7 in an interview he said
that "I don't believe that Mrs. Britton was involved in any wrongdoing.
An investigation will be done as to what happened, nothing extravagant."
The Commission responsible to oversee competitive practices
for the Ministerio de Economia finally rendered it's decision and
sanctioned the firm Embotelladora Panamco Tica S.A., which exclusively
markets Coca Cola products in Costa Rica.
The process started way back in 2002, when the Pepsi Cola company
presented a charge against Coca Cola for unfair and monopolistic
practices in the market.
Coca Cola's practice was to obligate retailers to maintain their
suggested retail prices, as well, setting strict conditions on the use
of any refrigeration equipment installed in locations, which would be
limited only the use of Coca Cola products. And, it had a practice of
requiring it's clients to an exclusive contract for Coca Cola products
to be sold.
Small retailers and restaurants who signed with Coca Cola were forced to
sell only Coca Cola products and at prices set by Coca Cola.
The decision of the Commission eliminates the practices by Coca Cola as
well as it fines the company ˘68 Million colones (about $160.000 at
today's exchange rate).
Coca Cola announced in a press statement that it accepts the decision of
the Commission and that it would change it's marketing practices to
conform to the law.
Coca Cola has two months to appeal the Commission's decision or swallow
the bitter taste of competition.
Turning Trash Into Power
By Sheila J. Robinson
EnPower, Environmental Power International, based in Ardmore, Oklahoma,
is in negotiations with three municipalities in Costa Rica for turning
garbage into energy.
"Basically it's called waste energy," said Ken Roblyer, managing
director. "There are three cities in Costa Rica that are very
There's Limon, which is the east coast port, Puntarenas, which is the
west coast port, and in the area where there is more tourism and growth
in the upper northwest, there's Liberia."
EPI, an independently-owned company, is keeping a low profile while
working directly with these municipalities. Roblyer says the company is
working closely with Costa Rican President, Abel Pacheco.
"In developing countries, one of the major issues they have is municipal
solid waste -- trash," Roblyer said. "We have a process which separates
the glass, plastic, aluminum and the fuel stock, which is the paper. It
is rendered into a fuel and commingled with natural gas or coal to
create steam to create energy."
Plants in Costa Rica will be similar to a plant currently operating in
Tacoma, Wash. Sam Hammons, former Secretary of Energy for Oklahoma is
one of the EPI partners. Hammons has negotiated power agreements
throughout the world.
"Our chief engineer is Frank Logan out of Portland, Oregon," Roblyer
said. "Frank basically built the two largest nuclear plants in the U.S.
We have tremendous back-up. We've built these plants for other people
and we've evolved to form our own company. We are basically doing it
EPI's energy solution is not labor intensive. The corporation is looking
to countries outside the U.S. because permitting is easier. Foreign
countries don't have as many special interest groups.
EPI is planning to build three plants in Cost Rica at a cost of about
$15 million per plant. The company proposes to implement the plants at
no cost to the host countries. They ask for an agreement where
municipalities will purchase the energy produced.
EPI is also working on projects in Greece and the Dominican Republic.
"Why we went to Costa Rica first is, they see themselves as the
environmental eco-system of the world," Roblyer said. "They are very,
very strong environmentally. Also, the literacy rate of Costa Ricans is
94.7. Their ability to read, write and communicate is higher than
"Costa Rica is a wonderful place to do business," Roblyer said. "They
like Americans and it's a wonderful place to be."
Playa Tortuga Hosts First International Music Camp in
The paradisiacal beaches of the Costa Rican South Pacific will witness,
from July 4 to 19, the birth of the “Playa Tortuga” International Music
Camp – CIM (Campamento Internacional de Música “Playa Tortuga”).
Inspired by the North American model of music camps and based at Hotel
“Posada Playa Tortuga” , this is the first event of its kind to be held
in Costa Rica.
It will offer the opportunity to young, talented string musicians from
Costa Rica, the Caribbean and the rest of the world, to perfect their
performance skills through an intense two-week program comprised of
private instruction in the student’s major instrument (violin, viola,
cello, or double bass), ensemble performance experience (chamber music
and string orchestra experience) as well as recreational tours.
All activities will be lead by a group of internationally acknowledged
Costa Rican musicians and music educators.
Instrumental study and instruction, group and orchestra rehearsals will
culminate when teachers and students share the joy of making music
through a Dinner/Chamber music concert at Hotel Posada “Playa Tortuga”,
on July 17th, at 7 pm.
Additional concerts in the surrounding community (Ciudad Cortés, July
11th, at 9:30 am and San Isidro de Pérez Zeledón, July 18th, at 11 am),
and a closing Gala Concert at the National Auditorium (Children’s
Museum, San José) on July 19th, at 8 pm.
There is a high cost usually involved in the quality music education of
young people, and while CIM is able to offer this new program at
one-half to one-third of the cost for comparable music camps in the
United States and Europe, they still need generous individual or
corporate donors or patrons to contribute funds for students who are
unable to cover the camp’s cost.
Information about the benefits of joining the Circle of Donors or
Patrons (Friends of CIM), can be obtained from
Artistic Director or
More information about the Camp can be obtained by contacting directly
As a side activity to
raise funds for CIM’s scholarship fund, a Gala Concert/Dinner featuring
the “Festival String Quartet of Playa Tortuga” will be held at Hotel “La
Condesa”, on June 24th.
Gaming Service Challenges J.Lo, New Hubby
An online gaming service, MyBookie.com, based in Costa Rica, is so sure
Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony are going to break up it'll pay them if
they stay together.
The online gaming service MyBookie promises it will pay $100,000 to a
charity chosen by Lopez and Anthony if they stay married until Dec. 31,
2005. Sportsbook director Jimmy Mason says they wish the couple the
best, but given J.Lo's history, the betting industry is having a field
day on how long they'll last.
Mason says Lopez and Anthony need to have their people contact them with
their acceptance and name their charity, and MyBookie will put the funds
in escrow. Mason is hoping to have to pay up. He says, "We will be proud
to cut the check. We believe love rules!"
Rica Fires Sampson As Soccer Coach
Former U.S. national soccer coach Steve Sampson was fired as
Costa Rica's coach after his team struggled past a traditionally weak
Cuban team in World Cup qualifying.
The Costa Rican federation announced the ouster Monday, and a
replacement was to be announced, today, Wednesday.
"I thought this might happen," Sampson said Tuesday. "The circumstances
of having the fans and the press against me influenced the decision. The
detonator was the result against Cuba."
Costa Rica tied Cuba 2-2 on the road and 1-1 at home, advancing because
of more away goals to the semifinals of North and Central American and
Caribbean qualifying for the 2006 World Cup.
"Unfortunately, soccer deals with results, which have not been
favorable," the federation said.
Sampson said he achieved his goal of advancing to the next qualifying
round. "I think we did an acceptable job, but not in the style I
wanted," he said.
He said he should have insisted on greater time with the players and in
changes to the local championship schedule so it would not conflict with
the national team.
"There's a very great pressure here because the people live for soccer
with an incredible passion and that's very good, but then they want
Federation president Jose Luis Rodriguez told local radio that possible
successors include Jose Luis Pinto of Colombia and Brazilian-born Costa
Rican Alexandre Guimaraes.
Sampson replaced Guimaraes in November 2002, signing a four-year
contract to coach through qualifying for the 2006 World Cup.
Costa Rica was eliminated in the first round of the 2002 World Cup, but
its youth team qualified for the 2004 Olympics over the United States.
Father Minor Calvo, a suspect in
the murder of journalist
Parmenio Medina, is to remain in
preventative detention for the
duration of the six months the
court prescribed. Calvo's appeal
to a Heredia court was found
without basis and thus his
conditional release denied.
Less than one hour after being
released police detention, a
young boy of only 13 years of
age was re-arrested for theft.
The young boy was arrested on
Monday for attempted robbery at
Mutual Alajuela on Paseo Colón
in San José and was released
after a jouvenile court refused
to give the boy preventative
detention. Within an hour of
being released, the boy was
apprehended in the court
building stealing a cellular
telephone from a woman.