I got tired of reading about all the government employee excesses and the public's displeasure and the government legislators minimizing the proposed limitations and the courts overruling common sense... this is a government / legislative / privledged society on the verge of collapse and chaos. I believe the government has until mid July to find $1.5 to keep going and to repay ??... they don't have it... meanwhile, they continue to dole out ridiculous pensions and salaries, to not be able to pass tax legislation because rightly so, the opposition wants to see progress in cutting expenses... the colon has depreciated from C540 to C550:$1--2%... A report from a salt-of-the-earth tico -his curtain business (new sales) is WAY down, mostly doing only cleaning, his wife hairdresser shop which used to see 15 clients a day now sees 5; he reports that in his area (Puriscal) virtually all new construction has stopped, 5 gringo houses are now vacant, up for sale, and one huge, monster house where he supplied $15,000 worth of curtains, is now vacant and up for sale. One person we both know, has stopped construction of two houses mid way and I have not heard any progress reports... guess he is virtually out of business... yet in Santa Ana, construction, both commercial and residential continues. A direct flight has been added from Switzerland... that now makes 5 European locations -London, Madrid, Frankfurt, Paris, and Switzerland (someplace). One agent I spoke with this week, expect to see more Europeans moving to CR.
1) CooperVision: An example of a free trade zone medical supply company opening in CR.
2) Exit tax: Not going to happen soon regardless of what the article said last week.
3) Savings Unlimited: They simply cannot / will not nail this crook and the investors continue to get fleeced.
4) PAC... One of the largest political parties continues to be charged with crooked dealings and is supposedly going to be tried... yeah... when pigs fly...
5) Gas Price Increase: this is another one right on top of one that was just implemented... but there is no inflation in the country according to the government... isn't that wonderful!!!!!!
6) San Ramon highway: 5 concessions representing 2% of the land required have held up the construction for 12 years. The third builder -CONSEVI- now has the contract. What the article fails to mention is that the previous government which cancelled the contract with the Brazilian company, had to pay a $30 mil fine for contract cancellation.
7) AyA: while the article is not listed here, is asking for a 23% increase in water and sewage... but there is no inflation... remember that...
1. CooperVision Opens High-Volume Contact Lens Manufacturing Site in Costa Rica
SAN JOSE, Costa Rica — CooperVision has opened a new, 100,000 square-foot, high-volume manufacturing facility at Coyol Industrial Park in Alajuela, Costa Rica, the company announced earlier this week.
The Costa Rica plant is the company’s second site for clariti 1-day silicone hydrogel lens manufacturing, joining an existing facility in Budapest, Hungary. CooperVision also maintains high-volume manufacturing plants in the United Kingdom and Puerto Rico for its Biofinity, MyDay and other brands.
“Our partnership with eyecare professionals around the world is leading the more rapid adoption of 1-day silicone hydrogel contact lenses, and our new facility near the capital city of San Jose will help us produce millions of clariti lenses each year to help meet surging demand,” said Fernando Torre, chief operations officer, CooperVision. “We have been heartened by the warm, eager welcome that all of us have received, and we look forward to a long and prosperous relationship with the people of Costa Rica.”
The facility currently employs 250 local residents, with the potential to add up to 300 employees in the next three to five years. The company has the option to expand the plant, as well.
After a global review, CooperVision chose Coyol Industrial Park in part due to state-of-the-art infrastructure, an advanced communications network, a highly-educated work force, and competitive construction and operating costs, the company said. Other multinational medical device companies such as Abbott Vascular, Helix Medical, Hologic Surgical Products and St. Jude Medical are also located in the area.
2. Airport Exit Tax Will Not Increase in Costa Rica, For Now
Despite a Presidential Decree issued last week, the exit tax charged at Costa Rica airports for international travelers will remain at $29. The Decree seeks to increase the airport exit tax by $2, which will benefit the National Animal Welfare Service (Spanish acronym: SENASA), a government entity.
According to a news report by Fernando Muñoz of national radio station Monumental 93.5 FM, the Decree may or may not stand in the future. On Thursday, President Luis Guillermo Solis announced the decision by the Executive Branch to put the Decree on hold. The President explained that the increase needs to be further discussed by two government entities: the Tourism Board of Costa Rica (Spanish initials: ICT) and the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock. These two entities will discuss the matter in the next two months.
There is a possibility that SENASA may no longer be the beneficiary of the airport tax increase, which may not even take place if the two aforementioned government agencies decide that the tax should be left as is.
One concern about the exit tax increase to benefit SENASA is that the agency was not prepared to help with the logistics required to bring implementation assistance airlines, banks, hotels and other businesses that offer payment of this tax to their customers. Ministry of Tourism Mauricio Ventura explained that the ICT is in a better position in this regard.
Hoteliers in Costa Rica are opposed to the increase since they believe that the last four hikes in less than six years have been four too many.
The tax is collected by decree of Law Number 8316, which effectively amended Law 5874. In its original version, the tax intended to collect $30 from all travelers leaving Costa Rica by air, land or sea; however, the amount was later reduced to $26 and significantly lowered at the land borders. The problem with the original law is that it infringed upon the constitutional right to freely move around the country without restriction.
3. Another unexpected twist in the Savings Unlimited case
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff
The Savings Unlimited case has made yet another unexpected turn.
The high-interest operator Luis Milanes has been freed from prison after an appeal court overturned his conviction for fraud, but the specifics have not been provided yet by the Poder Judicial.
What is known is that the case might be appealed again to the criminal section of the Corte Suprema de Justicia and that civil money awards to 400 investors might stand. But collecting might not be possible.
Also facing a loss of a payday are lawyers who represented those who put money in the Milanes high-interest operation. A few lawyers obtained earlier financial agreements for their clients, and these appear to continue in force.
Milanes got 15 years from a criminal trial panel. Informal reports say that the conviction was overturned because Milanes already admitted guilt and was sentenced on a related charge.
This is similar to the sharp lawyer who brings his client facing a motor vehicle homicide charge to court in the U.S. and engineers a guilty plea for bald tires. The law is the same here that someone cannot be tried on the some facts twice.
The appeals court decision is said to be many pages. Milanes shut down his Edificio Colón financial operation in November 2002 and vanished until June 2009.
4. PAC will go to trial on July 4 for alleged fraud
Antonio Bolaños (Der.) With Sterling Mynor (outside the image) are the two defendants in the trial. Beside Bolaños appears Elizabeth Fonseca, who was president of the PAC when the facts alleged by the prosecution were given.
The Citizen Action Party (PAC) will go to the dock next July 4 to face a complaint against him for allegedly defrauding the state by ¢ 16.2 million.
The trial in the Criminal Court of San José begin 930 days after the prosecution questioned, based on a report by the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE), the financial management of that group in the 2010 election campaign.
The PAC will face the solidarity process, since criminal defendants are Maynor Sterling Araya, who was party treasurer during those elections, and Manuel Antonio Bolaños Murillo, who was and still as rojiamarillo collaborator.
They are also attributes the alleged crime of using false documents.
For these two offenses, Sterling and Bolaños could face a prison sentence of up to 16 years, according to the Penal Code.
The oral and public debate are estimated to last for four months, until early November. Prosecutors Alexander Valverde and Greysa Barrientos presented 23 witnesses and 17 dossiers provide documentary evidence, other than as contained in the investigation.
Ghosts contracts. Apparently, during the elections of 2010 the PAC would have received the TSE ¢ 16.2 million in bills for special services for free, or not performed at all.
In a 68-page report in September 2012, the electoral body also denounced the alleged existence of false signatures on some of those contracts.
Nine senior government officials are among those who signed those agreements that were controversial in the crosshairs of the prosecution and the TSE.
Six of them are part of the current government, there are two deputies and another was alderman until 30 previous April. Appear on that list for example, the executive president of the Costa Rican Oil Refinery (Recope), Sara Salazar and Ambassador of Costa Rica to the United Nations (UN), Juan Carlos Mendoza.
For these controversial agreements the PAC had to pay ¢ 465m to the Costa Rican Department of Social Security, for social security contributions allegedly not paid.
Compensation. As a party, the PAC is exposed to the collection of at least ¢ 516 million from the Attorney General, which claims that sum for economic damage. The amount is equivalent to what the TSE had canceled the grouping concept of special contracts "apparently fictitious" services. State attorney also demand payment for social damage; however, it is not yet defined how much amount.
The president of the PAC, Margarita Bolaños, believes that the process will go free and refuses to be committed any illegality in that campaign.
"We are ready to start (the trial) and finish with this, the truth is that there have been many years in this, we are eager to get out of this situation. We go with the best expectations, we sure that we act properly and that the work done is to strengthen democracy in this country and we have been as rigorous as you can in the efficient use of public resources, "said Bolaños.
The rojiamarilla leader is the only spokesperson authorized by the party to discuss the upcoming trial. Sterling and Bolaños not issue a judgment until the trial court to make a ruling.
The defense of the CAP and Antonio Bolaños will lead the party lawyer, Ronny Guevara, while Sterling sought his own defender.
The director of Electoral Registration TSE Hector Fernandez, said a damning judgment would confirm that the control system operates either party financing.
5. Hikes ¢ 84 ¢ 77 premium gasoline and regular governed next week
Buy 45 liters of super gasoline will cost ¢ ¢ 27,090 instead of 23,310 as at present; a difference of ¢ 3,780.
Authority attributed adjustments to increases in international prices for imported fuels
The Regulatory Authority for Public Services (Aresep) approved the increase of ¢ 84 in the price per liter of super gasoline, ¢ 77 for regular gasoline and ¢ 71 for a liter of diesel, applied for on June 13 by the refiner Costarricense Oil (Recope).
This increase will be felt in the pockets of consumers from the other week, once you leave published in the Official Gazette. This is the fourth increase followed so far this year.
The change will make a liter of gasoline super again exceed ¢ 600 ¢ going from 518 at present to 602 ¢. In the case of regular, it will increase from ¢ 498 to ¢ 575 and, with respect to diesel will increase from ¢ 380 to ¢ 451 for 71 ¢ up was also approved on that fuel.
From next week, to fill the tank of a vehicle with a capacity of 45 liters must pay ¢ ¢ 27,090 instead of 23,310, in the case of super gasoline, a difference of ¢ 3,780.
If you fill the tank monthly two or three times with this fuel, involves setting ¢ ¢ 7,650 or 11,340 additional per month, respectively.
If regular gasoline, will increase from ¢ 22,410 now cost ¢ 25,875; a variation of ¢ 3,465 per tankful. If diesel, the cost will increase from ¢ 17,100 to ¢ 20,295 (¢ 3,195 additional).
This setting does not include the addition of ¢ 5,000 million ARESEP rates should move soon, as ordered by the Constitutional Chamber to resolve an appeal brought by workers Recope. That ruling overturned a decision rejecting ARESEP include setting spending rates of the collective agreement for that amount.
6. Five expropriations for San Ramón highway still on tenterhooks after 12 years of stagnation
The project of the San José route - San Ramon has almost 12 years after it started, but to date five wickets still refuse to give space for the expansion of the road.
For the project that was contemplated by the construction firm OAS 213 were necessary land, of which the state already has available 208 (98%). Yet there are five expropriations made to meet the amount in the Brazilian company designs, which will no longer develop enlargement.
The five wickets still in private hands are located between the Monument of Water (La Uruca, San Jose) and Juan Santamaria (Alajuela) airport in the General Cañas Highway.
The five expropriation processes are on trial in the Administrative and Civil Court of Finance, said the press office of the Ministry of Public Works and Transport (MOPT).
The Ministry faces lawsuits because landowners do not agree with the amounts stated in the appraisals.
"It is expected that in the next four months handed down in courts entries in possession of the property expropriation process," said Ana Lizeth Rodriguez, advises the Minister Carlos Villalta.
Although the State succeeds in obtaining these lands, more expropriations are not discarded. New designs could see a road with more lanes, which would need to buy more properties along the way.
In the acquisition of the 208 land already owned by the state they invested $ 35,424,830, with resources from the National Concessions Council (CNC) and the National Highway Council (CONAVI).
All land acquired to date was incorporated under the cover of the previous Expropriation Act. In the MOPT, expect the reform -approved law in October 2014, additional acquisitions are processed more quickly.
With the new rules, if the person does not agree with the money offered by the State, you can go to court, but without having possession of the land. Previously, the owner retained the property until the case was resolved judicially.
The route of 56 kilometers between San Jose and San Ramon compose the General Cañas highway and the Bernardo Soto highway.
The General Cañas consists of 13.9 kilometers, from the junction of the Datsun (San Jose) agency to the intersection of Juan Santamaria Airport. The Bernardo Soto is 42.4 kilometers from the airport to the entrance to San Ramon.
12 years of waiting. On October 1, 2004 the government of Abel Pacheco signed the contract with the joint venture company Autopistas del Valle for the rehabilitation and expansion of the route between the capital and the canton of San Ramon.
In 9 years in charge of the grant, Autopistas del Valle could not get the financial resources to build the road, at the time valued at $ 530 million. Because of that, the March 10, 2013, the Comptroller General of the Republic approved the transfer of rights contract to Brazilian construction firm OAS.
After weeks of protests over the cost of the work and tolls, staged by the residents of the area west of the Central Valley, April 22, 2013, the then President Laura Chinchilla announced by national chain the end of contract with OAS.
The Government decided that the project would no longer be performed under the figure of the concession, and instead, a trust fund would be used for.
On February 5, 2015, the Legislature approved a bill that created a trust for $ 473 million for the construction of the road.
On 12 February, the Conavi won the trust to Banco de Costa Rica (BCR), which established a cost of $ 210,000 for administration.
The five wickets still in private hands are located between the Monument of Water and Juan Santamaria airport in the General Cañas Highway. (Gabriela Tellez)