Panamá is not the paradise writer was seeking here

The grass is greener on the other side of the border?

In the past I used to get upset when I read letters posted from angry Americans leaving Costa Rica for greener pastures. Now I just say “Adios and good luck.  I hope you find what you are looking for.   Sorry my friend, but if you can’t find it here you will never find it.”

They just can’t leave quietly and admit that for whatever personal reason they just can’t hack it here.  They have to blame someone else.

I am sure that if you dig a little deeper you will find another unhappy Gringo looking for paradise and peace in Costa Rica,
when paradise and peace of mind comes from within.

All of the negative issues that the letter list: crime, traffic tickets, security, cost of living, corrupt government officials, unfair taxes, are issues he will find everywhere, including Panamá.  Especially Panamá, my friend.   The disparity between rich and poor is particularly apparent in Panamá. Take a walk in Panamá City and Colón, away from the guarded and gated communities, and I recommend a bodyguard, maybe two.

Although far from perfect, Costa Rica has the longest standing democracy in Latin America, a business environment that welcomes foreign investment, the happiest people on the planet, a minimum wage, social security benefits for the elderly, and a health system that at least tries to take care of the basic needs of the poorest among us. And, yes, an education system that produces one of the highest literacy rates in the world.

One of the things I like the best is their historical policy of minding their own business and staying out of foreign entanglements.  When you are at peace with your own people and your neighbors, you dont need to waste money on a military.

The writer mentioned in his letter that he built a “big house” yet he doesn’t want to pay a small luxury tax on this mansion to help pay for the improved services that he complained about.   I am sure a home like that would be subject to properly taxes in the U.S. far in excess of the little luxury tax assessed here in Costa Rica.  Next time build a smaller home.

If the home is subject to the luxury tax, it must be something else.  Maybe he should have built something smaller and tried to blend in and become a part of your community.

I have lived and prospered here for 13 years, never been robbed, taken hostage, or assaulted.   Yes, I have had a few traffic tickets, but they are easy to appeal and languish in the courts..  The appeal process is open to everyone including us Gringos.

If you are unhappy here, then I suggest you go to Panamá, San Salvador, Nicaragua, or Honduras and build another “big house”

Your maid will be much less expensive because they work for nothing. Why? Because they are hungry and their government does not protect them with a minimum wage, or health coverage, or guarantee them an education.

Sounds like the perfect place for the writer.

Leo Plumley
Hermosa Beach

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