As weekends go, this one was very typical with high emotions

A.M. Costa Rica montage A selection of the weekend stories

Readers sometimes are critical of A.M. Costa Rica for reporting crime news. There are some who want to maintain the fiction of a peaceful, stress-free country.

In fact, Costa Rica is like every other county. There is jealousy, lust, pride and all the other deadly sins. Mix these with frustration, poverty and perhaps alcohol, and the result is explosive.

This newspaper’s policy is to print crime news as it relates to expats, as it relates to national policy or when the event is so unusual that publication is warranted. So many routine crimes go unreported here, perhaps giving a distorted view of the country.

Seldom are published the tales of guaro-soaked migrant laborers engaged in duels with machetes in the northern zone. Traffic and water deaths only rate a mention if there is an expat connection or if they took place in a community with a high expat population.

This weekend was just like most weekends with accidents, water deaths and crime. Most of these events find a place in the Spanish-language newspapers, El Diario Extra in particular where editors strive to have the body of the day on Page One.

So as a benchmark, here is a summary of the crimes and tragedies that took place this weekend:

1. Police raided a chicken-fighting operation in Calle Fallas, Desamparados, and detained more than 50 persons, including one person facing a murder warrant. All three newspapers carried this story. Mistreatment of animals is big news now.

2. In Caño Seco, Rita de Pococí, Limón, a 32-year-old man shot his 15-year-old sister-in-law three times and then killed himself with the same weapon Sunday morning. The girl is hospitalized in grave condition. Both La Nación and El Diario Extra covered the story.

3. In Salitrillos, Aserrí, an 18-year-old man suffered critical injuries when someone smashed him in the head with a rock. El Diario Extra reported the story.

4. In Pavas a 40-year-old woman was confronted by a robber Saturday night after she just left church services. She resisted, and the bandit shot her in the chest. She was hospitalized. El Diario Extra reported the story.

5. Both newspapers covered the story of the 24-year-old woman who was an Intel Corp. engineer who died in a traffic accident in the U.S. State of Arizona.

6. Only El Diario Extra covered the story of the 20-year-old man who was stabbed by his girl friend because she saw him kissing another woman. That was in San Sebastián, San José. The victim is hospitalized.

7. In Guararí, Heredia, a 15-year-old boy came to the aid of his father who was being beaten. The boy suffered a fatal knife wound to the chest. The early Sunday dispute appears to be over a soccer game. Both El Diario Extra and La Nación covered the story.

8. Both newspapers covered the traffic accident in La Angostura, Puntarenas, where a 20-year-old motorcyclist died and others were injured early Sunday.

9. El Diario Extra was the only newspaper to cover the crash of a 65-year-old motorist into a photo shop in Guadalupe and the death of a motorcycle driver in San Pedro when his vehicle was hit from behind.

10. Both newspapers reported on the death of a mother who died in the surf Sunday as she tried to save her 9-year-old nephew at Playa Herradura, Jacó.

11. El Diario Extra reported on the death of a woman Sunday night who died when she was hit by a car as she crossed the Circunvalación in the rain in San Sebastián.

12. Both newspapers reported the death of a farm worker in Pital, San Carlos. He was struck by lightning Sunday afternoon.

13. Both Spanish-language newspapers and A.M. Costa Rica reported on the discovery of 195 kilos of cocaine in a shipping container that had entered the country from Colombia.

National television stations also reported on many of these news stories. In fact, the Sunday night newscasts on Teletica and Repretel are perhaps the most bloody of the week because every crime and traffic fatality is covered in depth and there is a scarcity of other types of news.

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