Officials need to take action to prevent cases of squatter fraud

Regarding the Hazeltine criminal libel case.

I have followed this case for quite sometime and I think there is some fundamental issues that really need to be addressed here other than the fact that the events read more like a Laurel and Hardy skit.  This case is an offensive joke to anything remotely resembling a functioning justice system.  Any Tico should be embarrassed that such cases exist.

First off this Draconian squatters law needs to be repealed immediately, and Costa Rica Politicians and Ticos in general need to come to grips with modern reality.  Of the number of cases I have witnessed, none of these claims is legitimate as these squatters for the most part are not legitimate.  In fact, most of them are nothing but blatant criminals taking advantage of a law that is so out of touch with real justice.  Aside from the democratic offensiveness of this is the commercial reality.  No one gains from this bad law other than criminals!  It most certainly does nothing for Costa Rica on the whole other than give it a bad reputation.  We are supposed to be a country high on human rights, so my question to all is how exactly is it a human right to steal property from rightful owners.

Worse yet is that these fraudulent actions are being paid for by very wealthy people who appear from this case to be operating with impunity.  In fact, as this latest development would indicate, the system has been sabotaging all efforts at justice and not really dealing with technicalities.  Lets look at the fundamentals of what is going on here.  The court records prove there has been large sums of money paid to squatters, hence how in heavens name could they even remotely qualify as such with any semblance of sanity?

This fraud is right up there with Caja and Alcatel. The one difference is that the national media is deadly silent when links to this case lead right to their boardroom. So much for editorial independence. The other players are all highly influential people, yet it was not sufficient for the past presidents to get immunity, why is it for them? Is the message: It is alright to steal from foreigners but not from Costa Rican institutions?

Let’s assume this case was involving any of the high tech industry that was having its rightful property stolen from it. Can you imagine criminals stealing Intel technology and the Costa Rica justice system sitting on it hands? I would think not. Do you think it would take 12 years to deal with it?

Yet the real estate industry here is hardly small potatoes, so why is the political system and justice system not addressing this fraud and cleaning up the act to not only stop this but to send a message to all that this must stop.

In the end the damage to the country and Ticos on the whole is potentially massive yet only to reward a few very wealthy and influential persons. Let’s all get real and no matter how you do the legal tap dance around this if you pay someone to be a squatter, you are committing a criminal fraud, plain and simple.

Hence diputados and the fiscal general need to get real and remedy the current cases on the books on a fast track and stop future ones from ever starting in the first place. That and only that would be justice and honesty in action.

Just like the past presidents, one case in the press and in front of a court sends a loud and clear message as to what will be tolerated and what will not.

*Trevor Chilton lives in Escazú.

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