They have very little sympathy for complaints about burning

I  have a complaint of all the expats complaining about the smoke from the burning of the sugar cane fields in the Guanacaste region of Costa Rica. I understand the smoke and debris is a nuisance and no one really cares to have to deal with it, but my question is what was there first, the nice luxury expat home/condominium or the sugar can fields?

For years, even centuries, sugar cane farmers have been practicing this method of burning the sugar cane fields before the harvest. What gets me frustrated is all of these expats should have toured around the area and realized that they might have to deal with the nuisance of smoke and ash from the burning and taken that into consideration before purchasing/building their luxury home. It just frustrates me how a group of people who we could call in this instance transplants try to throw their weight around just because they are inconvenienced.

This issue reminds me of a time growing up in Gilbert, Arizona. There is a subdivision known as Val Vista Lakes and there are quite a few $500K and higher homes within this area. The whole area consists of a 1-2 square mile radius. What is interesting is there was a dairy farm located just on the other side of a major road that was the boundary of this subdivision. This dairy farm had been there years before Val Vista Lakes was developed. After the affluent started to move into their $500K and higher homes, they realized they had the welcome of manure stench every morning and night. They complained every day about the foul smell and tried to mandate the government to do something so that they can enjoy their luxury homes. I was glad to see that this dairy farm lasted for almost 20 years after Val Vista Lakes was developed as a form of letting people know that they need to do a lot more research when they purchase a home instead of looking at the immediate area.

So with the issue of the smoke from the sugar cane fields being built, my opinion is they should just shut up. I do agree that if Costa Rica is promoting itself and an ecological conscious nation then maybe the government should try to do something about the burning of the sugar can field burning issue. But this is a hot topic with the Costa Rica government.

Where would Ticos purchase their sugar from? What would the cost be to the consumer? As most people know, Costa Rica has a high import tax and anything that comes into Costa Rica is taxed. This explains why when I travel to Costa Rica prices are the same on most items down there as they are here in the States. Contrast to what most people would think. So my question is, are all of these consumers going to subsidize the local nationals for increase sugar prices due to imports? Probably not.

Quite frankly, my opinion is if they don’t like the smoke then get out of the kitchen. The first time I went to Costa Rica was in 1993, long before it became the developed, tourist attraction that it is today. Back then it was a diamond in the rough. Nobody knew about it and anytime I mention it to somebody they always confused it with Puerto Rico. Now is it a bad thing that over the years development has taken place? No it isn’t because the standard of living for the average Tico has risen also.

My only thing is the development has brought in a lot of people who made a hasty decision and now because they realize that things are the way they thought they would be, they complain hoping that they get their way. If it’s such a big problem for them, I’m sure there is some other country of the world that will bend over backwards to cater to their needs. I hope the sugar cane farmers win this battle and not be pressured to sell off their land like the poor diary farmer did in Gilbert, Arizona. Maybe this is a form of the little guy getting back at the rich, affluent, puffed up chest of the foreign invaders.

Dustin and Jilue Johnson
Colorado Springs, Colorad
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