Dear AM Costa Rica:
Two opinions published Tuesday require response.
Mr. Lam criticized the Costa Rican government as favoring some expats more than others. He argues that less wealthy U.S. retirees bring talent and other benefits to the country.
Mr. Lam and others would do well to study the immigration rules for the U.S. and to ask themselves whether Costa Rica is wrong to act as it does. U.S. voters, through their representative lawmakers, have rightly or wrongly installed a discriminatory system. It issues H1B visas to highly technically qualified and educated foreigners. Very wealthy investors are issued another type of visa.
The precious Green Card is offered more favorably to some nationalities than to others and usually requires evidence that a U.S. citizen is unavailable to do the job. Only the wealthiest retirees can actually achieve residency in the U.S. Many have to leave regularly in a very similar way as to what happens here in CR.
The one talent that too many immigrants from developed countries bring here is an ability to whine about how superior their ideas and system of government were back home. Too many retirees come to Costa Rica and latch on to the cheap and over-stretched medical services. In general, retirees can cost a lot more in health care than they bring in local employment and inward investment.
Both the U.S. and Costa Rica need worker bees. Nicaraguans are ethnically, culturally and linguistically closer to Ticos than most Gringos. Is immigration policy here as crazy or as unusual as Mr. Lam argues?
Mr. Beedle fears the consequences of hostile Nicaragua building a competitor to the Panama Canal. Is not competition generally considered to be a good thing?
Mr. Beedle raises fears that require answers. He suggests that a Nicaraguan canal would be used to traffic arms and drugs. Many in the U.S. and Latin America consider demand from the ill-controlled drug market in the U.S. as the major cause of international drug crime and smuggling. The real solution may lie in regulating demand in the U.S., rather than focusing on the supply side.
A canal is an enormous investment and way beyond the poor Nicaraguan state. Investors are unlikely to pile in, given U.S. hostility and the lack of interest in capitalism of the current Nicaraguan government. The exception might be China, with its mountains of U.S. dollars and penchant for twisting the U.S.’s tale in Latin America. China is also better at building massive infrastructure projects faster than just about everyone else these days. The Chinese and perhaps Nicaragua are likely too clever to actually build such a project. All they need to do is to show interest and maybe do some initial digging. That would tie up U.S. resources in unwise threats against Latin America. It might even cause inept military intervention, with the usual negative consequences.
Fellow Gringos please stop feeling that you are doing the poor Ticos a favor by coming here.