Talamanca mayor targets expats as troublemakers

Expats who complain too much about Costa Rica sometimes are told to go home if they do not like living here.

Two expats who live on the southern Caribbean coast have the unusual distinction of being told that officially by the mayor of their canton, Talamanca, in a letter posted on the municipal Facebook page.

The expats, mentioned by name in the letter, are Carol Meeds, a U.S. citizen, and Philippe Vangoidsenhoven, who is from Belgium.

The mayor, Melvin Cordero Cordero, did not sign the letter, which is on municipal stationery, but Ms. Meeds said that he told Vangoidsenhoven that he wrote it.

The Facebook posting says that the municipality seeks the opinions of the public about the interference and manipulation by “some persons who promote chaos and paralysis in the zone.”

Ms. Meeds, at least, is a strong believer in environmental protection. She also has written about crime in her area.

Some of the posters on Facebook seem to agree with the mayor. One man, apparently a Costa Rican, said “it is a lack of respect that foreigners ignorant of our idiosyncrasies try to come and impose, decide and even demand how to protect the existing natural resources . . . .”

The letter said that two foreigners were creating discomfort among the citizens, failing to respect local and national authorities and staining the image “of our beloved Caribbean Sur, our way of life and our relation with nature.”

Vangoidsenhoven was accused of making false claims against four citizens to environmental agencies and the fire fighters. He also was accused of posting false and disrespectful information on social media.

The mayor also said Vangoidsenhoven is a citizen of a county that had done much damage as a colonial empire.

The accusation was less specific about Ms. Meeds, except that the mayor said she most likely has a large pension.

Both are welcome to leave Talamanca and preferable the country, the letter said, because they are uncomfortable with the local values, customs and way of life.  At least one of the postings by the public suggested that the writer was being instigated by the letter to take some unspecified action.maorsletter022015

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