Annual pilgrimage being called a success by law enforcement officials

The annual pilgrimage to Cartago has ended with many participants nursing sore muscles and feeling good about the weekend.

Law enforcement is calling the pilgrimage the most successful in recent years. But there was one fatality, the victim of an unexpected train.

The Instituto Costarricense de Ferrocarriles stepped up train service in order to carry pilgrims to Cartago Saturday night and Sunday morning.

That is why a pickup driver with the last name of  Céspedes was blindsided by a train at 4:45 a.m. on Calle 33 in Barrio Escalante. Train service usually does not start until 5:30 a.m., and the crossing has no automatic gates.

The Judicial Investigating Organization said that the Cartago-bound train carried the pickup some distance and smashed it against a post. The driver was thrown from the cab, agents said.

Officers of the Policía Turística reported that they detained a bold robber who tried to take a cell telephone from a woman in the plaza in front of the Basilica de Nuestra Señora de los Ángeles.  In nearby Barrio Los Ángeles de Cartago two other suspects were detained after a couple was confronted by two men with knives.

The pilgrimage was a weekend affair this year and started Friday to end with a Mass and speeches Sunday morning.

President Luis Guillermo Solís used the time to ask for divine guidance for his decisions and spiritual help in putting through his tax plan.

The president is receiving a lot of criticism because he has failed to present the tax proposals even though they have been promised repeatedly.

Commentators in Spanish-language publications suggest that there is discord within the administration over the proposals.

José Francisco Ulloa, the bishop of Cartago who spoke before the president, directed attention to unemployment.

Solís might be concerned at the impact his tax proposals will have on job growth.

Certainly there are enough problems for which divine intervention would be helpful. In addition to the growing governmental deficit, there is the drought on the Pacific coast, flood damage in the northeastern part of the country, continual news reports of overly generous public employee salaries and pensions and other problems that are not yet headline material.

Some news outlets were miffed that Solís shunned reporters when he left the basilica after speaking.

The latest figures from the Cruz Roja said that its staffers helped more than 800 pilgrims and that 17 persons were sent to hospitals. The bulk of the care was to persons with medical conditions.

Not all the persons with medical problems went to the Cruz Roja. The basilica saw arrivals on crutches, in wheelchairs and others with obvious conditions. All were seeking the help from the Virgen de los Angeles.cartago090314

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