Dear A.M. Costa Rica:
Sheldon Haseltine has a point, whether or not his opinion has been soured by his 20-year battle. Squatters’ rights in Costa Rica allow and possibly encourage flagrant thievery of property that belongs to someone else.
In the U.S., squatter’s rights exist such that if a property ownership was uncertain, or the property not being used, a person who tended and lived on it for a certain period of time then owned the property. In the U.S.A., the adverse possession laws vary from state to state and within states as well. But if the owner initiates eviction, the possession is reversed. Not so here, as evidenced by Haseltine’s battle, among those of many others, over property.
It should not be necessary to pay someone to live on or monitor one’s property to maintain ownership of that which one purchases or otherwise rightfully owns. This is just plain WRONG.
In my opinion, Hazeltine is correct in his evaluation of how the “law” is interpreted or enforced in Costa Rica. It is indeed selectively enforced and often according to how much one lavishes upon the right person.
Greed abounds in much of the upper class of this country, as do lack of respect for the law as it was written and intended, and lack of concern for the rights of others, including the struggling poorer citizenry who manage, somehow, to feed and house their families despite the abuses of power.
Hazeltine correctly asserts, in my opinion, that some laws are written for everyone except the moneyed, or otherwise favorably endowed with power, rank, status, and occupation. I believe that here, the status quo is almost everyone’s enemy.