Tax would subsidize train and lower carbon emissions

Rail agency wants to retire ancient engines such as the one pictured here: No. 81.

Rail agency wants to retire ancient engines such as the one pictured here: No. 81.

The government plans to tax motor vehicles and other means of conveyance in order to finance the money-losing rail system, and striving for carbon neutrality is a major reason.

The legislature just got bill No. 20313 that seeks to provide additional financing for the Instituto Costarricense de Ferrocarriles, the rail agency.

Among other projects, the new tax will help pay for converting the diesel-burning locomotives to electric, said the bill.

Lawmakers might make many changes to the bill even if they eventually pass it, but right now the bill seeks to put a surcharge of up to 4.5 percent on the annual automobile road tax and assess from 1 to 7.5 percent additional on vehicle property tax.

The older the vehicle, the higher the assessment.

Electric cars and hybrids would be exempt, according to the current draft of the bill.

The government also will boost fees at toll booths based on the size and type of vehicle. The amounts would be indexed to inflation.

Posted in Costa Rica News | Comments Off on Tax would subsidize train and lower carbon emissions

Pineapple industry to start business in China

By Rommel Téllez
of the A.M. Costa Rica staff

It is official. The Costa Rican pineapple industry is ready to start sales in China as soon as producers are ready.

The export permit was granted last week to the Cámara Nacional de Productores y Exportadores de Piña, the national chamber to which most producers and exporters belong.

According to Abel Cháves, the president of the organization, this is a long-awaited result of negotiations that started in 2015 with the support of the Promotora del Comercio Exterior, the agency in charge of supporting businesses willing to access new markets.

“That year we received the visit of a Chinese delegation in charge of inspecting our plants and assures the quality of our products. They were also interested in verifying that we comply with international standards,” said Abel Cháves, president of the chamber.

“China sent another delegation this year in February, this time to confirm what they had already checked, and last week we, at the chamber, got the good news,” Cháves said.

The next step, Cháves explained, is to prepare all the logistics required to actually export the fruit and keep it fresh despite a journey that often takes around 28 days to complete. To achieve that goal the chamber will again require the support of Promotora de Comercio Exterior.

“Once the first shipment has departed, we will then have the opportunity to adjust our processes, calculate costs and see how profitable the market is.” said Cháves. According to him, the whole process  to export to China began without any forecast sales amounts.

However, this expansion worries some ecological organizations. They fear that more sales mean bigger plantations and an inevitable loss of forest and protected areas.

“They’re aiming at China because they know that country has almost zero regulations in labor and environmental issues.” said Mauricio Álvarez, president of Federación Conservacionista de Costa Rica.

According to Álvarez, in the last 15 years important forest have been illegally occupied and destroyed to make pineapple fields. He claims that the benefits of these companies do not make up for the environmental damage.

“In terms of water pollution in Limón, the AyA has had to invest seven million dollars in hiring trucks to deliver water to the residents of Siquirres, Luisiana and La Francia in the last 14 years” Alvaréz said in a statement. He was speaking of the Instituto Costarricense de Acueductos y Alcantarillados, the state water provider.

The pineapple industry exports 53 percent of its production to the United States and Canada, 44 percent to the European Union and 3 percent to other countries, according to figures provided by the national chamber.

Posted in Costa Rica News | Comments Off on Pineapple industry to start business in China

Murdered man sprayed with 15 shots

Two people riding one motorcycle shot and killed a 22-year old man last Monday night in the Toro Amarillo Village, located in Limón province.

The attackers apparently approached the victim while he was having a conversation with a friend and opened fire unexpectedly, according to the Judicial Investigating Organization. The victim received at least 15 gunshots, based on reports from officers sent to the place. The victim was later sent to Hospital Tony Facio, where he passed away.

Authorities believe the murder was caused by a drug dealing vengeance. The corpse remains at the Morgue Judicial and the investigations go on.

Posted in Costa Rica News | Comments Off on Murdered man sprayed with 15 shots

New holiday bill passes first reading

Lawmakers gave the first approval Tuesday to a bill that would designate Oct. 17 Día Nacional de don Florencio del Castillo.

Florencio del Castillo was a representative from the province of Costa Rica to the Cortes de Cádiz, the short-lived entity that tried to govern Spain and its possessions during the French invasion. The body is notable for emitting a liberal constitution for Spain in 1812.

Fernando VII, restored to his throne two years later, refused to recognize the document. Castillo, a Roman Catholic priest, was born at Ujarrás, Cartago, in 1778. The highway from San José to Cartago bears his name.

The major impact of the bill, if it is approved on second reading, would be to insert more about Castillo in the public school curriculum. The day would not be a holiday.

Posted in Costa Rica News | Comments Off on New holiday bill passes first reading

Fraud activity targeting farmers in debt

Fraudsters are targeting low-income farmers who seek a debt relief on their property, according to Instituto de Desarrollo Rural, a government agency that seeks economic growth of underdeveloped areas.

Unknown people are approaching farmers all over the country and asking them to fill out a form claiming that by, filling it out, the persons would be granted an official pardon of their land debts.

“We are providing debt relief to farmers who borrowed money from our organization in order to buy land and land only. That’s true. That all the paperwork that should be done in our offices and they are for free,” said José Quirós, the Instituto de Desarrollo Rural spokesperson.

Quirós explained that the institute is receiving phone calls from potential beneficiaries asking if the government agency sent somebody to various properties. He said the amount of calls have increased in the last week.

“We have no representatives out there. Period. If people have any question they should come to us and we’ll gladly help them,” Quirós said firmly.

According to the law, low-income farmers who requested money from the Instituto before Dec. 31, 2005, may have their debt forgiven only if the money was used to buy land.

If the current debt is less than 6 million colones, or about $12,000, the debtor doesn’t have to do anything and their records will be cleared automatically. Whereas the debt is above that amount, the Instituto may grant a partial pardon from up to 50 or 100 percent.

This benefit applies to Costa Ricans as well as foreigners who comply with the requirements. In case of suspicion, Quirós advised people to call the number 2247-7578.

Posted in Costa Rica News | Comments Off on Fraud activity targeting farmers in debt

Play explores the trials of aging and experience in senior citizens

A fantasy trip by an older couple on their stationary bikes when only memory fills life from day to day is the plot of a new play examining the trials of age.

“Fugitivos de la ausencia” is a story about Mariano and Engrancia, an older couple, pedaling their way through their memory and revisiting their highest moments of their lives together.

The play has the characters traveling between music, memory and time as they try to escape a sad and desolate reality and reach the ultimate hope they build along the journey, according to the Teatro Libre.

This production is a joint effort of the theater group and the Compañia Nacional de Teatro. It was written by the playwright Jorge Díaz.

The manner in which Díaz wrote it was what motivated the Teatro Libre to examine its social context and to highlight the importance of the experience and capacity of seniors “instead of contempt, abandonment or exploitation to which they are frequently subjected,” the group said in a statement.

“We consider it important, in a society where the population of older adults is increasing, and in a few years will be the majority, to expose this topic for reflection; proposing old age also as capacity, freedom and the amplification of thought.”

“Fugitivos de la ausencia” was first presented back in 2014 by

Mariano and Engracia, the two protagonists in the play.

Mariano and Engracia, the two protagonists in the play.

the Universidad de Costa Rica, according to the Ministerio de Cultura y Juventud.

This year it will be open this Thursday at 8 p.m. at the Teatro La Aduana. The entrance fee for the general public is 5000 colons, while students and gold card holders get in for 3,000 colons, the cultural ministry said. To reserve a ticket, one can call the Teatro La Aduana.

Posted in Costa Rica News | Comments Off on Play explores the trials of aging and experience in senior citizens

Museum to inaugurate permanent exhibit of centuries-old ceramics

Talk about job security. Families around San Vicente and Guatil in Guanacaste have been making ceramics since at least 2000 B.C. And some of the artisans still use the molds that produced pots, other domestic ceramics and symbolic and religious pieces for the Valley of México.

The area is blessed with a special deposit of clay favored by the artisans. There is not much of a market among the Aztecs these days, so the ceramic production is directed at tourists and for high-level exports.

Since 2007, ancient and contemporary ceramics have been on display at the Ecomuseo de la Cerámica Chorotega, which is supported by the Museo Nacional. The location in San Vicente is just two kilometers from Guatil and 20 kilometers northeast of Nicoya.

The museum will inaugurate its first permanent exhibition Friday at 2 p.m. with music, dance and traditional activities. Tourists who visit at other times can easily find themselves hosted by the artisans in their workshop in both communities.

Tuesday the Museo Nacional will have another treat for archaeology buffs. The museum said that a new website will be inaugurated that day to feature the stone balls of the Diquís area.

The museum is promising many photos, animations, air views

Ceramics went from going to the Aztecs to tourists now.

Ceramics went from going to the Aztecs to tourists now.

and research reports. The stone balls, Costa Rican icons, are attributed to the culture that lived in the area more than 1,000 years ago, but no one knows for sure.

The museum has opened a satellite facility featuring the enigmatic balls near Palmar Sur.

Posted in Costa Rica News | Comments Off on Museum to inaugurate permanent exhibit of centuries-old ceramics

Watchdog agency bill under consideration

Lawmakers are considering a bill that would create an independent consumer watchdog agency. The bill, No. 19.996, would create an entity called the Tribunal Administrativo de Competencia.

The measure is being considered by the Comisión Permanente de Gobierno. The concept would allow the independent agency to investigate uncompetitive practices, including monopolies.

Such duties now fall to the Comision para Promover la Competencia, which is part of the Ministerio de Economía, Industria y Comercio. It sometimes assesses fines.

Legislators heard experts this week talk about efforts against consumers that have happened in the past. They cited a merge of two large companies that created a monopoly situation and the prices for the products rose considerably. They also discussed a bank that had control of automatic tellers and took an excessive percentage.

Posted in Costa Rica News | Comments Off on Watchdog agency bill under consideration

Police arrest Spaniards for illegal fishing

Guardacostas captured, among other things, these fish.

Guardacostas captured, among other things, these fish.

A group of Spaniards were surprised by the Costa Rican coast guard Tuesday in the Gulf of Nicoya following their illegal fishing excursion.

The Guardacostas discovered around 10 arbaletas, a type of harpoon gun that functions similarly to a crossbow and also happens to be illegal for use in fishing. Officials also noted that the boat was overloaded by one person and that, of the five occupants, only one had a license for sport fishing. Even the boat itself was not licensed for sport-style fishing, the coast guard said.

Aside from the equipment and the men on board, the coast guard also seized around 30 kilos of fish. These fish were sent to Incopoesca for the report on any potential damage to the environment. The incident took place close to Jacó at Bahía Caletas.

According to a report, the Spanish nationals found inside in the boat were detained and the vessel confiscated.

Posted in Costa Rica News | Comments Off on Police arrest Spaniards for illegal fishing

Frenchman arrested for shooting at a taxi

Police arrested a French citizen who opened fire against a taxi driver yesterday in Garabito, Puntarenas.

According to a police report, the man struck a taxi with his car and tried to run away. The driver started to chase the Frenchman, shouting and demanding him to stop. That’s when the French man pulled out his gun and shot several times into the cab, according to officials.

When the cops arrived at the scene, they saw the bullet marks on the taxi and a few meters away the suspect of the shooting.

Inside the car, officers found a pistol with two chargers and 18 bullets. The man was placed into custody.

Garabito is a canton in Puntarenas province that covers the major tourist resort town of Jacó.

Posted in Costa Rica News | Comments Off on Frenchman arrested for shooting at a taxi

Another rainy season about to begin in Costa Rica

In addition to death and taxes, the rainy season is inevitable in Costa Rica.

Expats should figure that from Easter to the last days of November they should do their errands in the morning to avoid afternoon rains.

Last year, despite the Hurricane Otto surprise, the weather was drier than normal on the Pacific coast. Otto became the first hurricane in history to enter the country as it ravaged much of northern Costa Rica as well as the southern Pacific region.

The Tropical Meteorology Project at Colorado State University counted 15 named storms, seven hurricanes and three major hurricanes. The university forecast for the 2017 season is expected April 6.

The Atlantic Hurricane season runs from June 1 to Nov. 30, and the Pacific season starts two weeks earlier.

Costa Ricans are more attentive to hurricanes now after Otto, a Category 3 storm, ran into a high pressure area and turned west to make landfall just north of Costa Rica Nov. 24.

The storm killed 10 and caused at least $40 million in damages in Costa Rica.

The rainy season is far more predictable than hurricanes. The Instituto Meteorológico Nacional plans to issue a formal forecast Thursday, but what is well known is that the rains return in the southern part of the Pacific coast first and then move north.

Easter this year is April 16, and expats can count on at least some preparatory sprinkles by that date in the Central Valley.

Forecasters report that El Niño conditions in the Pacific are neutral. The Australian Bureau of Meteorology, which keeps a close eye on conditions there, said that sea surface temperatures in the eastern Pacific Ocean have warmed since the start of the year and that six prediction models suggest El Niño conditions may be reached by July.

The weekend flooding that killed at least 75 in Perú and left two dozen missing has been blamed on El Niño, but that characterization may be premature.

It appears that unusually warm water off the Peruvian coast did trigger the storm.

Posted in Costa Rica News | Comments Off on Another rainy season about to begin in Costa Rica

Panama papers places 120 entities under scrutiny by finance ministry for tax fraud, other violations

By Conor Golden
News Editor of A.M. Costa Rica

The finance ministry is investigating 120 individuals and business entities for possible instances of tax fraud and other violations as a result of an examination of the documents collectively known as the Panama papers.

Out of the 120 under investigation, 79 are business entities and 41 are individual persons, according to the Dirección General de Tributación.

Officials of the Ministerio de Hacienda, including the First Vice President Helio Fallas, broke the news to the press during a Tuesday afternoon conference. Of the 120 under investigation, 69 have been identified while 51 identities still need to be discovered, according to Fernando Rodríguez who is the representative of the special committee investigating the case.

Although it is not illegal to establish an offshore corporation by Costa Rican law, the ministry pointed out that the 69 identified entities had established more than 410 companies in Panamá. The insistence from the Administración Tributaria is that “behind the creation of these societies, there is a clear intention to evade tax responsibilities,” Rodríguez said.

Panamá has a well-known association of being a tax haven for many corporations and entities seeking tax avoidance as much as tax sheltering.

Tax avoidance is separate from activities like tax fraud or tax evasion, however.

Tax avoidance is legal and merely means someone or a group’s attempts to keep the tax bite on their business as minimal as possible using strategies or means within the law.

Expats may seek methods of tax avoidance at times by moving their tax residence to a tax haven such as Panamá or by moving to a country with lower taxes than their own.

There are many other ways to lower the tax bite such as donations to charities which can be deducted on one’s tax return in the United States. In some cases, being a perpetual traveler is also another way although citizens of the United States cannot hope, at this time, to use that method.

One of the means by which a person or entity can achieve tax avoidance is by establishing a company or a subsidiary of the business in an offshore jurisdiction such as an offshore company or trust.

In this instance, the Costa Rican government is examining the offshore companies in question for possible fraudulent or evasive activities.

It should be noted, however, that of those 69 entities already identified by Tributación, 35 have filed income tax returns at least once between 2014 and 2015. 20 failed to file during both years.

Rodríguez presented two examples by which the finance ministry believes these 120 entities have attempted to circumvent the tax code.

To omit the payment of a dividend tax, a person or group may create an offshore company that is real only in name, but officially has the purpose of acquiring a service, the ministry said. The payment coming by the end of that process is received then by shareholders of the very same company that purchased the fake service.

The leak exposed thousands of sensitive material and implicated global leaders.

The leak exposed thousands of sensitive material and implicated global leaders.

The other maneuver Hacienda discussed in its presentation was the process of transferring money from Costa Rica to a Panamanian offshore company. From there, the offshore moves those resources to what is called a fundación de interés privado in Panamá. This allows the foundation to transfer received income to shareholders of the company that sent it through the Panamanian offshore.

At this time, this is all conjecture at the Ministerio de Hacienda. Fallas himself noted the slow nature of the investigations. No expats or foreigners were directly implicated.

The nearly 2,660 gigabytes worth of detailed financial information and attorney-client privilege known as the Panama papers were first sent to German reporters back in 2015 exploded on to the world stage in April 2016.

The documents implicated the involvement of many world leaders and, in some cases their relatives or business associates, in relation to offshore entities used as shell corporations to funnel money for personal profit.

These papers originally belonged to a Panamanian-based law firm known as Mossack Fonseca. The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists has the full document published on its website. This was the medium used by the Costa Rican government to begin its investigation related to the case.

Posted in Costa Rica News | Comments Off on Panama papers places 120 entities under scrutiny by finance ministry for tax fraud, other violations

Border towns face the loss of vital fuel

Some of the 6,000 gallons of gas seized by police officials.

Some of the 6,000 gallons of gas seized by police officials.

The police and coast guard have cracked down on informal gasoline transportation in northern Costa Rica, and some of the border towns face the loss of vital fuel.

March 8 and 9, the Servicio Nacional de Guardacostas and Fuerza Pública confiscated about 6,000 gallons of gasoline at the Puerto Lindo dock. The fuel was in 18-gallon plastic containers called locally pichingas. In addition, there were dozens of 55-gallon empty plastic drums that were likely to be taken to a nearby service station to be filled.

A coast guard crew confiscated 1,000 liters in Puerto Lindo the day before. The fuel was in five 55-gallon drums on a small boat. Puerto Lindo is on the Río Colorado, and residents along the river and in the community of Barra del Colorado get their fuel this way because there are no service stations.

Barra residents held a meeting Friday with a lawyer sent by the Instituto Costarricense de Pesca y Acuacultura. Many of the residents earn their living by fishing, and the community, near the Caribbean, is home base for several sports-fishing enterprises.

March 9, police called traffic officers who cited the truck driver for not having a license valid for a large truck. A man accompanying the driver was held on the allegation that he had in his possession a half kilo of marijuana and some cocaine, said the Ministerio de Seguridad Pública in a news release at the time.

The Barra del Colorado area has not had regular fuel service for 10 years, and the area has had to rely on informal suppliers. The tourist town of Tortuguero faces the same problem, but that community can be supplied from the south by boats using the Tortuguero canal.

The security ministry said at the time that the operator of the small boat holding the containers would be investigated for illegal marine transport of fuel, which is a violation of Costa Rican law.

Investigators correctly assume that many fishing boat crews supply drug dealers at sea with fuel, but a small sportsfishing boat can consume five to six gallons a day of gasoline. In addition, there is the daily need in the community for diesel and lubricating oils. That comes in from Puerto Lindo, too.

Some residents also have backup generators that use gasoline. One resident said Monday that a man who usually delivers fuel said he has made his last shipment, and there was a rush for what remained of his supply.

Posted in Costa Rica News | Comments Off on Border towns face the loss of vital fuel

Bike lane from La Sabana to Universidad de Costa Rica approved

Authorities from the San José and Montes de Oca municipalities, in addition to the public works ministry, announced the commencement of a cycle-way project running from Universidad de Costa Rica all the way to Parque La Sabana.

The proposed 15-kilometer route will run east to west from the university’s law building to the metropolitan park. The Montes de Oca municipality has already begun its part of the project, according to officials. This includes the installment of traffic signals, reflectors and the placement of separators and security devices to create an independent lane for bicycles to pass through.

The Montes de Oca municipality’s section runs from the law building to around the Universidad Hispanoamericana in Barrio Escalante. Around 53.3 million colons have been invested into the project, officials said.

The work is expected to continue until early May.

Meanwhile, the Municipalidad de San José announced it began work Monday to connect La Sabana with the Montes de Oca’s cycleway. Officials from the municipality said that its side of the project would cost around 60 million colons. Aside from the cycleway, the municipality said that the pedestrian sidewalks would be widened along the route in addition to the installment of the separators and signs.

“Bikes, as has been evident in recent days, need an exclusive way to not only boost their use, but also for safety reasons,” said Johnny Araya, the mayor of San José, “We hope that, with this new bicycle path, people see the environmental benefits and in the quality of life.”

The representatives from the different institutions agreed on the need to resort to alternative transportation options for the greater San José area.

There is little doubt that traffic congestion is a problem for the capital and its surrounding communities.

According to the Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Transportes, the route going to La Sabana will run through the boulevard in Barrio Dent, the supreme court and Judicial Investigating Organization building. Going the opposite way to San Pedro, the cycleway is proposed to run past landmarks like the Antigua Aduana and the Universidad Libre de Costa Rica building until arriving at San Pedro.

Example of what the new bike lane will look like.

Example of what the new bike lane will look like.

Officials said the bike lane would be around 1.5 and 2 meters wide. It will be separate from both vehicle traffic and pedestrian walkways.

The public works ministry’s engineering department carried out the feasibility study earlier this November and approved the study and design of the pro

Posted in Costa Rica News | Comments Off on Bike lane from La Sabana to Universidad de Costa Rica approved

The Press is the demagogue!

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

dem·a·gogue / ˈdeməˌɡäɡ/ noun / a political leader who seeks support by appealing to popular desires and prejudices rather than by using rational argument.

If appealing to popular desire means any of the things below, then Costa Rica needs a demagogue for sure.

Here are some of the “irrational” things (the demagoguery) Trump spoke about and has done or is doing so far through executive actions or working with the congress. Trump actually has relationships with many of the congress people, inviting them to the White House and meeting with them, an area in which President Obama showed a lack of negotiation skills.

1. Repealing and replacing Obama Care.
2. Lobbyist reform preventing appointees from lobbying for five years after they leave government.
3. Building a wall to secure the nation and cutting funding for cities that do not cooperate with detaining those who commit immigration crimes.
4. Limiting immigration in general and reforming it to eliminate the loophole business are using to hire foreign workers for less money, at the expense of nationals losing their jobs.
5. Eliminating regulations that prevent job creation, are outdated, unnecessary, or cost too much.
The order states that for every one regulation the executive branch proposes, two must be identified to repeal. It also caps the spending on new regulations for 2017 at $0.
6. Fast tracking infrastructure projects.
7. Approving Oil pipelines.
8. Reducing regulations for U.S. manufacturing.

The U.S. belongs to Americans. Our tax dollars built it. It does not belong to the world. The U.S. is a sovereign nation with independence and justice for our people – not for all people of the world.

Final word: this article is the reason the trust of the press is at historic lows. Middle America knows that Trump is not a racist or misogynist, and hardly a demagogue, but the repeating of these claims with no proof whatsoever simply because it appeals to a news source’s agenda is the demagoguery that has made the press untrustworthy.

Phil Baker
Incline Village, Nevada
Posted in Costa Rica News | Comments Off on The Press is the demagogue!

Tamarindo residents angered over project

Numbers of Tamarindo residents are expected to show up today at 5 p.m. when the Concejo Municipal of Santa Cruz meets.

The residents are unhappy that the municipal council has approved a project that encroaches on what was supposed to be a public park in the maritime zone.

Some 223 residents signed a petition over the weekend to delay the construction of the project, a cafe-restaurant, until environmental complaints are resolved. Work began on the project Tuesday, and workmen are reported to have cut down two trees.

The residents say that the developers did not have the correct permission to cut trees and that one of the trees was in the public zone within 50 meters of high tide. The municipal council in February approved plans for the park, but the building project takes some of the same land.

Posted in Costa Rica News | Comments Off on Tamarindo residents angered over project

Some platina bridge lanes open for traffic

The expansion joints have been installed and three of the lanes for the Río Virilla bridge on the General Cañas highway are ready for traffic to pass through once again.

The Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Transportes construction crews opened the lanes Monday morning at 6 in the direction of San José just in time for the traffic rush. The open lanes come with some caveats.

From midnight to noon, two lanes going toward San José will be open for transit, while only one will remain open going toward Alajuela. From noon to midnight, two lanes going to Alajuela will be open and only one will go towards San José, the ministry said. Between changing over the lanes, traffic will be stopped for a few minutes.

The public works ministry said that all vehicles will be allowed to use the bridge during that time excluding heavy trucks which have limited hours of use between 6 a.m. and 8 a.m. going to the capital and then from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. going to Alajuela.

The ministry said that the lanes completed are the ones for the eventual direction toward San José. These completed works include a new surface of a concrete base and asphalt surface in addition to the expansion joints. Expansion joints are pieces that link each individual section of the bridge. Public works officials announced last Wednesday that the bridge would be opening this week.

The Alfredo González Flores bridge, colloquially called the platina, was closed back in January for the major construction project in expanding the lanes available for traffic. The platina represents one of the major arteries between San José and Juan Santamaría international airport in Alajuela.

Posted in Costa Rica News | Comments Off on Some platina bridge lanes open for traffic

Costa Rica drops out of top 10 on happiness report

There is a lot of happiness at Sustainable Development Solutions Network. This is the group that puts out the World Happiness Report, and the organization just announced it received a generous, three-year grant to continue to massage data from Gallup, Inc., to try to assess, country-by-country, happiness.

Costa Rica was the happiest county in the 2012 report, the first ever. But the organization has changed the methodology, and Costa Rica is not even in the top 10.

But residents here should not worry. The country came in 12th out of 155 in the latest report.

The latest methodology stresses caring, freedom, generosity, honesty, health, income and good governance.

The 2012 report favored countries that exported much more than they imported and embrace the simple life.

The top-rated countries above Costa Rica this time are: Norway, Denmark, Iceland, Switzerland, Finland, The Netherlands, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Sweden and Israel.

But as the report notes, the differences in the ranking of countries are very small.

The report came out Monday, which was designated World Happiness Day.

Posted in Costa Rica News | Comments Off on Costa Rica drops out of top 10 on happiness report