|A brief history of Costa Rica VI:
Some problem areas
By Clifford Fain Dukes, Jr.
Special to Retire NOW in Costa Rica
A daily “to do” list of errands is often thwarted by long lines and
inattentive workers at many banks or government agencies.
The political class is guilty of eating its young. Practically every
executive decision made by a politician can potentially put him or her
in jail if one of the opposing political parties decides to pursue
The caste system that settled Latin America still exists in a much more
subtle way. European whites and their offspring are at the top of
society followed by mestizos,
then mulattos, pardos, and
blacks. Gifted Costa Ricans, regardless of race, are in demand by North
American universities offering complete scholarships, and in this way
students are able to escape any problems their family tree may present.
Rampant tax avoidance on the part of the political and business classes
has resulted in the government of President Laura Chinchilla attempting
to impose a value-added tax that would have ultimately been paid by the
working classes. Only small parts of her plan have been eneacted.
Recently the government began eyeing the country’s free trade zones as
sources for additional taxation.
For the most part, Costa Ricans are very receptive to foreign nationals
and tourists. The free, online, English language, newspaper, A.M. Costa
does a nice job of reporting on the Costa Rican scene five days a week.
In the Central Valley the year-round temperature extremes are 60
degrees F to 85 degrees F. This makes the country attractive to seniors
and retirees from the northern climes of America and Europe. The
beaches and coastal plains, on the other hand, are rain forest tropical
with temperatures of 80 degrees F to 95 F.
Through its numerous, recent trade agreements with Asia, the Americas,
and Europe, Costa Rica should continue to grow economically and be
somewhat insulated from the major economic recessions around the world.
Due to the diversity of its free trade agreements, its attractiveness
to companies interested in outsourcing portions of their operations and
its potential for very low cost energy i.e., geothermal, wind, and
hydroelectric. Costa Rica could easily become the economic jewel in the
Americas during the next number of years.
In fact, due to Costa Rica’s ability to navigate through the 2009
economic crisis, Moody’s Investment Rating was raised from Ba1 to Baa3.
However, the antiquated and parochial legal system and government
bureaucracy will need to be modernized to sustain this growth into the
Text: Copyrighted 2010 Clifford Fain
Dukes, Jr. Used with permission.