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A brief history of Costa Rica VI: Some problem areas
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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 retribution.

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 Rica ( 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 future.

Text: Copyrighted 2010  Clifford Fain Dukes, Jr. Used with permission.

A brief history of Costa Rica:

I. The land and climate  HERE!

II: Exploration  HERE!

III: Development of the Latin culture HERE!

IV: Government  HERE!

V: Economic considerations HERE!

VI: Some problem areas

Planning resources for would-be expats HERE!

Copyrighted 2014 A.M. Costa Ltda., San José, Costa Rica