Stories written by Daniel Zueras

COSTA RICA: Beaches, Jungles – and Operating Rooms

With traditional tourism hit hard by the global recession, Costa Rica is seeking to draw foreign visitors by offering low-cost, high-quality health care – especially targeting people from the United States, where the same medical procedures can cost up to four times more.

Miravalles geothermal power station. Credit: Costa Rican Institute of Electricity (ICE)

ENERGY: Costa Rica Invests in Geothermal Power

The government of Costa Rica hopes to increase its power generation by tapping into volcanic hot spots, and to that end it has introduced a controversial bill in Congress that would allow drilling into volcanoes in national parks.

Piping a the Miravalles geothermal power station. - ICE

Costa Rica Invests in Geothermal Power Generation

Geothermal power is the second leading source of energy in Costa Rica, after hydroelectric power, accounting for 17 percent of the country’s energy and covering an increasing proportion of its electricity needs.

The beach in Manuel Antonio Park, on Costa Rica's Pacific coast Credit: Diana Cariboni/IPS

ENVIRONMENT: Costa Rica Promotes Greener Air Travel

Costa Rica is hoping for a big jump in its Clean Trips (Viajes Limpios) programme, which allows air passengers to offset the climate-changing gas emissions from their airplane flights by paying for activities that preserve the country's forests.

The beach of Manuel Antonio Park, on Costa Rica's Pacific coast. - Diana Cariboni/IPS

Costa Rica Promotes Greener Air Travel

Every air traveler to or from Costa Rica may be paying the government five dollars per ton of carbon dioxide produced by the flight. The funds will be earmarked for conserving and reforesting the country's jungles.

The great green macaw (Ara ambigua) faces extinction in Costa Rica.  Credit: Public domain

ENVIRONMENT: Costa Rica at a Crossroads

The Crucitas open-pit gold mining project in northern Costa Rica could become an environmental cross to bear for the government of Óscar Arias.

Great green macaw (Ara ambigua) faces extinction in Costa Rica. - Public domain

Costa Rica at an Environmental Crossroads

The Costa Rican government of Óscar Arias faces a charge of breach of legal duty for giving the go-ahead to a gold mining operation in the north of the country.

COSTA RICA: Indigenous People Still Largely Invisible

In Costa Rica, the most advanced country in Central America in terms of human development, indigenous people tend to be neglected and forgotten.

COSTA RICA: Ready for a Woman President in 2010?

The announcement that former Costa Rican Vice President Laura Chinchilla will seek election to the presidency in 2010 indicates that the country "has matured and is ready" to have a woman as head of state, according to some analysts.

Eduardo Lizano Credit: Daniel Zueras/IPS

Q&A: Central American "Exports, Production, Employment" Hit by Crisis

The financial crisis in the United States and Europe could cause a fall in Central American exports, tourism, property investments and remittances sent by migrant workers to their families, Costa Rican economist Eduardo Lizano says in this interview with IPS.

SPAIN-COSTA RICA: “You Are Nobody in This Country”

As European barriers against immigration have become tighter and tighter, the number of Costa Ricans turned back at the international airport in Madrid is steadily growing, even though people from this Central American country do not need a visa to enter Spain.

CENTRAL AMERICA: No Going Back on Growing Trade Ties with China

China is threatening to snatch away Taiwan's last remaining allies in Central America.

COSTA RICA: Sanctuary for Colombian Refugees

People fleeing Colombia receive protection and assistance in Costa Rica. But integration is difficult, and the refugees continue to face threats from paid killers sent from the war-torn country they fled.

TRADE-COSTA RICA: Divided Over CAFTA

Although tens of thousands of Costa Ricans protested the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) between the United States, Central America and the Dominican Republic Monday, overall public support for the free trade pact has grown, according to opinion polls.

COSTA RICA: CAFTA Not a Solution But an Opportunity, Says Oscar Arias

Monday marked the first anniversary of Óscar Arias' second electoral victory in Costa Rica with the National Liberation Party. During his first term (1986-1990), Arias was known as the "peace president". Today, the left are criticising him for promoting free trade with the United States.

COSTA RICA: Congress to Study Bill on Homosexual Civil Unions

The Diversity Movement in Costa Rica is sponsoring a draft law on civil unions for same-sex couples which will be presented formally to the legislature this week.

TRADE-COSTA RICA: Companies Eye Pull-Outs if CAFTA Flounders

Weary of the snail's pace ratification process of the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA), which continues to dominate Costa Rica's political and social agenda, some companies are weighing the idea of moving to other Central American countries should Congress reject the treaty.

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