Costa Rica, also known as the land of Pura Vida, is supposed to be kicked back, take your time, relax a little and allow the all too consuming life of stress pass you.

But is that reality?

As former resident of the United States and Germany with a limited life in Spain, this has to be the most complicated non-directional country I have ever traveled. What appears to be something of simplicity seems to always to turn out to be something complicated and almost, if not unintelligible.

I am talking about driving laws, even drivers license, the all powerful impotent legislature, the president who does not stand a chance against the “Game of Thrones”, attitude of the never ending list of self serving unions, the public at large who are easily influenced by “whamo” news, established drug cartels, official corruption as in police and just plane incompetency on every level.

We do have laws and regulations that fit almost every possible scenario. A judge can justify release or prevention at will, depending on how she/he hears a case and who within the court room are cousins.

Passive laws include pay-offs to hustle along what seems like never ending permits and government approvals. Then we have the more serious infractions of the government officials who, “see no evil – hear no evil and speak no-evil.”

Next in line is the most dangerous!

They smuggle, they sell girls on the street, they traffic drugs and in the end kill each other and those who happen to be in the way. But walk free based on “law”.

The most senseless are the criminals who will murder just to steal a cell phone or even a pair of tennis shoes. (My cousin, Phillip was stabbed to death, in downtown San Jose on his lunch hour only for his cell phone; which is now obsolete.)

But these people walk!  “Ooops, prosecutor Gonzalez forgot to dot the letter “i”. You who have raped, pilfered and plundered but get to go home with the courts apology.

“Oh, by the way, our prisons are overflowing like a high tide with people both guilty as well as innocent. We need to let hem go or prosecute. Especially those who can pay”

I cannot think of a law or regulation this side of being a disciple of Christ that is either in the constitution or in some arcane archive that does not favor the guilty.

I understand this fifty, perhaps 100 years ago when domination and elitism were the rule of the day. But not now! This degenerate mentality makes no sense in Costa Rica and endangers each and everyone of us.

What should be uncomplicated, does require a lawyer.

How hard is it in this little piece of land to obtain residency? The regulation says 1, 2, 3 and that is it.

To buy a piece of poverty (I mean property): Again, 1,2,3 and that’s it.

Open a business: 1,2,3 and that’s it.

Even paying taxes is a complicated affair and requires an attorney. Just tell us the bill and we will either pay or dispute it. I do not need an attorney and less, an accountant, to know what is owed and what is not.

From swimming with sharks, to purchasing a cup of coffee in a foreign currency, the rules and regulations prevail and they are way too much for what has been advertised as a free society.

They are what you want them to be!

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Juan Sebastian Campos

An expat from the U.S., educator and writer in English and Spanish since 1978 with a doctorate in business administrations (DBA) from the United States and Germany. A feature writer for ABC News, Copley Press and the Tribune Group with emphasis on Central America.

  • Ann Walker

    One question: why are you in Costa Rica? Obviously, it doesn’t fit your needs!

  • Juan Sabastian Campo

    Ann, I notice you do not disagree?

  • Mode

    Yes yes, he’ll yes!

  • Richard Philps

    Costa Rica is the land of “pura vida” if you are just here to live and spend money, not earn it. If you have to get involved with the “System”, Costa Rica is the land of “taking easy things and making them difficult”.

    • Juan Sabastian Campo

      But sir, you are the system! You make money as a lawyer showing clients the right directions to complete their transactions? Or do you do it all free of charge? I know for sure your law firm does charge, but you might be the exception. After all there is money in massive complications. If you disagree with my premise, state your case, okay? Oh! And then argue with Intel plus take an evening at Barrio Amon, Hotel del Rey……

      • Richard Philps

        I have practiced law in both Canada and Costa Rica and I can assure you there is a distinct difference between the two. I certainly practice law as my living in Costa Rica with largely Canadian and U.S. clients, however, when one is constantly faced with illogical decisions by public officials, or ought-right “stone-walling” in decision making, this is a considerably different context in which to serve a client as a lawyer than in the Canadian/U.S. circumstance. There is much time expended in the practice of law in Costa Rica which is certainly not billable time in the eyes of a client, or the lawyer, in dealing with such. If you take issue with my premise of Costa Rica being the land of” taking easy things and making them difficult”, you truly have not been involved in the Costa Rican System in any meaningful way.

  • B D

    All over the board article full of complaints while the writers neglects even an attempt at suggesting a solution – pura wine-a! I understand that you are upset with death in your family, justifiably so, but to write “they sell girls in the street” – an ambiguous statement (immature) that sounds like slave trade – (who sells girls in the street – have you no sense of honesty and integrity in your writing?). I mean I think your lazy writing sucks. It has all the value of a bag of air. Sophomoric at best.

    • Juan Sabastian Campo

      The solution is intrinsict, right?

    • Juan Sabastian Campo

      What do you think are the solutions? Or do you have any thing positive?

  • B D

    “They” meaning the people apart from you (Ticos)? I always cringe when I hear foreigners using the “They” word. It indicates to me that there is a lack of assimilation – basic separatism or elitist/better-than-them attitude.

    • Juan Sabastian Campo

      You are correct. I used the word “they” once and should have said “we.”