BLOGS – The Republic of Costa Rica, such as it is (I’ve said that it is really an “Oligarchy” in some of my previous blogs), has a number entities within its territorial boundaries, with the biggest being RECOPE, ICE, and UCR, but being among others, that function more like independent republics, much in the same manner that the Tribal Homelands of Swaziland and Lesotho function within the territorial boundaries of the Republic of South Africa.

However, I would hasten to add that the similarities of these Costa Rican entities with the Tribal Homelands in South Africa ends there, as with the salaries, benefits, and pensions paid to the hierarchy of these various institutions in Costa Rica, it precludes any likelihood of seeing any of “local royalty” dancing around in loin cloths in front of mud huts.

These institutions have a certain amount of autonomy delegated to them under the Constitution and in law, which if properly and responsibly exercised, would allow them to carry-out their respective mandates in a more effective manner, than if they were merely another Government Ministry, or Department. Unfortunately, that is not the case, as over-time, the autonomy factor has been exaggerated to the degree that they do indeed function more as though they were independent republics, with no requirement for atonement with the Central Government of Costa Rica.

Much of this unsatisfactory abuse of power revolves around fiscal (tax) mismanagement and outright waste, not to mention the “overly generous” Union Collective Agreements which for the employees in each of these Institutions.

Indeed, ICE has previously acted in an obstructionist in failing and refusing to meet its legal requirements to release internal documentation for the purposes of Central Government oversight.

RECOPE has recently released documentation that supports the expenditure of over $40,000,000 U.S. on the planning of the building of a refinery in a partnership with China, a refinery for which no construction has been started and the Chinese have now back-out of agreeing to build, in favour of working with another country in a similar project capacity.

The most recent transgression in UCR, is that the Rector of the University arranged for the hiring of his own daughter to fill an administrative position at the University, who has now been miraculously promoted through the ranks to the detriment of others. Although most would see this as being improper and unethical, it would appear that the Rector is unmoved by his actions, claiming the autonomy of the

Institution to be able to basically do as it pleases.

In Costa Rica, as it is throughout Latin American, the pecking-order for benefiting by those in authority is “Family, Friends, and Country”, in that order. As those of us who are citizens and residents of Costa Rica know, there is precious little left by the time you get down to benefiting the Country.

Latin American Society just does not have the necessary underpinning to accept such a delegation of semi-autonomous authority as exists in these various Governmental institutions under study and still have them conform and perform according to their respective mandates, in an ethically and fiscally responsible manner.

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Richard Philps
Attorney Richard (Rick) Philps is a Canadian citizen, naturalized as a citizen of Costa Rica. Rick practiced law in Victoria, B.C., Canada as a member of the Law Society of British Columbia, for fourteen years, prior to moving to Costa Rica in 1998. Rick then earned his Bachelor of Laws and Licensing Degrees (Civil Law), with Honours, and a Post-Graduate Degree in Notary and Registry Law, from the Metropolitana Castro Carazo and Escuela Libre de Derecho Universities, in San Jose. Rick is a member of the Costa Rica College of Lawyers, and practices law in Costa Rica in the areas of real estate and development, corporate, commercial, contract, immigration, and banking with the Law Firm of Petersen & Philps, located in Escazu, a western suburb of San Jose. To contact Attorney Rick Philps about hiring him as your Costa Rican Attorney, please use the following information: Lic. Rick Philps - Attorney at Law, Petersen & Philps, San Jose, Costa Rica Tel: 506-2288-4381, Ext. 102; Email: Website: