Thursday, 16 July 2020

Common Sense Needs to Prevail

– Costa Rica, a country anxious to kiss the proverbial butt of the U.S?
– In Cost Rica suspicion is on anyone with cash

Let’s be honest.  Most expats do not care about illegal money laundering in Costa Rica! Some do because it is almost impossible to import lots of dollars and even pay bills under the newer banking regulations.

money-launderingNo question that we are the panacea of money laundering. However, some common sense of this engrained suspicion of anyone with cash must prevail and that is most of us are not dodging taxes and have legally earned our assets.

Meanwhile Costa Rica attempts to get from behind the title of “Tax Haven” at any cost.

While a new economic form of IRS imperialism prevails, we all know the “gerencia” (head or the leadership) and all those little tricks: dirty money can become clean in a flash.

- paying the bills -

On the other hand, those who have legitimate needs, and the  need to import funds from whatever country, those who must pay bills and even credit card debt are required to prove innocence, and this is truly hurting our economy.

My 1st example is a German who has had extensive tests done at Hospital CIMA (Costa Rica’s premier private hospital) which resulted in a pacemaker implant and follow-up care.

During his three week stay, his credit cards, which were substantial at the start, got maxed out so to pay the original CIMA bill.

Plus he needed $10k more for his personal usage since he is required to be here until November.

The balance, a money transfer, from Germany to CIMA has been held up more than two months now.

- paying the bills -

It is quite possible that the hospital will refuse further treatment.

The reason?

At 78 years old it is very difficult, if not impossible to document the source of funds to pay the bill and that is what is required by Tico (Costa Rican) banking law. However, the patient does have on hand the $50,000 required to pay off CIMA and keep another $10,000 for his personal use of which the total is someplace in transit.

ewan1The CIMA payment is a transfer from bank to bank (Banco de Costa Rica – BCR) and, “l cannot touch the money, and neither cans the hospital nor the doctors.  Therefore I am delinquent while racking up interest and needless fees.”

The patient is living day-to-day, even feels good, is satisfied with his medical attention; but cannot pay the bill! He wants to, but cannot.

There is the need for a little common sense here.

- paying the bills --

If the Colombian FARC leader used the facilities, I can see the concern. But a German tourist who only wants to pay the hospital bill? That’s stretching it.

So anxious is this country to kiss the proverbial butt of the U.S. that it is not willing to consider logic into the process of its decision making process and therefore we have a tragic comedy. (Nothing really new.)

Bottom line: CIMA does not get paid, the docs do not get paid, the patient will soon lose his medical care, his credit cards have maxed out and he is left to die.

Is this the epitome of Medical Tourism Costarricense (Costa Rican) style? ProMed needs to make some adjustments to its promotions of Costa Rica.

If money laundering is the issue or tax evasion, not permitting vendors or providers of health care to be paid on-time is certainly not the answer. And I hope ProMed will step up to bat. The company who has been the leading cheerleader of  Costa Rica’s “medical tourism” needs to “cheer” for a better system.

Apparently, of anything over $10,000,  patients need to bring in cash,” but $50,000 is over the Tico limit and if declared, it is off to jail for preventive detention meaning one more hardened criminal walks simply because there is not enough room in the slammer for both. And 50 grand sounds much better than a $5,000 coke deal.

The bottom line is: Does CIMA want to be paid or not? Do the docs want to be paid or not?

Other than the thousands of dollars collected on the patients credit cards, if this patient decides, “Enough of Costa Rica” and skips out or, dies in country; nobody gets the money.

Or, in another first hand, less emotional, case, my sister-in-law who sells her paintings on the global market, (Emilia Cersosimo) for $10,000 and up. Even the Vatican had to show its source of funds to a private Tico bank. (The infamous second collection, I think)


I cannot imagine if the “paja” of a foreign bank account holder decides to purchase a luxury car with cash.

The same generic issue. “Prove to us the source of the money you are using is clean to buy this over priced car in this over priced country?” (Or, become a cartel lord and we will blink a blind eye if you purchase some nice real estate.)

Juan Sebastian Campos
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.

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