Saturday 31 July 2021

Why So Surprised?

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(QCOSTARICA BLOG) — “The salary is not much, but the graft is wonderful!” well said by a politician.

By now most of Costa Rica has read or heard the saga of FIFA and our own Eduardo Li being charged with everything from racketeering to money laundering. And the government sucks it teeth and worries while mumbling, My oh my! What shall we do? Our international reputation has been tarnished.”

This is truly a two week scandal and then it will be mostly forgotten.

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However, pilfer and plunder have been a regular part of Costa Rica from top to bottom.

What is the difference between hard cold cash bribery and gratuitous services corruption? Think of this, in one year the ministers of government have taken 1,324 trips abroad and our President Solis has been out of the country 15 times and is scheduled to take number 16 to Europe.

Most of these travels are 100% paid for with our money, or international bond money, which is more easily obtained. And most of these trips have been made flying business class or first class because we would not want Minister Blah Blah sitting next to a backpacker or having to smell salt water from a sunburned fisherman.

Their hotels are nothing less than four stars and five if possible. Food the same, much better than we get here at home. Ground transportation is a limo if available and a taxi if desperate.

Meanwhile, who is running the country and exactly what does the Minister of Foreign Relations do? I thought that post was supposed to do the traveling and lead Costa Rica in high powered international negotiations, not to mention generate investment opportunities?

These are public secrets as is the corruption at FIFA.

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Along with this gratuitous type of corruption we have the “trickle down” theory where if “they” can lie, cheat and steal so can I, especially when making little money with four mouths to feed.

Ergo, the traffic cop bribe, the fisherman who will take the risk and haul a little bit of drugs as will the local store sell smuggled whisky. There is no bottom here, only that with each passing day the once valiant Costa Rica society has become more and more corrupt leading to San Jose, according to the newspaper El Norte in Mexico, being the most expensive city in Latin America and Costa Rica the fourth most expensive country just behind Venezuela, Brazil and Uruguay.

In addition, call it what you want but this country is in a recession.

Long before Li, et al demonstrated their lack of national spirit, Costa Rica has forfeited tourism and investment with arcane roads, unsafe bridges, exorbitant electricity and energy rates, layer after layer of bureaucratic bungling, and there is no end in sight.

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So what is an investor to do?

Offer some bribe money to move things along.

The “chorizo” (bribe) is alive and doing quite well.

Are you surprised?

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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.

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