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Costa Rica, the happy.

Yesterday I saw in the news that the happiest country in the world is Costa Rica. After they said something about the methodology used for calculating the “happiness Index” I guess I’m not one to argue the algebraic formulas that conclude that I live in the happiest country, let alone what it means to feel unhappy in the happiest country (you couldn’t feel any more miserable than that). But if you allow me being sort of the devil’s advocatte, I will point out some things that make people unhappy here

1. The cost of living: After four years of denial the past government had to admit that costarricans were poorer by the end of the past year than they had been during the last eight years. We pay only in the gasoline hikes, the highest prices for gas in Central America, and, who knows if not in America ($1u.s /a liter, $4 or so a gallon).

2. Crime: The rise in violence-related crimes and political corruption doesn’t make us feel good. With two ex-presidents being prosecuted and hundreds of other questionable public figures, certainly doesn’t make us look like a good people.

3. The Public Education Crisis: Public Education has proven so deficitary it’s becoming shameful to say that you are a student in a public institution in a country where not too long ago we boasted having the lowest illiteracy rate in Latin America (5%). Lots of schools are not only lacking teachers but also infra-structure, many without even desks for the students to sit.

4. The condition of the roads and other transportation facilities: I a country that wishes to maintain Tourism as it’s prime industry. Tourists (and not only tourists, everybody) complain that it’s practicaly impossible to travel through the country because of the bad roads. About 14% of the roads are in good condition, the rest are not suitable for traveling in modern cars.

However, it woudn’t be fair to complain without pointing out some of the solutions offered by this new Oscar Arias government (every new broom sweeps well, so they say).

1. Financing is on the way for the trans-pacific highway the which should connect all the Pacific Coast along Central America. Together with the re-vamping of The Liberia Airport so to comply with the stardards of an international airport.

2.  The Training of a Tourist Police with English good enough to deal with the issues affecting visitors security here.

3. Increasing the budget for Education (from 4% of the Internal Brute Produce actually to an 8%).

4. How they are going to fight the high cost of living is still a good question, but if they took care a little more of the Social Security area that hasn’t been invited to the party for many years now, I guess that would help.

To wrap this the best as I can, I would only venture to say that if this country doesn’t make the leap forward, there doesn’t seem to be much of a chance that any other of the Central american
countries can.

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  1. Posted August 10, 2006 at 11:18 pm | Permalink

    Today’s news in Costa Rica has it that an 86 year old man, suffering from a terminal illness walking by the cemetary in San Joaquin de Heredia, stopped a taxi, requested the driver to take him to the forensic,(which is located 1/2 a mile down the street) to which the taxi driver replied that it was walking distance. The old man telling him he couldn’t make it there, so the cab took him there. when he got off he walked to the gate, took out a gun and shot himself.
    It seems that the senior citizen, unable to get medication for his illness, took the fatal decission. No further comments.

  2. Posted September 2, 2006 at 12:23 am | Permalink

    The other day I was posting about this group of young costarrican comedians that got nominated for The International Emi Awards.

    what’s so remarkable about this? Some may ask. Well for starters Costa Rica doesn’t have a movie
    or a T.V industry at all! In fact we don’t even have any movie or T.V stars, to the point where the only people who gain any notoriety are football players, politicians, and the news people themselves. Serious, they’re more like actors than anything else. And they get more prime-time T.V coverage than any showbiz figure in the U.S would ever dream of.

    The latest buzz and that has kept the press busy during the last week is this senator who is getting a sexual-harrassment suit for his exploits with a female-political advisor of his.

    This wouldn’t sound unusual either if not for the fact that there’s no way he can get sued with the present legislation. Because the advisor not being exactly an employee of his doesn’t have a labor relation with him so that she could claim she was fired because she didn’t give in to his prurient interests. The senator himself was popularly elected, so he can’t be fired either because he isn’t a worker for anybody.

    The point is: Here’s this “gentleman” having his 15 minutes of fame (no matter how ill the fame), and you bet that when I see the 7 o’clock tonight the newspeople won’t be talking about anything else!

    I mean the guy isn’t Bill Clinton or anything, and not that there isn’t anything else going on in this country (we’re full of colombian gunmen shooting anybody for unknown reasons), and this guy is going to bring the legislative agenda to a halt for about a week or more until they do something because he can’t keep it in his pants and all that time the newspress’ll be feasting on his case.
    Talk about a slower pace of living here in C.R

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