Hail to the Thief!

Rafael Angel Calderon Fournier

In less than a month two former presidents of Costa Rica were found guilty of corruption. On April 27, 2011, former Costa Rican President Miguel Angel Rodriguez was sentenced to five years prison from his involvement in a bribery scandal. He was found guilty of taking a half a million dollar bribe from the French corporation Alcatel. And then today I read the news that yet another President, Rafael Angel Calderon, was convicted of corruption. President Calderon fared a little better than President Rodriguez in that he didn’t get any jail time, just some probation. He claims he is innocent and he will take his case to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. He may be innocent. Dinosaurs may also still be alive somewhere in the country, for that matter.

One coincidence (or not) is that both men were members of the same political party, the Partido Unidad Social Cristiana (PUSC). Not surprisingly, the party is no longer in power and no longer a major player. Or perhaps they were prosecuted BECAUSE they are no longer in power.

Miguel Angel Rodriguez

I shouldn’t leave out our Nobel Peace Prize winning President Oscar Arias Sanchez, whose government is accused of secretly selling bonds to China as part of the agreement to cut ties to Taiwan and embrace mainland China. I suppose I should mention the peachy keen stadium the Chinese built for Costa Rica, with parking for over 400 vehicles… and I won’t mention the bridge that Taiwan built over the Tempisque river. That would be crass, wouldn’t it?

To change the topic just slightly, I lost my 4th camera to thieves about a month ago. It was my own fault, I didn’t have it bolted down and a young (and fast!) man grabbed it and ran off. So if you notice I’m not doing a lot of videos, you know the reason why.

Larceny is part of the landscape here. I’ve harped on this enough that I’m sure it’s getting very tiresome. But to the unwary, I hope my whining can prevent a ruined vacation. And don’t let down your guard, even around ex-presidents.

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