San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Fire and Rain

Costa Rica faced more than its share of struggles in 2005, but there were bright spots, too. Clockwise, from bottom left: The death of Pope John Paul II brought thousands to San José’s Metropolitan Cathedral in April; controversy over the Central American Free-Trade Agreement with the United States (CAFTA) inspired another year of marches – both against the pact, such as this one on March 1, and in favor; a March bank robbery in the peaceful mountain town of Monteverde (pictured, a tourist leaving the scene) and a July fire at Hospital Calderón Guardia (a patient reacts outside the building) stunned the nation. And it rained – oh, did it rain – causing floods on the Caribbean (left) and Pacific coasts, as well as a dengue fever outbreak made more serious by the abundance of breeding pools for mosquitos.


But breakthroughs in environmental protections, some economic achievements despite tough odds, and new efforts to improve the lives of indigenous people such as the child pictured above, a member of the southern Caribbean’s Bribrí group, marked 2005 as well. And sometimes, as for Glenda Hines at the Limón Carnaval in October (below), despite it all – even the rain – life is good.


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