I Have Thousands of Friends, Sound Advice

October 5, 2007

Dear Nica Times:

In response to my letter published in The Nica Times Aug. 18,“My Advice to Expats, Get Out While You Can,” Jim Hamilton of Escazú wrote a letter in response in which he felt obliged to ask why I was addressing expats in Granada and not San José (NT, Aug. 24).

My letter pointed out that as many expats have moved or are moving to lovely Granada thinking it is safer than Costa Rica, I fear that it’s on the fast track to soon be as dangerous as San José as more expats arrive and settle in.

Those who live in San José do or should know crime is bad and worsening.

For Mr. Hamilton to rudely write that my claiming to have “hundreds of friends who’ve been seriously injured in criminal acts” is “frankly ludicrous,” is out of place. To me, “seriously injured” means they’ve needed medical attention.

As to the usage of the word “friends,” which seems to bother Mr. Hamilton, it’s true most people would consider themselves lucky to have a few “close friends” in an entire lifetime.

But I extend the word “friend” to those with whom I have frequently shared lunch, drinks, gossip; those I’ve helped to get residency, driver’s licenses or to find an apartment, buy a vehicle, medical care, schools and “special” hotel guests and bar and restaurant customers.

Over years of catering to tens of thousands, it should be no surprise that thousands of friendships, or if Mr. Hamilton would prefer the word “strong acquaintances” would develop.

Mr. Hamilton also wrote that he was “most frightened,” as I feel he and other expats should well be, at hearing the opinions of my Judicial Investigation Police (OIJ) wife, whose thoughts are shared by many – if not most – cops, detectives, lawyers, prosecutors, and courts that “in our coming to this poorer part of the world, with more things, money and a flaunting attitude, we’ve created a moral hazard to the poor and it’s our own fault when we get swindled, cheated, robbed, assaulted and murdered.”

One can only hope law officers have enough professional pride to overcome this thinking and that expats can get the same level of poor protection and justice that the Ticos get.

And as to my “running and leading the way out,” somehow the point in addressing those people who are not yet too deeply entrenched was missed.

It’s doubtful my advice will change many minds, but it might just tip enough thought to save future sadness or tragedy for those who listen.

Alan Currier

San José, Costa Rica

 

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