San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Words to Remember

“It’s urgent legislation for the country. It’s do or die.”

–Immigration Director Mario Zamora

in April, discussing proposed immigration reforms still pending at year’s end.

“What could we do, in the end, five little nations in the ’80s? We were only ants in a land of elephants, just pawns in the great chess game of the Earth.”

–President Oscar Arias

at the celebration of the 20th anniversary of the Central American Peace Accords in San José in August.

“The people have spoken… Above all, democracy has won.”

–Supreme Elections Tribunal (TSE) President Luis Antonio Sobrado

the night of the nation’s first referendum, Oct. 7, in which the controversial U.S. trade pact won by a slim margin.

“CAFTA isn’t what has us divided. What has us divided is the poverty in which 900,000 Costa Ricans live.”

–President Arias

in his speech the night CAFTA was approved in the country’s first referendum Oct. 7.

“Like jumping into an abyss without parachutes.”

–President Arias

in October, on what it would have been like if Costa Rica had turned down CAFTA.

“The biggest bottleneck that we have found is in teacher training. No one can teach English well if they don’t speak English well.”

–Education Minister

Leonardo Garnier

in September, referring to the shortage of bilingual workers in Costa Rica.

“What we have is organized crime and a disorganized state.”

–Chief Prosecutor Francisco Dall’Anese

at a September conference on corruption and organized crime.

“This is the year of never before.”

–National Emergency Commission president Daniel Gallardo

in October, on how heavy rains and flooding had devastated the country.

“It may be the biggest conservation failure in Costa Rica in 20 years.”

–Biologist Jim Barborak

who heads the protected areas and conservation corridors program for Conservation International, asked in November about the management of Barra del Colorado Wildlife Refuge.

“We’re very close to a crisis that could affect production.”

–Labor Minister Francisco Morales

in August, discussing a labor shortage in the country’s agriculture industry.

“We are going to brush up against some vested interests. But that’s part of diplomacy.”

–Foreign Minister Bruno Stagno

in October, on Costa Rica’s 2008 seat on the United Nations Security Council.

“You ain’t gonna get this s*** in the United States, I’ll tell you that much.”

–Medical tourist Vince Dugdale

in October, after getting a knee replacement surgery at the private ClínicaBíblicaHospital for $12,000.

“The government is a silent partner in the country’s unsustainable development, simply because it has yet to take action to stop it.”

–Biologists’ Association

President Noemi Canet

criticizing the President’s “Peace with Nature” initiative in an interview with The Tico Times in September.

“I’m deeply proud to be the first president of my country with the privilege to share with China, and the rest of the Asian continent, a little piece of our beloved Costa Rica.”

–President Arias

at the Oct. 25 inauguration of Costa Rica’s new Embassy in Beijing. The two countries established diplomatic ties in June, causing Taiwan to cut off ties with Costa Rica.

“(Taiwan will) end diplomatic relations with Costa Rica and put an end to all the projects and assistance and cooperation plans between the two countries… The Costa Rican government will be accountable for all the responsibilities and consequences of turning its back on 63 years of friendship with Taiwan.”

–a press release from the

Taiwanese Embassy

after Costa Rica switched diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to China in June.

“They have the money to do it. But until recently, it was simply something they’d chosen not to do.”

–Social Security System (Caja)

fire expert Pedro Armijo

in June, on why the country has yet to implement fire safety protocol in the country’s hospitals and other public buildings.

“We have always been a country of farmers, not fishermen. We have historically done very little to manage our fisheries, or care for our fishermen.”

–Costa Rican Fisheries

Institute (INCOPESCA) technical director Antonio Porras

on the state of Costa Rica’s fisheries during an interview in August.


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