IN THE NEWS
4Chinchilla Flies to Madrid
President Laura Chinchilla will fly to Madrid, Spain on Sunday, expecting to sign Costa Rica on for a possible European Union-Central America Association Agreement. The visit comes just one week after her inauguration. The accord is intended to outline significant free trade and aid deals between the two blocs. However, this week’s disagreement over cheese and powdered milk continued to drag at the heels of a final agreement (see story, p. 13). But hopes remained high around Chinchilla’s trip. “If we didn’t expect to finish the agreement, I wouldn’t be flying,” the president said, according to the daily La Nación.
4Read My Lips: New Taxes
Finance Minister Fernando Herrero took office this week with President Laura Chinchilla’s freshly minted cabinet and his desk is already piled high – with tax reform proposals. Herrero told the daily La Prensa Libre that his team would review each one in a process to draw up a cohesive tax reform bill, a project that sat on the prior administration’s back burner.
4Dare to Be Different
The second Inter-University Sexual Diversity Festival gets under way this coming week, with activities intended to raise awareness and eliminate prejudice toward gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transsexuals at the NationalUniversity, the University of Costa Rica and Costa Rica Institute of Technology. The festival coincides with the National Day Against Homophobia, May 17, instituted March 2008 by former President Oscar Arias’ decree.
Fifty-nine percent of the computer software installed in Costa Rica lacks a license, the 2009 Global Software Piracy Study shows. The report says Costa Rica is ill equipped to protect intellectual property rights when it comes to illicit software use. The Business Software Alliance, an international software industry association, released the study on Wednesday. It estimates that Costa Rica’s software sector loses $33 million a year to piracy. Although this country has improved since 2004 when 67 percent of programs in use were pirated, Costa Rica remains on the U.S. Trade Representative’s Office’s list of countries that require surveillance over intellectual property right theft.
4Hollywood Look Out
Costa Rican director Hilda Hidalgo will have her feature film debut in the Los Angeles Film Festival. Her adaptation of the Gabriel García Márquez classic novel, “Del amor y otros demonios” (Of Love and Other Demons), is one of the nine selections in the Narrative Competition category. Hidalgo said she was thrilled to learn her movie would have a premiere in the United States’ second largest city. If Hidalgo’s film picks up a distributor, it will gain a wider release in the U.S. The movie is playing in Costa Rica and other Latin American countries (see “This Week’s Movies” page W5).