Sunday, March 20, 2011

There's No Place Like Home

No matter where you go in the world, the most exotic, safest, or congenial place ever known to man, there still is no place like home, like the good ole U.S.A.

I've just returned from an extended trip to a country that meets all of the above, but still has some major drawbacks as compared to the “exotic” United States. The country I visited was Costa Rica, the most stable country in Central America.

The U.S.A. has a major problem with illegal immigration, but so does Costa Rica. Costa Rica is a country of approximately 5 million people with about 15 to 20% of the population that is illegal (mostly from the countries of Nicaragua, Columbia, and Venezuela). Consequently, the drug and crime problem has escalated over the past few years. It's a major problem.

Since the signing of a trade agreement with the U.S (CAFTA) a couple of years ago, exports and imports with the U.S. has increased which has helped boost the economy of Costa Rica. Commercial building has increased substantially, as foreign companies have set up shop in the country, but personal home building and sales of vacation property has faced a recession, just like the real estate market in the U.S. American, Canadian, and Europeans have not entered the home buying market since the financial conditions in their countries are not conducive for the people to invest in foreign real estate. They don't have the money to spend – does that sound familiar?

One of the major problems faced by Costa Rica (and most other Latin countries) is corruption. Three out of the last four presidents have or are serving jail time for corruption. The legal system is heavily bureaucratic, in other words, a nightmare, and the lawyers, in many cases, are untrustworthy and in many cases prone to commit unlawful acts (especially against “gringos”). If anyone is interested in buying property in Costa Rica, it should be considered a “crap-shoot” with the possibility of the investor losing his money. A comment I read, in the local English language paper, by an American ex-patriot said the following, “Bring two suitcases with you to Costa Rica, one full of money and the other full of patience”. How true!

Infrastructure planning by the Costa Rican public officials is another major problem faced by the people of Costa Rica. Just recently, China built a brand-new modern 35,000 seat national soccer stadium as a gift to Costa Rica (I wonder what strings were attached to this generous gift?) A major problem in the finished project is that they only made provision to park 400 cars in public parking. Can you imagine the nightmare that will ensue when a big capacity crowd tries to attend a big soccer game? The roads leading to the new stadium are congested now, so you can see the problem facing the neighbors and traffic officials on the days the stadium will be used. In addition, they finally completed a major highway from the capitol of San Jose to the Pacific coast. It should save the motorist about an hour for the same trip that existed on the old road a couple of years ago. One problem, the highway is only a two lane highway, one coming and one going, but when the big semi-trucks use the road, and travel up a hill in delivering their cargoes, the backups will be monumental. To spend 25 years in completion of this road project and not make it a four lane road, is the height of incompetency.

Another comment about Costa Rica that will boggle the mind is that
there's an absence of street signs and home and business addresses, all throughout the country. A first time visitor, who rents a car, will be excruciatingly flustered in trying to find a particular destination. I wonder who was the genius who figured that out?

I hope I didn't sound like the proverbial “ugly American” in criticizing another country, but I was trying to make the point that regardless of all of our “warts and pimples”, there's no place like home. God bless the U.S.A.

On a positive finishing note, the medical practitioners and the medical facilities in Costa Rica are excellent. The “Medical Tourism” industry is alive and well in Costa Rica and for good reason, people get great, quality medical services for a very affordable price as compared with the costs in America.

Costa Rica is a great place to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there.

Conservative commentary by Chuck Lehmann
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Robert Felton said...

It seems like Pres. Obama would fit right in with the Costa Ricans and the other Latin countries as he meets the the "incompetence" quotient needed to run these countries. He says he wants to even the playing field as he doesn't want the U.S. to be considered "exceptional", he is suceeding to our detriment. God bless the U.S.A.

arizona_freedom said...

Three out of the last four presidents have or are serving jail time for corruption? Maybe the Presidents were all from Chicago. I wonder if those Presidents were Community Organizers attacking countries for Oil?