“Hope and Change, Change and Despair” as Costa Rica Gets Crossed Off My List of Possible Escape Routes…

By InsightAnalytical-GRL

Costa Rican Cloud Forest...Paradise Lost?

I haven’t posted in awhile…Life does get in the way sometimes.  And, quite frankly, I’m pretty turned off by what’s going on in this country.  Hope and Change got us Republican Lite;  now, we’re probably going to Change and Despair as the Republicans run on some sort of platform to “fix” what they had a large part of creating in terms of the bleak economic outlook for this country.

So, what’s person to do?  During the Bush years I longed to get the hell out of here.  During the Obama years, with debt crises all over the globe, there are few places that are worth looking at that would truly be considered “an escape.”  In the latest surge of desire to get out of this political hellhole of a country corporate  state (with way too many religious nutcases running around in D.C. and the military), I took the next step–I subscribed to International Living magazine after getting their dreamy free e-mail newsletter for years.

The folks over at IL actually discover places that are ripe for development that can lure Americans to the good life overseas.  One of the hottest places has been Costa Rica, which is now going  to be developed in the northern part of the country, complete with highway and airport, to facilitate the influx of ex-pats.

Costa Rica’s selling points are many:  lots of ecological areas preserved for eco-tourism; varied terrain, from beaches to mountains, temperate climate to tropical jungles; excellent healthcare (one facility has a direct link to Johns Hopkins back in the States), a commitment to renewable energy and a pacifist society which hasn’t used its resources to maintain a standing army.

Perfect!!!  HOWEVER, it seems the Mexican drug cartels are on the march in Costa Rica and….guess who may be offering “help”??

I haven’t gotten a mailing for ages from Truthout.org, but one popped in my box today with the story:

What the Heck Are US Marines Doing in Costa Rica? Obama’s Tilt to the Right on Latin America

Friday 06 August 2010

by: Nikolas Kozloff, t r u t h o u t | News Analysis

SNIP

Perhaps, Costa Rica’s drug problem could be addressed through a combination of poverty alleviation and coastal interdiction. Indeed, for some time, Costa Rica has collaborated with the US Coast Guard. However, under the new arrangement, other branches of the American armed services are to be deployed. The US force which is called for is massive: a virtual flotilla of 46 warships accompanied by 7,000 Marines and five planes. Take a look at this footage of the USS Makin, and consider whether this huge aircraft carrier is best suited to combat drug trafficking or perhaps some other end.

According to the Navy’s own web site, the fearsome vessel “will also have secondary missions of sea control and power projection by helicopter and fixed-wing vertical short take-off and landing aircraft.” The euphemism “power projection” caught my attention in this instance. To be sure, the cartels are a menace, but there is also an increasingly inflammatory geopolitical context to consider. In light of military developments in Costa Rica, it’s perfectly reasonable to wonder whether the US might have some kind of ulterior agenda.

The author has suspicions about the Obama Adminstration’s policies in Central America that echo what has happened in Latin America:

Moves to bring the US Navy to Costa Rica have sparked widespread suspicions that Washington is looking for a justification to remilitarize the Central American region.

“Power projection.” Doesn’t sound good to me…

Things are shifting down south…

For a brief moment, it might have looked like South America’s Pink Tide would sweep through Central America, propelling significant social and political change in the process. But with the South American left now facing its own significant challenges and internal problems, it’s unclear whether Central America’s social movements will get much of a long-term boost. Meanwhile, whatever Oliver Stone might claim about Obama’s true intentions, the US continues to play its same age-old game in Central America.

Sensing weakness, the pro-business right wing has made significant electoral inroads in Panama, Honduras and, now, Costa Rica. Allied to the military old guard and the US, this resurgent right poses a thorny problem for the left. You don’t need to tell that to Central American social movements, who recently met in the Nicaraguan capitol of Managua. There, activists denounced the “silent invasion” of US troops in Costa Rica, declared their opposition to worker repression in Panama and criticized the Lobo government in Honduras for its clampdown on the opposition.

So the question becomes, when does the “silent invasion” become something else? And Panama…well, that’s another haven that I seem to have to cross off my list…

Hey, I’m not a pot smoker, but if California does legalize marijuana use, I may have to move there and become one…it may be the only feasible way to escape!

Hope and Change; Change and Despair….seems to be all over the place these days…

***

Related Info:

U.S. Department of State section on Costa Rica

The Real Costa Rica (Blog by an ex-pat)

Costa Rica Photos from TrekEarth (gallery)

Globalization in Pictures: Courtesy AT & T

By InsightAnalytical-GRL

Since I seem to be always thinking about the demise of the dollar and the march of power and wealth to the East (China, in particular, with India and other S. E. Asian countries joining in the fun), this flyer really reminded me of what’s going on a lot closer to home.

We’ve discussed in the past the “North American Union” scenario and things like that “super highway” plan and the new Mexican seaport which will probably hurt West Coast ports.  Drug cartels are now talked about all the time.

But the ad I received yesterday really was so “in your face” that I couldn’t resist sharing it with you.

AT & T is one of those companies that is billed as a safe-haven investment during this rough economic time, offering some growth and dividends to help increase a retiree’s income.  It’s American as apple pie…but, like most multinational corporations, it’s “reaching out to touch someone” somewhere else bigtime.

Living about 50 miles from the Mexican border, I have to say that I enjoy the food (eat salsa every day, tortillas constantly, and do green chile) and the many lovely Mexican immigrants and long-time citizens  that I’ve met over the last decade. We’ve got about 5 Spanish television stations and the radio is full of Mexican music from here and directly from Mexico, which is really fun to listen to (sort of like polkas in Spanish!). I know lot of folks who cross the ordeer for affordable dental care and I’ve visited a Mexican pharmacy myself. The culture is wonderful and the people are warm and friendly, but, of course, the poor from the other side of the border want to come here.  I’ve met women who’ve left their families to come here in the hopes of being able to send money home and also to escape extreme poverty and danger.

Even the local Walmart features  several services to send money to Mexico.

This is the way it is, a fact of life in these parts. There’s nothing inherently wrong with having lots of cross-border activity…heck, if we were in Europe it would be exactly the same thing.  I recall visiting the Gallup Organization in London when I was working for the parent company in Princeton, N.J. years ago (before it was sold to a big outfit) and how fascinated I was that one of the women in the same job there that I had in the U.S. was prepping for a trip to about 5 countries as if it were nothing out of the ordinary…sort of like the way I prepped to do a big job out in California, I guess.

It’s just that normal back and forth has been supplanted by something a lot more complicated than families visiting relatives. We’re now in globalization mode and it’s on steroids.

And here’s what AT & T is marketing to exploit the situation…

2009_1102MexicoCallLocal0004

Outside of the AT & T advertising...

And, when you open it up, there’s a pop-up, just like one of those children’s picture books with pop-up pages:

2009_1102MexicoCallLocal0003

A pop-up ruin...

I don’t have relatives in Mexico but I know people who do. I hope it helps them to stay close to them via phone and enables them to save money.

But, still…it does show how the globalization train is pretty far down the tracks, at least in these parts…

***

Related Posts

El Paso Media Conference Pushes “Newspapers as Change Agents”; Interesting Background of Organizer (February 20, 2009)

Secy. of Defense Robert Gates Downplays Possible U.S. Role as Fears of Mexico Collapse Mount; Don’t Be Fooled, There’s A Bush-Era Agenda Still Going On Here… (March 6, 2009)

THE PROPOSED NORTH AMERICAN COMMUNITY/NORTH AMERICAN UNION: 2010 Is Just Around the Corner (March 9, 2009)

What’s Going On North of the Border: The Canadian Economy and Stimulus Plan (March 11,2009)

Mexico Plans World’s Third Largest Seaport, Will Impact U.S. Ports on West Coast; Citigroup to Help Finance? (Updated 1X More on TARP $$ Going Overseas) (March 12, 2009)

Obama on the Border: The Language Shift & Plan to Use Executive Orders–Tying It All Together (Security, Trade, Immigration ) (March 13, 2009)

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the North American Union: A Layman’s Overview of the Coming New World Order (March 17, 2009–by Grail Guardian)

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