Industry vet Rizos joins the team at Insight Vacations Luxury Gold

first_imgTags: Insight Vacations, Luxury Gold Share TORONTO — Insight Vacations and Luxury Gold have appointed Paula Rizos as Director of Business Development in Vancouver.With more than 25 years of travel and tourism industry experience, in her new role Rizos will focus on developing marketing campaigns, executing sales programs, introducing new experiences as well as fostering existing and new relationships with agency partners in B.C., Yukon and Northwest Territories.Rizos’ past stints include Canadian Holidays, Transat and most recently Discover Canada Tours where she was General Manager.“I am very excited to start my new chapter with such well respected brands as Insight Vacations and Luxury Gold,” says Rizos. “As an avid and passionate traveller, I stand behind the brands’ values and impressive premium and luxury experiences, which make this role the perfect fit.”“We are absolutely thrilled to have Paula join the TTC, Insight Vacations and Luxury Gold family and look forward to seeing her impact in British Columbia and Yukon,” says Carla Brake, Vice-President Sales, Insight Vacations and Luxury Gold Canada. “Our loyal agents and partners have awaited Paula’s arrival, and her extensive background in sales and marketing will add significant value and seasoned strategic account management and business development experience to our team – and dedicated to our brilliant travel advisor partners in Western Canada.”More news:  FIVE FESTIVE FOODS TO TRY AT EUROPE’S CHRISTMAS MARKETSRizos can be reached at or at 416-322-8468 ext. 8497726. Wednesday, August 8, 2018 Travelweek Group center_img Posted by Industry vet Rizos joins the team at Insight Vacations, Luxury Gold << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

Feeling creative Enter to win oneweek holiday at Karisma resorts

first_imgFeeling creative? Enter to win one-week holiday at Karisma resorts TORONTO — Karisma Hotels & Resorts is giving travel agents the chance to win a one-week getaway to two of its luxury properties in Mexico.Running the entire month of September, ‘Silver Gourmet Inclusive Vacation Consultants’ agents can enter the contest for the chance to win the week-long getaway in addition to entry into the 2018 GIVC Awards.Participating agents are asked to prepare a marketing plan that exclusively promotes Karisma and the various brands within its portfolio. The plan has no limits, and can range from public relations and social media, to website/displays, TV, radio and print.Contest winners will receive a complimentary three-night stay at The Fives Azul Beach Resort and a ticket to attend Karisma’s 11th Annual Gourmet Inclusive Vacation Agent Awards, plus an additional three-night stay at El Dorado Royale.Marketing plans are to be submitted to along with the agent’s contact information. The campaign will continue through the end of September.More news:  Hotel charges Bollywood star $8.50 for two bananas and the Internet has thoughtsEight winners from each RSM territory will be chosen via email on Oct. 10.For more information go to Posted by Share Tags: Contest, Karisma Hotels & Resorts, Mexicocenter_img Tuesday, September 11, 2018 << Previous PostNext Post >> Travelweek Group last_img read more

Airline revenue is rising but so too are costs

first_img Share Airline revenue is rising but so too are costs Friday, October 26, 2018 By: The Associated Press << Previous PostNext Post >> Tags: Pricing, Southwest Airlines, Statistics DALLAS — Airlines have figured out how to extract more money from passengers, and they will need it to cover rising costs for their own fuel, labour and other expenses.Not long ago, investors demanded that the airlines boost prices, even if it meant reducing flights to create a shortage of seats. Now they are obsessed with controlling expenses.They punished Southwest Airlines Co. on Thursday after the carrier warned about a surprisingly large increase in costs next year. Southwest reported a 16 per cent increase in third-quarter profit on higher revenue, beating expectations, but the shares dropped more than 8 per cent in afternoon trading.On the other hand, American Airlines Group Inc. reported that its profit plunged 48 per cent from a year ago because it failed to fully pass on $750 million in higher fuel prices to consumers. Yet American’s shares climbed 8 per cent after company executives laid out a plan to reduce spending, boost revenue, and grow earnings next year.All four of the largest U.S. airlines saw higher revenue in the third quarter than a year ago, and revenue per seat, a stand-in for average prices, is rising. Empty seats are hard to find. United Airlines President Scott Kirby called it “one of the best revenue environments we’ve ever seen.”Airlines are facing a strong headwind, however, from surging fuel prices. Spot prices are up about 35 per cent from this time last year, according to government figures.United said this month that it was recovering its entire fuel-cost increase from passengers, and Delta said it was covering about 85 per cent. American, however, said Thursday that it recovered just 40 per cent in the third quarter.More news:  Visit Orlando unveils new travel trade tools & agent perks“Our revenues are up, but not as much as those two airlines,” said American Chairman and CEO Doug Parker. Delta in particular is doing a better job of upselling customers on premium offerings, he said, while promising that American would get better at that too by improving its ticket-selling technology.Parker said American can find $1 billion in new revenue, much of it by selling upgraded “premium economy” seats on international flights and no-frills “basic economy” on more U.S. and international routes. To control costs, American will grow more slowly, cancel unprofitable flights like those between Chicago and China, save $1.2 billion by delaying delivery of 22 new Airbus jets over the next three years, and cut at least 100 management jobs.Some investors applauded the plan.“I was very pleased to hear that,” said Chris Terry, portfolio manager at Dallas-based Hodges Funds, which owns about 275,000 shares of American. “They are not just sitting back and waiting on things to happen.”American, based in Fort Worth, Texas, reported a third-quarter profit of $341 million, far behind Delta’s $1.3 billion, United’s $836 million, and Southwest’s $615 million. Revenue rose 5 per cent to $11.56 billion, a company record.American predicted that a key measure, revenue for each seat flown one mile, will rise by between 1.5 per cent and 3.5 per cent in the fourth quarter. Executives declined to say how much of that boost was coming from credit card deals and hauling cargo, two areas where American’s revenue is growing rapidly.Excluding non-recurring items, American earned $1.13 per share in the third quarter, matching the forecast of 16 analysts in a FactSet survey.More news:  TRAVELSAVERS welcomes Julie Virgilio to the teamIt shares rose $2.51, or 8.3 per cent, to $32.85 in late-afternoon trading.Dallas-based Southwest’s profit of $615 million equaled $1.08 per share, 2 cents per share better than the FactSet forecast. Revenue rose 5.1 per cent to $5.58 billion.Southwest estimated that non-fuel costs per seat will rise 3 per cent next year – faster than this year.A Raymond James analyst called the looming increase in so-called unit costs “a negative surprise.” A Stifel analyst said it was “way above our expectations.”The prospect of higher costs is particular critical for Southwest, which has long used lower costs to undercut fares charged by its chief rivals. That cost advantage is narrowing, however, and Southwest often does not beat its bigger brethren on prices.Chairman and CEO Gary Kelly noted that Southwest has spent money to improve its frequent-flyer program and reservation system, which he said increased revenue, and to buy new planes. It also faces higher costs because it carries more passengers and more bags than ever, he said.Kelly said some cost increases are acceptable, and he promised to focus on controlling others.“Certainly we can’t be satisfied with that kind of unit-cost increase, and we’re not,” the CEO said on a call with analysts.Southwest shares fell $4.66, or 8.5 per cent, to $49.93 shortly before the closing bell.Meanwhile, Seattle-based Alaska Air Group Inc., parent of Alaska Airlines, reported profit of $217 million, down 16 per cent from a year ago on a 39 per cent increase in fuel and 15 per cent hike in labour costs.last_img read more

Bob Dylan lives up to his legend at historic Costa Rica concert

first_imgRelated posts:Lineup announced for Envision 2014 Concert showcases young musicians of La Carpio Annual fest in Austin promotes Central American music in the U.S. Jacó Happenings Anticipation was high Saturday night for legendary singer Bob Dylan’s first appearance in Central America.Organizers worried they wouldn’t sell enough tickets to fill the Palacio de los Deportes, a 4,500-seat, 1980s-era basketball arena in Heredia, north of the capital. Concertgoers – who paid up to $150 for tickets – worried the sound would be muddled given the venue’s penchant for bad acoustics. And just before doors opened, Dylan barred news media from photographing the show.But anxiety turned to euphoria when the 70-year-old poet-singer, smiling slyly, walked on stage dressed in his trademark brown porkpie hat. He settled into his role as musical barker with the opening chords of “Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat.”Thousands of fans, who descended on the Central Valley from all corners of Costa Rica and other parts of Central America, rose to their feet in a collective roar of adoration. Yes, that was Bob Dylan on stage.The crowd’s diversity ran the gamut from gray-haired hippies to teenagers, musicians, writers, bankers, all linked by a rare opportunity to see a man who’s been transcribing life into song for half a century.In a set that lasted just under two hours, Dylan performed 18 songs from his 600-song repertoire, spending most of the night behind a Korg organ and filling in interludes with an array of harmonicas that drove fans into a frenzy with every note.As expected, Dylan’s traveling band is well-versed in the different genres that characterize his music – swing, blues, jazz, country and rock – and with two guitars, electric and upright bass, drums and lap steel guitar, they provided a flamboyant sound that was well-suited to Dylan’s aging, gravely voice.Playing with the legend requires one to be on his toes. There is an unmistakably impromptu approach to Dylan’s live performances, which don’t sound like earlier recordings or the classic hits we grew up listening to on the radio. He sometimes forgets lyrics. He sets up a guitar solo only to launch into another verse. He gives orders on the run. And sometimes the music takes a back seat to smartly worded lyrics.But the band seems to take it in stride. They’ve done this before.On his second song, “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right,” fans responded to each lyric with hoots and hollers, and the band brought it home in grand style.Dylan’s strange phrasing on “Tangled Up in Blue” didn’t seem to bother anyone, and the set’s fifth song, “Summer Days,” a swinging number from Dylan’s 31st studio album “Love and Theft,” had everyone dancing in the aisles.  One of the evening’s prettiest songs, “Not Dark Yet,” from 1997’s “Time Out of Mind, ” is also one of Dylan’s most existentialist: “Feel like my soul has turned into steel. I’ve still got the scars that the sun didn’t heal. … I was born here and I’ll die here against my will. I know it looks like I’m moving, but I’m standing still.”When you’re blue, turn to the blues, and Dylan did on his next two songs, “Jolene” and “Ballad Of Hollis Brown,” a 1964 song about a poverty-stricken South Dakota man who kills his family and himself.The classic “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall” came off flat, with rushed lyrics, uncomfortable pauses and a band struggling to follow their leader. But he’s Dylan, these are his songs, he’ll do what he wants.Next was another of the night’s highlights, “The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll,” a well-known early track that showcases Dylan’s incredible storytelling ability: “Oh, but you who philosophize disgrace and criticize all fears, bury the rag deep in your face, for now’s the time for your tears.” A slow fade out added a haunting beauty to the troubling subject of the song.By this time in the show, most folks, enthralled, had taken their seats. But “Highway 61 Revisited” brought everyone to his and her feet again, and the energy in the room was as electric as the 1965 album of the same name.Fans also appreciated Dylan’s choice of popular tunes to end out the historic evening, including “Like a Rolling Stone,” “All Along the Watchtower” and “Rainy Day Women #12 & 35” (although with no alcohol sales at the venue and no smoking allowed, no one was getting stoned).At the curtain call, Dylan noticed a particularly euphoric group of young concertgoers in the balcony to his left. During an encore performance of “Blowin’ in the Wind,” he walked to stage left and delivered a personalized harmonica solo for the group of ecstatic fans, providing them an unforgettable moment from an unforgettable night.And he left the stage as he entered it, smiling slyly. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Privatesector salary raise set at 365 percent

first_imgThe National Salary Council on Tuesday approved a 3.65 percent increase in salaries for Costa Rica’s private-sector workers that will go into effect on Jan. 1.The government proposal, filed Tuesday afternoon, was supported by employer chamber leaders. The agreement was reached in a quick meeting of less than an hour at Casa Presidencial.  Labor union representatives voted against the proposal. Last week, they asked for a salary hike of 4.06 percent, plus an extra 2 percent for workers receiving minimum wage.Private-sector workers total more than 1.2 million, almost 85 percent of Costa Rica’s workforce, according to government figures. Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img read more

HaitiUN launch urgent 2013 aid appeal

first_imgNo related posts. PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti – The Haitian government and the United Nations on Tuesday launched an urgent appeal for $100 million toward humanitarian aid for 2 million citizens threatened with famine, illness and natural disaster in 2013.The aid would go to people whose lives are most in danger, Johan Peleman, head of the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Haiti, told AFP.According to Peleman, three years after the giant earthquake that struck the country killing 250,000 people, there are still spikes in malnutrition and the cholera epidemic.The financial aid would help cover immediate needs for the rest of the year, notably for the most vulnerable 935,500 people who have not yet received assistance and who are at-risk of cholera or from the hurricane season.A statement from the U.N. mission said the money was targeting 800,000 people in need of emergency food assistance, 120,000 displaced who are waiting to return home, 100,000 potential cholera victims, and at least 225,000 people who could be affected by the hurricane season. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Highprofile sharkfinning trial continues this week

first_imgRelated posts:Judge’s ruling opens the door to legalized shark finning in Costa Rica, conservation groups say Could tide finally be turning for shark fin demand in China? Costa Rica President Luis Guillermo Solís nominated for ‘Shark Enemy of the Year’ award The best of long-form journalism in 2015 from The Tico Times The trial of Kathy Tseng Chang began again in a Puntarenas court Wednesday.Tseng was charged with attempting to export 652 shark fins in 2011. The case drew attention due to the brutally innovative methods the finners allegedly used to attempt to skirt Costa Rican law.In order to comply with a law requiring shark fins to remain attached to the body for export while still freeing up room in their hull for more fins, fishermen on Tseng’s boat, the Wang Jia Men, cut away all of the flesh on sharks’ bodies, leaving only the spinal column and skin to attach the fins.Interpol released a purple alert last November to warn other countries to close up the potential loophole in their shark-finning legislation.Randall Arauz, president of the marine conservation group Pretoma, did not sound optimistic about the ruling in a press release sent out by the organization.“Remember that national fisheries authorities have been extremely lenient with Taiwanese businessmen involved in activities of finning” said Arauz. “The authorities aren’t afraid of being ridiculed internationally, they just fall back on their distorted  policies.” Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Costa Rica faces bean shortage prompting emergency call for imports

first_imgCall it the gallo pinto effect.Officials from Costa Rica’s Agriculture and Livestock Ministry (MAG) this week warned of a shortage of beans in the country, and issued an order to allow tax-free importation from any country in order to meet an estimated shortage of 21,000 tons needed to supply local demand from July to January.The country currently has reserves of 3,200 metric tons of black beans and 1,200 metric tons of red beans. But with domestic consumption at 4,100 tons per month, there are barely enough beans for this month. Beans and rice are essential in Ticos’ daily diet.According to the National Production Council (CNP) a change in agricultural production strategies in Nicaragua – Costa Rica’s main bean provider – severely decreased supplies from that country.But local producers blame the possible shortage on a requirement of MAG’s State Phytosanitary Service (SFE), which states that all imported beans must be completely clean, without any residue or dirt. The rule this year has prevented some 100 containers of beans – mainly from Nicaragua – from entering the country, producers say.Alejandro Monge, executive director of the National Association of Bean Industrials (ANIFRI), confirmed that Costa Rica currently produces only 20 percent of all beans consumed in the country, and the remaining 80 percent must be imported from Nicaragua, Argentina and China.“Strict SFE measures are preventing the entry of imported beans in time to meet current demand,” he said.The shortage particularly affects red beans. Nicaragua in 2013 supplied 99 percent of Costa Rican red bean imports and 50 percent of all imported beans, according to the CNP.The situation already is affecting consumers, as the price of red beans this year increased by 10 percent, according to the CNP. Prices likely will continue to increase if the shortage extends longer. The Costa Rican Consumers Association last week asked the Economy Ministry to conduct periodic inspections to prevent price speculation from retailers.The Grain Industries Chamber agrees with the consumers’ group, forecasting a significant increase in prices in coming months, especially for red beans. They also said in a press release that the situation will not be resolved with MAG’s shortage alert, and they urged the government to modify SFE guidelines and regulations.ANIFRI requested a change in SFE legislation during a meeting with Agriculture and Livestock Vice Minister Joaquín Salazar. At the meeting they suggested an amendment of legislation to allow up to 2 percent of impurities in imported beans, depending on the grains’ quality. They also suggested fumigation of trucks that might represent contamination risks. However, both sides failed to reach an agreement at the meeting.ANIFRI will continue pushing for a change in legislation, and in coming days will meet with officials from the Foreign Trade Ministry and the Economy Ministry to propose an amendment of SFE regulations. Facebook Comments Related posts:Food and Fútbol: Learning from the Netherlands Costa Rican importers decry black market avocados 1 year after ban Police seize 20,000 contraband avocados at Panama border Mexico takes Costa Rica ban on avocados to World Trade Organizationlast_img read more

Costa Ricas soccer chief arrested in FIFA corruption probe

first_imgThe dawn detention of several FIFA leaders and a corruption raid on its headquarters on Wednesday rocked world football’s governing body two days before its leader Sepp Blatter seeks a new term.Eduardo Li, a FIFA executive committee member from Costa Rica, was among seven people arrested at the luxury Zurich hotel where they were preparing for a congress starting Thursday. All now face deportation to the United States on charges of accepting more than $100 million in bribes.U.S. authoities said nine football officials are among 14 people facing charges over the longstanding corruption.Separately, Swiss police seized files and emails at the FIFA headquarters as part of an investigation into the awarding of the 2018 World Cup to Russia and the 2022 tournament to Qatar.See: World Cup sponsors Coke, Visa also concerned about Qatar labor conditionsThe 2010 vote by FIFA that attributed the events has been surrounded by widespread allegations of fraud. A spokesman said Wednesday though that there was no question of changing the venues.FIFA spokesman Walter de Gregorio said Blatter is not involved in the investigations and that the presidential vote would be held as planned on Friday.“The timing is not great,” de Gregorio told reporters. But he added that “FIFA welcomes actions that can help contribute to rooting out any wrongdoing in football.” A combination of file pictures made on May 27, 2015 shows FIFA officials, left to right starting in upper row, Rafael Esquivel, Nicolas Leoz, Jeffrey Webb, Jack Warner, Eduardo Li, Eugenio Figueredo and José María Marín. The seven men are among several football officials charged for allegedly receiving bribes worth millions of dollars. AFPBlatter relaxed Blatter has been the overwhelming favorite to win a fifth term at the head of the multi-billion dollar body. But the events could swing many votes.His only challenger, Prince Ali bin al Hussein, a FIFA vice president from Jordan, called the arrests “a sad day for football.”Prince Ali and European federation chiefs say a change of leadership is now urgently needed to save FIFA’s tainted image.See: FIFA now officially an international jokeThe FIFA spokesman said Blatter was “relaxed” about the future fallout from the investigation.“He isn’t dancing in his office,” de Gregoria told reporters. “He is very, very calm, he sees what happens. He is fully cooperative with everybody.”Swiss police gave a surprise 6 a.m. wakeup call to FIFA Vice-President Jeffrey Webb, from the Cayman Islands, and other six officials at the luxury Baur au Lac Hotel. A U.S. Department of Justice statement said seven people were detained.U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch said the investigation “spans at least two generations of soccer officials who, as alleged, have abused their positions of trust to acquire millions of dollars in bribes and kickbacks.”Webb is head of the CONCACAF North and Central American confederation and a longstanding ally of Blatter. U.S. police also raided the CONCACAF headquarters in Miami.Li and Eugenio Figueredo, president of South American football governing body Conmebol from Uruguay, were also among those detained.Police in plain clothes took the room keys from the reception and went to the rooms of the six, the New York Times said. The operation was carried out peacefully, it added.The Swiss Justice Ministry said those detained were  suspected of accepting “bribes and kick-backs between the early 1990s and the present day.”A ministry statement said that representatives of sports media and sports marketing companies allegedly paid bribes “in exchange for the media rights and the marketing rights for competitions in the United States and South America.”The seven could agree to be extradited immediately or challenge the move in court. The U.S. Justice Department said the detained officials could face up to 20 years in jail.The Swiss raid on FIFA’s headquarters formally opened an investigation into the 2018 and 2022 World Cups that FIFA itself asked for in November.Police are to question 10 members of the executive committee who took part in the 2010 vote while they are in Zurich for the Congress, officials said.Qatar has strongly denied any wrongdoing linked to its bid. A former FIFA vice president from the Gulf state, Mohammed bin Hammam, was banned for life from FIFA because of corruption.A former U.S. attorney, Michael Garcia, investigated the World Cup bids. He left FIFA because it refused to fully publish his report.In May, Blatter denied he was a target of an FBI corruption investigation and that he had no fear of going to the United States.He said he would probably go in 2016 for a football tournament there and to Canada next month for the Women’s World Cup.The denial came after an ESPN television documentary said the Swiss official was afraid to go to the United States because of the FBI investigation.Related: Qatar is building seven ‘cities’ just to house its World Cup migrant workers Facebook Comments Related posts:FEDEFUTBOL official: FIFA scandal won’t affect Costa Rica’s upcoming matches Switzerland will rule on FIFA extraditions next month FIFA-Gate: Costa Rica football federation says US ‘mistaken’ in Eduardo Li wire fraud allegation Swiss prosecutors probe 53 ‘suspicious’ FIFA caseslast_img read more

Putin offered to support Venezuela in case of war with Colombia book

first_imgDuring a moment of peak tensions between Colombia and Venezuela, Vladimir Putin told the late Hugo Chávez to count on his support if war broke out, according to a new biography of José Mujica, the popular ex-Uruguayan president who was close to his Venezuelan counterpart.Then president Chávez told Mujica that the Russian president had offered to advise him in the conflict, providing information about Colombia’s military arsenal and the types of Russian hardware he could send to counter it, the book claims.Since its publication in May, “Una Oveja Negra al Poder” (A Black Sheep in Power), has created a buzz in Latin America for its purported revelations about Mujica’s relationships with Chávez, Brazilian ex-president Luis Ignácio “Lula” da Silva and Cuba’s Raúl and Fidel Castro, among other Latin American leftist icons.The book’s authors, two Uruguayan journalists who have tracked Mujica’s political career for two decades, do not make the claim that Putin offered to intervene with Russian troops on Venezuela’s behalf, but they say he told Chávez, “You can count on my advice for whatever you need.” (Courtesy and Colombia’s shared border is one of South America’s busiest crossings, but it has also been one of the region’s most frequent friction points. Colombian FARC rebels operate on both sides of the boundary, and ex-president Álvaro Uribe — Chávez’s nemesis — often accused the Venezuelan government of turning a blind eye to their presence, or lending them its clandestine support.At one point in 2008, after a Colombian airstrike on a FARC camp in Ecuador, Chávez sent troops to the border and warned Uribe not to attempt a similar attack in Venezuela. On several occasions, Chávez ordered the Venezuelan Embassy in Bogotá closed, and the two countries briefly severed relations in 2010, renewing fears of war.Though fighting never broke out, Chávez acquired billions of dollars worth of Russian arms during the 14 years he was president prior to his death from cancer in 2013, including fighter jets, anti-aircraft missiles and 100,000 Kalashnikov rifles.Uribe, Colombia’s president between 2002 and 2010, was Chávez’s principal foreign adversary and verbal sparring partner. A close U.S. ally, Uribe was a major beneficiary of the more than $9 billion in security aid that Washington has provided since 2000 through “Plan Colombia.”“A Black Sheep in Power” contains other colorful anecdotes about Mujica, 80, a former Marxist guerrilla who spent 15 years in prison before going on to win Uruguay’s presidency in 2009. His famously austere lifestyle, rumpled appearance and plainspoken manner endeared him to many in Latin America and beyond.As president, Mujica insisted on remaining in his tiny, modest home, donated most of his salary to charity and often drove himself to work in his old VW beetle, occasionally stopping to pick up hitchhikers on the way. His five-year term ended in March.The book also features blunt criticism Mujica allegedly shared with his friend Chávez about the Venezuelan leader’s grand vision of an oil-rich socialist society. “I warned him from the beginning that he wasn’t going to end up building socialism,” the book quotes Mujica as saying. “And he didn’t build [crap].”When Mujica appeared at the Buenos Aires book fair last month to promote “Black Sheep,” he was greeted like a football star by a packed auditorium, even though he showed up an hour late.Miroff is a Latin America correspondent for The Washington Post, roaming from the U.S.-Mexico borderlands to South America’s southern cone. He has been a staff writer since 2006.© 2015, The Washington Post Facebook Comments Related posts:Russia back to fishing in troubled waters in Latin America, Costa Rica expert tells US congressional committee Maduro picks new scapegoat for Venezuela’s problems Venezuelan voters showed ‘overwhelming desire for change,’ says John Kerry Former Colombian, Bolivian leaders warn of looming humanitarian crisis in Venezuelalast_img read more

Costa Rica pushes greater regional cooperation on Cuban African migration

first_imgBarely a month after Costa Rica concluded a massive airlift of Cuban migrants stranded in the country, regional leaders gathered in San José on Tuesday to address persistent problems on the immigration front, including the continued arrival of Cubans and migrants from Africa and Asia.Foreign Minister Manuel González said Tuesday that the uptick in undocumented migrants crossing Central America could pose a security risk to the United States.“We have not approached this from a security perspective because we do not believe these people represent a threat to our national security. That’s why we’ve approached this from a human rights angle,” González said, “but we can’t be sure what these people have in their minds or what is their true intention, especially when it comes to extra-continental migrants trying to reach the United States.”González said Costa Rica could not confirm the identities of all the migrants moving through the country and had expressed concern over the security threat this could present.“It could be that they come here with a bag of food and clothes and tomorrow with a bag of something else,” he said.Tuesday’s meeting was called by Costa Rica last week after several recent detentions of groups of migrants from across Africa. Meanwhile, roughly 2,000 Cuban migrants have accumulated in shelters on the Panamanian side of the border since Costa Rica stopped receiving them. The Costa Rican government announced an increased police presence in the southern part of the country to help address undocumented migration in March.Immigration officials and vice foreign ministers from Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, and Ecuador attended the meeting. Chairs sat empty during the meeting’s inaugural address in front of spots reserved for representatives from Cuba and Nicaragua. Representatives from the United Nations, the U.S. Embassy in San José and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security also attended the meeting.The pathway northCosta Rica and other Central American countries have seen increasing flows of undocumented migrants from around the world since 2012. The phenomenon reached its apex here in November 2015 when thousands of Cuban migrants were stranded in Costa Rica for four months after Nicaragua refused to let them pass through on their way to the United States.Costa Rica granted more than 7,800 Cubans temporary legal status and housed them in dozens of shelters across the country until the last Cuban migrants left via an airlift to Mexico in March.The Foreign Minister said illegal immigration requires “structural solutions,” including a change in U.S. immigration policy to disincentivize Cuban immigration. González and President Solís have both said they believe the terms of the Cuban Adjustment Act “unjustly” punish countries like Costa Rica that are left to manage the flows of migrants.Recommended: Costa Rica serves as a corridor for Asians, Africans migrating to the US González said extra-continental migration represented a relatively small but more “serious” problem than Cuban migration. The foreign minister noted that a bevy of factors complicate Costa Rica’s ability to identify migrants from Africa, South Asia and elsewhere, ranging from a lack of official identification and local diplomatic presence by the countries of origin, to the migrants’ inability to speak Spanish and, in some cases, to write their names.González called for a coordinated, holistic approach to irregular migration in the region that respects the human rights of the migrants and delivers a firm response to human smugglers and traffickers.“We don’t have all the solutions in our hands. No single country does,” González said. “Therefore, if we don’t act together as a bloc to address the situation, this has the potential to become a very serious crisis.” Facebook Comments Related posts:Migrants flowing through is likely Costa Rica’s new normal, minister says Cuban migrants storm Costa Rica-Panama border demanding to pass President Solís: ‘If you want to get through a border, you’ll be able to sooner or later’ Panama drops off Cuban migrants on Costa Rica’s doorsteplast_img read more

Costa Rica seeking revenge against the United States

first_imgRelated posts:Costa Rica humiliates the United States 4-0 in World Cup qualifier Costa Rica returns with full-strength lineup in last step toward World Cup qualifying Costa Rica scores key victory over Trinidad & Tobago in World Cup Qualifying Costa Rica heads into must-win game against United States The last time Costa Rica lined up against the United States, a nightmare unfolded on Chicago’s Soldier Field where theU.S. beat La Sele 4-0 in the Copa América group stages.Now, Costa Rica has a chance to avenge the June beatdown by getting a home win that could seriously jeopardize U.S. chances of qualifying for the World Cup. After losing to Mexico at home Friday, the U.S. comes to San José’s National Stadium looking for a win in a city where it’s 0-8-1 all-time.The Ticos will look to keep it that way and remain first in CONCACAF’s six-team Hexagonal group.Following a key road win at Trinidad & Tobago to start the last round of World Cup qualifying, Costa Rica can make another crucial step towards Russia in 2018 with a win against the United States Tuesday night.Unlike the June meeting, Costa Rica will be well-equipped in goal with star keeper Keylor Navas. Though Navas wasn’t called to duty much in Friday’s 2-0 win, he should see more shots on goal from a U.S. team that wants to keep an aggressive pace on offense.“It’s always great to play the United States, but no matter who the opponent is, our goal is to classify for the World Cup,” Navas said at a press conference Monday. “We have to enjoy it, but still take it seriously, because they have a great team.”Defense-mindedCoach Óscar Ramírez will again be down three key center backs on his five-man backline. Normal starters Giancarlo González and Óscar Duarte were left off the call-up list and now Francisco Calvo, a starter Friday, will remain out after leaving the Trinidad & Tobago game with a leg injury.It will be interesting to see if the defense can continue to hold up at home, where it’s allowed just one goal (a penalty kick to Panama) in its three World Cup qualifying games so far.In their June meeting, the U.S. feasted on the center of Costa Rica’s defense, scoring each of its last three goals in virtually the same spot at the top center of the box. La Sele’s backline was routinely out of position and late to get back against a U.S. team that made it a point to slice right at the heart of a soft middle.Ramírez said he expects the U.S. to come out in that same attacking mode Tuesday night.“They’re very aggressive and they’re always competitive,” Ramírez said on Monday at the National Stadium. “They’re going to compete until the end and they’re not going to give you anything until the final whistle.”El capiMuch of the talk since Friday has centered on the status of captain Bryan Ruíz. The 31-year-old midfield star left the Trinidad & Tobago game with what appeared to be a lower leg injury to his right leg. Ruíz has said since then that he expects to be a full go against the U.S., but it’s worth keeping an eye on how long he can play Tuesday night.Even if he needs to come out, the midfield should be in good hands with a pair of emerging veterans. Herediano’s Randall Azofeifa nearly scored early Friday on a set piece that went just a tad too far to the right of the post. He’s played extremely well for Costa Rica under Ramírez and has two goals in the past four games.Fellow midfielder, 32-year-old Christian Bolaños, has been a revelation for La Sele despite his age. He, too, will look to continue his goal-scoring roll, as he’s netted three goals in the past two World Cup qualifiers.That midfield will be called upon to help dictate the game’s rhythm and withhold the easy opportunities and breakaways that led the United States to a blowout win the last time around.After that loss, Ramírez apologized to the fanbase for the lopsided score. On Monday he said the team has made the necessary corrections, rocketing up to 18th in the world in FIFA’s official rankings.“We’re going to be ready for whatever they show,” Ramírez said Monday. “We’re clear in what we’ve practiced and it doesn’t matter if their strategy is balanced or attacking because we’re going to be prepared.”Costa Rica kicks off against the United States at 8 p.m. local time at the National Stadium. Facebook Commentslast_img read more