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A Note from Costa Rica

By Don Moore

A slightly edited version of this article was originally published in the August, 1990 issued of The Journal of the North American Shortwave Association in the Latin Destinations column.


Hola amigos, and welcome to another Latin Destinations. Theresa and I spent three wonderful weeks in Costa Rica in May and June. If you've never been to Latin America, but want to visit something other than a gringo beach resort, Costa Rica is the place to start. It's a nature-lovers paradise; over ten percent of the country is protected in national parks, wildlife preserves, etc. Costa Rica has everything from tropical cloud forests to beautiful beaches. There are even paved roads to the top of some volcanos! Dozens of picturesque colonial towns and villages are just a short distance outside San Jose. Local handicrafts, especially from wood, are inexpensive but well-made. English is so widely spoken that we had a hard time practicing our Spanish. Moreover, the food and water is safe! In fact, Costa Rica is practically a developed country. According to the UN, Costa Rica is the most developed underdeveloped country, and should be ranked with developed nations by 2000 (Chile, by the way, is the only Latin nation the UN ranks as developed). Prices are a bit high for Latin America, especially compared to the Andean countries, but are more than affordable by North American standards.

Of course while I was there I did some "door-to-door DXing" and dropped in at the local SW outlets. I was able to visit all of them except Radio Casino in Limon. The big news is that Radio Impacto has closed down. Impacto has always operated like a sort of semi-clandestine anti-Sandinista station. It is quite curious that they closed down just after the Sandinistas lost power in Nicaragua. I visited Impacto a few days before the end & got some interesting photos. The complete story is too long to tell here, but I'll be writing an article on it for Monitoring Times.

Of all the stations that I visited, indeed of all the stations I've ever visited, the one that impressed me the most was Radio For Peace International. RFPI is hard-working homebrew radio at its best. These guys even grind their own crystals! It's great to see that it is possible to put an SWBC station on the air for just a few thousand dollars and a lot of elbow grease, instead of millions of dollars and high-priced consultants as with, for example, the VOA's modernization program (not that the VOA could do its job on RFPI's budget!). If you're so inclined politically, be assured that RFPI will get the most bang for your buck from any donations. If you don't want to give money, you can always buy one of their T- shirts. Bruce Springsteen did when he visited RFPI and the Peace University on an Amnesty International tour.

This article is copyright 1990 by Don Moore. It may not be printed in any publication without written permission. Permission is granted for all interested readers to share and pass on the ASCII text file of this article or to print it out for personal use. In such case, your comments on the article would be appreciated.


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