Thursday, February 09, 2006

A bad milestone, and hope for the future

In my Yahoo stock portfolio personalized webpage, I have: links to the few stocks I own (YUM, XOM, KO, EBAY, NFLX, HAS, NUT, OMM, PAYX, EQY), some I've been watching for years, and one that shows the USD price of the Costa Rican Colon. When I was in Costa Rica there were between C135-C200 to the dollar. Inflation is killing them right now as last week the Colon crossed the C500 to the 1USD threshold. Trade deficits weaken the buying power of their currency. I would imagine that energy costs cripple their economy as they have no real natural energy options that have been developed. They have no petroleum reserves or industry thus far. The country is small, but transportation costs must be killing them because of fuel prices. They have to extract more and more capital from their country that they ship overseas. Tourism, agriculture (bananas, pineapples, yuca, cafe) and e-commerce (gambling especially) are the major inversions of foreign capital. I worry about the quality of life for my fellow Ticos as they suffer under the burden of $3 billion in external debt. Their GDP is less than Microsoft's. Bill Gates could pay off their national debt with his Microsoft dividends in two years.

Costa Rica has had three really really corrupt and shitty presidents in a row, from both parties. Rafael Angel Calderon and Miguel Angel Rodriduez [I call them angeles caidos] were both incarcerated (briefly) for their crimes are and both under house arrest awaiting trial; Jose Maria Figueres fled to Switzerland to avoid answering why Alcatel gave him close to a million dollars after he left office.

Last week the Ticos may have elected former president and Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Oscar Arias, as their president (the election is in recount). Two years ago Arias led a movement to repeal part of the Constitution that barred people from serving as president for more than one term. Time will tell if Arias has let my beloved adopted countrymen salir de Guatemala a Guatepeor. I hope and pray that Costa becomes La suiza centroamericana que tanto quieren ser. Lo merecen.

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