There are more fools in the world than there are people.
Heinrich Heine (1797 - 1856)Some people will believe most anything, and worse, they compound that mistake by repeating misinformation as if it were Gospel.
The other day (July 4, actually), La Nacion, CR's leading newspaper, printed a story reporting that an agreement had been reached between the government of Costa Rica and the U. S. allowing access to various ports in Costa Rica. In my humble opinion, the article is slanted so as to ignore history, and the real purpose behind the agreement, thus deliberately opening the door for over reaction, and misinterpretation. You can see the original Spanish language article here:
and no, I am not going to provide a translation of it. Suffice it to say that La Nacion did nobody any favors by giving this story the slant that they gave it. Actually, their treatment of the story was a good example of very, very bad journalism. It was slanted so as to ignore reality, namely that this is simply a renewal of a pre-existing agreement that allows certain American Naval vessels to dock in Costa Rica to allow shore leave to crew members. The only way one could know what this story was really reporting, though, was to read it to the end.
Essentially, the newspaper report did ultimately reveal that it was talking about an official and legal agreement between two nations. Because of that, the agreement spelled out how many ships, crewmen, materiel, etc., might be involved en toto, as opposed to how many might be in port at any one time. Potentially, this means a serious amount of dollars coming into the country, 'cause nobody spends like a drunken sailor, according to the old stories.
Now, Costa Rica, for whatever reasons, still thrives on word of mouth, rumor, innuendo, conjecture, and gossip, so a story so slanted immediately led to alarmists everywhere – both Tico, and a surprising number of Gringos – jumping to the conclusion that this represented an invasion of Costa Rica, at worst, to an impending U. S. military presence in Costa Rica designed to either carry on the so-called War on Drugs, or to prepare for invasions of Nicaragua or Venezuela. One forum, owned by an ex-pat Brit, who sells real estate, has a thread that went from zero posts to somewhere in the high 80's, in very short order (after having been started by the forum owner, on July 4). In the interests of full disclosure, I should report that he kicked me off his forum some time ago, because I sent a PM to one of the members that stated that I believed that this guy has an agenda (he hates the U. S.). I had mistakenly hit reply on the message, rather than taking the extra steps to make sure it was addressed to the person intended, so it went directly to the list owner (doh!).
At any rate, this guy started the tread personally, with his own slanted report of the slanted newspaper report, just to stir things up among his members. I am not going to link to these posts, nor am I going to copy and paste, because the reactions are totally nuts, with some of them downright scary (how could people be so misguided, so misinformed as to believe some of the crackpot theories they put forth???), but if you want to look for this forum, look for one that purports to "really, really like" Costa Rica. Meanwhile, the forum's owner keeps the thread going by posting ever more (and more ridiculous) updates, citing all kinds of very strange and evil plans attributed to the U. S., to the American President, and others.
The truth is slowly coming out about this situation, but it has been a truly eye-opening experience. Another example of the downside of life here, I suppose.