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Sunday, June 05, 2005

OPINION: Costa Rica and Communications Technology

Developing countries, of which Costa Rica is one, often have only one ISP provider for email services. The result of this reliance on one provider is that progress tends to be slow and control of Spam, viruses, Trojan horses, spyware and other nasties is much more difficult. This is a resent article in my ZDNet News Alerts on the subject.

With the threat of a jail term hanging over VOIP users in Costa Rica and the realization that Spammers are using Costa Rica as a base of operations, the time has come beyond any doubt for a review of all the possibilities for efficiently, quickly, and competently upgrading all services provided by ICE and RACSA communication services. Whatever revisions of law needed for an overhaul of Costa Rica's telecommunications must be taken with the welfare of Costa Ricans of primary importance. The workers for ICE and RACSA are not only a large section of the popuation, but an economic and political power any political process must recognize.

Costa Rica. like so many other developing nations, has a history of exploitation by foreign interests (often allied to wealthy, politically dominant internal interests). The term "banana republic" is often used in the United States in a derogatory sense to indicate a country controlled by foreign economic interests (backed by the U.S. government) who have created a puppet government in the country so exploited. The citizens of Costa Rica are extremely sensitive to this phenomenon and are strongly opposed to any introduction of "privatization" which they view as a first step in the exploitation process. For this reason, as well, the majority of Costa Ricans are opposed to CAFTA (TLC here). They see it as just another way in which wealthy nations will attempt to subjugate them.

Bearing this in mind along with the obvious need to modernize and expand Costa Rica's technological infrastructure, opening the system to international competition is not going to be the path to follow. What, then, is?

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I live on the Pacific slopes of the Talamanca mountain range in southern Costa Rica. My adult children live in the United States. I have a Masters Degree in Gerontology but have worked as a migrant laborer, chicken egg collector, radio broadcaster, secretary, social worker, research director, bureaucrat, writer, editor, political organizer, publicist, telephone operator, and more. My hobby of photography has garnered some awards.

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