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Muni Accuses Scientist Marino Protti for Decrease in Samara Tourism

By Wilberth Villalobos Castrillo

Photo courtesy of Marino Protti Quesada

Predictions and information provided about earthquakes in the Nicoya Peninsula by scientist Marino Protti Quesada have caused so much controversy that the Municipality of Nicoya agreed in the regular session on February 7 to give a vote of censure for alleged mistakes and inaccuracies.

The agreement was the result of a motion by Domingo Arias Bonilla during the session with the City Council. According to Arias, who is an entrepreneur with cabins in Samara, Protti’s continuous predictions about possible earthquakes in the peninsula, especially in Samara, have led tourists to leave the area.

“Marino Protti did not predict the earthquake in Cinchona, in Alajuela. Nor the one in Limón, or any other. But this man, for 25 years, has been talking about the Nicoya earthquake because it is convenient for him to take advantage of it,” he said.

On September 5, 2012, Nicoya experienced a 7.6 magnitude earthquake with its epicenter in Samara. Protti had warned in 2009 that in the Nicoya Peninsula there was potential for a major earthquake and predicted a magnitude of up to 7.9.

Arias said Protti has been keen to keep talking and predicting earthquakes in Samara and that several people have canceled reservations, but he failed to state the exact number of cancellations since September 5.

“The earthquake already happened, and this gentleman keeps talking about what will follow, that it continues releasing energy. People have canceled a bunch of reservations with me. Marino Protti leads a very pretty, ostentatious life because he traveled abroad at Samara’s expense, so he has to keep talking about it, because it produces great dividends for him.”

For his part, Marino Protti explained that he is aware of the municipal agreement where he was given a period of 45 days to respond before the Nicoyan municipal council; nonetheless he said that he feels calm and not only will he not present himself at the hearing but he will also continue working normally.

He also said, “I would worry if the International Union of Geophysics called attention to my work, but they (the municipal council) have no scientific or objective criteria on this issue.” He added, “They have all the freedom to express their opinions; moreover, I have received many calls of support from people and friends to continue with the research.”

Meanwhile, Sandra Leon, Rector of the National University (UNA), supported the work of Protti and the Volcanological and Seismological Observatory of Costa Rica (OVSICORI) and indicated in the municipal council meeting on February 18th that the work done by the OVSICORI would never aim to harm a community; that would go against the mission of the university.

Rodolfo Orozco, council member of the National Liberation Party, said that the municipal council wants to reach an agreement with OVSICORI to hold a detailed discussion of the earthquake and what has really happened in the Canton of Nicoya.

“We are not against the work done by Mr. Protti and OVSICORI, because we do not have a scientific knowledge of the matter. What we are against is that whenever the time comes for Holy Week, he forecasts an earthquake, and because of that, the coastal area suffers,” said Orozco.

Tourism Chamber Weighs In

Marcos Carmona, president of the Chamber of Tourism of Samara (CASATUR), applauded the vote of censure of the Municipality against Protti and stated that “this guy has definitely been sabotaging us since many years ago. I totally agree that these annoying comments have affected us.”

On the other hand, Marcos Johanning, Secretary of the Nosara Tourism Chamber, said the vote of censure “is a joke” and said “I don’t care about the politicians.”

More Regional News

Guanacaste Reps and Presidential House Initiated Dialogue

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Nicoya and Samara Have Budgets Approved to Invest in Communities

The districts of Nicoya and Samara now have the amounts approved by the Municipal Council that correspond to the specific line items budget assignments for the 2012-2013 period, while Nosara will have to wait a few more weeks to know the final amount of its line item budget.

Opinion Column
A Bust for Orozco

Like the art of sculpting a bust, Costa Rica seems to be frozen in time. Some may think the country is extremely conservative and reactionary when compared to both neighboring and distant countries. Others might think the issue lies in its infrastructure, seeing that it took us 20 years to develop a simple coastal road, and in countless other topics.

Workshop about the Future of Water United Members of 11 ASADAS

Worried about the future of water in the Nicoya Peninsula, a group of 50 people met last Thursday, March 14, to visualize and evaluate the possible future scenarios in the area for the most vital liquid, as well as to define the principle actions to take for responsible management of hydraulic resources.

Guanacastecans and Government Will Meet To Seek Agreement

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Transgenic Corn Vs. Traditional Corn: Planting Doubts in Nicoyan Farmers

From the time of the Chorotegas until today, corn has been a mainstay in the Costa Rican diet, especially so in the Nicoya Peninsula, where local farmers have planted their own seeds for generations, personally identifying with their crops

Bidding Process Begins For Restoring Colonial Church

In a meeting on February 12, Nicoyans received the good news that the restoration work of the emblematic colonial church is up for bid, after having been affected by the earthquake last year on September 5th.  Work could begin in three months.

Costa Rica Breaks Tourism Records in 2012

The Costa Rican Institute of Tourism (ICT) announced 2012 was a record-breaking year for Costa Rica, with the country receiving over 2.34 million visitors, a 6.9% increase from 2011.

Strong Winds Damage Houses and Halt Fiestas

Strong winds on Saturday and Sunday, March 2 and 3, left many sleepless, listening to the metal roof sheets banging, loosening and in some cases actually flying loose.

Unusual Cases of Dengue in the Nicoya County During the Dry Season

A high amount of cases of dengue fever in the Nicoya County were being seen during January and February, unusual for dry season when there should be less breeding grounds for the Aedes aegypti mosquitoes that carry the illness. 

Muni and Nosara Police Reinforced with New Motorcycles

The Nosara Public Force can now count on two brand new motorcycles, purchased with funds from the specific line items budget allocated to the Nosara district, with the goal of giving greater security to this coastal district of the Nicoyan canton.

Nicoya Hospital Resumes Surgical Service, Again

After having the three operation rooms closed for remodeling since last year due to an order from the Ministry of Health, the La Anexion hospital in Nicoya has now resumed its surgical program, which it had to conduct in an improvised room as well as in the hospital in Liberia and in the Centro de Atención Integral en Salud (CAIS- Center of Integral Health Attention) of Cañas.

Pictures and News of the Month

The Voice of Nosara brings you a brief recap of February stories you might have missed.

Gas Price Hike Approved: Super ¢17, Regular & Diesel ¢15

Get ready for higher gasoline prices in the coming days. That is the word by the Autoridad Reguladora de los Servicios Públicos (Aresep) – regulator of public prices and services.

Nicoyans Seek Answers From Government in March 19th Protest

Convinced that there is strength in numbers, hundreds of protestors from different districts of Nicoya are preparing to unite in a solid front on Wednesday, March 19th to request answers from the central government regarding various projects and problems that face the communities of the canton.

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