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Chopping down trees in Nosara -
Interview with Heiner Avila

"He told me that he had the permits…"

By Emiliana García

On March 27, the Ministry of Environment, Energy and Telecommunications (MINAET) of Ostional initiated an investigation of the cutting of 20 pochote trees without the proper permits.

Among the people associated with the investigation are brothers Henier and Giovanni Avila, who transported the wood without the proper permits. The Forest Law indicates that if the person who wants to chop down trees is the owner of the property, he or she should obtain the necessary permits from MINAET, since they are the ones who make sure the trees or the property do not belong to protected areas.


In its June print edition, VON published a story about MINAET investigating the brothers; in light of this information, Heiner Avila agreed to an interview with VON to make clear his version of what happened.

VON: You transported those trees?
H.A: I didn't transport them; my brother (Giovanni Avila) transported them.

VON: When Mr. Randall Matarrita sought you out to transport the wood, did you ask for the permits?
H.A: Yes, he came to look for me and I told him no, but he insisted and then I asked him if he had the permits and he told me yes, that the owners of the lot are paying him to clear it but that first the wood had to be removed. I responded to him "Careful, you're going to get me into a quarrel," and he told me, "No, relax," and I hauled one load. Afterward, I didn't want to go anymore and he continued to insist and I told him, "I don't think you have permission," and he told me, "I have all the permits."

VON: Why didn't you require him to show you the permits?
H.A: He told me his lawyer had them.

VON: Are you familiar with the Forest law that obligates the transporters to have permission to transport felled trees?
H.A: I thought that since they were plantation trees, it wasn't necessary (to have permits), but Pablo Baltodano (an official from MINAET Ostional) explained to me that for any tree, you have to ask permission and that if he didn't have permission it would be better not to transport it.

VON: The report from MINAET says that on Sunday, March 27 they found you on the property transporting trunks.
H.A: That's a lie. I wasn't on the property at any moment. They didn't find me, I was going to the beach and Marcos (Avila)—my brother—called me and told me "Man, go to where they removed wood to chepo (Randall Matarrita), MINAET's there." This day there wasn't any machinery working. If they had found me, they would have noted the number of the license plate of the machinery.


VON: Did you present your statement to MINAET?
H.A: Pablo (Baltodano) told me that I wasn't under any investigation; the one that they're investigating is Randall Matarrita to find out how he did things with the wood.

VON wants to clarify that the title of the article in the June edition "The Brothers of Nosara Representative are Under Investigation for Tree Cuttings" is incorrect. Brothers Giovanni and Heiner Avila did not chop down the trees but rather transported them.


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Lost Children of The Chorotegas
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An old, green and yellow painted school bus departs from Nicoya Bus Terminal at 11:00 a.m., only one of two daily buses for this destination. There is no public transportation on Sundays. Shortly after leaving the terminal, the bus takes the first left onto a dirt road that runs between Nicoya and Nosara. Once it reaches the small town of Matambú, in the highlands, its residents start to get off one by one.

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