Correspondence

America in Spanish?

Letter From Costa Rica

American Airlines flies you down to San Jose daily, all announcements in English. Indeed, almost everyone in the Costa Rican capital seems able to speak excellent English, prompting the irony of local kids all studying the language hard, to be impeded from practicing it should they reach compulsorily bilingual schools in America. As a matter of fact, on Costa Rica's Caribbean coast, or Wild East as it has been called, a Jamaican patois still exists, relic of past importations from the British West Indies. Payment in dollars is ubiquitous. The day's Miami Herald lies on one's breakfast table and Dan Rather's latest toupee invades one's evening room. CNN runs around the clock and Larry King comes on earlier than Stateside. Hotel Cable Guide introduces one to Donald Duck, Danahue, Whell of Fortune, and Cober Girl (all sic). It is hardly Costa Rica's fault that it's impossible to close one's eyes and ears today to the Pax Americana. The recent tourist influx is almost entirely American, but in the Northeast I crossed via the Puntarenas ferry to the Nicoyan peninsula and saw not a single tourist, either on the ferry or in the three remotely placed hotels I visited there.

In any case, there is no evidence that Costa Ricans want to change the stance symbolized by Oscar Arias, who left office hailed as a moral beacon, architect of a peace plan signed by Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, and...

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