Friday, August 5, 2011

Barbed Wire

One of our jungle boat rides took us to the border between Nicaragua and Costa Rica.  Note the barbed wire on the Nicaragua side.  

Our boat took us one foot over the Nicaraguan border, just because we could without being caught. 

Our guide, Paul, told us a story.  The local newspaper was interviewing the farmer who had won Best Corn Crop prizes 10 years in a row.  The reporter asked, “What do you do with your best seeds?”  

The farmer answered, “I give them to my neighbors.”

The reporter asked, “Then why do you have the best crops?”

“I have good seeds.  And they cross-pollinate with my neighbors’ seeds.  That way we all get better crops.  And since my land is surrounded by healthy crops, my crops are the best.”

Likewise, Costa Rica welcomes illegal immigrants with free education and free health care.  Disease does not know borders. If a sick person comes for help instead of staying home and infecting the community, plagues can be stopped.  Costa Rica has a literacy rate of 96%. All Costa Rica residents get a free education.  The illiterates are the illegal immigrants. Costa Rica would like to have 100% literacy, so they will educate anybody who comes to their schools.

How does Costa Rica afford health care and education for everybody?  In 1949, they voted to get rid of their army and spend the money on education and health care.

This is not to say that Costa Rica has no barbed wire.

Until 3 years ago, anybody who was caught committing a robbery in which he didn’t hurt anybody and didn’t steal more than $1000 worth of property was not punished.  This led to repeat offenders.  3 years ago, the limit was reduced to $100.  But people still feel the need to protect their buildings, so in the cities, we saw lots of barbed wire on what looked like inexpensive homes and buildings.

Bottom line – Costa Rica tries to educate everybody, keep everybody healthy, and keep people out of jail.  I think those are three wonderful goals.

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