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NotiCen offers information and analysis of regional economic integration, economic liberalization, and the impact on the environment, labor, politicization and income distribution in the countries of the Caribbean and Central America, including Cuba.

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Costa Rica’s soccer federation starts inquiry after former chief admits to theft and accepting bribes

Costa Rica was entangled in the scandal involving the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) in May 2015, when the country’s top soccer authority, Eduardo Li, was arrested in Switzerland on charges of corruption, along with other world soccer officials Last October, after his extradition to the US, Li admitted before a New York court that he had accepted bribes regarding the Costa Rican national soccer team and had stolen money earmarked for organizing the Under-17 Women’s World Cup, the first world-class soccer event ever held in Central America. Li had been about to take office as FIFA’s vice president when he was arrested. A year after the games, Li, who as president of the Federación Costarricense de Fútbol (Costa Rican Soccer Federation, FEDEFÚTBOL) was responsible for organizing the event, was arrested in the devastating corruption scandal that rocked FIFA. Among other illegal actions he has admitted to having committed, Li appropriated US$90,000 that FIFA transferred to FEDEFÚTBOL in support of the young women’s championship.

Costa Rica and Panama work to solve immigration crisis at their border

Just as Europe is the finish line for thousands fleeing war-torn Syria and poverty-stricken African nations, the US is the destination for many migrants in desperate search of the safety and well-being they cannot find at home. Although in lesser numbers, irregular migrants incessantly follow the Central American trail in search of el sueño americano, the American dream. They come from places as far as Africa and Asia and as close as the Caribbean. Many are escaping the region known as Northern Triangle of Central America, which comprises El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras. The route includes Mexico, with its 3,155-km land border with the US, a boundary where US President-elect Donald Trump has threatened to build a wall to stop aliens from entering the country. The present migrant crisis in Central America dates from November 2015, when authorities in Costa Rica dismantled, at the country’s border with Panama, an international network of human traffickers known as coyotes who were taking hundreds of Cuban nationals to the US. The action broke a link in the criminal organization’s chain, and left increasing numbers of Cubans stranded at the southern Costa Rican border city of Paso Canoas, a bustling commercial town that stretches on both sides of the 330-km border with Panama.

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