Most people know a chorizo as a sausage made of minced meat and spices, usually dark red or brown and of elongated cylindrical shape.
In Costa Rica, we have two types of chorizo, a legal one and an illegal one.
Most butchers in Costa Rica make their own chorizo or sausage, some good and some bad. You just have to try them out in different places. Some grocery stores have really good ones; it just depends on the recipe. But that’s not what my blog is all about today.
Today, I will explain all about the other chorizo. Costa Ricans have this cultural habit that was used to be very accepted in Costa Rica but now rejected by many.
This other chorizo has nothing to do with sausage. This chorizo is a bribe, a kick-back or an illegal business transaction. The person who commits the act of the chorizo is a chorizero (chorizera when female) and the plural form of a chorizo is chorizos.
A chorizero can also be a person who sells just anything he can get his hands on.
Jaquemate, a well-known Costarican band produced the song El Chorizero in 1983, check out the video below:
Chorizos are usually committed by opportunists and politicians. But in Costa Rica, there is a huge underground business trend of people who make a living based on chorizos. The Costa Rican economy has always been run by certain families, who keep the business between them and they are involved in all kinds of entrepreneurship. They rule to gain.
I’ll give you some examples for a better understanding.
The Calderon Family
One of the better examples is that in the Rafael Angel Calderon government from 1990 – 1994, a law was passed to make the use of motorcycle helmets an obligation for all motor riders. The Calderon family owned the helmet factory. This kind of law passing is a great chorizo for every politician, a good reason to be in politics. Every important family in Costa Rica has at least one family member active in politics.
Rafael Angel Calderon, by the way, was sentenced to 5 years in prison on two counts of corruption in 2009 (not for the helmets), but of course, his sentence was reduced.
The Building Permit
When you cannot get a building permit in the municipality the legal way, you might find someone in the engineering department to “help you out”.
A pay-off will be needed, but the building permits will be stamped ahead of everyone else in line.
The Costa Rican government built the famous border road (La Trocha) near the Nicaraguan border. This happened during the Chinchilla government. The constructors cut the trees to clear the land. Then the governmental engineers in charge of the construction sold the trees privately. The project was shut down because there were chorizos everywhere.
In my old days, the head of a purchasing department of a large supermarket chain, to maintain an easy and healthy business relationship with suppliers, would receive trips with his family to Disneyland, cruises, lunches, dinners and other non-monetary kick-backs.
When the Costa Rica soccer team played the US in the last World cup 2014 elimination series, the tickets were sold out in less than 5 hours. The next day 15,000 tickets for the game, appeared for re-sale outside the stadium. FIFA accused Board members of Fedefutbol (Soccer Federation) but didn’t take formal action.
FIFA obliged Costa Rica to play the game in the middle of a blizzard in Denver, Colorado during the same World cup 2014 elimination series. Assistants invaded the field even during the field to clear the field from the snow. Yes, chorizos also happen in the US.
The Parking Lot
When I had a spice factory many years ago, I caught my night guard selling spices on the factory parking lot to the public on Sundays. That was a nice chorizo for him. He is now a crack addict roaming the streets in Escazu.
Some real estate agents in Costa Rica charge an over-price on properties they sell, instead of the regular real estate commission. I have seen agents double the asking price on rural properties and buyers noticing because the closing attorney and the agent split the profits.
The chorizo habit will always be there, it is part of the culture in Costa Rica. The actual president of Costa Rica, Luis Guillermo Solis has stated he wants the chorizos to stop, no more corruption. The police detained PAC party lawyer Jorge Sibaja Rodriguez the same week. He is a suspect of $180,000 in fraudulent certifications against the CCSS or Caja.
That’s why you want to do business with GoDutch Realty. We understand the market and will protect you for any chorizo. Contact us now.
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