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Costa Rica and its Future with Today's Politicians

Categories: Latin America, Costa Rica

Este artículo también está disponible en español [1]

Translation by David Sasaki

In the last few years, politics in Costa Rica have changed radically compared to what was known 10 years ago. What used to be the race to become President [2] in the past decade is now much different.

The traditional political parties, Liberación Nacional (PLN) [3] and Unidad Social Cristiana (PUSC) [4] are damaged and have gone from complete bipartisan control to, today, disputing their power with less traditional parties like Movimiento Libertario (ML) [5] and the Partido Acción Ciudadana (PAC).

Evidence of this dispute can be found in the Legislative Assembly [6], where out of the 57 deputies, 19 remain in power from the Social Democrats, 17 from the PLN, 14 from the PAC, and 6 from the ML. It seems that in the next government, according to the polls, the division of power will remain much the same, but with an ample majority of the PLN, followed by ML, PAC, and finally the PUSC. One only hopes that the next parliament won't be as ineffective as the one which will soon be leaving.

In the last year, the PUSC has appeared affected by the accusations of corruption pointed at two major leaders, Rafael Angel Calderón [7] and Miguel Angel Rodriguez [8], which have come to affect the general credibility of Costa Rican politicians as well as helped other parties strengthen

Such acts have provoked ex-president and Nobel Peace Prize winner, Oscar Arias Sanchez [9], to aspire to reelection. Given his large following he is virtually guaranteed victory in the upcoming 2006 elections. But such facts don't minimize the large support for the two new political parties: ML, headed by Otto Guevara [10] and PAC headed by Otón Solís. Nor will it stop the parties from grabbing a good quantity of the legislative posts.

Various blogs in Costa Rica have come out expressing their opinions, some impartial and others not as much, like in the case of The News Star, where posts like Oscar Arias en la UCR [11] affirm a consistent support for Arias. Others, like betobet.com by Alberto “Beto” González allow one to understand their support of the Libertarian Movement of Otto Guevara and give a point of view in various themes of national interest like the free trade agreement with the United States in posts like “Exodo [12],” which says in part:

Quickly, Costa Rica is transforming from what was, for many years, an exception to the rules in the most economically unequal region of the world [13] to become “just one more of the mountain.”

It is something worrisome which we as “Ticos,” or Costa Ricans, have to think about seriously. Other blogs like La Suiza Centroamericana show disagreement with the politics of Otón Solis of the PAC in posts like Cada Día Se Hunde Más (Sinking More Every Day) [14].

To conclude, it's still to premature to say if Costa Rican politics are changing for the good or bad. We have to wait a few years to see the results of what we are planting today, but all Costa Ricans hope that the harvest will bring juicy fruits.