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Costa Rica: Free-Trade Agreement Passes

Categories: Latin America, Costa Rica, Economics & Business, Elections

On October 7, Costa Rica participated in a democratic exercise through a referendum to decide on the fate of the Free-Trade Agreement and citizens were able to be a legislator for day. It was a day with plenty of tension on both sides. Neither those supporting “Yes”, nor those supporting “No” were assured of a victory, and in the streets, one could hear equal numbers of songs and chants, and most importantly with respect.

At 6 pm, the polls closed and the tension increased in the campaign centers. The leaders gave statements to the press and predicted their own victory. At 8:30 pm, the results were announced by the Supreme Electoral Court. The “Yes” side was victorious with more than 60% of the tables counted. It was almost a definite victory. The “Yes” side had won. After the announcement, there were festivities on side, and frustration on the other. Between the two sides, there were reports of fights, arguments and attempts and public disorder. However, it did not reach problematic levels.

Many bloggers asked what will happen from here on out, and some say that there is not a clear panaroma because many laws still need to approved in parliament, so that the Free-Trade Agreement becomes active.

Fusil de Chispas [ES], who was against the agreement, writes [1]:

La mayoría de los votantes costarricenses salió a votar. La mayoría votó SI. El TLC avanza. “Costa Rica recibirá lo que merece, lo bueno, y también lo malo”

The majority of Costa Rican voters went out to vote. The majority voted Yes. The Free-Trade Agreement passes. “Costa Rica will get what it deserves, the good, as well as the bad.”

Alejandra of the blog Crisálida de la Mariposa [ES]  writes: [2]

Una nación educada no es únicamente aquella con altos índices de alfabetización, sino la que asume la responsabilidad de pensar críticamente. Si algo reflejan gran cantidad de correos electrónicos, blogs, otros sitios web, videos del TLC. Por eso, en lo personal, el referéndum, más allá de un SI o un NO al TLC, me resulta un momento histórico en el que ponemos a prueba nuestra madurez democrática, nuestro nivel educativo y nuestra salud mental como sociedad.

An educated country is not only one that has high literacy rates, but those that takes the responsibility to think critically. That may reflect that large numbers of emails, blogs, other websites, and FTA videos. For that reason, the referendum beyond the YES or NO vote, to me the referendum was historic, which demonstrated our democratic maturity, our level of education, and our mental health as a society.