Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Tico wins Chilean song festival

Humberto Vargas of Costa Rica shows his silver seagull trophy during a news conference in the last night of the 47th International Song Festival in Vina del Mar,85 miles(137) northwest of Santiago, Chile, February 27,2006. Vargas won the festival with the song 'Dilo de una vez.' The winner was awarded with the Silver Seagull trophy and $30,000. REUTERS/Eliseo Fernandez.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Costa Rican presidential hopeful promises to obstruct CAFTA

Costa Rican presidential candidate Otton Solis, of the Partido Accion Ciudadana (PAC), addresses journalists after the Feb. 5 election. (AFP/Mayela Lopez)By Adam Thomson in San Jose
Financial Times

The leader of Costa Rica's second largest political party has vowed to obstruct efforts to ratify a 2004 free trade agreement between Central America and the US.

Otton Solis, a leftwing presidential candidate for the Citizens' Action party (PAC), said that Cafta, as the agreement is known, would "bankrupt Costa Rica's agricultural sector", and that fundamental changes to the text would have to occur before the treaty could be deemed acceptable.

Rejecting arguments from trade experts who insist that CAFTA cannot be renegotiated or modified, Mr SolĂ­s told the FT: "If the government does not renegotiate the agreement, we will vote against it."

To read the whole article click here.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Congratulating the winner

Guevara congratulating Arias in front of the press.Presidential candidate of the Liberatarian Movement Party Otto Guevara, center, congratulates former Costa Rican President and presidential candidate of the National Liberation Party (PLN) Oscar Arias, right, during a visit at his home in San Jose, Costa Rica, Thursday, Feb. 23, 2006. Official results Wednesday showed Oscar Arias won Costa Rica's presidential elections by 18,167 votes, pending resolution of challenges. Voters have been waiting nearly two weeks for the results as officials hand counted all of the approximately 1.4 million votes cast in the Feb. 5 polling, in a laborious effort to determine the winner of one of the country's closest presidential races in history. (AP Photo/Kent Gilbert)

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Picture of the day

Costa Rican presidential candidate from the Social Christian Unity Party, Ricardo Toledo (L), congratulates former Costa Rican President and candidate of the National Liberation Party (PLN) Oscar Arias at his home in San Jose, Costa Rica, Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2006. Official results Wednesday showed Oscar Arias won Costa Rica's presidential elections by 18,167 votes. Costa Rican elections officials weren't expected to formally declare a winner following the count of more than two weeks, any major election challenges are resolved. Voters have been waiting nearly two weeks for the results as officials hand counted all of the approximately 1.4 million votes cast in the Feb. 5 polling, in a laborious effort to determine the winner of one of the country's closest presidential races in history. (AP Photo/Kent Gilbert)

Unlike Otton Solis, Toledo has already recognized Arias as the unofficial winner of this election. Solis should learn from that and let the country move forward instead of filing for more complaints of fraud and irregularities that will take him, and the country nowhere.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Dealing with election results the Costa Rican way

Many people are still surprised at the calm reigning in Costa Rica despite the closely contested elections that has the top two candidtes in a deadlock. As a Costa Rican for me this was nothing extraordinary, as we Ticos are used to choose the peaceful and non-violent ways to solve our problems.

However, a lot of people familiar with Latin American politics wonder how Ticos manage to keep a peaceful environment despite the sometimes gloomy future caused by an unstable While Costa Ricans are still counting votes and waiting for the election results peacefully...economy that has to deal with the third largest inflation of the Americas.

To understand this a little better you may want to red this article written by John McPhaul of Reuters.

It gives readers a glimpse into the political culture of Costa Rica and the growing apathy many Ticos are feeling due to some recent corruption cases involving former presidents. ...Haitians are already fighting among themselves and with U.N peacekeepers.

Compare that, to this article writen by the AFP news Agency about the elections in Haiti and the growing chaos that the island is spiraling into, due to the election results. It's obvious that the crisis in Haiti stems from something a lot more complex than a voting controversy. A history of instability, corruption and violence has the country among the poorest of the world, while Costa Rica abolished its army and hasn't been involved in an armed conflict since 1948.

It's sad, but after reading both articles I thought it over and started to realize that maybe people in other countries are right, maybe what we have going on here is indeed something extraordinary.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Rice growers afraid of CAFTA

Yesterday the Miami Herald ran a story about why Costa Rican rice growers are afraid of CAFTA and what they, along with the country unions, have been doing to obstruct its ratification. The article is insightful and offers a lot of background material that will help a lot of foreigners understand why this treaty has created such a big debate in our country. Here's an excerpt of the article:

CAFTA: In Costa Rica, it all boils down to rice

Beleaguered agricultural sectors and embattled state unions have made Costa Rica the only country involved in CAFTA not to ratify the agreement.

BY STEVEN DUDLEY
MiamiHerald.com

In Costa Rica, there is consensus on very few issues regarding CAFTA, the free-trade agreement among the United States, five Central American nations and the Dominican Republic.

One seems to be this: If CAFTA takes effect, the rice industry here probably will not survive.

The same could be said for some smaller agriculture industries. But it's the rice growers who pose the biggest moral dilemma...

To read the whole article click here.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Vote review

Electoral officials debate over a vote.Costa Rican elections officials debate if a vote should be anulled as they continue a manual vote count at the Elections' Supreme Tribunal in San Jose, Costa Rica, Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2006. Costa Rican electoral officials began counting votes by hand Tuesday in a laborious effort to determine the winner of one of the country's closest presidential races in history. (AP Photo/Kent Gilbert)

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Article on Costa Rican elections and CAFTA

(Juan Carlos Ulate/Reuters)










I found a great article that will help all foreigners understand why this election race was so close despite no poll predicting so, and what its rammification for CAFTA will be.
Wether you are in favor of free trade or against it, rooting for Oscar Arias or Otton Solis, this is an article that those interested in Costa Rica, or politics should read.

To go to the story click here.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Two-week manual recount ordered in Costa Rican presidential elections

A worker loads a handcart with packages of ballots at the Elections' Supreme Tribunal building that was being used to manually count the votes of Sunday's general elections in San Jose, Costa Rica February 6, 2006. A two-week recount of votes was called in Costa Rica after an unprecedented too-close-to-call margin separated the two candidates in the country's presidential election, the Elections' Supreme Tribuanl said. With votes from 87 percent of polling centers counted in Sunday's poll, social democrat Oscar Arias had 40.5 percent and centrist Otton Solis had 40.3 percent. REUTERS/Juan Carlos Ulate

Even though this was the election with the lowest turnout ever (64.5 percent) it has become one of the the closest presidential elections in Costa Rican history. It reminds me of the 2000 United States presidential election, but fortunately here we use the total number of votes and don't depend on an electoral college to decide the winner. The unprecedented, tight, results forced the Elections' Supreme Tribunal to start the manual recount of votes two weeks ahead of time. The official outcome will be ready in two weeks.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Praying for votes














Supporters of presidential candidate Otton Solis react after the first election results were announced at a campaign office in San Jose, Costa Rica, February 6, 2006. Former Costa Rican President and presidential candidate Oscar Arias on Monday held a minuscule lead over rival Solis, whose campaign team suggested they might dispute a loss. With three-quarters of the vote counted from Sunday's poll, social democrat Arias was at 40.8 percent against his rival Solis at 40 percent. (Roger Benavides/Reuters)

Friday, February 03, 2006

Tico scientists trying to increase jaguar numbers

A female jaguar looks from its cage at a zoo in Santa Ana, near San Jose, Costa Rica February 2, 2006. Costa Rican zoologists have begun genetic testing on captive jaguars in an effort to increase their numbers. The plan is to use sperm from the captive jaguars and their offspring to impregnate, through artificial insemination, females in the wild areas of Costa Rica, mostly in national parks and protected areas, said Yolanda Matamoros, a zoologist at San Jose's Simon Bolivar Zoo. REUTERS/Juan Carlos Ulate

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Picture of the Day

Otton Solis, Costa Rican presidential candidate for the Citizen Action Party, walks to greet his supporters during a campaign rally in El Guarco de Cartago, 25 miles (40 km) south of San Jose, Costa Rica February 1, 2006. Solis was second placed with 26.7 percent of the intended vote. Costa Ricans will elect a new president on February 5. REUTERS/Juan Carlos Ulate

Related posts