Thursday, May 18, 2006

Costa Ricans split on CAFTA ratification

A Costa Rican homeless man sleeps under graffiti reading 'TLC = HUNGER' in San Jose, Costa Rica, Sunday, May 7, 2006. The letters TLC are the abbreviation for 'Free Trade Agreement' in Spanish. Opponents of the Free Trade Agreement between the United States and Central America plan to march tomorrow as President Elect Oscar Arias is sworn into office. (AP Photo/Kent Gilbert)Angus Reid
May 18, 2006

(Angus Reid Global Scan) – Adults in Costa Rica are divided on how to sanction the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA), according to a poll by CID-Gallup. 42 per cent of respondents think the commerce deal should be ratified in a nationwide referendum, while 35 per cent would allow the Legislative Assembly to endorse the treaty.

In May 2004, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua agreed to the CAFTA with the United States. The Dominican Republic followed suit in August. The agreement—which would reduce or eliminate taxes and tariffs on imports—must be approved by each country’s legislative branch.

To date, Costa Rica remains the only country that has not ratified CAFTA. Former Costa Rican president Abel Pacheco postponed debate on the trade deal, hoping that the Legislative Assembly would approve a series of bills related to the country’s fiscal system.

Oscar Arias—a member of the National Liberation Party (PLN)—won the February presidential election with 40.92 per cent of all cast ballots. Arias, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, headed the government from 1986 to 1990, and was able to run again after the Costa Rican Legislative Assembly opted to bring back presidential re-election in 2003. Arias, who was sworn in on May 8, supports CAFTA’s ratification.

Earlier this month, Citizens' Action Party (PAC) lawmaker Alberto Salom urged the government to hold a referendum, saying, "If the Legislative Assembly sanctions CAFTA without listening to the people, there could be violence."

Polling Data
Should CAFTA be ratified in a nationwide referendum or through the legislative branch?

Nationwide referendum 42%
Through the legislative branch 35%
No opinion 23%

Source: CID-Gallup
Methodology: Interviews with 1,100 Costa Rican adults, conducted from Apr. 29 to May 4, 2006. Margin of error is 3 per cent.

1 comment:

Kate said...

Hey so what's going on now with CAFTA? Does it look like it's going to be ratified in August without a referendum? If so what do you think this will mean for Ticos?


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