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Subway also wants to tell you who to vote for in Costa Rica’s presidential elections

January 28, 2014

The latest fear-mongering campaign against the leftist Broad Front Party involves Subway Costa Rica franchises. Over the weekend, Subway employees complained of emails that attempted to influence voters that allegedly were sent out by the restaurant’s management.

The Supreme Elections Tribunal’s (TSE) director of the electoral registry, Héctor Fernández, on Monday morning confirmed they had received three complaints against the popular sandwich shop. The complaints currently are under investigation. 

Last week, the TSE began investigating complaints against the Costa Rican arm of makeup company Avon. The tribunal ordered the beauty product makers to stop distributing propaganda after dozens of people complained of having received political fliers in the mail that  shunned the Broad Front Party and its presidential candidate, José María Villalta .

On Facebook, Subway’s Costa Rica page experienced a backlash as angry customers threatened to boycott the eatery.

Subway Costa Rica General Manager Isidro Perera’s leaked message – republished by dozens of Facebook profiles – severely criticizes the Broad Front Party and asks employees not to vote for Villalta.

“We feel an obligation to share our concern about the growth in support for the Broad Front Party. We feel compelled to alert you of the consequences [a Broad Front government would bring] to the country and to companies like ours,” reads the email. The email added that a Broad Front Party government would bring “direct threats” to business, jobs and democracy.

The email accuses Villalta of trying to usher in a communist government that would be catastrophic for the private sector, “as it has been for Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Argentina, Cuba and Nicaragua.”

Villalta repeatedly has denied the communist accusations or that he has any desire to mimic Latin America’s Bolivarian revolution. He says his party maintains a progressive platform based on the ideals supported by decades of Costa Rican politics. In a debate last Sunday night, Villalta asked why his critics focused on countries like Cuba and Venezuela, when other Latin American countries like Brazil and Uruguay also have left-leaning administrations.

Subway Costa Rica spokeswoman Natalia Castro acknowledged the sending of the email in a written response Monday evening.

Regarding the message sent last Friday, January 10 to our employees, we would like to state that there was a misuse of a company’s email account to express a personal opinion, and this is not the official position of Subway Costa Rica, and it does not represent the way we think. … We have notified all our staff that this is inappropriate.”

Subway Costa Rica responded to customer complaints via Twitter.

The tweets (see below; in Spanish) stated “Subway Costa Rica respects the right of Costa Ricans to freely elect their government, and we trust the transparency and maturity of the Costa Rican electoral process. As a company, we are committed to complying with all guidelines issued by the Supreme Elections Tribunal regarding our employees’ rights. We regret any misunderstandings that have arisen in this regard.”

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