Jorge Oguilve, a 29-year-old mechanical engineer, says he still has a lot of work to do before he goes out to vote for the Central American Free-Trade Agreement with the United States (CAFTA). Oguilve has a master’s degree from the Technology Institute of Costa Rica (TEC), and is the director of operations at U.S.-Costa Rican astronaut Franklin Chang’s Ad Astra Rocket lab in Liberia, in the northwestern province of Guanacaste.
Oguilve says it will be professionals like him who are set to benefit most if CAFTA is passed. Though he’s still on the fence, he says he’s leaning toward a yes vote, but plans to spend time studying the trade pact before the referendum. He took a minute from his lab work to talk to The Tico Times about his thoughts on the matter. Excerpts:
TT: Will you vote for or against CAFTA in the upcoming referendum?
JO: I will vote, and up to now it appears I will vote in favor. But I’m still in the process of reading the report of the Notables to confirm my position.
How do you think the outcome will affect you personally?
The results could affect me in many ways. As an engineer, I feel that if it isn’t approved, my options would be limited. If it is approved, there will be more opportunities for people like me with professional development. And if not, the country will just see more of the same.
If CAFTA doesn’t pass, what kind of Costa Rica will we have in 10 years?
The country is going to lose its competitive advantages compared to other countries of the region. And for investors, Costa Rica won’t be such an obvious investment option anymore.
What is the single most important reason to support CAFTA?
There will be more of what has been happening for business in Costa Rica in recent years. More development. Economically, it can have a great effect.
Why has CAFTA attracted so much attention here and abroad?
I feel that it’s a big issue in a small country of 4.5 million people. Economic decisions like this will affect the entire population … And also I feel that all Costa Ricans in this time leading up to the referendum have a great responsibility to be informed when they go to vote. It’s an important issue, and to not read and study up on CAFTA before voting would be like signing a blank check. So we each have to be very informed, because this has the potential to affect us all.