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Costa Rica president ‘tired’ on Independence Day

September 12, 2008

Costa Rican school children marched to their own drumbeat throughout Costa Rica yesterday as the country joined other Central American countries in marking 187 years since the colonists broke away from Spain.

But the nation´s president, Oscar Arias, brought much less enthusiasm.

“Tired” was the word that lingered after President Arias´ annual Independence Day address in San José´s National Park. Television Channel 7 put the Spanish word cansado as the headline yesterday while it replayed images of the president´s speech.

“I´m tired of trying to get important things done and hitting obstacles opposing measures simply for coming from the government … of trying to govern a country that believes criticism at any cost is the best way to carry out opposition,” he said, according to newswire EFE.

The remarks came after a period in which Arias´ voice has been in and out of hoarseness, his nation´s chances of meeting the deadline to enter a free-trade agreement with the United States (see separate story) were slipping away, and his administration became further embroiled in a scandal involving secret Chinese bonds.

The president, nevertheless, made a call to keep alive the dream of independence and freedom that is “forged in the hearts of all people.”

“Being free is being able to make proper decisions and execute them … freedom is not a derailed train running aimlessly through history,” Arias said.

The nation´s official celebration began Sunday night when the independence torch arrived in Cartago, the old capital east of San José, from Guatemala.

Many waved national flags and marched in festive parades, but some took the opportunity to protest.

Residents in Cartago, Costa Rica´s old capital east of San José where this time last year and the year before students demonstrated against free trade with the United States, on Sunday urged the government to hurry and build them a new hospital.

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