IN THE NEWS
4Ruling Party Chief Bids ‘Adiós’
The president of the National Liberation Party (PLN), Francisco Pacheco, who helped his party gain a near monopoly in Costa Rican politics, announced is resignation from the helm of the PLN Thursday. He said he is stepping down to pursue intellectual interests and might accept a position at University of Costa Rica’s School of Law. He said his exit from politics is not the result of any possible differences with his party-mate, President-elect Laura Chinchilla.
4Tolls onCaldera Highway
Autopistas del Sol’s newSan José-Caldera Highway
has received plenty of complaints about its four costly tolls. The company announced toll reductions as of midnight on Monday, May 3 that will save drivers a total ¢90 (18 cents) along the full journey, from ¢1,930 ($3.80) to ¢1,740 ($3.44). The Escazú toll, drops from ¢320 (63 cents) to ¢290 (57 cents). In a news statement, the company explained that, by contract, it can change the toll every three months to follow inflation and the ups and downs of the exchange rate. The reduction will be helped by an upcoming ¢10 per liter dip in gas prices, which national price regulators expect to take effect May 6.
4Arizona Law Is Cause Célèbre
Shakira, the Colombian pop sensation, is the latest to join the cause against the tough new immigration law in the U.S. state of Arizona, according to BC Mundo, which reported Thursday that the singer is expected to travel to the state’s capital, Phoenix, to let her voice be heard.
The controversial law requires state and local police to determine a person’s immigration status if there is “reasonable suspicion” they are in the United States illegally. Supporters like the law’s zero tolerance approach to “illegals,” while opponents – including the Phoenix mayor – say the law opens the door to racial profiling. Amid demonstrations in Mexico, Mexican President Felipe Calderón said the law hinders cooperation efforts along the border. Protests and anti-Arizona boycotts have spread across the United States as well. However, a Gallup poll showed a 51 percent support nationwide among people aware of the law (22 percent were unaware of it).
4Protests Flare Up
Protests Thursday by teachers, car service drivers and dockworkers in several Costa Rican cities and towns, sparked violence in the Caribbean city of Limón. Security officials said three police officers were wounded by gunshot during Limón’s protest, although a workers union leader told online news portal Nuestro País that the injuries were caused by the police themselves. Police arrested 10 protesters, the portal reported. A flurry of demands from diverse groups led to the protests. One came from private car service drivers who are demanding that the government scratch pending legislation that could forbid them from transporting people. High school teachers wanted fairer salaries and problems relating to privatizing Limón’s ports are also brewing.