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Election video spurs angry responses

April 8, 2014

A viral election video asking voters to reject traditional Costa Rican political parties set the Internet abuzz last week, and now the ruling party and allies are fighting back.

“Our name is Costa Rica,” was released by anonymous University of Costa Rica students. The video criticized those who have been in power for the last 30 years, condemning them for everything from growing inequality to agricultural management. The video has more than 129,000 views on YouTube.

Though the specific parties were not named in the video, the National Liberation Party (PLN) and Social Christian Unity Party (PUSC) have dominated the government for more than 50 years.

On Dec. 30, three days after the first video was released, another anonymous group created a video using the same footage with a different narrator. The video, “We are also Costa Rica” touted the nation’s recent accomplishments, opening with the phrase, “Costa Ricans, proud of the Costa Rica that we already have.”

As the video continues, the narrator accuses the opposition of lacking patriotism and supporting left-leaning ideologies (at the 0:37 mark).

“They want to trick us, promising to create a Venezuelan and Nicaraguan model in Costa Rica where the poor, democracy, food and liberty all disappear,” said the video’s narrator.

The ruling PLN party did not stay quiet for long either. They put a name to the face of their rebuttal featuring Liberationist Youth member Leah Netzer. (Liberationist Youth is a group for young PLN supporters).

In the video Netzer referred to the original ad as a series of “baseless attacks” and asked the question, “Do you really believe we are worse off than we were 30 years ago?”

Since the video’s release, Netzer has been attacked in video comments and on her Facebook. Some raised questions about her citizenship. Through a search of the Supreme Elections Tribunal, The Tico Times confirmed that Netzer was born in Guatemala but is a Costa Rican citizen, legally permitted to vote. She and the rest of the constituency can exercise that right one month from today.

The presidential election is set for Feb. 2. The latest polls show ruling party candidate Johnny Araya and progressive Broad Front Party candidate José María Villalta moving toward a runoff.

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