Labor voices optimism over new administration, takes parting shots at Costa Rica’s Chinchilla
Unions, socialists and other left-leaning groups called for an end to status quo economic policies during a May Day march in downtown San José.
The annual parade from Central Park to the Legislative Assembly was marked with rhetoric slamming of President Laura Chinchilla and past administrations for allegedly ignoring the working class, while demonstrators expressed hope that the incoming president, Luis Guillermo Solís, will turn to more progressive policies.
The peaceful parade was not wholly polemical, as marching bands, musicians and even the siren of a fire truck added a festive character to the march. Political marchers ran the gamut of the left side of the spectrum, with unions, socialists, communists, anarchists, feminists and gay rights’ groups. Supporters of Solís’ center-left Citizen Action Party (PAC) marched alongside progressive Broad Front (FA) supporters.
Speaking on behalf of the Costa Rican Labor and Social Movement, Martha Rodríguez expressed optimism at the incoming administration of Solís.
“This change is also a product of our fights,” González said in a speech. “Without denying the participation of some leading politicians in some of those fights, we can affirm that the political parties took advantage of our efforts.”
Rodríguez called on the new center-left president to not ignore the forces that helped carry him to victory. She asked for increased salaries for public and private workers, continued public control of transportation such as airports, ports and highways, and strengthening of Costa Rica’s embattled social security system, the Caja.
Solís’ April election victory marked the first time since the 1948 civil war that the two historically dominant parties – the National Liberation Party (PLN) and the Social Christian Unity Party (PUSC) – had not won the presidency.
Other marchers took the opportunity to share their conclusions on Chinchilla’s legacy, saying that unemployment has soared as well as the cost of electricity, housing and basic goods. An environmental activist from Puntarenas, Sergio Zúñiga, took the opportunity to slam the outgoing administration and its planning minister, Roberto Gallardo, on their controversial public works projects.
“Mr. Minister Roberto Gallardo, the public works concession is a legalized robbery of our homeland: highways, ports, airports, and the rest. It’s mortgaging the future of this country. It’s treason against the country,” Zúñiga said in a speech.
You may be interested
Vanished: 10 years later, still no answers after Michael Dixon disappeared in Costa RicaRobert Isenberg - October 18, 2019
It has been 10 years since journalist Michael Dixon disappeared in Costa Rica. To remember the anniversary, we're republishing our longform…
Trump announces that Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras will receive ‘targeted assistance’AFP and The Tico Times - October 18, 2019
The President of the United States, Donald Trump, said Wednesday that Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras will receive "targeted assistance…
Poverty rate remains stable at 21% in Costa Rica, government saysAFP and The Tico Times - October 18, 2019
Poverty in Costa Rica remained has stable at 21% over the last year, while extreme poverty had a slight reduction…