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Road blockades continue; Tourism Chamber asks for free transit

October 4, 2020

Drivers should exercise caution as protests continue to block a number of roads and highways across Costa Rica on Sunday.

The daily La Nación reported 17 total blockades distributed throughout the country, plus several spots where demonstrations have limited through traffic.

Road conditions may change throughout the afternoon; we recommend checking Waze if you’re planning a drive.

While protests have largely remained peaceful, the Public Security Ministry (MSP) reported that 15 officers suffered injuries in a Saturday night confrontation. In addition, in Caldera, Puntarenas, a police vehicle was set on fire, authorities said.

The Costa Rican Tourism Chamber (CANATUR) has joined other sectors in calling for a suspension of the road blockades.

“Tourism entrepreneurs call for the suspension of roadblocks during the weekend to avoid aggravating the situation of tourist activity on which thousands of Costa Rican families depend,” CANATUR said.

But various unions have doubled down on the protests and requested that the public join a larger strike and marches on Tuesday, October 6.

Protesters are expressing their displeasure about Costa Rica’s negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), from which the country has requested a $1.75 billion loan.

The Presidency says the financial support is necessary to prevent an economic crisis. Critics, meanwhile, argue the loan is not needed, and that the country should prioritize cost-cutting measures and closing tax loopholes instead of proposing new taxes.

While the protest movement initially hoped to only punish exporters and importers “who are the ones who do not pay taxes,” according to a group leader, the blockades have caused road congestion at various points in Costa Rica.

The government has indicated its willingness to speak with the movement’s leaders on the condition they cease the protests.

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