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Friday, June 21, 2024

Road blockades continue Tuesday; government begins dialogue today

Road blockades persist in dozens of spots throughout Costa Rica on Tuesday.

Drivers should exercise caution as protests may inhibit transit through a number of important roads and highways across the country.

Blockages may change throughout the day; we recommend checking Waze if you’re planning a drive. Plan a backup route, and be prepared for lengthy delays.

While protests typically remain peaceful, clashes with police have turned violent, particularly at night. The Public Security Ministry (MSP) reported that 15 officers suffered injuries Saturday night; in another instance, a police vehicle was set on fire.

On Monday night, a truck was reportedly burned in Liverpool, Limón, though MSP has not yet confirmed the events. At least 15 protesters have been arrested on various charges, according to the Presidency.

President Carlos Alvarado on Monday night urged that “for employment and for the safety of the population, the blockades must stop.”

In a video shared Monday, Public Security Minister Michael Soto said citizens have the right to demonstrate peacefully, but that violence and unlawful behavior “is not justified.”

Government dialogue begins today

The protests began in context of Costa Rica’s plans to seek a $1.75 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). To secure that financing, the Presidency proposed a series of economic measures, which included new taxes.

President Alvarado has since withdrawn the proposed economic measures — though their unpopularity meant they likely would not have been approved by the Legislative Assembly. The Presidency has promised an open dialogue regarding the country’s financial plans.

The President hoped to begin that dialogue at 7:30 a.m. Tuesday by meeting with the Solidarity Movement (Movimiento Solidarista), but the alliance backed out of the conversation because it didn’t include “the other social and productive sectors of the country.”

Alvarado does not yet have a planned meeting with the Movimiento Rescate Nacional, one of the leaders of the ongoing protests.

The Presidency has said it won’t meet with protesters until the blockades are lifted; the protesters say they won’t lift the blockades until they can meet with the President.

We updated this story at 9 a.m. to indicate the Movimiento Solidarista had canceled their meeting with the Presidency. 

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