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Protests and road blockages continue Wednesday in Costa Rica

October 7, 2020

Road blockades persist in dozens of spots throughout Costa Rica on Wednesday morning, including on Routes 2, 4, 6, 35 and 36, Traffic Police reported.

In some locations, such as in San Ramón, the Public Security Ministry (MSP) says it is patrolling in an effort to prevent new blocks throughout the day.

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

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

While protests typically remain peaceful, clashes with police have turned violent, particularly at night.

Michael Soto, Security Minister, has suggested organized criminal groups have infiltrated some of the blockades, contributing to confrontations. Some blockades charge unofficial —and illegal — tolls before allowing vehicles to pass, he said.

MSP said Tuesday that it had detained 13 people overnight for collecting tolls and damaging vehicles.

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

Government dialogue not slowing protests

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President Alvarado has since withdrawn the proposed economic measures and has promised an open dialogue regarding the country’s financial plans. Meetings began Tuesday.

But protests have continued because Costa Rica’s financial future could still include an agreement with the IMF and new taxes.

Various productive sectors, including the Costa Rican Tourism Chamber (CANATUR), have criticized the blockades due to their economic impact.

 

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