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Costa Rica land border crossings blocked by wave of protests

October 8, 2020

The main border crossings of Costa Rica were again blocked Thursday amid a wave of protests that the country is experiencing against the negotiation of an agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to clean up public finances.

Images from local television showed that the protesters placed tires and stones at Paso Canoas, the main border post with Panama, to prevent the transit of goods.

The government reported on Thursday about 20 blockade points, much less than in recent days, after an episode of violence in the vicinity of Quepos, in the southern Pacific of Costa Rica, where protesters threw Molotov bombs and attacked police who arrived to lift a blockade.

Meanwhile, in Peñas Blancas, the main crossing point on the border with Nicaragua, truckers keep traffic paralyzed in demand of an agenda for the elimination of the restrictions imposed on their movement to contain the spread of Covid-19.

The roadblocks broke out on Wednesday, September 30, in rejection of a government proposal to negotiate an agreement with the IMF, which was criticized for its emphasis on temporary tax increases rather than reducing spending.

Although the proposal was withdrawn last Sunday, the self-proclaimed National Rescue Movement, which called the blockades, maintains the mobilization.

One of the leaders of the movement, former deputy José Miguel Corrales, demanded a meeting with President Carlos Alvarado to remove the blockades, but the government demanded that the protest be lifted to dialogue.

The government began a national dialogue to define the negotiation proposal with the IMF.

The pact with the IMF seeks to clean up public finances, which carry a projected fiscal deficit of 9.7% of GDP for this year.

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