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Costa Rica

The UN Refugee Agency Is Exaggerating The Number Of Nicaraguan Refugees

Managua, Nicaragua - Two years ago, COHA reported on the manufactured “refugee” crisis around Nicaraguans living in Costa Rica. Now the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) is saying that “102,000 people fled Nicaragua and sought asylum in Costa Rica” in 2021. As this article shows, this statement is inaccurate, adding further to the myth that Nicaragua is suffering a refugee crisis. On June 20, a group called “SOSNicaragua” which is based in Costa Rica, held a conference to mark World Refugee Day. Called “Breaking down walls, building hope,” it was addressed by the head of the Costa Rican government’s Refugee Unit, Esther Núñez. She confirmed that, since 2018, Costa Rica had received 175,055 applications for asylum, the majority from Nicaragua.

Costa Rica: A Paradise For The Few After First Round Of Elections

It seems that hard times indeed are coming for the working class, micro- and small-business owners, and small-scale farmers of Costa Rica after the first round of presidential voting on February 6. The two candidates that will go on to the runoff, José María Figueres Olsen and Rodrigo Chaves, have clearly neoliberal proposals: more free trade, more taxes on wage earners, and more cuts to university budgets and social spending. They offer no specific proposals to address the serious crisis of tax evasion and tax avoidance, nor anything to curtail the use of tax havens to hide people’s fortunes. The new Legislative Assembly, far from being a counterbalance, will serve as a conveyor belt transmitting these policies that will finish the job of dismantling what has been called the Social Rule of Law in Costa Rica.

Nicaraguans In Costa Rica: A Manufactured “Refugee” Crisis

The situation has mostly normalized in Nicaragua and yet the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is promoting an imminent refugee crisis narrative. 80% of the recent asylum requests came from people who had been living and working in Costa Rica without documents, before Nicaragua’s crisis of April 2018. In 2018 Costa Rica approved only six asylum claims...

A Green & Just Transition Requires Democratized Public Banks – Costa Rica Style

Public banks, in particular, are shown to have much greater financial capacity than commonly believed. Whereas the IATF 2019 Report claims there is only $5 trillion in combined public bank assets (so, hardly sufficient to tackle the $4 to $6 trillion in additional annual climate mitigation investments by 2030), the TNI contribution demonstrates that there are nearly 700 public banks around the world that have combined assets nearing $38 trillion (that’s about 48 percent of global GDP). Put otherwise, 20 percent of all bank assets are still publicly owned and controlled.

How Costa Rica Gets It Right

SAN JOSÉ – With authoritarianism and proto-fascism on the rise in so many corners of the world, it is heartening to see a country where citizens are still deeply committed to democratic principles. And now its people are in the midst of trying to redefine their politics for the twenty-first century. Over the years, Costa Rica, a country of fewer than five million people, has gained attention worldwide for its progressive leadership. In 1948, after a short civil war, President José Figueres Ferrer abolished the military. Since then, Costa Rica has made itself a center for the study of conflict resolution and prevention, hosting the United Nations-mandated University for Peace.

Averting The Apocalypse: Lessons From Costa Rica

By Jason Hickel for Local Futures - Earlier this summer, a paper published in the journal Nature captured headlines with a rather bleak forecast. Our chances of keeping global warming below the 2C danger threshold are very, very small: only about 5%. The reason, according to the paper’s authors, is that the cuts we’re making to greenhouse gas emissions are being cancelled out by economic growth. In the coming decades, we’ll be able to reduce the carbon intensity of the global economy by about 1.9% per year, if we make heavy investments in clean energy and efficient technology. That’s a lot. But as long as the economy keeps growing by more than that, total emissions are still going to rise. Right now we’re ratcheting up global GDP by 3% per year, which means we’re headed for trouble. If we want to have any hope of averting catastrophe, we’re going to have to do something about our addiction to growth. This is tricky, because GDP growth is the main policy objective of virtually every government on the planet. It lies at the heart of everything we’ve been told to believe about how the economy should work: that GDP growth is good, that it’s essential to progress, and that if we want to improve human wellbeing and eradicate poverty around the world, we need more of it. It’s a powerful narrative. But is it true?

The Costa Rica Lesson

By John Andrews for Dissident Voices - I recently returned from a holiday in Costa Rica, a country I’d wanted to visit for some years. I bought two T-shirts there. One has an image of an automatic rifle with a flower sticking out its barrel and the words “NO ARMY” written across it in the colour of blood. The other T-shirt has an image of an artillery piece, with the words “No army since 1948” on it. Just after Costa Rica had its revolution in 1948, one of the first things its new visionary leader Jose Figueres Ferrer did was scrap its army. Contrary to what one might think, this immediately increased Costa Rica’s security, rather than weakening it, and it’s the only country in an otherwise war-torn part of the world to have had sustained peace and prosperity ever since. Ferrer’s action suggests that he realised that, counterintuitively, armies are more of a threat to freedom and national security than providers of it. Costa Rica has a lightly armed police force which is quite enough for its security needs. Scrapping their army has allowed Costa Rica to spend billions of dollars providing standards of health, education and pensions for all its citizens that are unknown in that part of the world.

Banana Workers’ Strike Highlights Abuses By Corporations

A strike that has brought activity to a halt since January on three major banana plantations on Costa Rica’s southern Caribbean coast, along the border with Panama, has highlighted the abuses in a sector in the hands of transnational corporations and has forced the governments of both countries to intervene. More than 300 labourers, almost all of them indigenous Panamanians working on plantations for a branch of the U.S. corporation Del Monte Foods, have been on strike since Jan. 16 to protest harassment of trade unionists, changes in schedules and working conditions, delayed payment of wages and dismissals considered illegal.

Strikers Close Costa Rican Port

A longstanding dispute over the privatization of the port at Limón on Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast led unionized dockworkers at the port’s Limón and Moín terminals to walk off the job on Oct. 22 for the second time in two years [see Update #1134]. The open-ended strike left three ships stranded at the two terminals, which handle some 80% of Costa Rica's foreign trade. Facing his first major labor crisis since he took office on May 8, President Luis Guillermo Solís, of the center-leftCitizen Action Party (PAC), responded quickly. He sent some 150 police officers to take control of the terminals late on Oct. 22; 68 people were arrested in the operation.

Costa Rican Lawyer Roberto Zamorra Crusades For The Right to Peace

Sometimes it just takes one person with a creative mind to shake up the entire legal system. In the case of Costa Rica, that person is Luis Roberto Zamorra Bolaños, who was just a law student when he challenged the legality of his government’s support for George Bush’s invasion of Iraq. He took the case all the way up to the Costa Rican Supreme Court—and won. Today a practicing lawyer, Zamorra at 33 still looks like a wiry college student. And he continues to think outside the box and find creative ways to use the courts to fuel his passion for peace and human rights. During my recent visit to Costa Rica, I got a chance to interview this maverick attorney about his past victories, and his brilliant new idea to seek compensation for Iraqis. Let’s start out recalling the key moment in Costa Rica’s pacifist history. That was 1948, when Costa Rican President Jose Figueras declared that the nation’s military would be abolished, a move that was ratified the following year by the Constituent Assembly.

At the UN, A Latin American Rebellion

Without a doubt, the 68th UN General Assembly will be remembered as a watershed. Nations reached an agreement on control of chemical weapons that could avoid a global war in Syria. The volatile stalemate on the Iran nuclear program came a step closer to diplomacy. What failed to make the headlines, however, could have the longest-term significance of all: the Latin American rebellion. For Latin American leaders, this year’s UN general debate became a forum for widespread dissent and anger at U.S. policies that seek to control a hemisphere that has clear aspirations for greater independence. In a region long considered the United States’ primary zone of influence, Washington’s relations with many Latin American nations have gone from bad to worse under the Bush II and Obama administrations.
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