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Costa Rica is going through an unprecedented period in its history. Some of the latest polls ahead of the February 2nd elections suggest that the leftist candidate from the Frente Amplio (FA) party, Jose Maria Villalta, will win the elections. This would put an end to the traditional political conservatism in the country after several decades of neoliberal administrations.
Villalta is 36 years old and bears few of the features of the typical Costa Rican politician. He fought next to social movements and organizations for years. He defends the participation of grassroots communities in relevant national political decisions and he has hopes for change for a large part of the population.
The latest polls indicate that if elections were to take place today, candidate Johnny Araya, from Partido Liberación Nacional (PLN), the party in office, would be defeated.
To know more about the situation in Costa Rica before the elections, and what seems to be a milestone in the national political history no matter what the results of the February 2nd elections, Real World Radio interviewed environmental activist Isaac Rojas, of COECOCEIBA – Friends of the Earth Costa Rica. Rojas is also coordinator of the Forests and Biodiversity Program of Friends of the Earth International.
COECOCEIBA supports Villalta´s candidacy and is working to contribute to FA´s victory. Founded in 2004, the party goes from having one MP in Parliament today (Villalta himself), and one in the previous period (Jose Merino, founder) to having real chances of winning the elections. Villalta is the MP who has submitted the most bills for discussion and represents an alternative for a population that trusts him and clearly expresses its rejection of the abuses of consecutive right-wing administrations, today led by President Laura Chinchilla.
El 16 de abril, tras los anuncios por parte del presidente nicaragüense Daniel Ortega de reformas al Instituto Nicaragüense de Seguridad Social (INSS) que suponían nuevas tasas de aportes al seguro social, cientos de personas salieron a las calles para manifestarse en contra de la medida. La represión policial causó la muerte de varios estudiantes y se profundizó una crisis sin precedentes para los tiempos de este gobierno sandinista. Ya se cuentan más de 170 personas asesinadas, tanto de los opositores como de quienes apoyan al oficialismo.
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