QBLOGS – I’m not a promoter of conspiracy theories, but I believe the evidence to be overwhelming, that Governments around the world, look for ways to socially control their respective populations in order to retain power. Sometimes these methods of social control are more obvious than in others.

We have the neighbouring country of Nicaragua, where President Daniel Ortega is expecting to appoint himself as Dictator for life in an election to be held in November. Strangely enough, Nicaragua has just acquired a military inventory of fifty Russian tanks.

I don’t believe that these tanks were acquired to threaten neighbouring countries, such as Costa Rica, so much as they were acquired for social control within Nicaragua; to ensure Mr. Ortega’s grip on power as a Dictator. After-all, he does have the experience of being over-thrown once by the Contras. This is an example of a very obvious social control mechanism implemented by a Government.

In Costa Rica, not having a standing military, social control is handled in a more ingenious and less obvious manner. Costa Rica has a population which is generally more educated and sophisticated than many of its Latin American neighbours. Accordingly, the biggest threat to the Government’s retention of power is to not afford Costa Ricans sufficient time for critical thought and a reflection on matters that might lead to a conclusion that the Government was unfairly taxing, regulating, or in some other manner affecting their lifestyle in a negative way.

In the eighteen years that I have lived in Costa Rica, it is clear to me that professional soccer (football) is an all-consuming event for the population at large. In my opinion, it is really the only National activity that unites the Costa Rican population with patriotic fervor. Clearly, Costa Ricans spend most of their free time either watching, or speaking about football, with little, or no time devoted to any critical thinking regarding their lot in life.

In addition to the obsession with football exhausting all time for critical thinking, is the relative ease with which bank credit is available to Costa Ricans. Particularly with Public Sector employees, high wages and salaries make qualifying for a bank loan, or mortgage, based on monthly income amounts, a “breeze”.

This is obvious from the number of new vehicles patrolling the streets of San Jose and the number of new condo projects in the Metropolitan San Jose area and where bank financing is readily available to this Sector of the working population. This, along with their usually “maxed-out” credit cards, conveniently keeps Costa Ricans working pay cheque to pay cheque, with again, little, or no time for any critical thought.

The interesting thing to note, is that this social control mechanism utilized in Costa Rica is very passive in nature. I doubt that Costa Ricans in general have any idea that these instruments of social control are even in effect.

The manipulation is subtle and Costa Rica is by no means unique in its use of such social control techniques.