QCOSTARICA BLOGS – The interesting thing about last Saturday’s march held in San Jose against the corrupt administration of the Government Petroleum Monopoly, RECOPE, had some surprising similarities with the beginning of what is now referred to as the “Arab Spring” in Tunisia several years ago.
Although the “Arab Spring” uprising centers around a fight for social justice in certain countries of the Middle East and North Africa, rather than a march for economic and moral justice as in the present circumstances, the way in which it arose was almost identical to that of the march against RECOPE.
The march was organized by three ordinary Costa Rican citizens, the owner of a small neighbourhood grocery store (pulperia), an alarm technician, and a disc jockey, having no particular political, or union affiliations. In fact, the march organizers specifically asked the leader of the Libertarian Party, Otto Guevara, who in all likelihood would be sympathetic to their cause, to stay away from the march.
The march was organized by the three organizers using online social networking sites, such as “Facebook”, and had no organized transport for the marchers to attend the march, nor made any promises to the marchers about anything specific that could be achieved by marching. The marchers showed-up at the march of their own volition, merely to make the statement that they had had enough of the corrupt practices of RECOPE, being run for the benefit of a few, paying outlandish wages and benefits to its employees, and bilking the ordinary citizens of Costa Rica, with outrageous imposed petroleum product pricing. Several hundred people showed-up for the march and from all indications, it was a success from the point-of-view of making the statement that the marchers wished to make.
In fact, the Editorial in the newspaper “La Nacion” today (Tuesday 29/9/15), states that the Government would be very foolhardy indeed, not to take note of the significance of this march in Costa Rica. I believe that it is the first such march to involve ordinary citizens organized in such a manner, rather than the characteristic Public Workers and unionist marchers that we are used to seeing on the streets of San Jose.
In my opinion, this march represents a significant turning-point in Costa Rica, if the impetus for change in RECOPE achieved last Saturday, can be sustained. Perhaps, the pain threshold for real change has still not been achieved in ordinary citizens of Costa Rica.
Certainly, the same statement made about RECOPE can be made about other Government monopolistic institutions and the Public Sector wages and benefits paid in general, in Costa Rica. In-fact such statements are being made on a daily basis in the mainstream media. I “tip my hat” to the courage of the three organizers of the march.