EDITORIAL – Que Vergüenza! What a shame that striking public sector workers would interfere with the tradition of carrying the Torch of Independence, an act involving up to 20,000 students, from Nicaragua border to Cartago.

This is NOT the way the Torch of Independence has made it to Cartago in the last 196 years!

This is the first year in Costa Rica’s history that the Torch could not complete its overland route called “Ruta de Independencia”, from the border post at Peñas Blancas to the ruins of Cartago, because the public sector workers and their supporters could not put aside their whatever, blocking the route in Esparza, Puntarenas.

At 10:35 am this Friday morning, a Fuerza Publica (National Police) helicopter landed in the Plaza Asis, diagonally to the Max Peralta Hospital. Never before had the Cartagineses seen the Independence Torch arrive by air on September 14 and amid such a bittersweet environment.

The only decorative signs were the small flags that the second and third grade students of Escuela Asención Esquivel Ibarra took from their desks when they were told they should race to receive the symbol independence.

Shame. Shame. For the flight from Esparza to Cartago, the flame of Independence, a symbol of independence in Central America, had to be put out.

Once the helicopter rotor stopped, the policemen who brought it tried to light the Torch as subtly as possible and handed it to the Minister of Education, Edgar Mora, who held it up as he walked towards the two students who were waiting for him.

From there, the tradition of students carrying the flame of independence continued, in yet another break in the tradition, the Torch was carried to the Cartago police station, for safekeeping until eventually handed over to the Consejo de Gobierno (cabinet) for the September 14 evening ceremonies.

Disgraceful.

Shame on the public sector workers. Shame on the trade unions for not calling on its membership to uphold the almost 200 year old tradition. And shame on you Mr. President. This is on your watch.


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