I am a Canadian, Naturalized as a Costa Rican Citizen and a practicing Costa Rica Lawyer by profession. I have no particular training in Economics, or Political Science.
I have lived full time in Costa Rica for almost seventeen years and I have a Costa Rican wife. I consider myself fully immersed in the Costa Rican Society.
Prior to the election of Luis Guillermo Solis as the President, I wrote a number of blogs QCostarica, related to the Election Campaign and gave a prognosis of what I believed was in-store for the Country if a PAC President were elected.
These blogs are all preserved in my blog archive and are available to the reader.
My general prediction for the Country was that Costa Ricans were looking at eight very difficult years if a PAC President were elected, an initial four years under the President’s term of economic downturn, followed by a further four years of economic recovery under a succeeding President with more politically Centrist leanings.
My predictions were based on what I believed at the time would be a flight of foreign investment capital through the movement of large multi-national companies to other more business-friendly jurisdictions, lack of new foreign investment, and a general downturn in the domestic business sector as a result of increased utility costs, taxation, and the general “red-tape” aspect of doing business in Costa Rica at the best of times. I had hoped that my predictions would be wrong.
Unfortunately, I believe that during President Solis’ first year in office, that my predictions have largely come to pass.
Certainly, the Economy in Costa Rica is “tanking”, for many of the reasons that I predicted. In many respects, what has come to pass is even worse than my predictions forecast. I ask myself, that if I, as an ordinary citizen, with no particular economic, or political training, could have foreseen what was to happen, where are the citizens of Costa Rica and political “power-brokers” who should have foreseen these negative consequences and exercised their influence to avoid what is how happening to the Country?
A general answer would be the cultural significance of the ranking of importance of general social factors. That is, in Costa Rican Society and Latin American Society, the social ranking is “Family, Friends, and Country”, in that order. Yes, “Country” is third.
Apparently, the most important line in probably the single most important speech ever given by JFK, “Ask not what your country can do for you, but ask what you can do for your country”, has never been adopted in Latin American social thinking.
The only response by the Government that I have seen to-date, is to exacerbate the problems associated with the current economic downturn, by borrowing money from international development agencies to support otherwise unsustainable Social Programs (like Greece) and to continue to pay Public Sector wages and benefits that far out-strip wages and benefits paid in the Private Sector, or even First World Countries, such as the U.S. and Canada, for similar work.
An even more disconcerting response, has been the current Administrations attempt to propose legislation to “muzzle” the Press, in order that it failings in these matters not be presented to the Costa Rica citizenry at-large.
We require politicians and Government officials who put this County first, not third in priority. There must be recognition of the fact that foreign and domestic business investment is crucial to sustaining the life-style of Costa Ricans.
The applicable business climate must be created to attract the same, knowing full-well, that if it isn’t, other jurisdictions are more than willing to provide those business opportunities, to our peril.