“If anyone believes, with all due respect, that the social upheaval will dissipate, they would be wrong”, affirmed this Wednesday the general secretary of the public worker’s union, the Asociación Nacional de Empleados Públicos (ANEP), Albino Vargas.

Albino Vargas, while accompanying the protests of high school students and truckers in the vicinity of Casa Presidencial, in Zapote, on June 28. Vargas was at the head of the national strike last year that lasted for more than 3 months

“It is taking a big step, an opening. The concretion and materialization of agreements is lacking,” said the trade unionist after the truckers that blocked roads lifted their blockades by signing an agreement with the government.

Vargas made the statements to the Telenoticias television cameras, explaining that unions and students are waiting for the response of President Carlos Alvarado, on the 18 petitions that were sent to him through the Catholic priest Edwin Aguiluz, among the points the withdrawal of the bill in the Legislature to regulate of strikes.

The list of requests is as follows:

  1. The departure of Edgar Mora as Minister of Education.
  2. A moratorium on the Value Added Tax (VAT) that came into effect this Monday, July 1, for 18 months.
  3. Defense of Christian values as an essential part of the identity of the society and the Costa Rican family, for which a comprehensive review of educational programs is requested.
  4. Urgent attention to the problem of truckers.
  5. Urgent attention to the problem of fishermen.
  6. Urgent attention to farmers’ debt, rural problems, comprehensive product marketing, legal security of land tenure.
  7. Urgent processing of legislative bills against usury interests.
  8. Withdrawal from the legislative current from bills that affect trade unionism.
  9. Withdrawal of the Public Employment Framework Law from the current legislative agenda.
  10. Return the National Institute of Cooperative Development to the cooperative movement.
  11. Defense of the Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad (ICE) against the privatization of the national electric model promoted by the Ministry of Environment and Energy and respect for the institutional autonomy of ICE.
  12. Limon issues and the “illegality” of APM Terminals for breach of contract regarding the public and economic interest as well as strengthening the Port Administration and Economic Development Board of the Atlantic Coast (Japdeva).
  13. Defense and strengthening of the National Production Council.
  14. Attention to the specifications of Police Bodies.
  15. Recovery of the institutional autonomy of the Municipal Regime.
  16. Stop wasting money in the Ministry of Public Education.
  17. Withdrawal of the dual education project in Congress and modify high school FARO tests.
  18. Promote a vigorous economic reactivation plan.

The protests by student and truckers that had begun last week ended on Monday last with the forced resignation of Education Minister, Edgar Mora.

Vargas, unlike the truckers, did not want to qualify Mora’s resignation as a victory.

“It is not a question of putting it in those terms, but that his departure is a product of a set of conditions that came together in the same political circumstance. I think he had run out of political space, what we did was to channel it and make it public,” he said.