Thursday, 1 October 2020

[OP-ED] Why Always The Poor?

A typical street in La Carpio, San Jose, Costa Rica | Photo:
A typical street in La Carpio, San Jose, Costa Rica | Photo:  Kelly Patterson

Early in the morning, around 5:00AM, I am in the office to read hundreds of news articles. Some in English, some in Spanish but those that concern me the most are always reflective about Costa Rica. This is more than I can say about the Web-media news outlets which need to fill space in order to sell advertising.

I avoid anything to do with Justin Bieber, the Kardashians and lately Johnny Araya as well as the April 6th election which is a token of democracy, at best.  (Do you know that in the event of a tie, the elder or oldest of the candidates automatically wins?)

With all these deletions, this leaves me with hard news and that is unhealthy for my spirit or soul (Alma).

- paying the bills -

While I look for the “good” it is damn hard to find. And in the “bad” it comes down to those who have limited resources or who are poor. Their plight always makes for front page bad news unless it is something about the tragedy of our national sports which in itself is a bummer.

Saturday, the 22nd of March 236 people have been left homeless after a devastating fire in a local of a barrio in Alajuela. Some 70 homes were burned to the ground for an electrical malfunction, lack of water and lack of fire hydrants.

I bet in Escazu that would not happen!

The much needed hydrants can easily be found in upper class neighborhoods, but not in La Carpio, the Hatillos, parts of Desemperados and a lot of Heredia, most of Guanacaste and for for sure Cinchona. (There is a long list.)

A Costa Rican family displays the duality of Costa Rica: First class tourist destination on the outside but many families in the inner valleys still struggle.
A Costa Rican family displays the duality of Costa Rica: First class tourist destination on the outside but many families in the inner valleys still struggle.

- paying the bills -

Why, I ask is construction, even health care services and infrastructure so damn awful and tolerated in Centro Puntarenas, for example?

I hazard a guess, an observation, a national “shame.” Being low income of among the 20% of extreme poverty in Costa Rica or any other country is tad amount to not being alive at all.

Despite the wonderful, profound rhetoric and the brief appearance of “politicos”, the bottom line is if you are born poor, immigrated poor, become poor; you just do not count as a national asset!

What makes this absurd as a business thinking is that poor people cannot not purchase for lack of funds, while purchasing creates sales and sales translates to jobs in both manufacturing as well as services each contributing to a vibrant economy that is currently in the doldrums. (Duh!)

That 20% plus extreme poverty from access to goods and services is the same as telling customer/clients, “Do not purchase, do not participate, just scream your demands and yell your wants but you will never, ever rise to the level of quality you need for a reasonably good life style.”

The Nicas (Nicaraguans) and now more so Ticos (Costa Ricans) have limited incomes, their homes are built by a so called “social democracy”, a caring democracy yet time after time those homes which are being paid for by low income wage earners are deficient, earthquake prone, flooded each year, have electrical deficiencies resulting in death and destruction and whose roads are washed away with the first rain making human rescue a myth; another dream.

- paying the bills --

We do not see or hear of the destitute in Costa Rica marching on the congress or the president. They are too busy (1) believing and (2) surviving.

Between dipping into contaminated rivers for portable water, how much time do these people have to protest their miserable, undeserving living conditions?

Juan Sebastian Campos
Juan Sebastian Campos
An expat from the U.S., educator and writer in English and Spanish since 1978 with a doctorate in business administrations (DBA) from the United States and Germany. A feature writer for ABC News, Copley Press and the Tribune Group with emphasis on Central America.

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