Tuesday, 24 November 2020

Waiting for Godot In Costa Rica: A Lot of Talk, A Lot of Expectation

Image from Waiting For Godot found on Pinteret

Q OPINION – Waiting for Godot is a French play translated into English and authored by Samuel Beckett. It is mostly about two men who sadly await the arrival of a person named Godot, who never shows up.

Costa Rica sometimes makes me feel akin to the play if for no other reason there is a lot of talk, a lot of expectation, and very few completed projects resulting in heavy duty disappointment.

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The list is very long with the most obvious being the “Platina” bridge which has been promised but never delivered.

Promised for ten years
Everyone from MOPT (Ministery of Public Transportation) to three presidents have tried to repair that bridge. The entire road has been opened and closed to traffic, almost every other week. Another waiting for Godot.

While perhaps not the most important, but classic Pura Vida Gordotism, is La Trocha or Border Route 1856 that opened with grand fanfare in 2012, even celebrated by the then president Laura Chinchilla.However, is yet only a mud path bordering Costa Rica with Nicaragua. (We sure told those Nicas the dedication of Costa Rica to protect our sovereign rights.)

Twenty-six companies and government officials have been indicted for fraud.

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Still, no road and no trials!

A final example, then president Jose Maria Figueres decided to shut down INCOFER, the government entity in charge of railroads. Oscar Arias decided to reverse that decision during his term and there has been bad blood between the two ex-presidents ever since.

Yet, two presidents later and the only achievement is that the trains do not run on schedule, if at all, and the last attempt skipped the track and crashed.

We are still waiting for the revitalization of a train that runs from Limon of the Atlantic and carries both cargoes as well as passengers to the Pacific and the port of Caldera. The sad part is this once existed but was left to rot in favor of trucks and cars.

Even the archaic trucking Route 32 connecting interiors on the Pacific with the Atlantic Port of Moin has been repaired at least 20 times over 20 years and still, it is miserable and dangerous to travel. Landslides, dangerous two-lane curves, fog, lack of signs make up a formula for human disaster. The Chinese volunteered to help out. (No go)

Speaking of Chinese, there was a mega deal that would cost US$1.3 billion where Costa Rica could finally refine oil into finished fuel, instead of buying the finished product on the open market, which is now the case, and at a very expensive consumer cost. Just the study alone CR paid US$50 million in gone money into the CR; dark hole!

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As one might expect, the negotiation got bogged down in bureaucracy, a whole bunch of feasibility studies and one piece of research on top of the other ended i, no deal.n

We always speak in the future tense because present tense is so damn sad. We always refer to studies by one of two universities – Universidad de Costa Rica (UCR) and Universidad Nacional (UNA) – but the government does whatever it wants and is most expeditious.

The mammoth per capita government and semi-government agencies seek both publicity are dedicated to receiving more funds which are usually passed off on residents who live in this country.

But make no mistake about it, this all comes to the premise of “Waiting for Godot”, who never arrives in Beckett’s play and we wait, we wait for progress that seems to never come.

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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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