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Normality restored on the border between Costa Rica and Panama following three days of blockade

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Normality restored on the border between Costa Rica and Panama following three days of blockade 

Sat, 10/06/2018 - 22:13


Normality has been restored to Paso Canoas, border area between Costa Rica and Panama that houses a neuralgic customs post, after three days of blockades by Costa Rican protesters in rejection of a tax reform in the country.

On a tour this Saturday, Efe verified the normal transit of cargo trucks and people through customs, from which goods are exported to Costa Rica and the rest of Central America, as well as the presence of street vendors and open shops.

Local people showed concern through comments in the street, since the blockades have generated economic losses not only to large companies when their trucks were stranded on both sides of the border, but also to people who make a living with the products sold daily in Paso Canoas.

"Every border blockade represents millions of losses," a Panamanian Customs official told reporters on Friday when asked about the economic impact of the blockades.

The Costa Rican protesters had announced that this Saturday they would return to demonstrate in the place, but at the last minute decided to postpone the actions until next Monday.

The protests of recent days were held without serious incidents on the border line, under the eyes of the Costa Rican and Panamanian police.

The protesters reject the fiscal reform promoted by the Government of the President of Costa Rica, Carlos Alvarado, with the aim of alleviating the country's growing fiscal deficit, which closed at 6.2 percent in 2017 and is estimated at least 7.1 percent this year.

On Saturday, a national union strike against the reform entered its 27th day, during which many street demonstrations have been staged in Costa Rica, which in most cases were peaceful.

The Costa Rican Congress approved the controversial tax reform on Friday in the first of two votes, which the unions reject on the grounds that it will affect more the lower and middle classes, while gently treating the rich and the companies.

The Government denies those extremes and ensures that 80 percent of the tax revenue collected by the tax reform will be paid by the 20 percent of households with higher incomes and businesses, which will reduce inequality.



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Although the situation at the border has improved, it's still not a good time to visit Costa Rica, imo. Particularly San José as the strike by public employees, mostly teachers, continues.

According to information offered today by the Costa Rican government, 98.5% of the workers still on strike are employees of the Ministry of Public Education, “The labor unions’ strike against the fiscal plan has diluted in the majority of public institutions that joined the movement in the beginning, back on September 10, and currently the protests are limited to workers of the Ministry of Education”, affirms the press release.

The information of the Government is based on reports of 46 public institutions, were 45 report working with complete normality.

“The employees that joined the movement in these 45 institutions represented a 13% of the protest in the beginning stages, by October 1st this number had gone down to 7% and by October 12 it only represents 1.5%”.

“The strike that presented itself as a national movement is limited at this time to the educators, this sector represents 98.5% of the strikers”.

The Social Security Service was the second institution with highest participation of strikers, currently only 300 people continue on strike, representing 0.7% of the employees of this entity, the majority of them are workers of the San Isidro de Perez Zeledón hospital.
389 workers of the Costa Rica Electricity Institute and 35 of the Aqueducts and Sewers Institute also continue on strike



Edited by Keith Woolford
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