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Weekly Report - 04 July 2019 (WR-19-26)

COSTA RICA: Opposition protests heap pressure on Alvarado

When protesting fishermen threw a small stick of dynamite at the presidential palace in San José last week, Costa Rica’s President Carlos Alvarado would not have known it was only a foretaste of what was to come. But Alvarado most likely suspected that the long-awaited implementation of a value added tax (VAT) to replace the current sales tax on 1 July would not go without a hitch. In the event, the political opposition, trade unions, and students forged a powerful alliance. Transport workers staged roadblocks on strategic highways, resulting in significant economic losses, and the ‘progressive’ education minister was driven from office. Alvarado’s resolve will now be tested after agreeing to discuss the multi-sectoral protest group’s list of 18 demands in a dialogue table over the next two weeks.

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