By Karrian Dailey – Student of the School of General Studies
According to the 2019 State of the Nation Report, despite the challenges and risks present over the years, the resilience capacity of the historical strengths of Costa Rican society is recognized and, in the same way, the importance that the country conserves today, its economic and political stability. However, it is important to note that the SARS-CoV-2 crisis led us to a different scenario, which is quite far from stability, and it is therefore necessary that the media addresses this issue, so that the dangerous scenario in which not only our political and economic stability is found, but also our democracy is understood.
On the one hand, the restrictive regulations on transport and commerce, in addition to the prohibition of foreigners entering a country whose economy is heavily dependent on tourism, made any intention of a general recovery impossible. According to the National Institute of Statistics and Censuses (INEC, 2020), in the months of February, March and April registered an increase of 4.4% in unemployment, which together with the strong impact of the health crisis, generated quite discouraging estimates, for example, the IICE of the University of Costa Rica proposes a decrease of 4% and 6% of our economy (Mayorga, 2019). In order to face said economic instability, the Government presented a proposal to negotiate with the IMF an agreement for 1.75 billion dollars. The proposal also includes new taxes on bank transactions, global income, and the increase in other taxes such as income and real estate.
This proposal, rejected mainly by the political opposition and other social sectors, generated not only discontent in the population, but also a strike that represented even more instability which can even be observed from different levels. From the economic point of view, according to the Government, the blockades led by the “National Rescue Movement” caused losses of, at least, 37 million dollars to the agricultural sector during the first days (DW, 2020). From the social level, it has allowed unjustified opportunities for vandalism groups and their actions; such is the case of the province of Limón, where there was an attempt to set fire to businesses that were totally external to the situation, such as veterinarians. Finally, from the political point of view, the appearance of not only populist but opportunist characters was promoted once again, such as Fabricio Alvarado, who requested the immediate resignation of the entire government cabinet and even used religious discourse with phrases such as "This government has Costa Rica without God and without law" (Pérez, 2020), which not only generated more instability but also polarized the entire people. And, as Rigoberto Vega, president of the Costa Rican evangelical alliance, mentioned it was a " partisan political interest, before the interest of the country ”(Salas, 2020).
To summarize and return to the initial thesis, the COVID-19 pandemic, from a subjective point of view, has a strong tendency to mean a reversal in the indicators presented by the 2019 State of the Nation Report. However, this answer is not perfect, and the current situation may generate a point of reflection in the population that could eventually be represented in a change on the election of the political parties that will lead the destiny of the country, thus generating an opportunity to rebuild the route.