Deputies, Politicians and Businessmen Support Government Decision to Backtrack with IMF Proposal

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    The backtracking of the proposal for negotiations with the IMF announced by President Carlos Alvarado after days of blockades had a diverse reception among the different national sectors. According to what the President said on national television this past weekend, he would directly join the dialogue and put aside his original plan.

    National Assembly Deputies demanded the measure over the weekend and agreed with the announcement

    National Liberation – which denied its 17 votes to more taxes – stressed that the plan was a failed attempt that should be removed.”From every point of view it was unbalanced and did not make sense with the reality of the country,” said the head of the group, Luis Fernando Chacón.Sub-coordinator Karine Niño added that the social peace that the country has lost in recent days should now be promoted.

    “Many months ago we insisted that the proposal was built in secrecy and with very few sectors,” said Social Christian Pablo HeribertoAbarca.The rojiazul deputy stressed that the President assumes leadership and insisted that the plan should increase cuts and adjustments. 

    The head of Restoration, Xiomara Rodríguez, described as “well decided” the withdrawal of the plan since it“lacks viability”.”Hopefully this can calm the waters so that the Executive can build communication bridges and take the suggestions into account,” she postulated.

    They were joined by the leader of the New Republic, Fabricio Alvarado, indicating that recent governments “have shown little solidarity and little empathy and rather distancing from the common people.”He added that today “more than ever we must ask God for his intervention, since we have already seen that our leaders have ignored him and have excluded him from all their decisions.”

    From real experience

    Other experienced politicians also spoke with regards to the Presidential announcement, pointing out that the decision taken was the optimal one.”It was a plan that was born dead, it had no chance when 46 deputies said they would not vote for it,” said former President Rafael ÁngelCalderón.As he indicated, maintaining the plan without viability and the country almost in insurrection was absurd.

    The liberationist leader and former legislative president Antonio Álvarez stated that the correct measure was to withdraw and immediately call for negotiations.”Ibelieve that we must take advantage of this invitation to negotiate and bring the parties to the table, seek the peaceful solution that Costa Rica needs,” he said, adding that the blockades should now end.

    Ex-presidents Laura Chinchilla and José MaríaFigueres had also spoken on the matter. While Chinchilla warned that almost 3 weeks passed without a dialogue after the legislative rejection, Figueres pointed out that there is simply no room for more taxes.The latter recommended that negotiations be held to generate a new plan whose execution must involve new figures, which should include a complete cabinet renewal.

    Businessmen celebrate decision

    The business chambers celebrate the decision to withdraw the initial proposal that would be taken to the IMF.Alvaro Jenkins, president of the Costa Rican Union of Private Enterprise Associations (UCCAEP), said that his organization accepted the invitation to dialogue to “create the bases of the economic and social stability that the country needs.”

    “As requested by UCCAEP, faced with an absolutely unbalanced proposal, the Executive Branch agreed to withdraw the initial approach that it was going to propose to the International Monetary Fund, which is only a first step,” Jenkins said in a statement.

    Likewise, the business representative condemned the blockades that affect the productive sector and the employment of Costa Ricans and urged the government to dialogue with valid and impartial interlocutors who guarantee it.

    For his part, the economist Gerardo Corrales said that he finds it very positive that President Alvarado has withdrawn the project, and that, respecting the institutional framework, he has called for a negotiating table.

    “It is not with violence, in the streets, that the goals of different interest groups are achieved. It is now up to us, in a mature way, to put forward the different suggestions for improvements,”said Corrales. He recognized that there is a structural problem and that it is necessary to look for different ways, such as spending or debt, but if it has to be done through income, it should be done progressively without affecting the most vulnerable sectors of society.

    Meanwhile, Laura Bonilla, president of the Chamber of Exporters, said that a great step had been taken, as the project generated great uncertainty. Now it is important to hold a discussion table, because it is urgent to reactivate the productive sector that is paralyzed by the blockades.

    “If the protests do not stop, as of Monday many companies will run out of fuel and cardboard boxes to pack their products, which will lead to many paralyzing their production and thus opens up the possibility of suspending employment contracts,” harming a large number of Costa Ricans,”said the businesswoman.

    Blockades will follow

    With more suspicion about the presidential decision, the leaders of the protests, who are carrying out more actions, spoke.In public statements former deputyCélimo Guido announced that the blockades will continue until an agreement makes the situation more firm.

    Along with fellow former legislator José Miguel Corrales, Guido has served as spokesman for the self-styled National Rescue Movement.The secretary of ANEP, Albino Vargas, said for his part that resorting to the IMF is still unnecessary and asked for caution with Alvarado’s announcements.

    “It is a demobilizing advertisement, it is cheating, it is deceiving the public that it agrees to its repudiation of the tax package but continues to insist on it,” he concluded.

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