Costa Rica

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Transcript Costa Rica

Costa Rica
Central America
Colonial Antecedents
• Colonization begins in 1560 but is slow
– Few minerals
– Distance from Guatemalan and Mexican centers of power
• Indigenous die out, flee, or are assimilated
– Still some remain in southern CR
– Bruncas and others
• Socioeconomic differentiation exists
– It is just less severe
• Major differences
Never developed hacienda system
Small holder farming persists and keeps peasants relatively free
Distance from seats of powerexperience in self government
Learned civil approach to conflicts
19th Century:
the first coffee republic
• 1823: Liberal/Conservative conflict not so strong
in CR—quick liberal victory
• Until 1905: instability in leadership
– ¼ serve 1 year
– 1/6 toppled by coup
– 1/3 of period under military rule
• 1870: Colonial Tomas Guardia
– Modernization, constitutional reform, education
– (UFCO period starts)
– Conservatives disappear
20th Century
• Ethnic diversity: Laborers to work on railroads
• Economic diversificationLabor organization and
– 1923 election contested by an alliance of political party,
unions, and progressive Catholics
– 1934: CR communist party wins major strike against
UFCO powerful labor confederation
• Middle class also expands rapidly during 1930’s
• 1940’s: the most critical decade in CR history
• Rafael Angel Calderon Guardia
– Social security reforms
– Popular alliance with Comm. Party, unions and church
• Labor code, right to strike
• VP survives him
– Elites are alienated
• 1948: Calderon goes for a second round
– Set up election board and gives control to the opposition
• Ulate wins fraudulently
• Calderonistas refuse to certify
• Civil war: short but bloody
– Jose Figueres (National Liberation Party) rebels
Figueres and the NLP
• Junta rules for 18 months
• Repressed labor
• Key social democratic reforms
– Abolition of the armed forces
– Independent electoral agency
• Supreme Electoral Tribunal
– Constitution
• Popular sovereignty
• Equality of citizens before the law
• Limited government
– Relinquished power back to Ulate in 1949
• NLP eventually wins in 1953
Costa Rican Democracy
• Political rights and guarantees
– Freedom of written and spoken expression, movement,
religion, association and petitition of government
– Freedom from self-incrimination, cruel or unusual punishment
– Right to due process, privacy and free access to information
from gov
• Social rights
– Government protection for families, mothers and children
– Equal rights between marriage partners
• Economic rights
Right to organize, collective bargaining, strike
Equal pay for equal work
Minimum wage, overtime, etc.
Public health care
Political Economy: 1949-1980
• Development model transforms CA
– Nationalized banking and insurance
– import substitution model
– Regional integration under the CA Common Market
• Foreign investment expands infrastructure
• GDP: 5X between 1950-1975 (per capita doubles)
• 1973: global economy spurs downturn
– 1973 oil prices trade deficit and depression
– Inflation
– Gov continues spending, borrows money from abroad
• By 1980: debt rises from 11.5% GDP in 1970 to
147% in 1982
1980’s: SAPs and stabilization
• CR trades support for US in Nicaragua for economic
–  $1.14 billion between 1982-1988 (10 x previous period)
– Temporary respite
– Brought turbulence into N. CR
• Second phase: starting in 1985: SAPs
– Neoliberal reforms engineered by ILI’s
• SAP I (1985): reduces government size and spending
• SAP II (1989): tax reform, elimination of subsidies, promotion of
NTEX, tariff reduction, privatization
– > reduced debt service and budget deficits
• SAP III (mid 1990’s): deeper cuts, further privatization
•  provokes major protests in the streets
– Teachers, port workers,
Impacts of Neoliberal Reforms
• New niches in global economy
NTEX, telecommunications, ecotourism
• Income disparities appear to grow
– Social malaise: drugs and violence increase
• Implications for democracy:
– Stronger and healthier state
– Stimulation of greater civil society
– SAPS are imposed by outsiders:economic decisions are
in the hands of foreign private investors and
intergovernmental lenders
– Greater legislation by decree and bureaucratic rule
making (not by representation in the LA)
Non Traditional Exports
• Butterfly producers
• Anthurium producers
Anthurium production
Tilapia farming
Citizen action against Harken Co.
oil drilling in Talamanca
Anti-dam protests by Brunca
CA Regionalism
• Kingdom of Guatemala
• United Provinces of Central America
– 1823-1838
• Early 20th C
– CA Court and other initiatives
– Broken apart by US invasion of Nicaragua
• 1923: attempts to revive failed to revive spirit of
• Central American Common Market: 1960
Recent regionalizing initiatives:
• European Union model
– Obstacles to Integration
• variation in development
• Hesitance of CR and Panama to join poorer neighbors
• The other four are working alone on some things
– standardizing registration procedures for foods and medicines.
Bilateral and other agreements
Proliferation of bodies
Absence of some necessary institituions
Ebbing and flowing enthusiasm
• Negotiations started Jan. 2003, expected to
end before US elections
• CA countries have been gradually
liberalizing although not without some
• US interest is more geopolitical than
• Dovetails with Plan Puebla-Panama