Costa Rica faces rare labour strike
San Jose, Costa Rica, Sept. 15: Thousands marching in streets. Flaming barricades. Clashes between demonstrators and riot police in darkened streets. A semi- truck hollowed out by fire.
Costa Rica has been rocked this week by the kind of protests rarely seen in the country in comparison with its more tumultuous Central American neighbours. It comes during a labour strike that went into its fifth day on Friday with no apparent end in sight.
Spurred by calls from public sector unions, demonstrators protested again outside the presidential residence and blockaded roads in different parts of the country to demand President Carlos Alvarado scrap a proposed fiscal reform before congress that includes new taxes.
Costa Rica’s government is struggling with a deficit estimated at 7.1 per cent of GDP this year, which has pushed up the public debt load and increased its need for revenue. Alvarado is proposing to implement a value added tax to replace the existing sales tax and expand it other taxes.