Strike In Costa Rica


This cartoon originally ran September 7, 2018, in The Costa Rica Star.

When I drew this cartoon, Costa Rica was preparing for a labor strike. Now, they’re several days into it. This week’s cartoon also touches on it.

Costa Rica is well known as a place where it takes forever to get anything done. People in the nation operate on what is known as “Pura Vida Time.” Expect slow responses, people are rarely on time, and you’ll get stood up a lot. When a contractor or government service gives you an estimate or an actual time to expect what you need, it’s never true. It’s like that Tom Hanks Movie, The Money Pit, where every answer is “two weeks,” yet it’s never two weeks. So, how will anyone notice there’s a strike going on? A lot of people aren’t.

In fact, the only people who’ve noticed or have actually been inconvenienced by the strike are the people in the larger cities, like the capital, San Jose. And, most of that inconvenience has been the strikers getting in their way by blocking traffic.

What is the strike over? It’s opposition from labor unions and government employees against a proposed tax reform. The project is called the “Law of Strengthening Public Finances”, like 2% in basic foods products and 4% for education and private health system. They are mostly upset at the value added tax, which is 13% and will remain so, but the government wants to add more products and services.

The nation is in serious debt and something has to be done. The unions and government employees may need to give a little. The nation could start by stop paying state bank presidents over $25,000 a month.

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