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How the Presidential Election in Costa Rica Can Help Immigration

Elections in the home countries of the U.S., Canada, and E.U. (and other countries) have been painfully divisive affairs these past decades as the social engineers behind the curtain pull on the levers of influence. As such, many of us are tempted to avoid the subject. We are either preaching to the choir or engaged in hostile exchanges with those of contrary opinions and completely closed to other points of view. So for the sake of peace, we remain mute.

But the freedom to vote was hard-won with the blood of patriots of all pollical stripes, and therefore, most of us, at the very least, remain attentive and engaged as a hard-won right to freedom of choice and self-determination.

At least as far as our home countries are concerned.

The Costa Rica Election:
You may be indifferent to elections here in Costa Rica due to your ineligibility to vote and resign yourselves to outcomes over which you think you have no control. I would suggest that you do have some sway. You should at least pay attention.

I.E., What’s in it for you to take notice?

Yesterday, Costa Ricans took to the polls to decide amongst an unprecedented number of candidates. Due to so many candidates and vote splitting, it was inevitable that there would be a runoff election on April 3.

So it isn’t over yet folks.

The winning candidate for the presidency must garner a minimum of 40% of the vote.
Yesterday’s lead candidate only reached 27.3%. So by law, on April 3, we citizens must go back to the polls and choose between the two leading candidates from yesterday:

José Mariá Figueres (green and white) and Rodrigo Chaves (green and blue.)

I mentioned an unprecedented number of candidates and turnout. Exceptional anything is often preceded by extreme concern and urgencies rooted in fear and pain.

To partially comprehend the national pain being endured, consider this: Due to overkill COVID lockdowns that a very recent Johns Hopkins study (being ignored) proved ineffective, over 1,600 small businesses in San Jose alone permanently shuddered their doors. One must further consider that there are no social safety nets in Costa Rica.

So what happens to all these entrepreneurs and their former employees? Most rely on the help of family. Some have found lesser employment. But a significant number have turned to crime in their desperation. Warnings of this inevitability were shouted from the rooftops at the very outset of COVID lockdowns. As predicted, the reality of increased crime is upon us now, as confirmed by the U.S. State Department, citing current crime statistics as reasons not to travel to Costa Rica. (Again, an overkill, knee-jerk move by those whose paycheck clears every Friday, no matter the impact of their reckless proclamations.) Nevertheless, these crime, unemployment, and under-employment outcomes of COVID affect all ex-pats.

Back to the candidates.
While no well-educated Costa Rican likes the options, we must choose between the better of two troubling candidates. (This is not the forum to qualify that assessment. I am sure an exchange is bound to occur in the comments below.) Suffice to say that while not very politically savvy, the most intelligent candidate finished well back of the pack. Such is the reality of politics and elections. The electorate is comprised of an extensive range of personalities and educational levels, most of whom lack proper discernment for various reasons. Again, this is not the forum to qualify that statement. (It should be evident to anyone who has lived here more than two or three years.)

My point of this brief article is to apprise you, the reader, of the impact of the election outcomes to your situations. Remember that my total focus is on residency and immigration.

Currently, there are significant issues in the processing of applications for residency. One issue is the onerous appointment system put in place to maintain social distancing. This is causing extremely stressful complications to applicant logistics. It also results in a dramatically reduced capacity for all government entities connected to the residency process. Each time I visit one of them, the offices are nearly empty due to the widely spaced appointments, as well as many no-shows. I see staffers twiddling their thumbs or texting endlessly with no one to serve most days. Processing capacity is down between 50 – 75%. This is neither the fault of staffers or DGME management. These directives come from way over their heads from the Ministry of Health.

(This is not unique to Costa Rica. Relatives, friends, and clients in Canada, the U.S., U.K., & the Netherlands all report the same things there.)

In Costa Rica, current entry requirements for the unvaccinated also still include COVID insurance. Even though less than 1% of outside visitors to Costa Rica have contracted COVID that required hospitalization. The cumbersome requirement also includes confiscatory high premiums completely unjustified using even the most conservative actuarial tables. It needs to be eliminated.

This requirement, along with checking useless Q.R. health passcodes on cell phones, causes excruciating long lines checking through customs when entering Costa Rica. Nothing changes amid all the languid finger-pointing amongst the controlling government entities.

Then there is the ongoing, pointless requirement of foreign driver’s license validity still being tied to entry visa stamp durations. If expired, one must make another ridiculous border run
just for a new stamp so they can legally drive. (Or fly out and back into Costa Rica for the same.) How that maintains road safety or national security defies logic. A holdover policy from decades back that no one wants to fix.

There are other issues, but these are the most common that come up in emails. I receive them daily from stressed and frustrated visitors, inquirers, and residency applicants either preparing for submissions or awaiting approvals on submitted applications.

All of it significantly impacts Costa Rica GDP and diminishes the government’s ability to provide adequate services, funded by tax revenues.

One wonders if the Ministry of Tourism is mindful of these issues that undermine their particular initiatives to promote tourism and retirement here in Costa Rica.

To my mind, based on history, Figueres and his green and white party are most likely to do something about these issues since they at least purport to be more focused on economics over social or environmental issues. (The latter two being funded by economics.)

A certainty? No. At best, statistical possibility. So talk it up with your Tico friends and neighbors.
Keep it polite while strenuously maintaining objectivity. Listen carefully. Who knows, you may sway some votes.

Source: The Costa Rica Star