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costa rica: anti-free-trade movement building success

The campaign against the Central American Free Trade Agreement culminated in a major movement building success for COECO/Friends of the Earth Costa Rica.


Costa rica referendum Costa Rica has been the only country in the region not to ratify this agreement with the US, Central America and the Dominican Republic, known as CAFTA-DR. The agreement had already been in force for signatories including Nicaragua, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.

With Costa Ricans set to vote in an October 2007 referendum on whether to endorse CAFTA-DR, FoE Costa Rica made a dynamic and effective contribution to a major social movement that aimed to build opposition to the agreement.

Called the Patriotic Movement, the nationwide effort of trade unionists, universities and environmentalists rejects ratification of the free trade agreement with the US. Their efforts led to a massive demonstration in San Jose, Costa Rica's capital, at the end of September. Thought to be the largest in Costa Rica’s history, it saw between 100,000 and 150,000 people participate in the “NO to the FTA with the US” campaign, ahead of the referendum vote.

Although FoE Costa Rica members were deeply saddened by the following referendum vote, which decided in favour of CAFTA-DR by a narrow margin, the group almost immediately began planning next steps in the new stage of their fight against the agreement.

“The dreams, the hope, and the push and work that this will require are still strong. Importantly we are inspired by the satisfaction of having contributed actively and strongly to the building of a social movement whose future will bring us much happiness,” said Isaac Rojas of FoE Costa Rica.


with thanks to our funders: the dutch ministry of foreign affairs

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