“IT is hereby resolved that we Democrats will be sending George W. Bush back to Crawford, Texas,” said an impassioned Dorothy Sagel, as she kicked off the Democrats Abroad Election Extravaganza on Saturday afternoon.
Her words were met with a rousing cheer from the audience at the Gran Hotel in San José. Potential voters turned out for a variety of reasons, but all share a common goal – defeating U.S. President Bush in the November elections.
Sagel, president of Democrats Abroad in Costa Rica, said the organization was gathered to get that message across.
“I hope that people who are here and who read about this event will know that there’s a large group of people who are unhappy with George W. Bush and his administration,” she said.
Jerry Ledin, regional vice-chair of the Americas, agreed. “Democrats Abroad have empowered themselves around the world to defeating Bush and (U.S. Vice-President Richard) Cheney,” he said.
The event had a turnout more than double what the regular Democrats Abroad meetings usually generate, leading members to become optimistic about the upcoming Presidential race, organizers said.
Voter registration helped draw the crowd – more than 80 people registered that day and another 20 took applications to fill out and return later.
“WE’RE trying to offer a viable alternative for Americans in Costa Rica who are not aware of the fact that they can register and vote and that their vote will make a difference,” said organization vice-president David Sagel.
Member Francis Chavarría expressed satisfaction with the afternoon’s events.
“I hope this creates a momentum of enthusiasm that keeps growing as we near Election Day,” she said.
Past co-president Jerry Karl said he feels it is important to have functions like the Election Extravaganza where Democrats can speak their minds.
“We’re here discussing important issues occurring in the United States and abroad and want to have our opinions voiced,” he said.
Jerry James said he attended because he believes getting Bush out of office is a matter of personal as well as national security.
“GEORGE W. Bush has upset all nations of the world, so much so that Americans need to fear for their safety when they’re overseas,” he said. “We need to get rid of a guy like this. I’m here to get him out of office.
“I wasn’t going to vote ever again until I read we had a chance of beating Bush. Now here I am,” James added.
Democrats Abroad members spoke on behalf of potential Presidential candidates and an unofficial straw poll was taken, with John Kerry coming out as the winner with 39 votes. The next closest candidate was Dennis Kucinich, with 11 votes.
DEMOCRATS Abroad is organized into three regions: Europe-Africa-Middle East, Asian-Pacific and the Americas.
Democrats Abroad plans to send 22 delegates to the Democratic National Convention in Boston this July. Two of those delegates will be representing Democrats Abroad for the Americas.
Democrats Abroad will continue its voter registration drive during the next three months. For more info about registering or on Democrats Abroad Costa Rica, call 249-1856, 494-6260 or visit www.cr.democratsabroad.org.
The Republicans Abroad of Costa Rica held its annual membership drive event on Feb. 21, including the participation of visiting leaders of the U.S. Republican National Committee (TT, Feb. 27).