San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

U.S. Congressman Visits San José

U.S. Republican congressman DanBurton, recently elected chairman of theWestern Hemisphere Subcommittee of theInternational Relations Committee, visitedSan José this week.The Indiana congressman met withex-President and 2006 presidential candidateOscar Arias (1986-1990), legislatorsand other officials during his stay, whichended Wednesday.At a Monday meeting with finance,trade and foreign relations officials andCosta Rica’s ambassador to the UnitedStates, Tomás Dueñas, participants discussedtheir mutual support for theCentral American Free-Trade Agreementwith the United States (CAFTA).Burton’s visit was his first to CostaRica since his election as committeechairman, according to a statement fromthe Foreign Ministry. He is best knownas a co-author of the Cuban Liberty andDemocratic Solidarity (LIBERTAD) Act,usually referred to as the Helms-Burtonact, which grants U.S. citizens the right tosue authorities or investors who benefitfrom previously U.S.-owned propertyconfiscated by the Cuban governmentafter the 1959 revolution.He told business leaders at a Mondaybreakfast given by the Costa Rican-American Chamber of Commerce(AmCham) that while he had had certainreservations about previous U.S. tradepacts, “I don’t have many concerns aboutCAFTA.” He did not specify a timeframe in which he expects U.S. PresidentGeorge W. Bush to send CAFTA toCongress for ratification, saying only thatthe legislature has a packed agenda.

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