San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

President Won’t Veto Bill for Monday Holidays

PRESIDENT Abel Pacheco said thisweek he will not veto a bill that wouldallow national holidays to be observed onMondays, despite a request from theNational Association of Public andPrivate Employees (ANEP), whichopposes the bill. The LegislativeAssembly approved the bill in seconddebate March 17.“We believe these important datesare part of our culture,” ANEP generalsecretary Albino Vargas told The TicoTimes this week.While Pacheco echoed these sentiments,arguing that Independence Day(Sept. 15) “would not feel the same” ifobserved on a different date, he said theissue is not worth “fighting with the legislatorsat a time when it is not convenientfor me to fight with them.”Tourism Minister Rodrigo Castro hasexpressed his support for the change, sayingit would boost national tourism bygiving families more long weekends inwhich to travel.Because national holidays forChristmas and Easter Holy Week, as wellas public school vacations in Decemberand January, all coincide with Costa Rica’stourism high season, Castro said more longweekends would allow residents to enjoythe country during non-peak times.Promoting the observance of nationalholidays on Mondays is part of the 10-yearNational Development Plan for SustainableTourism launched in 2002 by theCosta Rican Tourism Institute (ICT).Vargas, however, said any lack ofnational tourism stems from families’ lackof income, not of three-day weekends.Pacheco said in late March the proposalis “nice, in theory,” but that hethinks people will continue to celebrateholidays such as Independence Day andMother’s Day (Aug. 15) on the traditionaldates, causing absences from work andother problems.Legislator Gerardo Vargas, of theCitizen Action Party (PAC), said in astatement that moving Mother’s Day toMonday is outrageous because it wouldprevent women from spending the holidaywith their families, since people would berequired to work on the 15th whenever itfalls between Tuesday and Friday.

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