San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Candidate Solís Calls Arias a ‘Little Dictator’

• Citizen Action Party (PAC) presidential candidate Ottón Solís called fellowcandidate Oscar Arias, who leads in the polls, a “dictadorcito (a little dictator),”regarding a statement Arias made that “looking for consensus is a negationof leadership,” the daily Al Día reported. Arias, former President and acandidate for the National Liberation Party, made the statement last weekregarding the lack of leadership and decisiveness that he says plague Costa Rica.Solís said he aims to create a government based on dialogue.• With a name shared by at least eight other Costa Ricans, Arias has become thesubject of some odd negative campaigning regarding his stance in favor of theCentral American Free-Trade Agreement with the United States (CAFTA). An anti-Arias, anti-CAFTA organization has created a series of television and print adsusing Liberation’s well-known green and white colors, in which people namedOscar Arias Sánchez announce their opposition to the agreement. Arias’ campaignchief and brother, Rodrigo Arias, called the tactics “illegal and misleading,” butthe candidate himself said they are “clever and amusing,” Al Día reported. Severaltelevision stations have opted out of airing the ads.• Arias may be wooing Oscar-winning U.S.-Australian actress Nicole Kidman,depending on how you interpret a quote published in Al Día. Arias, who is divorcedand known for his charming ways with women, said, “The bad thing is that peoplesay I’m courting this woman or that one… Nicole Kidman could hear, and thus Icould lose a beautiful relationship.”• Apparently concerned that the professional translators may have gotten itwrong, PAC legislator Edwin Patterson has asked the government for a copy ofthe 2,600-page CAFTA in English. Patterson, a CAFTA opponent, told the daily La Nación, “Sometimes the sametext in different languages can lend itself to confusion. We want to analyze thatpossibility with CAFTA.” Foreign Trade Ministry (COMEX) officials told LaNación they will comply with the request.• The University of Costa Rica (UCR) finished its final round of candidatedebates this week, with the Union for Change’s Antonio Alvarez Desanti, theNational Integration Party’s Walter Muñoz, Patria First Party’s Juan JoséVargas, and the Democratic National Alliance’s José Miguel Villalobos facingoff Tuesday. The event was the last in a series of four debates among all the presidentialcandidates. Last week’s debate featured Vladimir de la Cruz, Bolivar Serrano and José Manuel Echandi, of the Democratic Force, Costa Rican Renovation and National Union parties, respectively.• Echandi, de la Cruz, Villalobos, Solís, the Libertarian Movement’s Otto Guevara, Popular Vanguard candidate Humberto Vargas and National Rescue’s Alvaro Montero will meet for a debate tonight at 6 p.m., at the UCR campus in the Caribbean port city of Limón. The debate will focus on candidates’ proposals for that region.

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