San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Third-, Fourth-Ranked Parties Announce Platforms

WITH less than a month to go before the Feb. 5 presidential elections, the Libertarian Movement and Union for Change (UPC) parties – which rank third and fourth in the polls, respectively –have announced their official platforms.


No new taxes and ending public and private monopolies are what can be expected from a future government of Libertarian candidate Otto Guevara. UPC candidate Antonio Alvarez Desanti also says increasing taxes isn’t as important as improving government efficiency.


Both parties promise passage of the controversial Central American Free- Trade Agreement with the United States (CAFTA); increased foreign investment in Costa Rica; a mano dura (heavy hand) against crime, including increased penalties for convicted criminals; and accelerated judicial processes to clean up the criminal justice system.


THE Libertarians released their platform, “The Time to Act: A Contract with

the People of Costa Rica,” on Tuesday.


“Everything you can expect from the Libertarian Movement from 2006-2010 is here,” Guevara said, holding up the 41- page booklet containing the “contract.” Not only is Guevara committed to the document, but candidates for the Legislative Assembly and city councils nationwide will perform their duties, if elected, based on the ideas explained in it, Guevara continued.


These goals are based on typical campaign promises aimed at addressing the country’s greatest problems – crime, corruption, high cost of living and poverty. Some of the party’s more creative solutions to eternal problems are: revealing the faces of criminals to reduce crime; streamlining permits for small businesses, many of which work in the black market; and turning government-held public property on borders and along coasts into private property.


To reduce corruption, the platform suggests increasing penalties for corruption; eliminating unnecessary permits, which Guevara said create more opportunities for corruption; and decentralizing the government.


The Libertarian Movement was the last of the top four parties to release its platform. Guevara said that, while campaigning, they have been talking to Costa Ricans throughout the country and wanted to incorporate their concerns into the document.


UPC released its 102-page platform, “Toward a Secure, Unified and Governable Costa Rica,” last week. The plan is a vision for Costa Rica not only for 2006-2010, but also for the next 50 years. While a UPC government would be greatly dependent on the opportunities created by the private sector, it still has foundations in social justice, candidate Alvarez said.


Proposals pitched in the UPC platform, include expanding the country’s highways to four lanes, particularly those between ports and economic centers; installing more cameras on public streets and sidewalks to deter crime; improving bilingual education; guaranteeing bills are voted on in the Legislative Assembly within 180 days; and reducing controls of the Comptroller General of the Republic, which Alvarez says have caused delays in government business and not stopped corruption.


The plan also calls for a more electronic government to reduce requirements and lines for government permits, and sets a goal of 50% Internet coverage for the population.


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