San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

President Arias Heads to Mexico, U.S. White House

President Oscar Arias left yesterday for a six-day trip to North America. He’ll attend the inauguration of Mexican President-elect Felipe Calderón today, then head to Washington, D.C. to meet with U.S.

President George W. Bush for the first time, according to Casa Presidencial. Apparently, that meeting fixes to be mighty interesting. Arias told Radio Monumental on Monday that he plans to tell Bush about his opposition to the wall being built along the U.S. border with Mexico.

“I’ll speak against the wall… because poverty doesn’t need a passport,” Arias said, according to wire service ACAN-EFE. “It’s not with walls, but rather by helping the poor people of Latin America relieve poverty, generate wealth and create more just societies, that they’re going to prevent people

crossing the border.”

Arias added that he plans to ask for Bush’s support for his Costa Rica Consensus, through which developed countries would increase their aid to developing nations that cut their military spending. Regarding the Central American Free-Trade Agreement with the United States (CAFTA), Arias plans to tell Bush the government of Costa Rica – the only signatory country that hasn’t yet ratified the pact – is willing to take that final step.

Arias is scheduled to return to Costa Rica Dec. 6.


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