San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Private Organizations Pledge To Pay Whaling Group Dues

Environment and Energy Minister Roberto Dobles told the daily La Nación this week that private organizations have pledged to pay Costa Rica’s dues to the International Whaling Commission, allowing the country to participate in the critical May vote on the hunting of whales in the world’s oceans.

While the minister did not name the groups that have offered to pay about $30,000 of the country’s more than $300,000 debt, he indicated the government would vote against whaling, which has been banned worldwide since 1986.

Costa Rica has been behind on its dues to the commission since the 1980s. Last month, environmental groups rallied in San José’s CulturePlaza, toting a lifesize inflatable whale and calling for the government to pay up on its commission membership.

Activists also raised suspicions that Japan, the leading proponent of resuming commercial whale hunting, might be trying to influence Costa Rica’s position on the matter through its generous aid to the country (TT, Feb 9).

Tomorrow, Costa Rican environmentalists and musicians plan to come together again in support of whales. They’re planning a concert to urge the government to stick to its promise to oppose whaling, according to Edgar Castrillo, a member of the Costa Rican Coalition for Whales, a conglomerate of 12 national and international environmental organizations.

Whale-related tourism in Costa Rica, a lucrative enterprise, would be affected if migrating whales were hunted, Castrillo said.

The free concert is planned for all day tomorrow, from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m. at the CulturePlaza in downtown San José. It will feature Costa Rican rock groups including Evolución and Zurdo as well as games for kids. Concertgoers will also have a chance to talk with members of environmental groups.


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