Can Foreigners Get Involved?

May 25, 2007

The country’s Electoral Code strictly prohibits campaign donations by foreigners or foreign businesses, and the Supreme Elections Tribunal (TSE) has made it clear this prohibition applies during the upcoming referendum.

Less certain is whether foreigners can express their opinions about the agreement, an issue at the heart of controversies this week over comments by Cuban President Fidel Castro (see separate story).

The Constitution states that foreigners “may not interfere with the political affairs of the country,” but does that mean they can’t voice support for or opposition to the Central American Free-Trade Agreement with the United States (CAFTA) – to friends or employees, at a public event, or on newspaper opinion pages?

TSE representatives told The Tico Times that Electoral Programs Coordinator Héctor Fernández is the man to answer this question, but he did not return phone calls by press time. Others had differing views.

“No,” Ottón Solís, leader of the anti-CAFTA Citizen Action Party (PAC), said bluntly when asked whether foreigners can speak freely about the agreement as the referendum looms. “It’s better that they don’t interfere, that they respect our democracy.”

Ombudswoman Lisbeth Quesada, who has also spoken against CAFTA, said she sees no problem with foreigners voicing opinions “as long as they are respectful.”

Lynda Solar, executive director of the pro-CAFTA Costa Rican-American Chamber of Commerce (AMCHAM) and a dual U.S.-Costa Rican citizen, said there’s no question foreigners are allowed to speak their mind.

“There’s free speech in Costa Rica, and foreigners can say whatever they want about CAFTA,” she told The Tico Times.

 

You may be interested

With Keylor Navas battling injuries, Real Madrid eyes January swoop for Bilbao goalie
Keylor Navas
187 views
Keylor Navas
187 views

With Keylor Navas battling injuries, Real Madrid eyes January swoop for Bilbao goalie

AFP - December 11, 2017

Real Madrid's first foray into the January transfer market will be to snap up Athletic Bilbao's promising goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga,…

Our High Season Print Edition is here! Here’s where to find it
The Tico Times
455 views
The Tico Times
455 views

Our High Season Print Edition is here! Here’s where to find it

Katherine Stanley - December 11, 2017

In the weeks since the relaunch of The Tico Times on Sept. 1, we’ve been hard at work to reconnect…

Bright Lights Boat Parade inaugurates holiday season in Quepos
Events
529 views
Events
529 views

Bright Lights Boat Parade inaugurates holiday season in Quepos

Elizabeth Lang - December 11, 2017

The Bright Lights Boat Parade marked the official kickoff of the holiday season in the Central Pacific town of Quepos…