Mariana Estrada is a 28-year-old entrepreneur who is trying to attract travelers who come through Liberia, the hub of the northwestern province of Guanacaste’s tourism industry, to her new hotel. Depending mostly on customers who are catching flights in and out of the country at the nearby DanielOduberInternationalAirport, her hotel El Punto is becoming more profitable as more tourists hear of her colorful establishment (TT, June 29). The single, bilingual Liberia native, who studied architecture at Texas A&M in the United States and studied art in Florence, Italy, says she’s all for voting in favor of the Central American Free-Trade Agreement with the United States (CAFTA).
TT: Will you vote for or against CAFTA in the upcoming referendum?
How do you think the outcome will affect you personally?
It will affect me in a positive way, since I’m in the tourism industry. It would be fantastic for tourism. It gives us more opportunity to open the market and to provide better services. Things will be easier for us.
I would rather not say (what would happen if it is rejected). Hopefully people will allow the opportunity of being more educated. Better education would provide a better way of living for all of us.
What is the single most important reason to support CAFTA?
To open the market.
Why has CAFTA attracted so much attention here and abroad?
In Costa Rica, there’s a lot of pressure between people not interested and others that are, which is different from all the other Central American countries that approved (CAFTA) almost immediately.
It’s been more difficult to approve it here because there’s a lot of pressure from companies with no competition that want to keep it that way. Costa Rica is the only country where there’s a lot of people against it and now we have the opportunity to choose whether the population agrees with it or not.