San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Citizen Action Parties

An unlikely coalition of ad executives, journalists, clergy and ex-government officials formed a movement in March called Recuperemos La Paz (Let’s Restore Peace), heralding its arrival by launching a sophisticated public relations campaign against crime.

With donated space in La Nación, Al Día, El Financiero and La Teja, and free airtime with TV channels 6 and 7, the campaign launched an aggressive ad campaign that featured the slogan, “Vivimos bajo la ley de hampa,” or “We’re living in a criminal underworld.”

The campaign was a hit with Ticos, logging an estimated 500,000 hits on its Web site in its first two weeks.

Leaders from all three branches of government, led by Vice President Laura Chinchilla, entered into direct negotiations with the group on a legislative overhaul of the criminal law to be passed within six months.

That bill made it through a Legislative Assembly committee in October and is waiting to be debated on the assembly floor.


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