San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Libertarian Candidate Proposes Dollarized Economy

Just weeks before voters head to the polls, candidates are doing everything they can to be noticed.

For some, it’s eyebrow-raising commercials. For others, it’s passing out more campaign paraphernalia and posting more billboards. For Libertarian Movement candidate Otto Guevara, it’s a few aberrant proposals.

This week, Guevara proposed doing away with Costa Rica’s local currency, the colón, and adopting the U.S. dollar. If legislators don’t agree to a full-scale dollarization, Guevara said, if elected, he would ask the Costa Ricans to vote on the issue in a 2011 referendum. The move would stabilize Costa Rica’s economy, in which businesses use both currencies, Guevara said.

The right-leaning candidate also proposed giving each school-aged child a laptop computer. He said he would use the money from the opening of the telecommunications industry to fund the initiative, which he estimates would cost a couple hundred million dollars.

Minister of the Presidency Rodrigo Arias responded Wednesday, saying there’s already an effort under way to put the Internet at the fingertips of every student in the country.

In a press conference Wednesday, Arias said Internet connectivity is even more important than the laptop because “it gives the computer purpose.”

Social Christian Unity Party candidate Luis Fishman has used another technique to push his campaign.

A latecomer to the February 2010 race, Fishman has been running television commercials positing that he is the “menos mal,” or “least bad.”

His marketing strategy has received widespread criticism, but campaign workers have called it a success.

“This commercial has called the attention of Ticos for its frankness,” read a statement from his campaign. “Precisely in the middle of this campaign, attacks are constant between Laura, Otto and Ottón.

People are tired of politicking. They don’t know for whom they will vote, but they know who is the least of the bad.”

A recent poll by Borge and Associates continues to show Laura Chinchilla of the National Liberation Party ahead with 36.7 percent, Guevara in second place with 16.2 percent, Ottón Solís of the Citizen Action Party in third place with 8.7 percent, and Fishman with 2.2 percent.

–Chrissie Long

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