San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

U.S. expats in Costa Rica pop the Champagne after Obama win

The Democrats Abroad of Costa Rica (DACR), an official overseas branch of the U.S. Democratic party, held an upbeat election party in Tin Jo’s Bamboo Room in downtown San José Tuesday night.

The environment was boisterous, confident and little anxious as guests watched U.S. presidential elections on a large projector screen via CNN. The room was filled with red, white and blue balloons, while a cardboard cutout of President Barack Obama was there to greet hopeful Democrats.

As elections progressed and states turned blue, the crowd of about 50 erupted with cheers, applause and standing ovations. Attendees were a diverse mix of voters all hoping for Obama’s re-election.

Event organizer and DACR chair Nelleke Bryun, a 65-year-old, Indonesian-born, naturalized U.S. citizen of Dutch heritage, pointed out the president’s numerous social objectives: “In Holland, we have a lot of social services, so I have that background. …We need social services because people are living in poverty.”

USA Elections 2012 in Costa Rica

U.S. Ambassador Anne S. Andrew, embassy staff, students, Costa Rican officials and other guests watch election results Tuesday night at the Hotel Crowne Plaza Corobicí in San José.

Alberto Font

Josh Clark, 31, who arrived in Costa Rica in September to work on his Ph.D., said the election party at the popular Asian restaurant was a “nice opportunity to be with people who would be cheering and booing at the same time as us.” For the Battle Creek, Michigan native, education was at the top of his list.

“It’s important to have a president who’s going to invest in and prioritize higher education,” he said.

The drinks flowed as Obama continued to increase his lead in the polls. Once it was announced that Obama won California, putting him ahead by a substantial amount and solidifying his re-election, the room exploded with shouts and whistles as everyone stood up to applaud.

Earlier in the night, Tin Jo owner and Massachusetts native Robert Faulstich said that he would provide free Champagne for all if Obama was re-elected. He kept his word, and plenty of bottles were brought out, corks were popped and glasses were poured for the jubilant guests.

After a majority of the polls had closed and the Champagne bottles were empty, Romy Feder, a 25-year-old from New York, said, “I’m really happy, but there’s a serious amount of work expected, such as LGBT rights, women’s work equity, and with student loans, … I want to see results.”

Bob Inget, 77, who hails from Ashland, Oregon, said, “I feel confirmed, I went into this thinking that Democrats were going to have about 80 percent. Democrats love math.”

Alan Steenstrup, 42, who is originally from New York but has lived in Costa Rica for the past 19 years said, “I’m very happy, I’m elated. No celebration plans, [I] just want to contact family and friends and enjoy the moment.”

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