San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Cruise ship cancels Caribbean stop due to public workers strike

Protests and strikes by public workers in Costa Rica on Monday already are generating financial losses. The Coral Princess cruise ship, transporting 2,000 tourists, opted not to dock at the Caribbean port of Limón to avoid the protests.

Cruise ship staff on Friday called officials at the Atlantic Port Authority (JAPDEVA) – administrators of the docks – to confirm the news of today’s strikes and decided to skip the Costa Rican port, said JAPDEVA spokesman Israel Oconitrillo.

The decision to skip Costa Rica represents $8,000 in lost tax revenue. Each cruise ship that arrives in Limón pays a $4,000 tax for the use of the dock, and each tourist must pay a $2 tax upon their arrival.

The decision to skip the Caribbean port also affects several businesses that depend on cruise ships, such as tour companies, taxis, buses, artisans and restaurants, among others.

Oconitrillo also said a separate tanker ship is waiting for docking permits in front of the Limón dock.

Presidency Minister Carlos Ricardo Benavides said in a press release, “The Costa Rican Tourism Board, as well as local business owners, have done a great job to attract cruises that stopped coming. While we are struggling to eradicate unemployment and poverty, others are determined to undo all the positive efforts.”

Union leaders last week said today’s protests would bring together members of at least 20 public-employee unions who are launching a list of complaints against the government.

In addition to union members, school teachers, health workers, public university students, taxi drivers, motorcycle drivers, and others hit the streets of the capital at 9:30 a.m., causing traffic jams at several points. Public workers across the country joined the protests. 

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