San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Presidential candidates snub rival José María Villalta's tamal invitation

It looks like Broad Front Party presidential candidate José María Villalta is going to have a lot of extra tamales.  

On Thursday afternoon, Villalta invited his rival presidential aspirants to his home in Sabanilla for tamales, a Costa Rican Christmas tradition. Despite the attempt at holiday cheer, none of the other candidates have RSVP’d for the get-together, scheduled for 4 p.m. Friday, according to the daily La Nación.

The rejections could have something to do with the less than personal invite, which probably came off as a political ploy. His invite was picked up by national media after he broadcasted the message on Facebook and Twitter. His tweet read, “It’s time to come together and share.”

Rodolfo Ulloa, Broad Front Party secretary general, denied that the afternoon coffee was a campaign tactic, reported La Nación.

Nevertheless, the other presidential candidates have had to publicly turn down Villalta’s hospitality.

The most inventive excuse goes to Accessibility Without Exclusion Party candidate Óscar López, who reportedly is scheduled to climb to Mount Chirripó, Costa Rica’s highest peak, Friday afternoon. After feeling the biting cold at Chirripó’s peak, though, that warm tamal and cup of coffee might seem more attractive after all.

Ruling National Liberation Party candidate Johnny Araya wished Villalta’s family a Merry Christmas in his public response, but also snuck in a jab.

“These days our agendas are very full and mine is planned around the enormous responsibility to prepare for the national election at the high level of organization and purpose that the Costa Rican people expect,” Araya wrote in a press release. “This makes it impossible for me to accept your invitation.”

According to the latest national poll, Araya, Villalta, and Libertarian Movement Party candidate Otto Guevara are contending for the top three spots in the upcoming election set for Feb. 2, 2014.

If tamales don’t do the trick, Villalta could try a glass of rompope (Tico eggnog). Araya’s vice presidential candidate Jorge Pattoni works for Dos Pinos, maybe he could show up with a carton?

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