San José, Costa Rica, since 1956
Public infrastructure

Housing Ministry again postpones relocation of San José slum

The deadline to relocate families living on land slated for highway construction in San José was postponed this week for the fourth time in more than six months.

The land occupied by a slum known as “Triángulo de la Solidaridad” was supposed to be cleared by March 28, but the Housing Ministry on Tuesday said it would need at least three more months to complete new housing for the families.

Some 191 families must be relocated to allow for construction of the northern stretch of the Circunvalación, a beltway around the capital. The 4.1-kilometer stretch of road will connect the community of La Uruca, northwest of the capital, with Route 32, the highway connecting San José with the Caribbean province of Limón.

Housing Minister Rosendo Pujol reported this week that only 17 of the 180 homes needed to house the families are ready.

“In addition to those 17 houses, 45 are currently under construction, and work on 82 more will begin in the coming weeks,” Pujol said. The minister did not disclose the locations of the new homes. Last year, neighbors in the southern San José canton of Desamparados protested the possible relocation of slum residents there.

“I believe we can complete the relocation and all necessary cleanup work on the land by May, so we can move forward with the project,” the minister said.

An exact date to launch the highway construction is uncertain.

Triángulo de la Solidaridad emerged 14 years ago on a property owned by the Public Works and Transport Ministry. Currently about 525 families live in the slum, including a large number of Nicaraguan immigrants, according to Housing Ministry data.

The relocation of families from Triángulo de la Solidaridad was originally scheduled for October but was postponed to December and then again that month. Delays in the construction of new houses for slum inhabitants earlier this year forced ministry officials to postpone the deadline once again to March and now, this week, to May.

Housing Ministry officials estimate that some 36 families will have to be temporarily relocated in May to container homes on land adjacent to the slum, at a cost of some $300,000, until permanent homes can be finished.

MOPT officials say work on the first stage of the highway project, including measurements and other basic procedures, could begin in late April. The construction of the Circunvalación Norte project is expected to cost $141 million.


Completion of the Circunvalación Norte project (blue lines) involves connecting beltway stretches at La Uruca (West) and Calle Blancos (East) with the highway passing right across the Triángulo de la Solidaridad slum.

Map by MOPT/The Tico Times

Contact L. Arias at

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Most of the people that live in this area are from Nicaragua and have no legal right to be in CR. I am really sick of all the Nica´s that sponge off the Costa Rica system. Bring in immigration and a bus a send these Nicaragua´s back to there Country. Costa Rica is getting sucked dry by Nica´s.

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Ken Morris

I take offense to the xenophobia.

Something tells me that if the Nicas were illegal, MOPT and the Housing Ministry might have already thought of this angle. I doubt they need Ben to bring it to their attention.

Odds are therefore that these Nicas do have the legal right to be in CR. Most do, although many linger in the “in process” limbo at migración, both because migración is a typical Tico bureaucracy full of incompetent clerks inventing make-work to appear busy and because Nicas often can’t get or can’t afford the documents migración requires to formalize their status. This results in many Nicas being legal enough to live in CR but not quite legal enough to get jobs covered by the labor law.

Thus, Nicas are most of the maids, prostitutes, farm laborers, and construction workers. Indeed, have you ever seen a Tico with a shovel? It happens, but the guys on the working ends of the shovels are invariably Nicas–and often as not their employers aren’t abiding by CR’s labor laws.

Meanwhile, the Ticos complain of unemployment. I gather the Ticos all want office jobs in bureaucracies like migración rather than the hard jobs Nicas do, and then want to tell “Nica jokes” and otherwise feel smugly superior.

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These Nica’s often do jobs Tico’s simply will not do. Just as many Latinos in the USA do jobs many gringos won’t do. You can’t have it both ways Ben!

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Dan Gibson

The time where the Costa Rican people — those being the ”common people” — thanks to the government — will no longer be able to afford to live in their own country — is right around the corner — To have those people ”relocated” anywhere ”near the chosen ones” — just cannot be allowed to happen — !!

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