San José, Costa Rica, since 1956
No Sugar, Please

What Trump’s achievement has inspired

See also: Make Costa Rica great again?

I am one of millions who froze in front of a screen on Tuesday night and Wednesday, watching a stream of information about the surprising triumph of Donald Trump (yes, surprising, even for those who predicted it). I spent hours and hours on Twitter reading all kinds of laments, news, explanations, jokes and forecasts, while I gradually saw that the magnate’s victory really means the victory of a new pride: the pride of contempt.

It’s  clear that racism, xenophobia, homophobia, religious discrimination and misogyny have never disappeared, but in recent decades, Western societies have managed to classify these behaviors as shameful, reproachable, worthy of censure or even crimes. Things were going well – or so we thought. We saw women reach positions of power and even an African-American – an African-American! – in the White House, provoking pride that went far beyond his blackness. Signs of the times, we used to say.

Until someone came along who was astute, or too honest, and no one saw it coming. I mean, really saw it coming, beyond that joke on The Simpsons. Trump, the disagreeable millionaire, embodied – as a political calculation or through conviction, it doesn’t matter which – the hates and fears of those whites who had been shamed, and gave them free reign to spit on the black man, call the Muslim a terrorist, call Mexicans narcos, or grab women by the genitals. New “rights,” let’s call them. It’s like saying, “Relax – don’t be ashamed. Feel proud to return to the society we had before, when we had celebration. Make America great again. Great the way I, Donald Trump, am great. Make me America’s representative, your representative, and act accordingly.”

And they did. Videos of hateful acts at Trump rallies abound, scenes incited by that blond-haired man who asked them to be proud of feelings that they had repressed or forgotten. Perhaps for many decades ever since slavery was abolished, or ever since various waves of Latino immigration, or ever since September 11, 2001. It is possible that when dawn broke on Wednesday, day 9 of month 11, we were experiencing one more consequence of that attack on Manhattan, made manifest in the uninhibited magnate who achieved the presidency by leading a populist white-pride movement.

Many of us fear what Trump may do in power, but we do not need to wait to be terrified by what he has already achieved in his campaign. We saw it already on Wednesday. A young Muslim woman posted on social networks that she had been walking down the aisle of a Walmart and a woman ripped off her hijab, saying, “That’s not allowed anymore. Put it around your neck, not on your head.” Photos of swastika graffiti or messages from a Minnesota high school reading “Fuck niggers,” next to the words #whiteAmerica and “Make America Great Again.”

Another episode: the Indiana woman who was crossing the street when a white man lowered the window of his truck and, out of nowhere, yelled at her, “Fuck you, nigger bitch. Trump is going to deport you back to Africa.” Then there was the woman in Michigan, one of the key states in Clinton’s defeat, who without knowing the result of the election stopped for gas and had to listen to a group of young people tell her to go back to Africa, that Trump doesn’t want her here and Trump is now in charge.

This, and much more, in the first 24 hours. A boy in Pennsylvania who, seeing a woman coming toward him in a dress, tried to grab her by her crotch, cheered on by his friends. A Muslim assaulted in Louisiana. A gay man reading a derogatory note left on his car in North Carolina. All this reported by the journalist Shaun King of the New York Daily News, under the heading “Day 1 of Trump.” Hate is unleashed, no doubt about it.

The problem, however, is even bigger than this, because we know what happens when fear and rage take over a person’s life or, even worse, a group of people. In the comments made about these cases denounced on Wednesday, we can already see violence coming, or responses with an equal dose of hate. A Latino in California: “A white woman told me, ‘No visa, no America,’ but she doesn’t know I’m a citizen.” Of course. We’ll see internal discrimination take place between groups: I’m a citizen and you’re not. Get out of OUR country and don’t complicate my life in MY country, because it’s complicated enough with this horrible man called Trump.

The concept of “the other” will begin to come to the fore among populations that are victims of discrimination. The others, the blacks; the others, the Arabs; the others, the non-citizens; the others, the non-residents; the others, the non-Cubans. There will also be groups who will think: the others are the whites, the rednecks, those who voted for Trump and put this great country to shame. I think, for example, about the diplomats and military officers who will have to stand at attention and salute this unthinkable Commander-in-Chief.

Violence, assault and hostility is now accepted from the level of the presidency down to schools, the subway, the street or a shop. It will no longer be the exclusive territory of the KKK, of an isolated sheriff, of a loud-mouthed pastor or a crude comedian. The citizenry is empowered. This is what has been wrought by Trump and by the circle that his campaign strategy built – clever, aware of this layer of hate and fear that always existed, as it has in most societies, each with their own particularities.

The problem could expand, because viruses travel quickly in this day and age. (If you don’t agree, just remember that crazy clown craze.) Growing violence among citizens and sectarian pride in the United States would not take long to “go viral” and stoke the smoldering flames of hate that every society is hiding, just under the surface.

Álvaro Murillo is an experienced journalist who specializes in political coverage and has written for La Nación, Semanario Universidad and El País. In “No Sugar, Please,” his twice-monthly column, he explores politics in its broadest terms, from the halls of government to community life. Connect with him on Twitter.

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Costa Rica

I just love the tollerance and acceptance of the Lefties. This is a crap article.

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Ken Morris

Several of the posts here seem to misunderstand that this is an opinion column, and opinion columns are supposed to be, well, opinions. Nobody should hold an opinion column to the same standards of even-handed reporting as they do “journalism.” If you disagree with the opinion expressed in this column, you are free to express that disagreement in the comments, and even free to ask the TT to publish your own opinion column.

As for the opinion itself, I felt that it got off to a weak start. I loathe Trump too, but think sweeping generalizations about his alleged racism and so forth are just so much hyperbole. I actually doubt that Trump is personally much of a racist (and so forth).

But the column is correct to note that some of Trump’s rhetoric as been irresponsibly intemperate, with the effect that it has encouraged more than a few vile acts by some of his supporters, and the anecdotal list of some instances of these is a strong aspect of the column.

What Trump either doesn’t understand or doesn’t care about if he does understand is that words have consequences, especially the words spoken by a leading presidential candidate.

There is a reason, for example, why neither Obama nor Clinton use the phrase, “radical Islamic terrorists,” and it’s not because they don’t realize that these people exist. They know full well that they exist, and devote a lot of effort to defeating them. However, they also understand the power of words, and know that if they use a phrase like this, some listeners are going to misunderstand it mean that all or most Muslims are radical terrorists. They therefore choose their words carefully, lest they inflame prejudices.

Trump doesn’t choose his words carefully, and his words do inflame prejudices. Whether he has done this because he shares the prejudices, believed it to be a winning campaign strategy, or is simply ignorant and immature, I don’t know. (I suspect the latter.) Whatever the explanation, Trump has been irresponsibly incautious in his word choice, and then wrongly shrugged off criticisms as too much political correctness.

He should have realized his error after his remarks about illegal Mexican immigrants almost immediately prompted some white thugs in Boston to beat a Mexican to a pulp. Of course Trump was not among the thugs, and of course he disavowed their actions. But he should have realized that his rhetoric would have this effect, and toned it down.

Let’s all hope that Trump does tone it down. This column is right: So far Trump’s rhetoric has created a climate that encourages some of his fringe supporters to commit some nasty acts. Nobody–including the vast majority of Trump’s supporters–wants this to be the outcome.

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Elsa Duarte-Noboa

Couldn’t agree more…….the haters have their leader and marching orders. Sad days ahead for the USA and the world. The DNC needs to be held responsible for rigging the primary aginst Bernie!

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Charles House

BOO!! The TT doing its left-wing scary story. Really poor journalism. He didn’t get elected by some extremist group.

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Richard Holman

He got elected by an American electorate who do’nt accept the biased and prejudiced view forced on them by the media.

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Yes, in fact he did.

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Ginger Firestone

Only a few problems with this. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions and that is freedom. However, if you look at his first 3 hires, they are a woman, who happens to be the first woman who has ever managed a successful presidential campaign and yet no one has come forth to congratulate her tremendous accomplishment. Also an openly gay man and a black man. One more thing that we will disagree on. It’s not Trump supporters who have taken to the streets rioting and looting – it’s Hillary’s supporters and yet Obama and Hillary are quiet on this disgrace. Where is the educated tolerant people who support the democratic party – you know, the ones who say the republicans are the uneducated and non tolerant people. Many people were just as upset when Obama was elected, but none of this nonsense happened. The losers didn’t go crazy. Yes, we mumbled and grumbled, but we didn’t take to the streets and cause mayhem. We didn’t act like rabid animals. We didn’t block streets, turn over police cars, burn property and loot. What is going on is obviously not the entirety of the democratic party, but it doesn’t sit well. I mean really, college students needing to have classes cancelled and counseling? All because they can’t accept that they lost and didn’t get their own way. This is the way a baby acts, not an adult. It’s nothing but a temper tantrum. They really need to learn how to live in the real world where they don’t hand out participation trophies for showing up.

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Who’s committing violence? Who’s rioting and destroying property? Who is threatening to kill? It’s the progressive left that’s who so save your bullshit for someone else. TRUMP won the electoral vote by a land slid!!!! Counties and states that have not voted
Republican in 30 years voted for him and guess what, there’s not enough old white guys to do that, many,many democrats, adrincan americans, latinos and woman voted for him. Get over it and move on!

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Well, isn’t this exciting…

Frankly, I believe the posts are far more entertaining and enlightening than the article itself.

I respect the right of the press to speak openly and I’m glad we live in a country where, generally speaking, it can and does (although I have heard of the plight La Nacion has recently been put through).

Do I personally think this article is biased? Sure I do. During times like this with so much uncertainty and so much at stake tensions and emotions run high. The important thing to remember is it is simply one person’s option based on and biased towards their personal references. It is OK they make questionable statements and claim them to be factual? Well, I guess that speaks directly to their personal commitment to professionalism. A journalist’s integrity is all they have to sell, and if they choose to toss it away as in this case, I guess that is their right.

For the record, I am neither a American or a Costa Rican, but I would not be ashamed to be either. It’s not where you were born, but who you are and what you stand for that counts.

God bless those who work for a better world.

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Dave Cummings

What a biased BS article. Just plain terrible journalism. What a shame that this sorry excuse for an article is on one of my favorite sites.

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Earle Lancaster

I have meet President elect Trump and wife a few years ago. This worthless lying reporter should be fired for all the lies he just wrote and Trump should file a law suite against this idiot. I’m a service connected who has waited under the Obama administration for 2 1/2 years for my disability increase for one thing. Donald Trump has nothing to due with the KKK.

Give Donald Trump a chance and watch what he does for inter cities. Obama did nothing for the blacks so give me a break. The stock market is an all time high in two days and you watch the jobs start coming into America and America companies return to the US.

God Bless the USA

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Barrett Waddell Klutts

What a horrible and untrue article…This is why the Democrats lost the lies from the media and the establishment, with all their lies and Garbage.
He will be a great President for all!

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Bill Branch

Alvaro Murillo has shown such a biased and inaccurate piece of hatred in this article that he should never be considered for another political post. Many of the examples of hatred he described were shown by Snopes to be false, and also created by those with slanted political agendas trying to show a candidate as the devil, along with all his followers, in order to support his own political views, create more hatred based on unverified sources, and generate negativity into society. Shame on you Alvaro.

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Surprised to see Tico Times publishing this article..thought their journalism integrity was above this. Costaricalearn

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RevMichael Carbone

Great article. I have friends who have experienced this hatred first hand. This is not a fear article but a truth article.

First Hillary WON the popular vote, Trump the electoral college vote. Who btw do not vote until December 19.

To those living here who support, build the wall, learn the language, make America great again… hope you have your residency, doing border runs everyday is no better than illegals back home. Border runs btw are illegal here in Costa Rica. If you didn’t know, well now you do. I suggest learning the laws.

So many refuse to learn the language here … your in a Spanish speaking country that has it as its official language. Why tell locals to learn English just to please you. FYI English is NOT the official language of USA, it’s not in the constitution or any law.

How would you like it if all of a sudden people refused to serve you saying I do not serve Americans. Or hear chants Americans go home. Or the police stop you all the time because your a gringo.

Yes something needs to be done to stop illegals, but guess what? USA is not the only country dealing with illegals. Costa Rica has its problems with illegals too.

And you thought a 13% import tax here in Costa Rica was high??? Analysts and experts back home are saying import taxes could be up towards 40% range.

Costa Rica may not be perfect to some, but it is to me. At least I do not have to fear for my life as I walk down the street like I do now when I go back to the USA.

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Ken Morris

I am mostly with you, but have a couple quibbles.

One is with your charge that gringos in CR “refuse” to learn Spanish. Many of course don’t bother to try to learn, and I share your disgust over them, but the reality is that many can’t learn Spanish. The myth that everybody can learn another language if only they try is just that, a myth. The truth is that the ability to learn another language declines with age (mainly I think because as brains mature they lose the ability to hear unfamiliar sounds), and many an older gringo has enrolled in Spanish courses and otherwise tried to learn the language only to fail to get beyond the beginner’s level. IMO, it’s important to try, but also important to be realistic about the limitations that age imposes on learning.

It’s the same for Spanish-speakers in the US. If you watched the Republican debates and listened carefully, you heard Marco Rubio respond to the learn-English mantra by saying that his grandfather taught him “to love America in Spanish.” What Marco, who is himself seemingly fully bilingual, was pointing out is that older people don’t have anywhere near the same ability to learn another language that younger people have.

Both countries just need to be more realistic about older folks’ ability to learn another language. Sure, gringos in CR should try to learn Spanish, but when they give up in frustration, they shouldn’t be accused of refusing to try.

My second quibble is that I’m not sure that I oppose the police stopping me because I’m gringo, which in fact the police in CR are empowered to do, and by extension, I’m not sure I oppose the police stopping Latinos in the US. With you, I oppose perpetual tourism, and believe that gringos living in CR should obtain formal legal residency. (The debate over whether or not perpetual tourism is legal can go on forever, but suffice to say, I don’t think it’s right.) Since so many of my countrymen here are perpetual tourists or worse, I actually wish the police would stop gringos, including me, to ask for our “papers” more than they do. It’s no bother to me, because I have a cedula (and even speak lousy Spanish), and I’d prefer it if some of my illegal countrymen were deported, since they reflect poorly on me. By extension, I don’t see why Latinos in the US, most of whom are legal, would be bothered by merely being asked to show their “papers.”

True, police empowerment along these lines is subject to abuse, and no one wants to be stopped “all the time” and asked to produce their “papers.” But the police in CR have this authority, and I don’t see why the police in the US shouldn’t have it.

BTW, there is discrimination against gringos in CR, though it’s a curious kind. In some ways we’re actually treated better than Ticos, in other ways worse. But it exists. Unfortunately, Trump’s victory adds another layer to it. I’ve already been asked by Ticos to explain WTF is going on in the US in the aftermath of Trump’s victory, and seemingly been given the cold shoulder by others, as if I’m to blame for his win. Although I tire of responding, as long as they ask I’m OK. It’s when they give me the cold shoulder that I’m not OK. We gringos tend to be associated with everything that happens in the US, and Trump’s win is another burden for us to bear.

Or, as you note, maybe the electoral college will give Clinton the win. If it functions like it was designed to function, it should, but I doubt it will.

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Costa Rica Pete's

Please. Like there is no anti-gringo sentiment here. Your comment proves otherwise. Because all those things you mentioned do happen here. I am a gringo and I am married to an upstanding Tica. Don’t be blinded by your own resentments. Your comment was very ethnocentric.

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RevMichael Carbone

Well if they happen I haven’t seen them. Maybe because I respect the locals and don’t give them an attitude of superiority.

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Another open boarder nut

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Since you are knowledgeable about the law that states “border runs are illegal here”, please enlighten us with a link or reference to that law. Spanish is OK, I read it fairly well. I have asked this of many a competent atty, including some in immigracion itself, and have yet to hear the first one say it’s actually illegal. Sure, it is not in the general “spirit” of the “tourist” visa but if Costa Rica were actually bothered by perpetuales, it could easily pass a law that says such and so many days total, or per year or stay out for a time period or any other of a hundred ways but it does not. All things not prohibited in law are naturally assumed to be, well, not prohibited – how else can it be? Costa Rica DOES allow it’s frontier officers ridiculous latitude (IMO) in making a visa determination. PS: I’m not affected, I’m a 7 year permanent resident.

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Elvis Caprice

I am in agreement with the article about Trump’s racism/bigotry needing to be kept in check. But I would add that he will be the President and we have no choice but to allow him to govern. If he steps out of line, then we have the right to express our views with peaceful protest.
You list a couple facts of disinformation in you post that need correcting.

First, about Costa Rica tourism and getting a new visa at the border. There is no limit to this procedure under Costa Rican law. It’s not illegal but there is no law making it legal. Then again there is no law making breathing air legal either.

Second, goods imported are taxed at various levels depending on what they are. Some taxes as high as 80%. Don’t know where you get your 13% figure from.

The rest of your post is opinion/factual which I may not agree with so strongly.

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Costa Rica Pete's

You are obviously a TICO, not a gringo like you claim. Why be deceitful!

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RevMichael Carbone

You assume wrong. I’m gringo. Deceitful? I’m not hiding behind a false name

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