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Why I believe Costa Rica will learn, heal and rise

Andrés Madrigal / The Tico Times

At three in the morning, the phone rang.

You know, when it rings at that hour, that it’s not a good thing. You know. With our hearts in our hands, we took the call. Seven hours later we were at the wake for Priscila, sister of Mariana, dear friend of Victoria, my girlfriend.

“She would have liked to know that you came,” Mariana said to me. “You know what? Yesterday Pri asked, ‘What is Diego saying [about the election]?'” Mariana was trying to give me a smile. I was trying to give her a hug.

I walked away, thinking: What would I have told her?

On Sunday Pri was in a bed, in a hospital, sad, because she wanted to vote and she couldn’t. Worried, like so many of us, about her country.

I went home, thinking: What would I have said?

A participant in Costa Rica's Children's Election on Feb. 4, 2018. Andrés Madrigal / The Tico Times

I would have told you, Pri, that because I am my mother’s son, I’m obliged to be an optimist, always. I’m not worried; I’m inspired. I’m filled, not with doubts, but with certainties: Costa Rica will come out of all this bigger, more loving and more understanding. Costa Rica will learn, heal and rise.

The man on the left supports Citizen Action; on the right, National Liberation. The voter in the middle opted for a National Team T-shirt. Iva Alvarado / the Tico Times

I would have told you that I am grateful, because once more, we celebrated free elections and listened to the voice of the people, which, as Vicentico says, is the voice of God. And that’s what this is about, Pri: listening. Today, more than ever, we have to be capable of offering our fellow citizens our best face, of opening our hearts, of practicing empathy. Of understanding that this is a task that all of us must complete together.

Courtesy of Voces Activos Carpio de Luz

I would have told you that it is time to build bridges, reach agreements and move forward. It is time to remember everything that has made this country great, and value all the potential it has to continue to grow – step by step in the right direction, which is the direction of our common good.

Andrés Madrigal / The Tico Times

I would have told you that we are going to take advantage of this moment to get more interested, to get more involved, to participate. This is a civic awakening: that’s what I feel. More and more people care. There is no better scenario than that.

People voting at the UAM in San Pedro on Feb. 4, 2018. Andrés Madrigal / The Tico Times

I would have told you, Pri, that I will never forget that in the final hours of your life, you were worried about your country. Then I would have made you a promise: that during all the hours left to me, I will never stop thinking about how to contribute something from my own little trench to address those worries.

I would have thanked you, Pri, and I would have told you that I hope never to let you down. Finally, I would have told you that you can rest in peace, because many good people are going to take care of your country.  They love it as much as you did.

— Diego, February 5, 2018

Andrés Madrigal / The Tico Times

This piece was originally published on Facebook by Costa Rican writer Diego Delfino, founder of the news analysis and opinion website delfino.cr. It was translated and republished by The Tico Times with his permission.