Protest US intervention and dirty campaign in Costa Rican CAFTA Referendum
Take action from October 15-20 to demand that the Referendum results NOT be certified by the OAS
On October 7 a historic referendum took place in Costa Rica: nearly 75% of the population came out to vote on whether the country should join the US-Dominican Republic-Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA). The “Yes” vote appears to have won with 51.5% of the total vote, and yet claims of fraud and irregularities persist.
The last poll before the vote showed the “No” forces well in the lead with over 55% of the vote. However, in the final days of the campaign the US government stepped in to effectively campaign on behalf of the pro-CAFTA side; first, the US Trade Representative declared that Costa Rica could lose its trade preferences should the people vote against CAFTA, then the White House declared that CAFTA would not be renegotiated and urged Costa Ricans to vote “Yes”. These comments were made during the 3 day “blackout period” for campaigning and played a role in shifting the results – as did previous statements by US Ambassador Mark Langdale and the fear-provoking, dirty campaign of the Costa Rican government and right-wing media. In fact, the claims of the White House and the USTR are inaccurate because of Bush’s lame duck status as president and because Congress controls trade preferences. Nevertheless, opponents of CAFTA were unable to counter the false statements.
With the results still pending final authorization, now is the time to take action and demand that the Organization of American States (OAS) and the Costa Rican Supreme Elections Tribunal not certify the election results!
1) Organize an action in front of the local Costa Rican consulate in your city. Find out if there is a consulate where you live and where it is located: http://www.costarica-embassy
2) Call the office of the Secretary General of the Organization of American States at (202) 458-3500 and demand that the certification of the Referendum results be delayed.
Contact the Stop CAFTA Coalition at 202 521 2510 for more ideas and information about how to organize an action.