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Costa Rica minister suspended amid probe into alleged fund abuse [CAFTA campaign]

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arcos Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-13-07 03:26 AM
Original message
Costa Rica minister suspended amid probe into alleged fund abuse [CAFTA campaign]
Source: People's Daily Online

Costa Rica's Vice President and Planning Minister Kevin Casas has been suspended from his minister's post amid an investigation into abuse of state funds, a presidential spokesman said Wednesday.

The probe is centering on a leaked memo from Casas to his deputy Fernando Sanchez.

The memo allegedly suggests that local authorities should be threatened with funding cuts if they do not vote yes in a referendum on Oct. 7 over the Central American Free Trade Agreement with the Dominican Republic.

Casas, meanwhile, remains in his post as second vice president.


Read more:

The article is not entirely accurate... the memo was sent by Vicepresident Casas and Congressman Snchez, to President Arias and his brother (one of his closest advisors, and sort of Chief of Staff). Also, he wasn't "suspended", at least according to the official version, he voluntarily stepped down while the investigation is finished.

People continue to be outraged, and this is turning to be a highly troubling development for the government's support of CAFTA. The election is just three weeks away, and it seems that if the election were held today, the NO vote would win and CAFTA would be defeated.
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Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-13-07 03:52 AM
Response to Original message
1. That's really LOW! Cutting funding for not supporting CAFTA? Arias, at the end of the article,
said this kind of wierdness is alien to basic principles of democracy. Not the kind of democracy we see applied in the States, arcos! Very typical.

I'm really glad they found out about this, and I hope the opposition plays it up for all it's worth.

Vice President Kevin Casas would
go over really well in the US Republican
Party. He sounds like their kind of guy!

Sure keeping our fingers crossed for the right outcome from the referendum.
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arcos Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-13-07 04:31 AM
Response to Reply #1
2. It's amazing how many Rovian tactics the government has implemented...
Edited on Thu Sep-13-07 04:31 AM by arcos
This whole memo thing comes from the Karl Rove playbook... it doesn't end with cutting up funding to districts where the NO vote wins, it talks about using fear as a campaign tactic by telling people they will lose their job if CAFTA is not approved (and explicitly mentions "la gente ms sencilla", meaning the poorest), it talks about destroying the political career of city council members that can't win over their constituency, and talks about sending government officials on a tour of different companies (mostly big, US companies such as Hewlett Packard that has a big call center here) for "informative conferences".

The funny thing is that even though the government says this was just "a list of ideas", and that "none of it was actually done", the truth is that everything was done. This government seems to be adopt more and more Bush administration tactics by each passing day.

As usual, thanks for the good vibes and keeping your fingers crossed. :) :hi:
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Gato Moteado Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-13-07 11:30 AM
Response to Original message
3. hey the hell are you?
como le va?

how is work going? let's talk soon. ping me on msn messenger when you get a chance.
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eridani Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-22-07 04:45 AM
Response to Original message
4. Looks like Costa Ricans don't much like being played with

With just over two weeks to go before Costa Ricans head to the polls to vote on a free-trade agreement with the United States and six other countries, Alfredo Volio should be a happy man.

As head of the "yes" campaign championing the pact, known as CAFTA, he has watched public support climb in recent months. The latest opinion polls showed Costa Ricans leaning toward backing the Central American Free Trade Agreement, which would dismantle most trade barriers between the United States and half a dozen Latin countries.

But that was before a memo written by CAFTA advocates was leaked to the public this month, fueling outrage here. The document, dated July 29 and written by two high-level government officials with close ties to Costa Rican President Oscar Arias, outlined a campaign of dirty tricks intended to sway voters.

The authors proposed smearing CAFTA opponents by linking them to leftist firebrands such as Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and Cuban President Fidel Castro. They called for a public relations campaign to "stimulate fear" among citizens about the alleged dangers of snubbing the deal.

They also advocated punishing local officials -- by withholding funds for public programs in their regions -- if their constituents repudiated CAFTA.

CAFTA opponents have cried foul while supporters have suddenly found themselves on the defensive over a measure that appeared headed to victory. Prominent CAFTA backers, including Arias, have distanced themselves from the memo, which was addressed to him and his brother, Presidency Minister Rodrigo Arias.

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Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-22-07 05:05 AM
Response to Reply #4
5. Tremendous article! I saved it to files long before getting to the end of it.
This is a wonderful opportunity to prompt people all over Latin America to start seeing the process which has been exposed, among those who just wouldn't take the time to recognize the obvious.

It's really time to get serious about how the U.S. has been treating its neighbors all these many, MANY years.

It's BEAUTIFUL seeing this news has gotten out. It would be good if more Americans started paying closer attention, wouldn't it?
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