February 28, 2021

Businessmen in Costa Rica demand the lifting of transporters' blockades

The business sector of Costa Rica on Monday demanded that the government lift the blockades maintained by cargo transporters protesting on strategic roads, which is causing losses of at least 10 million dollars a day.

The president of the Chamber of Farmers, Juan Rafael Lizano, declared in a press conference that there are at least 1,000 containers stranded on roads and that the losses can range in 10 million dollars a day, mainly in exports of fresh products such as fruits, vegetables and plants.

"These people are playing with the sector that gives more employment in rural areas, is playing with the employment of 600,000 people and their families.If we can not reach our markets we will lose customers.The Government should guarantee free transit," he said. Lizano

Carriers began their protests over the weekend and on Sunday intensified them with strategic road blocks in the province of Limón (Caribbean), where the country's main port is located; in San Carlos (north) and Pérez Zeledón (south), two of the large agricultural areas.

The protesters have said they are protesting against the entry into force of the value-added tax (VAT) of 13%, which runs from Monday, against a freight train project in the Caribbean, and also demand the resignation of the Minister of Education in solidarity with teacher unions and high school students.

The president of the Chamber of Exporters, Laura Bonilla, said the situation "is frustrating and chaotic" and called on the country's president, Carlos Alvarado, to "make decisions now."

The Vice President of the Chamber of Farmers, Alfredo Volio, regretted that this type of demonstrations generate "legal insecurity" in the country and hit the vulnerable sectors of the country such as farmers and small businesses, especially in rural areas.

The businessmen urged the government to guarantee free transit as required by the Constitution and laws, and urged him to denounce in court the people who are obstructing the passage.

The National Chamber of Transporters denied any link with people who are blocking roads and spoke out against this type of actions because they affect the country's production and employment.

The president of Costa Rica, Carlos Alvarado, met on Sunday with representatives of transporters, but these were lifted from the dialogue table after demanding the resignation of the Minister of Education.

Alvarado said in a message that the objective of the meeting was to inform transporters that "VAT will not come to affect them", as well as to discuss other issues such as a railroad project in the Caribbean.

The education minister, Edgar Mora, has been involved in the controversy this week after students from a hundred high schools went on strike last Friday to ask for his exit and protest against policies and projects of the Ministry.

Among the claims is the rejection of a proposal of "neutral" individual toilets that can be used by anyone, in order for the transsexual population to come to them.

They also oppose the purchase of drones for schools that teach agricultural subjects, as students consider that it is an investment that could be allocated to infrastructure in deteriorated schools.

. (tagsToTranslate) Entrepreneurs (t) Costa (t) Rica (t) levanten (t) transportistas

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