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Friday, January 29th, 2016  |  USD: Buy 531.29 / Sell 543.92
20 years

US Embassy responds to Solis criticism of CAFTA on Russian TV


April 10th, 2014 ( The US Embassy in San José responded yesterday to a television interview broadcast by Russian global broadcaster, RT, on April 8th in which president-elect Luis Guillermo Solis criticized the Free Trade Agreement between Costa Rica and the United States, known as CAFTA.


In the 22-minute interview, Solis said he has been a long-time opponent of the agreement, which he said, “Has not provided Costa Rica any benefit.”  Solis said he believed the agreement damaged the agricultural sector and other sectors of Costa Rica’s economy.


Solis also said that a “monogamous marriage” with the United States is not beneficial for foreign trade, adding that stronger ties between Russia and Central America could be “very helpful,” in terms of political dialogue and other areas.


Responding to a request from Inside Costa Rica, US Embassy public affairs official, Eric Turner disagreed, saying, “The benefits of CAFTA are clear.”


“The Embassy has consistently made the point that U.S./Costa Rican trade has continued to grow, despite the negative effects of the 2008 downtown.  New markets for Costa Rican goods have been opened in the United States. In addition, CAFTA led directly to the deregulation of the telecommunication sector, which has brought profound benefits to Costa Rica, including significant direct foreign investment, jobs, improved service and customer choice for Costa Ricans, who can now run a small business through the latest smart phone where they used to wait in lines for outdated technology,” Turner said in a statement to Inside Costa Rica.


A recent report by the World Bank found that – while some beneficial impacts of CAFTA have lagged because of the slow pace at which tariffs are being removed – CAFTA has, over its first five years, brought significant positive changes to Costa Rica and its economy,” Turner said, adding:


“The U.S. government is looking forward to working closely with the Solis administration in our areas of common interest, which include trade and economic ties, energy, citizen security and more.  The United States is Costa Rica’s largest export market, but over recent years, Costa Rica has done a lot to expand its commercial ties with Europe and other markets and to further diversify its economy to mitigate the effect of shocks, like the 2008 recession.”


Solis’ interview was aired on RT on Tuesday, the same day Intel and Bank of America announced they were closing their Costa Rican operations.



Click here to watch a short excerpt of Solis’ interview with RT (Spanish).


Click here to watch the complete interview (~22 minutes, Spanish).

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  • Ben

    I think this is sad US goverment always thinks there right. They are not right on Cafta it has not help Costa Rica at all. The US mention open up markets to Telecomunication. No US companies came in it was Mexico companies came to Costa Rica. Now let talk about what is really going on PLN goverment has been saying yes to the US we will do what ever you want for some reason. Now we have a very popular president winning the largest victory in Costa Rica History and the US whats to make him an enemy. Very sad. The first question that Costa Rica need to ask is why is INTEL and Bank of America leaving even before the new president takes office? The reason they are leaving is the US goverment said to get out of Costa Rica because they hate PAC party and voter who voted in the election. Even Canada says that Cafta was bad for Costa Rica. I look forward to Russian Coming they can travel in our country invest if the want the more the better. Solis future President is good man and honest man a caring man he wants to help the poor and middle class in Costa Rica. He wants to help all Costa Rican grow and do better. Intel good bye Bank of America good bye. To all Russian and Chinese and Central Americas and Canadian and South America you are all welcome to come and see a new Costa Rica a new future is near by.

    • Karen Mata

      CR will clearly dance with whomever picks up the tab.

      If Solis is such an honest man why attack the US who has for starters:
      1. Had your back militarily for over 50 years
      2. Paid off your bonds in the 80s when you were close to bankruptcy
      3 Provided scholarships to ticos including Mr. Solis himself.

      As another bankruptcy approaches he’s trying to ingratiate himself with the Russians as Chinese and American money has dried up.

      • Ben

        What are you talking about? US has never ever had Costa Rica back. Get real the US has nobody back. US never paid off any bonds. Get real. Costa Rica has right to go it own way. If Good US citizens want to invest you welcome other wise stay in you country.

        • Karen Mata

          Ben, I can tell by your broken English that you are a tico. (Your written english is much better than my written spanish though.)
          Those facts I presented are easily verified online.

          • Ben

            Karen i am Tico. What facts? Are you saying US military is in Costa Rica? Show me where you found this online.

          • Karen Mata

            Ben, I’ll let you in on a little secret. I was a resident for over 15 years and had lots of girl friends. Many confided in me that they found tico men repugnant.
            Middle-aged single gringos were dating beautiful, decent women in their 20s, and the few I knew told me it was simply because the women here couldn’t stand ticos.
            So I guess on behalf of a lot of old gringos I can pass along their thanks to you.

          • Karen Mata

            I had a beautiful place in Rohrmoser, and a nice place with a view in Coco.

            Sold them both in 11, well before the capital controls take effect.

            Those old gringos send their regards. You guys think of everything.

          • Canamjay

            so, Karen, got a sex change did you? Much cheaper in CR was it?? glad you left CR.. you’re exactly the sort of gringo(a) any self respecting expat would steer clear of.. which is why I never hang at Gringo establishments.. at least in the CV..

        • mhogan

          Every expat who moves to your country invests in it; some more than others. We buy your goods and services, we employ your compatriots, we pay our taxes. But you, you guys change the rules on us; you lie and deceive us into a set of resident requirements, then, at will, you grab for more at every opportunity. For our family, you’ve made our living her since almost 20 years a challenge just to keep up with the new rules and regulations you impose — most of which are tied to our perceived deep pockets. Shame on you. You don’t think we pay our fair share? Let me tell you a fact: last year from January to December, I decided to calculate every “disclosed” tax we paid on every aspect of living here–JUST TAXES. It came to EXACTLY ¢9,604,915. This is not including the salaries we paid out, utility bills, etc., JUST TAXES. And just those taxes which your government “openly” discloses. Tico, I bet some of this money we paid goes to you one way or another — because it sure as heck doesn’t come to us. In approximately 3 months, our family’s deep pockets are leaving Costa Rica so you are free to tell me good riddance. That’s usually your pat response. Go for it! And I hope those multinationals keep exiting — you deserve it. (I challenge other expats to accurately and completely do what we did in 2013–your eyes will be opened knowing how much you invested here)

          • Karen Mata

            Just be happy this gentleman stayed in country, and is not on the dole in the US.

            Would you like to live in a wealthy, welcoming country where the restaurants are fabulous, and the COL is half of what you’ve been paying?

          • mhogan

            Honey, that’s where we’re headed. And you won’t believe what Panamanians have to say about Costa Ricans. Bought some land, building our home. We’re prepared to take a huge loss on our CR house — but it’s a loss we are forced to accept to get out of here.

          • Karen Mata

            Good. I was in CR as a resident for 16 years, and moved 2 years ago.

            It’s fabulous here.

          • Canamjay

            so no people of mixed race, then Karen… I’m sure you’d be a valued asset to any community.. right… Panama..

          • Karen Mata

            Pardon my francais, but wtf are you talking about poppinjay??
            None of these comments were directed to you. so f off.

          • Karen Mata

            You’re opining on comments from a week ago. …Love it
            How are we to manage our lives again?? Prey tell….hehe

          • Karen Mata

            My son is mixed… go away ah

          • Ben

            I hope i can meet you in Panama i will introduce you to some Panamanian that really dislike US Citizens. Like the all of Panama.

          • Canamjay

            interesting that you made a stupid move, but somehow want to blame others for your choices.. I left Costa Rica too, but it was a choice I made and I certainly don’t blame the Ticos who always have treated me with kindness and respect.. I have many good friends there still… and will continue to visit; I’ve met a lot of expats like yourself over the years.. leaving and feeling bitter because they bought, built, invested before realizing that ‘owning’ something in a foreign country does not (usually) make a lot of sense over time.. and certainly has no tax benefits.. rather deficits. Stop whining and move on and let your situation be a lesson for those who follow… blindly often.

          • Ben

            You make me laugh all you US citizen care about is how much you pay in taxes. The fact is we all pay taxes i lived in the USA for 22 years and i do have a US passport. That make me a US citizen. I also served in the Marines fo 20 years. I served the USA. My brother lost his life in IRAQ. Taxes that all you Expats care about. Karen if you live in Panama i have a house in David and a house in San Jose. Good luck

          • Ben

            You make me laugh all you US citizen care about is how much you pay in taxes. The fact is we all pay taxes i lived in the USA for 22 years and i do have a US passport. That make me a US citizen. I also served in the Marines fo 20 years. I served the USA. My brother lost his life in IRAQ. Taxes that all you Expats care about.

          • mhogan

            No, that’s what your gov’t thinks about — how to enlarge their elite fiefdom and keep everyone down. But I spoke about promises made and not kept also. You defend your gov’ts actions, that doesn’t make you loyal, that makes you stupid. But, like you say — it’s your country; go home gringo. Hehe, I’m not a gringo!

    • Karen Mata

      When you betray those who have befriended you this seems to be your pat response.

      I recall a similar situation when CR recognized China after Taiwan had just completed the Friendship Bridge. The CR gov’s illogical response was anger towards Taiwan, and it’s now known as the Oscar Arias Back Stab Bridge.

      • Ben

        Why are saying suck nasty thing about our country. Costa Rica has never attacked your country. But US they have attacked everyone. China is the next power how much money does US goverment need to pay in intrest payments to China every month. Its 100 billion. Good luck

        • Fernando Gerdano

          Costa Rica takes turns accepting help and money form any country who steps up. Then Costa Rica stabs them in the back. It is the way business is done here, it is part of the culture that is why Ben sees nothing wrong with it. It is how he was raised.

          • Ben

            Like the US never does what they want, How many countries have they screwed up. To many to name.

        • Karen Mata

          I am speaking factually, dear Ben.
          You are getting off point here.
          The wonderful privilege of printing the worlds reserve currency is as John Connolly said, “It may be our currency, but it’s your problem.”

          • Ben

            Your right see you in Panama. I live in David all you Expats are all welcome in Costa Rica and Panama i live in both countries 6 month in Panama and 6 months in CR. I will be buying in Panama city soon. Good to have Money. Try to relax and enjoy before the NWO comes.

    • Karen Mata

      Wishing you the best with your mulatto, Ben.

      • Nash Randall

        hey ben

        third world country may be a ’60′s term and it applies to costa rica–in–the 1860′s and things haven’t changed since.

        it is really hard to be respectful of a people who–in my experience–win the most arrogant nation in central america award. if i had a buck for every time a tico told me how much they were better than mexicans of “nicans” of “cheenas”, i could afford a can of nine us dollar shaving cream.

        detroit may be a tough town, and the tigers and the lions are seasonal losers in their division but i would advise you not to plan a vacation to motor city if you aren’t a fan of this country.

        too bad johnny araya didn’t win.

        20 years in the marines? where did you boot? what was your MOS?

      • Canamjay

        .what a disgusting dirtbag you ae Karen. > At least you offer this crap in print.. race has nothing to do with this issue.. but it does offer a chance for you to show your ignorance… go away and talk to people who might agree with you… somewhere.

  • Gary Boyd

    The problem with CAFTA is that Costa Rica never initiated its end of the agreement. Have you seen any improvement in the prices of American products in the stores? They are still overpriced and I still have many Tico friends asking me to bring them items such as tools, clothes, computers, cell phones, etc. because the price is well beyond their means here. If CR wants to see more improvement in the agreement they need to implement their end of it. The companies that are bailing out of CR are doing it for good reason. Taxes going up, cost of living skyrocketing, new rules and regulations every day, and more. These companies, like most expats came here because of the promises of better living for less. Now they are leaving in hordes because CR has failed to maintain that promise. The officials continue to get richer and the working man and woman get hungrier every day. Open your eyes before you lose it all.

    • Ben

      Your right on many points but Cafta was drawn up rich families in US and Costa Rica. Cafta benfits a few and never helped the poor and middle class. Nafta was much strong for Canada and Mexico. I like some free markets but Costa Rica does not need food product from the US. Costa Rica can produce most food in Country. What does the US make now that we need? Not much. I will say this a Ford truck plant would be nice to have in Costa Rica. I own a Ford Ranger good truck.

    • Canamjay

      I think it’s your eyes that need adjustment, amigo. IF you know CR .. you realize that tarrifs on ‘luxury’ goods (ie, that which most poor people can’t afford) provides revenue to run the many services government provides… like health care (which would be the envy of many ‘developed’ countries, including Canada and US) (there are more International Baccalaureates per capita than most other countries!) including US .. While income tax collections (no IRS) are pathetic… they are trying to fix this, but face a lot of (surprise) resistance. . thus, tarrifs continue to support government expenses. Granted, there is /has been corruption big time; difference is.. Costa Rica has prosecuted all the way to the Presidency on more than 3 occasions…. Canada still has not moved against miscreants like Mulrooney who lied to parliament and accepted bribes, but still travels with the big boys to places like South Africa in honor (of a real hero) Nelson M.

      The US is on the wrong side of history on many fronts and I believe is in for a well deserved lesson in humility… I sincerely hope that Solis is the kind of peoples’ leader that any country can be proud of and I wish him and the wonderful people of Costa Rica (I’m not talking about the ones you’ll meet at the Blue Marlin) who have been my friends and students over the years the robust future they deserve.

  • Ken Morris

    Again, I read the World Bank report, and it doesn’t say what Turner claims it says. It says that the results of CAFTA have been mixed and no definitive verdict can yet be reached. And this is without even criticizing the report, which is clearly biased in favor of CAFTA. A critical reading could make a strong case that CAFTA has hurt Costa Rica.

    But rather than getting into a debate over the data one way or another (although I don’t mind these debates as long as they’re informed), my question is why a spokesperson from the US Embassy is bothering to defend CAFTA–much less defend it in a misleading way?

    To be sure, the US is a partner to CAFTA, so in some sense it is US policy that all citizens are part of, but I’m pretty sure that if you surveyed US citizens you’d find them split down the middle. Lots of Americans oppose so-called free trade agreements like this. Given this divided opinion within the country, you would think that the embassy (which supposedly serves all citizens) wouldn’t issue such a strong statement.

    Also, presumably the US only enters into treaties like CAFTA because it believes they are win-win situations for all parties. At least that’s what it claims. Accordingly, you would think that the US would welcome factual debates over the effectiveness of CAFTA, not dismiss them with ideological smears.

    Plus, this is the Obama administration, not the Bush administration. I understand why the Bush administration was so keen to get CAFTA, since it fits with Republican economic philosophy, but Democrats are a more mixed bag. Yes, many Democrats favor free trade agreements too, but unions and workers (generally Democratic constituencies) often don’t. I’m not understanding why the embassy under this administration is so keen to defend CAFTA.

    This kind of defensive ideological response from the embassy is simply baffling. The response should have been:

    “So far the consequences of CAFTA appear to have been mixed, and the US welcomes dialog with its partners to improve our trade relationships wherever we can. We especially look forward to working with Costa Rica’s incoming administration to enhance the prosperity and wellbeing of both our countries.”

    • Ben

      Cafta is soon to be gone. Its has holes in it. US needs a trade deal with Costa Rica like Canada has with Costa Rica. One on One Cafta is very oneway.

      • Canamjay

        Many in Canada would agree, Ben. When an Elephant makes a deal with a flea… and subsequently there is a dispute (inevitably, actually) .. who do you think will win out..even if they practice illegal tactics (google softwood lumber dispute US/Can) .. the US does NOT sign any agreements that don’t favor them unfairly either in practice or in writing. I was in CR during the CAFTA frenzy and I tried hard to get Ticos to see this and vote no.. but as usual, the ‘spin doctors’ won the day… I hope CAFTA can be overturned.. but I am skeptical it can happen in my lifetime. The CIA is active everywhere… even in Canada.

  • Nash Randall

    Perhaps it is time for the US to sever economic ties with a country that clearly wishes to remain a third world nation bottom feeding blight on central america.

    • Ben

      Third world is term from 1960. Go to Detroit thats a third world place. Look how US goverment treats Africa America in US like third world. Costa Rica has never been third world. UN just said that Costa Rica is on its way to pass many large nation like the US because of good health care. Look at Debt of average person in US compared to rest of the world. If the US want to leave and not come its fine but if you want to stay be respectful of our Country. Good Luck and Relax

      • Nash Randall

        third world country may be a ’60′s term and it applies to costa rica being in the 1860′s.

        it is really hard to be respectful of a people who–in my experience–win the most arrogant nation in central america. if i had a buck for every time a tica told me how much they were better than mexicans of “nicans” of “cheenas”, i could afford a can of nine us dollar shaving cream.

        detroit may be a tough town, and the tigers and the lions are seasonal losers in their division but i would advise you not to plan a vacation to motor city if you aren’t a fan of this country.

        too bad johnny araya didn’t win……….

      • Canamjay

        Couldn’t agree with you more, Ben. The ‘first world’ (whatever that means) could learn a lot about democracy and providing support and services for its citizens.. I’ve spent years in Central America and while many things about CR can be annoying… what I like is the citizenry actually believes the country belongs to them.. and many examples of this abound… the frenzy of foreign resource extraction interests to exploit these countries, then leave destruction and contamination behind is a mounting and disgusting practice… it was predictable that the Intels and HP’s would flee to cheaper venues … this cannot be blamed on Costa Rica which has a highly educated and competent work force.. they will always find a way to excel.

  • Chris Thomas

    Costa Rica is one of the most corrupt countries on this plane at least the government is they steal everything.

  • Hinds Peter

    What interests me most about CAFTA is that Panama is widening the canal.I think that all priorities and concessions should be forwarded to Panama. To complete this herculean task.I believe that if the canal is widened to allow ocean liners to pass.That this will be a boost To north and south American trade.Many Barbadians were workers building the original canal.I understand that Relatives of mine were among that number.Stop meditating on the United States.And.Concentrate on policies that will be good for all America.Peter Carlos Hinds.Barbados.

  • francys herrera

    The real problem is and time will show, is that the to-be president wants to get in bed with Russia while starting to distance himself with US. This decision will be the beginning of more comunist decisions that will turn our beloved Costa Rica until the next venezuela. Calling it socialism doesnt make it better, is still a government run tyranny. Although is just an opinion, keep a close eye and hopefully I am wrong!

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