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Protest in Costa Rica Won’t Stop Obama Visit

President Obama is the reason for the flurried activity and a sense of anticipation as Costa Rica awaits his arrival on Friday, May 3rd.  The U.S. President will visit both Mexico and Costa Rica over three days to meet with their respective democratic leaders with the intention of securing stronger economic ties between the United States and its southern neighbors. 

president obama costa rica 1It is unlikely that the discussions will be able to avoid the issue of drug trafficking from the Central American states into North America, but this is not slated to be the focus of this meeting.  Costa Rica currently heads the Central American Integration System (SICA), an organization formed in 1993 to encourage economic cooperation between the Central American countries,  whose members will be gathering in San Jose to exchange ideas with the U.S. President.

Other U.S. Presidents have visited Costa Rica.  In recent times, former Presidents Bill Clinton in 1997, George Bush in 1989 and in 1963, JFK’s arrival in Costa Rica was the cause of huge celebrations and even a wave of babies named Jacqueline to reflect the excitement in response to the First Lady!  These visits were a brief part of the U.S. Presidents’ busy international schedules, but historic events for Costa Ricans nonetheless.

Security will be tightened at borders, airports and other areas to ensure the safety of President Obama and the other Central American presidents flying in for the meeting.  Police expect a large turnout to catch a glimpse of the favored U.S. president, but are also prepared to face any protesters who may see this visit as an opportunity to voice complaints.

President Obama is very popular in this small Central American nation with 78% of the population rating him highly as a leader of state.  He is more well-liked in Costa Rica than at home!  Obama’s popularity will be very high amongst public sector employees this Friday as they will receive a day’s holiday in recognition of the Presidential visit.

Costa Rica’s own President Chinchilla is the most unpopular of twenty presidents surveyed in Latin America and had an incredibly low 13% approval rating in Costa Rica at the end of 2012.  Maybe Doña Laura Chinchilla’s is hoping some of Obama’s success will rub off on her by hosting the meeting of presidents in her back yard!

If you are flying in or out of Juan Santamaria International Airport on Friday, May 3rd, please allow extra time for check-in and be prepared for delays as the extra security measures are implemented.  This would surely be a day to avoid driving in the capital of San Jose and the surrounding area as roads will be closed off as a security precaution while the international guests are transported across the city.

It would be better to drive outside the Central Valley to escape the madness and spend it enjoying a beach, the jungle or even a volcano, that incidentally is less likely to blow its top than this conference.  After all, you didn’t fly all this way to wave flags at presidents!

By  Kreg Ertman  from

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