< %image(20070116-contra_tlc.jpg|1704|2272|Students Isaac, Sofia and Marcela are working hard against Costa Rican membership in CAFTA.)%>
After leaving Nicaragua southward, I bumped into Katie Niemeyer for the 4th time, this time walking down a high way In Liberia, and we decided to go to the town of Santa Cruz in northern Costa Rica, where there was to be some kind of cowboy festival. But because this seemed rather posh, we decided to go on to the capital, San Jose, yesterday, and at the bus station I saw a guy with a button saying “NO TLC.” TLC stands for Tratado de Libre Comercio — or the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) in English. He told me a little about the campaign to keep Costa Rica out of the agreement, and ended up giving me the button.
Today, I decided to go to the University of Costa Rica, and try to find some more information about the campaign against CAFTA.
…or rather Chavez’ and Morales’ night. Fact is that the plaza were Ortega was to give his first public speech after inauguration was filled with cheering leftists while Chavez and Morales spoke, but when Ortega finally got to speak, everyone seemed to have better thing to do.
Sure, we had all been waiting three hours beyond the expected arrival of the 14 leaders of states (7PM rather than 4PM), and the way he spoke, it just seemed to be the beginning of a very long and tiresome discourse quite different from the political messages Chavez and Morales came with (Chavez: “Socialismo o Muerte”, Morales announcing the nationalization of the Bolivian mining industry), which made the crowd come alive.
< %image(20070111-FSLN_sunglass.jpg|2272|1704|In the crowd, waiting 3 hours for Chavez, Morales, Ortega...)%>
However, Ortega did not just lack rhetoric and speech writing skills.
Nicaragua. After having traveled through northern Central America, it strikes me how little independent these countries actually are. Of course, there has always been the big imperialist empires Spain, Britain and in later years the United States, that have tried to steer them into whatever direction was convenient for them. But also the protest, the rebellion against the global exploitative system, is very much dependent on the strength of similar forces in other countries. Just take Nicaragua: The big hero national Augusto Cesar Sandino, who fought against United States forces in the 1930. The black-and-red anarchist flag that he introduced was brought from Mexico, where he had been working in the Petrol industry and had been awakened politically by the revolutionary Mexican communist and anarchist movements in Tampico.
< %image(1231-183043.jpg|1704|2272|The Sandinista memorial in downtown León)%>