C is for Costa Rica!

Word of the week: “economics” = “economía”

With a recent shutdown in the United States federal government, I feel politics are a very relevant topic of the week. In the United States, we are fortunate to be able to choose our political leaders yearly. Typically there are two major parties that represent and often divide our country into two. Heres a quick rundown on the background of the two parties:

Politics! Politics! Politics!  

Republican Party Symbol (US Government)

The Republican Party is a more conservative, right-leaning party that favors individuals rights, justice, and overall well-being.

The Democratic National Symbol (US Government)

The Democratic Party, also considered left-ists favor a more liberal side of decision making that regard communal and social well being.

Here in Costa Rica political diversity is very much apparent. Their governing system is considered a democratic and independent republic. Three main branches of government are fully functional in this country as well. The Executive, Legislative and Judicial branches exercise within their jurisdictions to maintain a stable system. In comparison to our United, but very much divided 50 states, there are thirteen political parties. Each party has it’s very specific beliefs, ideologies major figures that give unique identity, three of them being the most popular. These parties include:

  • Social Christian Unity Party (PUSC) Christian democratic party
  • National Liberation Party (PLN) Social Democratic Party
  • Citizen Action Party (PAC). Semi-Reformists/Semi-Leftist ***

According to one of my current professors here in Costa Rica, also an active campaign agent for the PUSC party, the majority (97% to be exact) of votes are aimed toward the PUSC and PLN party. I find this to be shocking, especially in a country of roughly 6 million people. This is likely due to family traditions in maintaining the same political party throughout generations. Similar to families in the United States, political beliefs, ideologies, and traditions are passed on. In fact, often times when disagreements and disbelief arise within party decision making arise, most still follow their families vote of choice. Sometimes this can often be difficult to support other parties that may have similar beliefs. Times are constantly changing and sometimes our governing bodies fail to keep up. Political diversity (and often times, oppositions) keep democracy in a constant evolution of changes, typically in the right direction. Gay Marriage, for example, a widespread issue for many governments, including the US, has just recently become a recent milestone for Costa Rica. Now more than ever are couples being publicly recognized and given basic rights such as healthcare and social benefits. The idea of separation of church and state is not in existence here, making politics even more complex. However, compared to most other political systems in Latin America, Costa Rica ranks pretty well in their ability to maintain a fair overall governmental system.

***(Current political party, led by President Carlos Alvarado Quesada 05/2018 – present)

photo taken on 01/21/2018 (Downtown San Jose – near Avenida Central)
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