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View Diary: Why the country keeps drifting to the right (366 comments)

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  •  in Costa Rica, I had an interesting conversation (16+ / 0-)

    about this point:

    Some people look at Europe today and wonder why we don't have things like universal health care and a real social safety net.
       These people often overlook the fact that those nations still have communist and socialist parties.
    Most Americans have no idea that Costa Rica is a European-style social welfare state. Under the Costa Rican Constitution, every citizen is entitled to basic necessities--including health care, education, electricity, water, phones, and sewage. As a result, no matter where you live in the country, you have these services---if you live in a shack on the slope of a volcano in the middle of the jungle, they will run lines all the way out there to you. They'll build a school in any village with more than five children, and bus you to the nearest school if you have fewer.

    That constitutional requirement came because the Constitution was actually written, together, by two groups--the Catholic Church, and the Communist Party.

    But one major provision in the Constitution really sealed the deal for Costa Rica and made it the country it is today---Costa Rica is barred constitutionally from having a standing army.

    In every other Central American country, the military was long used to crush dissent and stifle social reforms. Costa Rica, however, never had that option---if a group of people rose up demanding this or that social reform, the government had no choice but to listen to them and respond. As a result, Costa Ricans have one of the best living standards in all of South America.

    Today, the Communist Party is all but extinct in Costa Rica.  But its legacy lives on for everyone.

    •  One of the beautiful places I considered (0+ / 0-)

      to become my home when I retired in 1998.  The South of France and Costa Rica.  I made a decision to stay in South Florida - which I regret each and every day.  I regret not seeking refuge in France or Costa Rica.  The US is a total mess now. I do not see things being straightened out in my lifetime.  

      Sad.

      •  most of the Costa Ricans I talked with resented (0+ / 0-)

        the large American expat communities that have appeared all over Costa Rica. The gringos tend to stay in their gated communities, never bother to learn the language or the culture, and the only Costa Ricans they interact with are the maids. In essence, all they've done is transplant a little piece of the US into Costa Rica--including the racism and the overblown sense of privilege.

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