Recently inaugurated President of Costa Rica Carlos Alvarado Quesada has started his term by positioning himself squarely against the country’s working class with harsh austerity measures and police repression.
As a response to tax law changes known as the Combo Fiscal, since September 10 huge numbers of Costa Rican workers have been engaged in a general strike. These tax measures transfer wealth from the working class into the hands of the rich, cut social programs, freeze wages and pensions for state employees but not higher-up officials, increase taxation on local production while exempting exports, and increase the cost of water and electricity.
The indefinite general strike was called by the Asociación de Profesores de Segunda Enseñanza (Secondary School Teachers Association; APSE). From West Virginia to Concepción, Chile, teachers throughout the Americas have demonstrated their ability to inspire the entire working class with their bold action, and Costa Rica is no exception. All public sector unions, most private sector unions, as well student unions and sectoral movements have been participating.
This strike also represents an important contribution to the rising tide of people’s struggle in the region. As contradictions in the capitalist system heighten, workers in Honduras, Costa Rica, Argentina and others are taking militant action against their governments. Meanwhile, workers fight to defend their revolutions from US-backed coup attempts and fascists in Nicaragua, Venezuela and Bolivia.
The Costa Rican government has responded violently to protests, marches, blockades and occupations. Dozens of working class militants and journalists have been brutally beaten and arrested by the police. But this has not deterred the mobilization, rather it has fanned the fire and been met with condemnation from the various unions.
Repeating the call of the working class of Costa Rica: ¡No al Combo Fiscal!