U.S. expats in Costa Rica are at least as divided and hesitant as those back home. On the day before Donald Trump is inaugurated president, few here wanted to voice an opinion.
Even the United Nation’s University for Peace in Ciudad Colón was reluctant to become involved as an official there rejected a proposal for a woman’s march that was perceived as anti-Trump.
Nearly every expat contacted Thursday for views on their expectations of the Trump administration was hesitant to do so. Kathy Rothschild was one who was not. She is a resident in Heredia and chairwoman for the Costa Rica chapter of Democrats Abroad.
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Ms. Rothschild is trying to be hopeful, but quickly said that the fear of the unknown and worry in many people from minorities to friends and family has her concerned. She said the rector of the University for Peace, Francisco Rojas Aravena, rejected a request to march on university grounds for what was described as being a non-partisan march for women’s rights.
Democrats Abroad also is a divided group because many members supported Bernie Sanders for the Democratic nomination.
Several watch parties and marches are expected Saturday in places like Playa Guiones, San José, Monteverde, Cahuita, and Grecia. The majority claim to be non-partisan and welcome all to participate. The one in the capital will begin on Saturday at 10 a.m. in front of the main Correos de Costa Rica building. The Amigos de la Paz are participating. Their attendees are being asked to dress in white with the march to the Plaza de la Cultura. Organizers said they will be distributing leaflets and be out in a non-partisan, peaceful manner.
Amigos para la Paz said the march was about world peace, and a statement said the event was not against a misogynist president, meaning one who has contempt for women.
There are many such marches in the United States planned for Saturday, and although announcements are critical of Trump, organizers say the purpose is for something else.
One woman who is helping to organize a march said she had been pounded on social media by Trump supporters.
One reader responded to a Thursday story and asked jokingly where the Costa Rican march for Trump would be held.
Another reader who identified himself as Michael Staryk said by email that on “Nov. 8 the U.S. elected a new president. They voted against socialism, affirmative action racists and shrill feminist screamers.”
Staryk then urged this newspaper to ignore “these extremist losers rather than encouraging their pathetic wailings.”
Ms. Rothschild said that she and others were planning on doing a public activity since November and were gathering permits and support. No one would provide a permit.
“They all thought this was an anti-Trump march despite our insistence that there would be no signs displaying party affiliation or anti-Trump slogans,” she said.
A staffer at the University for Peace would not assist obtaining a comment from the rector.
Some Latin Americans were not shy in expressing their opinions regarding the upcoming Trump years.
“The decision made by voters in the United States to elect their new president has a far-reaching impact for many parts of the planet,” said Shirley Victoria López, a Costa Rican and resident in Coronado.
She is unsure of how or why Trump was elected, but supposes that perhaps it was because of an element of fear among citizens of the United States of losing jobs or a fear of immigrants entering the U.S., the mother of two said while watering her bouquet of flowers to give to her daughter.
María Laura Ocontrillo, a Costa Rican resident of Moravía in San José, described her disbelief that Trump was elected despite the shortcomings of Democratic candidate Hilary Clinton. She was visiting relatives in Los Angeles, California, around the time of the election and blamed the apathy of voting in the United States.
Klaus Bengochea is a Venezuelan national living in Costa Rica. He compares Trump to Venezuela’s own former strongman Hugo Chávez. “You can take a speech from Chávez back in 1999 and it is the same words that Trump is using now,” he said.
Bengochea noted the effect of the United States’ commercial power in Latin America by listing off various products to pointing at the Holiday Inn building in San José. “They are all American companies,” he said, “He wants to bring businesses back to the United States, but why are they all here? Because it’s cheaper. This doesn’t affect just the people of the United States, but all of Latin America.”
Meanwhile, Casa Presidencial is trying to ignore the inauguration.
Those who do not have cable will be able to watch inauguration activities and Trump’s first speech as president via live streaming at several sites on the internet.
The U.S. Capitol and the Capitol Reflecting
Pool are shown ahead of today’s presidential