Teachers are protesting again today all over the country.
The Asociación de Profesores de Segunda Enseñanza said that protesters would gather in many communities as well as San José
Among other issues, the teachers union demands that Leonardo Garnier, the education minster and other officials of the Ministerio de Educación Pública be relieved of their jobs while an investigation continues about their role in a controversial contract.
The teachers union noted that Garnier was among those who wrote recommendation letters to the Refinadora Costarricense de Petróleo in favor of a company founded by the then-finance minster and his wife. The company is called Procesos.
The teachers allege the possible crime of undue influence. They note that Vice President Luis Liberman, the brother of President Laura Chinchilla Miranda, Adrian Chinchilla, and
Amparo Pacheco, the former vice minister of Comercio Exterior, also wrote letters.
The contract was for the revision of an aspect of the curriculum and was valued at nearly $800,000.
The finance minster, Fernando Herreo, and his wife, Flor Isabel Rodríguez, already have quit their government jobs. She was an aide to the president. The issue started when the newspaper La Nación learned that Herrero, who supervises the nation’s tax collecting, did not update the values of one of his properties and managed to evade about $600 in municipal taxes a year for 10 years. Then there was an allegation that Procesos failed to pay taxes on its income. And now there is the contract with Refinadora and with the education ministry.
Originally the teachers were going to march to protest the president’s tax package, but that has been shelved.
The are asking for deep cuts in consultants’ fees and more effort against tax evasion. Teachers also are unhappy with some proposed changes in the labor code.