Electrical workers bring their protest to Casa Presidencial

A.M. Costa Rica/Aaron Knapp
Demonstrator carries a sign calling President Laura Chinchilla a puppet and carries a real puppet to drive home the point.

Thousands of public workers marched to Casa Presidencial Monday to protest a law moving through the legislature that would privatize another part of the Instituto Costarricense de Electricity, the government-owned electricity provider.

Led by the institute’s workers union, more than 6,000 employees of the institute, smaller government owned providers around the country and their allies participated in the demonstration from 10 a.m. until 3:30 p.m., according to César López, one of the organizers.

“We’re defending the Costa Rican electrical model which is unique in the region,” said López through translator Erika Guevara. “The electrical model has achieved 99.3 percent coverage of Costa Rica.”

The march went from the institute’s facility in Sabana Norte to President Laura Chinchilla’s office in Zapote.

López and Guevara explained that there are three phases to producing electricity, which are generation, transmission and distribution. Over the years, the government has been privatizing portions of this process and other technology services that were once the institute’s responsibility.

This demonstration was to protest a law that, if passed, will privatize the transmission of electricity, the last part of the process of which the institute has complete control.

By mid-afternoon, the protest had dwindled to approximately 500 people, who promptly dispersed at 3:40 p.m.

Today farmers and agricultural industry workers will march to the legislative assembly building to protest a law that will increase property taxes and to bring attention to how the higher taxes would adversely affect food production.

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