Exhibition at museum promotes spirit of democracy

The campaign for the February general elections is heating up, and the Museo Nacional and the election tribunal have created an exposition of the path to democracy in Costa Rica.

The exposition opens today. It centers on the 10 major events in Costa Rican politics, including the disputed election of 1948 that led to civil war, the creation of the independent Tribunal Supremo de Elecciones the next year, as well as universal suffrage.

The exposition spans 125 years. A release by the Ministerio de Cultura y Juventud  promotes the exposition by asking if residents know that in 1812 the vote was limited to property owners or those with a large income. It also asked if they knew that a poll worker died in Sabanilla de Alajuela in 1944 defending the ballot box.

The exposition runs until June, well after the Feb. 2 general elections.

María Elena Masís, the curator of the exhibition said that the display is not designed to be a general history of Costa Rica but a glimpse at the electoral process and to give an idea of the struggles of Costa Ricans to enjoy the democracy of today.

The exhibit also points out that democracy is constructed every day with the actions and attitudes of citizens and residents.

The exhibit encourages respect, dialogue, tolerance and inclusion, the ministry said.

The Tribunal Supremo de Elecciones is an independent branch of government that not only supervises the elections but takes control of the country during the voting.

The election magistrates have control of law enforcement as well as other agencies at that time.

The body also has the power to issue fines and throw out candidates and even entire political parties.

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