Stand by for some anonymous election commentary

The campaign up to the runoff election April 6 promises to be one filled with lies and misrepresentations.

The blame can be leveled at the Internet and email.

Last century there were advertising directors who screened political ads in print and on the electronic spectrum. There still were untruths but not in wholesale numbers. And political ads usually were required to contain the name of the sponsor. There was no way to directly reach the voting public except with cheesy flyers. Today anyone can easily distribute truths or lies with the click of a button. Email and Web sites have more credibility than some piece of paper stuck under the door.

A case in point is an email with a slick graphic of Óscar Arias Sánchez controlling the presidential and vice presidential candidates and the founder of Partido Acción Ciudadana. “If they won’t let me play with the others, then I will play with these,” chuckles an Arias character.

The idea is to link Luis Guillermo Solís, the presidential candidate, to the Arias faction, which is not held in high regard in some quarters.

The email comes from a Gmail account with the name el verdadero pac cr, ” the true PAC,” using the initial of Acción Ciudadana.

The mailing must be effective because Solís issued a statement Monday denying that he has made any overtures to the former president, Arias. It is true that Arias does not appear to be supporting strongly the candidate of his party, Johnny Araya Monge of Partido Liberación Nacional. Researchers agree that the best propaganda must contain a grain of truth.

Solís also said that he has been critical of the Liberación governments over the last eight years and that he is not anticipating any discussions with those leaders, meaning Arias.

A safe bet is that both runoff candidates, Solís and Araya, will be the targets of all sorts of anonymous political smears until election day. The Internet makes this easy.

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