Unveto by Solís will benefit small merchants who sell items to tourists

Every expat knows that court cases are never finished. There are appeals after appeals.

In fact, a truth about Costa Rica is that there usually is a footnote to reverse or change just about any official action.

Now, it turns out, even a presidential veto is not final.

President Luis Guillermo Solís announced Thursday that he was unvetoing a measure that had been vetoed by Óscar Arias Sánchez when he was president in 2009.

The measure, which now become law, involved the mercado de artesanía on the west side of the Plaza de la Democracía. This is the string of stalls that are covered by a rusting steel roof. The market occupies Calle 13 bis, a public right-of-way, and runs from Avenida Central to Avenida Segunda.

For years officials have tried to shoo away the merchants to a newer facility some blocks distant. The merchants did not like this idea.

Some remember being shooed away from the Plaza de la Cultura some 20 years ago.

San José officials designated the street as the Calle Nacional de la Artesanía in 1995, but some local and national officials saw the stalls as an embarrassment and much too close to the new Museo de Jade.

The merchants there have real businesses. They have licenses and pay sales tax. Solís noted that about 200 families depend on income from the market.

The merchants there have waged petition campaigns and protests to keep their spots. That was why the legislature passed the measure that ended up on the desk of Arias.

Solís in a visit to the market said he was correcting an injustice so that the merchants will have a dignified place to show the goods. Most goods are products of Costa Rica.

The presidential action was not without criticism. At the legislature

Every tourist who visits San José knows the mercado.

Every tourist who visits San José knows the mercado.

Rolando González Ulloa, a member of Partido Liberación Nacional, the party of Arias, said the president was hurting municipal governance by taking this action.

He noted that the Municipalidad de San José will continue to try to evict the merchants. The matter probably will end up in court as the municipality challenges the presidential authority.

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