Cartago, the former capital, is the center of independence day activities

Runners braved wet weather in the Central Valley Sunday night to deliver the Antorcha de Independencia to Cartago. Untypically, the torch arrived about 40 minutes late.

That gave the politicians time for speeches. President Luis Guillermo Solís sketched out the various historic dates that provided a road for Costa Rica. He speech was short, patriotic and did not address any current issues.

However, earlier the president and his cabinet approved a host of decrees relating to Cartago. There were 10, including one that declared that the production of potatoes was in the national interest. Cartago is known for its potatoes.

The decree seeks to increase research about the tuber and also to increase the amount of land dedicated to its cultivation.

Another decree gave central government blessing to a proposal to build a new hospital in Cartago.  The structure would replace the current Hospital Max Peralta.  The Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social is working on the preliminary plans and the purchase of land.

Another decree declared that a special economic zone in Turriabla was in the public interest.

The gathering of central government officials also put weight behind a proposal to extend the valley rail line 5.3 kilometers more from Cartago Centro to Paraíso de Cartago by 2016.

A proposed law that would provide support for the Instituto Costarricense de Ferrocarriles is in the legislature.

The crowd at the Ruinas de Cartago was spared the heavy rains that hampered runners. There also was entertainment from dance groups and singers.

Cartago was the colonial capital of the province of Costa Rica. And that is  where the news of independence was delivered 193 years ago.

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