Donald Trump probably would not get many votes in Costa Rica now. Residents here generally consider that the Republican front runner’s opinions on illegal Mexican immigrants refer to all Latin Americans.
Some in Costa Rica might change their mind because Trump is a strong opponent of the North American Free Trade Agreement. He has not singled out the Central American Free Trade Agreement, but a president Trump certainly would want to renegotiate that controversial document too.
After so-called SuperSaturday over the weekend, Trump and Rafael Cruz, the Texas senator, have consolidated their positions as front runners, even though Marco Rubio won the Puerto Rican primary Sunday.
The Trump candidacy has certainly caused many to express their opinion. Rafael Correa, the president of Ecuador, said last week that a Trump victory would give a boost to the left wing in Latin America. This may have just been an anti-endorsement but the idea probably is true.
The Brookings Institution, a liberal think tank in Washington, D.C., suggested over the weekend that a Marco Rubio-John Kasich ticket might be a strategy to advance the Florida senator. The think tank said that Kasich could drop out of the race and direct his supporters to Rubio. Trump wants Rubio to drop out, too.
The Brookings Institution said that Trump is known for his
positions on Mexico, Muslims, immigration, refugees, trade, and U.S. allies like Japan and South Korea.
An opinion piece produced by the Council on Hemispheric Affairs said that Trump’s “domestic and foreign policy would largely affect the Latin American population in the U.S. — and U.S. relations with Latin America as a whole. Although Trump has not specifically delineated his policy regarding most Latin American countries, his generalizations about Mexico can readily be extrapolated toward his opinions of the region as a whole. His foreign policy stresses the need to construct a wall at the southern border of the United States. His domestic platform, in turn, emphasizes Second Amendment rights, major tax reforms and hostile immigration policies.”
The piece was written by Esther Fuentes, Mercedes Garcia and Henderson Roman, research associates at the left-leaning council.
Most Costa Ricans are simply confused by the U.S. primary system in which national candidates compete endlessly at the state level. Their opinion of Trump basically stems from his comments on México.
There really have not been any clear statements on Latin foreign policy issues, as the Council on Hemispheric Affairs points out.
So if Trump becomes the Republican nominee, Costa Rican officials and citizens here would expect him to issue more specific policies.
Meanwhile, as one educated Costa Rican said, “Watching the U.S. political process is like trying to figure out what is happening at a cricket game.”