Image via Wikipedia Up by the Nicaraguan border in Costa Rica, a Canadian company works the Crucitas gold mine. The problem is that 80% of the Costa Rican people are against the gold mine. Why? It is an open mining project, and it is wreaking havoc on the environment, and don’t forget this is a very ecologically conscious country. They are proud of their natural beauty. The gold mine is destroying trees, scattering wildlife and making a general mess. The previous president Oscar Arias permitted the mining. Now people want the sitting president, Laura Chinchilla, to stop it.
Opponents of the gold mine are pushing the president to close the mine. Protesters walked from San Jose, the capitol, to the gold mine by the Nicaraguan border. In good conditions this is a five hour drive. To walk it is quite a feat. In mid-July the group handed Chinchilla a written request to close the mine. Chinchilla said in a press conference that she would “analyze” the decree. It was later decided to leave the future of the mine in the hands of the Judicial branch of government. They will decide on the legality of the decree issued by former president Arias, permitting the mine.
This shows three things about Costa Rica. One, they are really serious about the environment. Two, this is a true democracy, where people can disagree, protest and demand. Three, Costa Rica is truly a land of peace. Everything is done without fighting, mayhem and most of the time without raised voices.