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Costa Rica backs free trade

During the last 100 years, Costa Rica has been the most democratic country in Central America. It is thus not surprising that it is currently the most prosperous one, too.

Huge and intense demonstrations of up to 100,000 people opposed DR-CAFTA, the Central America Free Trade Agreement that includes the U.S., Dominican Republic (DR), El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica.

But the referendum was won by the silent majority rather than the loud minority. Almost 52 percent of voters supported "Yes": this camp included President Oscar Arias, the 1987 peace Nobel laureate. Good for them. It will allow them to sell and buy what they need more easily.

Costa Rica was the only place that held a referendum about the question and became the last one where the agreement was ratified.

The critics are right that the agreement will make it harder for some companies in Costa Rica, especially the state-run companies. They will indeed have to face tougher competition and it is a good thing, too, both for the rich and the poor.

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