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Pacheco: Costa Rica Did Not Have To Take Orders From Any Country

Inside Costa Rica

Pacheco: Costa Rica Did Not Have To Take Orders From Any Country

4 March 2011

Speaking on the program Nuestra Voz by Amelia Rueda, former president Abel Pacheco, in his characteristic self-assurance admitted that he received pressure from the U.S. for the approval of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) as revealed by Wikileaks and published on Thursday by La Nación.

The La Nación article released on Thursday that the U.S. Embassy in San José put pressure to encourage the adoption of the FTA between the U.S. and Costa Rica.

The FTA caused the rejection of many sectors of the Costa Rican population due to the asymmetries between the economies of both countries and also because it allowed the privatization of state sectors such as insurance and telecommunications.

Popular rejection forced then president Oscar Arias to submit the issue to a referendum on October 7, 2007, in which the FTA was approved in a narrow margin.

As revealed by Wikileaks, "the United States is attributed part of the "Yes" victory in the national referendum that approved the FTA."

After the consultation and during the complex legislative debate of the treaty’s implementation laws, Costa Rican President received a message of encouragement from the United States regarding the adoption of the legislation, said La Nación.

Pacheco said that on that topic, as in others, the U.S. showed interest but he flatly rejected any pressure.

In the case of the FTA - in Costa Rica known as the Tratado de Libre Comercio (TLC) - the U.S. pressure was never direct.

The WikiLeaks cables reveal that U.S. diplomats saw Pacheco as a president "intimidated" by the unions. Pacheco denied being intimidated, rather, he said that he always sought the welfare of the workers.

Otton Solís leader of Partido Acción Cuidadana (PAC) said that the WikiLeaks information proves U.S. interference, which was already evident at the time of discussion of the treaty, one of the leading opponents to the FTA