Costa Rica *hearts* China

Is China the ‘next big thing?’ The government of Costa Rica seems to think so. Of course, China has always been a pretty big thing. But now that Costa Rica has jumped on board, THE SKY IS THE LIMIT!

Tempisque Bridge: Symbol of friendship between Taiwan and Costa Rica

It doesn’t seem so long ago that Costa Rica and Taiwan were strolling down lovers lane, or maybe I should say strolling over “friendship bridge”. Taiwan, in a gesture of good will (or something) financed and mostly built the 780 meter (almost a half mile) bridge over the Tempisque river. When it was finished in 2003, the people on the far side of the river in Guanacaste no longer had to take ferries or take the long way round by land.

But friendship, like love, can be a fleeting thing. In walked China, whispering ‘soccer stadium’ in Costa Rica’s ear, and the next thing you know, Costa Rica ends diplomatic relations with Taiwan and opens them with China. Money talks, futbol screams. The Romans knew what they were doing with the ‘bread and circuses’ strategy. Substitute ‘gallo pinto and fútbol’ and it works just fine in Costa Rica too.

Costa Rica’s new novio offers more than just a soccer stadium, though. All those nice new white police cars we see running around San Jose are from China. And off in the wings, warming up its voice is a new free-trade agreement, which would begin by eliminating tariffs on over half of the goods traded between China and Costa Rica and move towards elimination of up to 90% of all goods traded.

So, no more tariffs on electronic goodies coming in, and no more tariffs on… uh… whatever it is that Costa Rica ships to China (bananas? coffee? monkey heads carved out of coconuts?) Sounds swell to me. And I’m sure the lost revenue from the tariffs will be made up in some way or other. Probably not raising income taxes, though. Maybe raise the I.V.I. (sales tax) or just print the money. The paper and ink will be cheaper now if we get it from China. Win/Win.

So what else can Costa Rica do to show it’s love for the People’s Republic of China?

How about creating a Chinatown in San Jose? Never fear, plans are already underway to create a six block area on Calle 11 between Av.s 2 and 14. Plans are to turn Calle 11 into a pedestrian mall. I can almost smell the Tacos Chinos already.

Oh, and as one last favor to the People’s Republic, President Oscar Arias asked the Dalai Lama to ‘delay’ a planned October 2009 trip to Costa Rica.

Don Oscar’s stated reason was that he (Arias) would not be in the country to greet the Dalai Lama. Although the Dalai Lama’s trip was not a trip to meet with President Arias. But hey, the Dalai Lama agreed to ‘postepone’ his trip. He’s been through this before.

Oh, and I found out what Costa Rica’s main export to China is, like 90% plus. Computer chips. Interesting, no? Wonder what percentage of Ticos own Intel stock?

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