February 24, 2007 [LINK / comment]

Costa Rica-Venezuela dispute

The country with perhaps the strongest democratic tradition in Latin America, Costa Rica, has recently been involved in a growing rhetorical battle with the newest dictatorship in the region, Venezuela. President Oscar Arias, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, has on several occasions criticized Hugo Chavez for stifling freedoms, to which the government of Venezuela has reacted harshly. This week, Venezuela announced it was closing an aluminum plant that it owns in Costa Rica. A spokesman for President Arias said that this action was made for "political reasons." See CNN.com. Arias deserves huge credit for being one of the only leaders in the region to stand up to the bullying and intimidation of the thug from Caracas.