February 27, 2007
Things in Central America are not going so smoothly of late. Yesterday, tens of thousands of protesters representing labor, students, environmentalists, and other groups marched in San Jose, Costa Rica against the Central American Free-Trade Agreement. Costa Rica is the only one of the seven signatory nations that has not yet ratified CAFTA. Believing that the measure would unduly favor wealthy people and the United States, the protesters are demanding that Congress reject the bid by President Oscar Arias for "fast-track" authorization to limit debate. (That is routinely done for trade agreements in the United States.) Most people expect the fast-track measure, and CAFTA, to pass. See CNN.com. It is sad that such a prosperous, well-educated nation as Costa Rica falls prey to populist demagoguery.
A gang of gunmen assaulted a prison in Guatemala and killed the four police officers who were accused of assassinating the right-wing politicians from El Salvador last week. It was fairly obvious that they were trying to cover up whoever ordered the original killings, and makes this intriguing case even murkier. A riot broke out at the prison after the killings, and it took 12 hours to restore order. El Salvador President Tony Saca will visit the White House soon to discuss the growing threat of narco-gangs in the region. See BBC and CNN.com.