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Cablegate: Costa Rican Media Positive On Cafta-Dr Passage In

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS SAN JOSE 001722

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

WHA/CEN
EB FOR WCRAFT
E FOR TSMITHAM
WHA FOR WMIELE
WHA/EPSC FOR KURS
H FOR JHAGAN
STATE PASS TO USTR FOR JYOUNG, CPADILLA, AMALITO
INR/R/MR
WHA/PPA
INR/R/AA
MEDIA REC

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OPRC ETRD ECON PREL SOCI CS
SUBJECT: COSTA RICAN MEDIA POSITIVE ON CAFTA-DR PASSAGE IN
THE U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

REF: A. SAN JOSE 01720

B. SAN JOSE 01713

1. (U) Summary: Costa Rican media attention to CAFTA-DR,
always strong, intensified with the recent passage of the
agreement in the U.S. House of Representatives (San Jose
01713, 01720). General reporting was heavy, with five Costa
Rican dailies on 7/29 publishing more than 11 pages on
CAFTA-DR approval in the U.S. and the fact that Costa Rica,s
ratification is held up by President Pacheco,s conditioning
of CAFTA-DR on passage of his fiscal reform plan. Almost all
media interviewed deputies, businessmen, and former CAFTA-DR
negotiators on their positions and predictions about what
could happen if Costa Rica did not approve CAFTA-DR and the
complementary agenda. Editorials representing the opinion of
major print outlets are just beginning to appear and are
strongly positive, continuing past trends. END SUMMARY

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2. (U) "La Nacion," Costa Rica,s most influential daily and
strongly supportive of CAFTA-DR, in a column entitled
"Neither Fear nor Furtiveness" editorialized: CAFTA-DR'S
approval by the House of Representatives, besides being good
news, in theory clarifies the economic landscape, challenges
the political class and Costa Rican government, and places
our country on the path of decisions that we, necessarily,
have to adopt." The paper goes on to describe these
decisions -- CAFTA-DR's approval or rejection and whether
that decision will be made "via the rule of law or in the
streets." After the paper's usual criticism of the President
and the Government's handling of CAFTA-DR, it states that the
President "must make a decision and that decision, of course,
must not be inspired by fear or on delaying tactics." "La
Nacion" concludes by explaining that "The rule of law means,
on this occasion, following democratic constitutional
procedures -- not holding CAFTA-DR hostage, but sending it to
the Legislative Assembly for deliberation and a vote -- and
respecting citizens, constitutional rights: freedom of
transit, personal safety and free access to the full range of
public services. The current government,s main efforts have
concentrated on not doing this. The time for assuming
responsibility, however, in view of the course of events, has
arrived.

3. (U) Financial and economic daily "La Republica" published
two opinion pieces, one of them written by their
administrative manager, in which she highlights that CAFTA-DR
approval "demonstrates that Americans support free trade
agreements despite heated debates and business interests."
The column then details the dire predictions made in Mexico
and the U.S. related to the possible effects of NAFTA, none
of which were born out by the truth, and concludes by stating
that "The reality is that CAFTA-DR is not the devil or an
angel, but simply an instrument for development."

4. (U) Broadcast media also aired interviews and news stories
on CAFTA-DR approval in the House of Representatives. TV
station Channel 7, on 7/28 and 7/29, dedicated more than one
hour of news programming to reports on CAFTA-DR. While radio
and TV stations do not generally editorialize, one radio
station aired a three-minute editorial on CAFTA-DR, which
stated that "The world has taken a new step forward" and
described CAFTA-DR as "a fundamental change defining U.S.
policy towards Latin America." It concluded that in Costa
Rica "we are now facing total integration and have to take
advantage of the opportunity to attract more investments."
KAPLAN

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