This is Julio on the ‘phone this morning, checking that I had the results of Costa Rica’s Presidential election in which one man called Alvarado, centre left candidate, beat another man called Alvarado, evangelical preacher, standing for ‘family values’, i.e. the missionary position in the dark with a person of the opposite sex, both of whom had preferably tithed to support their local preacher in the luxury to which he woshed to become accustomed.
Armando is a notorious homosexual…well, notorious in his village anyway….but as far as I was aware he stood in no added danger if the evangelical had won, pogroms not being part of his election programme.
‘Ha,’ said Julio ‘Let these demagogues get into power and you’ll have Hitler before you know it!’
Before I left for a trip to Europe which involved almond blossom in Spain, a non functioning Mithraeum, snow, ice, non delivery of mother’s shopping – twice – catching a chest infection and suffering from hypothermia in Barcelona airport the thirteen candidates for the Presidency in Costa Rica had been reduced to two after the first round of voting.
Against all expectation, one of the two was Fabricio Alvarado, of the wonderfully named National Restoration Party, who had profited from the declaration of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights that all signatory countries must permit same sex marriage to rise in his wrath and declare his opposition to such a challenge to traditional culture. It was an imposition…it was contrary to Costa Rican customs…next thing you know it would be in vitro fertilisation and homosexuals running rampant in the streets.
It struck a chord. Previously, despite holding open air prayer meetings all over the country, his share of the vote had been estimated at three percent. After declaring his opposition to same sex marriage it soared into the twenties and permitted him to be one of the two candidates in the run off.
Was the country mad? This was a man who made his name as a happy clappy singer in evangelical circles, who had slid under university rather than through it and whose period in the National Assembly was marked more by his absence than his presence.
And he was standing for the office of President.
He brushed aside claims of his lack of experience…..look at the mess those with experience had made, he said….God would guide him.
What was his attraction…and to whom?
Following the pattern set by the Front National in France and Trump in the U.S.A. he set himself up as the outsider…the man who represented those who felt they were ignored by those who ran the country…mostly in the coastal and frontier areas where infrastructure is poor, educational opportunity inadequate and well paid jobs non existent.
Traditional values were disregarded, undervalued by what was seen as an elite living in and around San Jose…a corrupt elite which had led the country to ruin both morally and economically.
There had already been disquiet in these areas about a new sex education module for high schools which dealt with gender identity, so Fabricio’s reaction to the decision of the Inter American Court fell on fertile ground.
He would be the man to take on the perverted politicians…guided by God and financed by the faithful.
Not only did he reach the run off, but his party acquired fourteen deputies in the new National Assembly, thirteen more than in the current one.
National Restoration was on a roll.
But the roll started to take a downhill trajectory.
The proposed cabinet of ministers were seen to be either useless or implicated in obscure financial affairs.
Fabricio accepted the aid of the least savoury part of the National Liberation Party to form his cabinet…there is acknowledged to be little that is more corrupt that the least savoury part of the PLN…so his claim of having clean hands went down the swanny in double quick time. Touch the PLN and you touch pitch.
Fabricio’s pastoral guide announced that the patron of the country…the Black Virgin…was a demon and that the Basilica which housed her shrine at Cartago was a haunt of Satan….which alienated a vast number of potential Roman Catholic voters who would otherwise have supported his views on ‘curing’ homosexuality and all the rest of the baggage…
In the televised debates he could not make a reasoned argument…
When he finally produced his manifesto it was only a shortly before polling day and was a mess of copy and paste from the manifesto of the PLN candidate who did not make the run off.
Still, the polls and the papers had him twelve points ahead of his rival, Carlos Alvarado, of the ruling PAC party. As far as the media were concerned, Carlos had to be defeated by nomatter whom, as PAC had been undermining the power of the monopolists who make Costa Rica such an expensive country in which to live…monopolists who control the press. No way could Carlos beat Fabricio.
But he did. Sixty to forty per cent.
Costa Rica came to its senses.
There was a notion of ‘anyone but Fabricio’ just as in France there was a notion of ‘anyone but Le Pen’, but a consensus was reached that there had to be an end to the inequalities that produced the Fabricio effect…that the better elements of the political scene had to stop squabbling and start to solve the problems that have been developing over the last twenty years.
Thus Carlos, not Fabricio.
But he faces an uphill task, like the current incumbent, President Solis, because PLN and National Restoration hold a majority block in the new National Assembly just as PLN does in the current body.
Cosdta Ricans have to take a further step…to make their representatives accountable. To force them to put country before pelf and party.
If they fail then there will be another four years of stagnation, of small gains, of deterioration of the quality of life of the majority of people.
Fabricio has left a time bomb….it needs to be defused and can only be so by popular pressure.
Still, there must be one group of people who are, whatever their views on same sex marriage, ‘curing’ homosexuals and in vitro fertilisation, very relieved that Fabricio has lost.
The diplomats of Costa Rica.
They will not be faced with explaining away a First Lady who ‘speaks in tongues’.
She is the one on the right as you see it.
Passing the port the wrong way might be overlooked…but speaking in tongues is beyond the pale……..