March 2007


Costa Rica´s Peaceful Environment is not by Chance  

by María Suárez Toro RIF/FIRE

Allow me to take you back to the first piece that was presented here: the wonderful multimedia HOPE production that puts us in the fork of the road between war and peace, that places the issues surrouning war and peace in such a complex dynamics precisely because it recognizes the multiple links in the roads and the forks that can become turning points or lead us to more of the same.

When I see this production as the woman that I am, I realize that in many ways, many women have taken the fork that the powers that be left behind a long time ago. Perhaps not so much because we are women as such, for today we have some really bad examples of women in power… and you know exactly who I mean. But because we have not been able to separate ourselves from caring for life and when we bring this personal experience to political and social organization, we contribute that caring, and so do men who also care, thus facing   our realities by hightlighting social and political dynamics from that perspective of caring. When we hang on to caring as the source of life, livelihoods and relationships, whether we are men or women, we do not get lost, even in the moments when all seems lost. We bring HOPE in the midst of despair, so necessary today when war and armamentism not only escalates, but seems instoppable because of the increasing concentration and abuse of power globally. Let us not get lost in the road.

When I see this production as the Costa Rican that I am, I realize that HOPE shows me, not only what has happened historically, regarding roads and forks, but it speaks to me about the fact that the drama of choice is a recurrent theme that we permanently face in every day life. The choices as individuals that are very much part of collectives. We do not make individual choices to promote peace without it having an expression collectively, especially when, as parts of collectives, the forks that appear in our lives become critical turning points.

And that is the moment in which we live in Costa Rica. One of those turning points, paradoxically enough, because we have been a country without an army, a country with highly protective laws for the commons, but I do not only mean the commons that constitute telecommunications (which in Costa Rica is still a commons), the human rights framework (which in Costa Rica  still the basis of law), or social services (which in Costa Rica are still in place), but also the natural resources (which  Costa Rica preserves), democratic participation and a strong system of interactive sovereignty that even saved us from getting trapped as a nation in the Central American wars that were triggered by local dictatorships and their links to the Reagan Era. 

What is the turning point in the fork today? The more I have to speak to people outside Costa Rica about our situation today, the more I realize that more than knowing that we are a country without an army, protective of more than half of its environmental  commons and with a social services universal system that might look like a great model… we are in need of explaining to people, making them aware of at least two things:

One is that the long history of decades without army came about and have witheld because of the close interaction between ALL of the above. Even our forefathers and foremothers, but most of all the children of the nation which constitutes civil society, we have known that without a strong social service system, without the protection of the commons and participation and all of what I mentioned, an armyless nation would not be possible. For people to live peacefully, they have to have their basic needs decently met. Only the very greedy make war for the sake of power, and many react to abuse of power with violence.

And the second one is simpler, having explained the above. We as Costa Ricans are in the turning point, once again, as we were almost 60 years ago to take the road of escalation of conflict leading to armed forces, or defend our system that has allowed us to live the way we do, even with all its imperfections, simple trying to make it better.

The free trade agreements which Guadalupe was talking about and that the present Administration in our country wants to adopt no matter what, has clauses that will allow for guns to be built in Costa Rica… what for we ask.. and why? But regardless of the answers, the fact is that people, the great majority of people, do not want that because with guns come armies. CAFTA would also accelerate privatization of all types of commons that we mentioned here, and the consequences I do not have to explain to you. They are very well known to you who are also living with the consequences of that from the Reaganomics Era… which get worse the more they are carried out by the present Administration.

If I continue giving you examples, on the one hand Edie is going to tell me my time is up, but on the other hand, you might get depressed and my idea is to give you HOPE, like the name and the spirit of the movie. Have hope, because right now, Costa Rica, more than an example, is what you might call a species in threat of extinction by CAFTA agreements. But have hope… most people in Costa Rica have become protectionists of that rare species that is being eaten away by some of its inkind and ourkind. You will not hear about us in your media, but look closely for the signs of the times elsewhere, or come there which different eyes, not the eyes of the desperate search for beautiful species to see and observe, but the eyes of those who seek the beauty of resistance to dirty war and betrayal of the beauty of peace.

When I told the producer of the film HOPE that I was going to base my message  to you all on her film as seen by me as a woman and then as a Costa Rican, she added… and as a friend. And she is right, we are friends, and we need hers and your friendship now more than ever. For if I see this film as the global citizens that she and I are, together with all of you, I have to tell you that the message that I see is the urgency to make the connections. The species in extinction that we are is in need of all of our voices and actions, for you all know that the environment knows no borderlines. If Costa Rica falls prey of CAFTA, the fork will have become another hole in the history of the thurst for a world without armies, when right now, that fork can become an excellent turning point. Do walk this resistance with us. Get informed about Costa Rica. Call your congress, join our movement of  ”environmentalists” for a rare species called arms free peace.


You may use these photos, audios, but please cite as the source: 
Radio International Feminista/Feminist International Radio Endeavour (FIRE) at: www.radiofeminista.net