de Cultura y Juventud photo
of Filibusters occurred May 1
Costa Rica photo/Rommel Téllez
marches like this will occur on May 1
of the A.M. Costa Rica staff
The upcoming celebration of International
Labor Day in Costa Rica is not only just a
holiday many Ticos use to flee to the
beaches and mountains. It is a significant
day for local politics and social
activists who traditionally gather at
Avenida Segunda to march towards the
On the one hand, it is a good opportunity
to take a walk in downtown San José and
become aware of how many small and micro
political parties lean to the Left and
revere old-school leaders such as Mao,
Fidel, Cháves and Manuel Mora, the local
equivalent to those big names.
Mora was the founder of the very first
Costa Rican Communist Party and an
activist who had a huge role in the
creation of the country's social security
system and the so called Garantías
Sociales, established in the constitution.
It is also a good opportunity to witness
how many different causes may fit into a
From indigenous associations demanding
more empowerment to New Age Anarchist
waving black flags with their faces
covered as if to ambush the rest of the
marchers at any time. From animal rights
advocates to vegan socialists fighting the
repression of the military forces of the
state; sometimes that is represented in
the form of a chubby police officer with a
stick watching the passersby.
Other groups include feminist associations
marching to end gender violence,
flamboyant LGBTQ organizations making sure
their community is no longer disrespected
or made invisible. Students, Movimientos
Bolivarianos, ice cream sellers, clowns,
unions and religious groups complete the
mix of ideologies.
On the other hand, It is the best chance
to get close to many legislators. This
specific day they have a tendency to show
themselves as irresistibly charming. Maybe
it is because this is the day they get the
most media coverage.
By law, May 1 is the day the assembly
starts its new term and lawmakers chose a
new directory, sort of their internal
directory could be described as
organized chaos with many legislators
changing their minds last minute
according to last minute alliances
between the parties.
In past years, some of them have
cried, fought against each other or gone
mad with rage when not chosen for a
position in the directory.
And there is a reason for so much
The directory has a lot of power.
Its president is the one in charge of
starting and finishing legislative
They allocate the budget for the other
political parties. It creates the
Comisiones Permanentes, sort of mini
legislatures with the power to approve
laws of certain nature.
The directory has also the power to call
off some bills and stop their discussion,
authorize paid leaves and approve the
payments of all the 57 legislators.
Let's not forget that in case President
Luis Guillerno Solís and his two vice
presidents are all out of the country at
the same time, the president of the
assembly becomes the president for all.
The voting process is broadcasted all day
long. As of 2015, it is tradition that on
the same day the president would address
the country and give their state of Costa
As of 2016, the president will do the same
thing but the next day at 3 p.m. It is a
way to make the Workers Day a little less
chaotic, specially taking into
consideration that ministers, diplomats,
prosecutors, former presidents and the San
José Catholic Bishop attend the event.
There is more significance to the day for
Among the arsenal of remembrances include:
the Chicago Haymarket massacre that
inspired the Second International to
create the socialist holiday, the
surrender of U.S. Filibusters in 1857 as
well as the signing of the border treaty
with Panamá in 1941.
All of these things happened on May 1 and
are the reasons why some others Ticos
celebrate this celebration.