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(506) 2223-1327                                 San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 209                         Email us
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Solís warns dock workers that port will function
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

With the Limón dockworkers union poised to strike, President Luis Guillermo Solís promised Tuesday he would not allow a job action to affect the operations of the port.

If a strike is called, Solís may have to send police into the Moín terminal to keep his promise. A prolonged strike might mean temporary non-union workers.

Costa Rica has been down this road before because the Sindicato de Trabajadores de Japdeva y Afines Portuarios has called strikes  repeatedly in the past.

Presidential action might have been foreshadowed earlier this month when Fuerza Pública officers and traffic police cracked down on pirate taxi drivers who were blocking a major highway in Hatillo. There were arrests and vehicles were confiscated.

Previous administrations have been reluctant to confront strikers and considered blockades, work stoppages and similar to be the right of workers. Protesters paralyzed the country several times  over the North American Free Trade Treaty
during the Abel Pacheco and Óscar Arias Sánchez administrations.

The big difference now is that the government holds the upper hand because there is extensive public support for the controversial $1 billion container handling facility. And union members have alienated some due to the disruptive way they broke up a hearing over the terminal.

Still, the government is hopeful that there will not be a strike The Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Transportes said Tuesday that the new container facility run by APM Terminals would not be a monopoly and that 40 percent of the goods that pass through the Moín docks are not in containers. Jorge Mora of the Consejo Nacional de Concesiones, who way quoted saying this, was trying to assure dockworkers that they would not lose their jobs. He also said that the new terminal, because it is a concession, will always belong to the state.

No one is expecting a reaction from Solís similar to that of U.S. president Ronald Reagan, who fired striking air traffic controllers in 1981, or the way president Harry Truman sent in the Army to run U.S. railroads in 1950.

Ministerio de Gobernación, Policía y Securidad Pública photo

Police officer stands guard while a backhoe demolishes an illegal structure in Hatillo.

Second time might be a charm for drug bunker
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Bunkers are rough construction or dwellings that are fortified for the benefit of drug dealers and users inside. They are frequent in low-income areas where drug use is common and gangs can rule a neighborhood.

Such is the case in  Ciudadela 25 de Julio in Hatillo. Workmen under police supervision destroyed a bunker there last week.

Rebuilding was quick. So Fuerza Pública officers
and San José municipal police were back again Tuesday to tear down the structure.

The bunker is the centerpiece of an effort that eventually will destroy some 50 slum homes that have been constructed on public land. More than 100 persons will be displaced, said the Fuerza Pública.

The metal siding and roofing, plus lumber will be trucked to a dump to make reuse difficult. Police and heavy machinery operators expect to be there into next week.

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