By the A.M.
Costa Rica staff
Even though police have restored service at the Limón docks, the
resolution of the conflict over a $1 billion container handling
facility is a long way off.
The strike by dock workers purportedly is about a clause in the
contract with APM Terminals, which the union claims bestows an illegal
monopoly to handle shipping containers on the firm. President Luis
Guillermo Solís defended the agreement and said in a
statement Thursday that the contract has been studied by a number
of agencies and two branches of the Corte Suprema de Justicia.
Without a strong and evident commitment to the legal system, Costa Rica
lacks the credibility necessary to attract inversions, the president
University professors and the Federación Concervacionista
are asking the Secretaría Técnica Nacional
Ambiental to annul the concession contract.
One of the professors is Álvaro Sagot, who also is a
lawyer. News files shows that he has opposed a number of major
projects, including the Proyecto Hidroeléctrico Diquís,
the concession for the highway to San Ramón, the las
Crucitas open pit gold mine and even City Mall in Alajuela. The
other professor is Allan Astorga, a geologist.
Environmental approve is necessary for the construction of the
container handling facility, which will be built on an artificial
island in Moín harbor.
Project planners had hoped for environmental approval this year, but
now, after the professors and the federation filed their objection, the
environmental agency probably will spend much more time considering the
Specifically, the objections address 110 points of the environmental
impact statement, including the procedures whereby the concession was
Terminals the first place.
one of the objections is that the environmental agency cut
short a public hearing on the project in Limón before all who
spoke. That was the session where rowdy dock workers made so much of a
ruckus that those administering the hearing saw no point in continuing.
The courts ordered an addition hearing nevertheless.
The Fuerza Pública said that dock operations in both Moín
were back in service by 9 a.m. Thursday. The police agency said
that four highway blockade were broken up overnight. There are about
150 police officers providing security at the docks.
The Promotora del Comercio Exterior de Costa Rica said Thursday that
about $12.7 million in exports pass through the Limón ports each
The bulk of the exports are bananas and pineapples. The organization
estimated that some 693 20-foot containers are shipped out each
and said that any slow down results in additional costs. Strikers
walked out Wednesday morning.
Members of the striking Sindicato de Trabajadores de Japdeva y
Portuarios said they are expecting outside support from other labor
unions and hinted at sympathy strikes elsewhere.
Casa Presidential said that union leaders met Thursday with
government minsters at the requests of some legislators.
Victor Morales Mora, minister of Trabajo y Seguridad Social, said the
government reaffirmed its position that the contract clause cited by
the union is not a subject of negotiations. He also said that the
government is seeking more development in the Limón area to
Public opinion seems to side with the government, Even the opposition
Partido Liberación Nacional issued a statement backing
Solís and said
that the strike by dockworkers should not have taken place.