Costa Rica has lots of delicious produce that benefits the United States and other countries. With the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA), Costa Rican farmers, most of whom have small family farms, face competition from the giant agribusinesses of the USA, but the markets of the US are also open to them.
Europe, however, still imposes higher tariffs on Costa Rican bananas than it does on African bananas. And bananas are native to central America, but not to Africa. Costa Rica, because of its democratic traditions. submitted ratification of CAFTA to a vote of the people. Costa Rica is the only country on earth that has approved free trade by a vote of the people, which is remarkably broad minded because usually protectionist sentiments are stronger than free trade supporters.
Costa Rica was the original "banana republic." The United Fruit Company started there, with large tracts of land given to it in the late 1800's as the inducement to build a railroad to the Caribbean coast. That had a profound effect on the country. They imported workers from Jamaica, many of whose decendents remain on the Caribbean coast. Later, the company abandoned that area and moved the banana plantations to the Pacific side when labor union activity arose. Today, the banana plantations have returned to the Caribbean side.
You will not want to miss our travel photos this week of the pyramids of Chichen Itza at Viva la Voyage!