The Legislative Assembly of Costa Rica approved the controversial "Plan Fiscal" tax-reform bill on Friday, October 5, in the first of two rounds of voting. The first round of debate was passed with 35 votes in favor and 22 against. Meanwhile, as the general strike is set to enter its fifth week, public support is falling. According to a poll conducted by the University of Costa Rica and a political research group, 46 percent of respondents support the strike as of October 2, down from 52 percent in the second week of the strike. Nonetheless, large protests continue, with hundreds gathering in front of the Legislative Assembly building on Friday and groups of protesters assaulting President Carlos Alvarado on Wednesday, October 3. The passage of the tax reform bill and waning support may have an effect on the strike, however, protests, roadblocks, and service disruptions remain likely to continue in the near future.
A general labor strike began on September 10 to protest a proposed tax reform bill that would increase taxes on certain items, including foodstuffs. Costa Rica is experiencing its largest financial crisis in 40 years as deficits are set to rise to 7 percent of its GDP.
Individuals in Costa Rica, particularly those in San José, are advised to monitor developments to the situation, anticipate disruptions to transportation and government services, including hospitals, health clinics, and schools, avoid large public gatherings as a precaution, and never cross a roadblock without permission. Expect fuel shortages in areas most acutely affected by the strike and related protests.
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