Bush and Arias talk CAFTA

Costa Rican President and Nobel Peace laureate Oscar Arias Sánchez met in the White House with George W. Bush to talk about debt, democracy in Latin America, and of course CAFTA. As mentioned in earlier posts, Costa Rica has yet to ratify and implement the agreement.

Bush was briefed about the legislative process to approve CAFTA, and while he did not put any public pressure for the approval, he did mention that trade is one of the most important elements for development. Costa Rica is the largest economy in the CAFTA treaty, and its absence in the agreement would a tremendous blow for the free trade zone.

Bush also mentioned that he may look into condoning $104 million USD in debt that Costa Rica has with the USA in exchange for investment in health and education. Bush stated that those countries which invested in education and not in weapons should be rewarded in some form.

I must admit that when I heard that my irony meter broke and I could not continue listening to the press conference, so I don’t know if something else of importance was mentioned.

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