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Viewing cable 06SANJOSE643, ANTI-CAFTA-DR GROUPS STAGE PROTEST, "BURY" THE

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06SANJOSE643 2006-03-22 17:05 2011-03-03 16:04 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy San Jose
Appears in these articles:
http://www.nacion.com/2011-03-03/Investigacion/NotasDestacadas/Investigacion2697430.aspx
http://www.nacion.com/2011-03-03/Investigacion/NotaPrincipal/Investigacion2697496.aspx
http://www.nacion.com/2011-03-03/Investigacion/NotasSecundarias/Investigacion2697489.aspx
http://www.nacion.com/2011-03-03/Investigacion/NotasSecundarias/Investigacion2697532.aspx
http://www.nacion.com/2011-03-03/Investigacion/NotasSecundarias/Investigacion2697535.aspx
http://www.nacion.com/2011-03-03/Investigacion/NotasSecundarias/Investigacion2701964.aspx
http://www.nacion.com/2011-03-03/Investigacion/Relacionados/Investigacion2701965.aspx
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS SAN JOSE 000643 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPARTMENT FOR WHA/CEN JASON MACK 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: ETRD ELAB PGOV CS
SUBJECT: ANTI-CAFTA-DR GROUPS STAGE PROTEST, "BURY" THE 
AGREEMENT 
 
 
1. On March 20, several groups jointly staged the first 
organized protest against the U.S.-Central America-Dominican 
Republic Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR) since the country's 
February 5 elections.  Unlike in previous demonstrations, 
labor organizations did not play a major organizational role. 
 Instead, the protests were organized by the Cultural 
Movement Against CAFTA with support from other civil groups 
opposed to the accord.  Despite heavy pre-event coverage in 
most of the country's daily newspapers and picture-perfect 
Costa Rican weather, only about 100 protesters showed up for 
the festivities. 
 
2. In a highly coordinated and theatrical publicity campaign 
leading up to the march, organizers held a press conference 
modeled on a wake, with black-clad mourners greeting members 
of the press upon arrival.  The demonstration continued in 
this vein, with participants marching from a downtown park 
behind a horse-drawn hearse toward the Legislative Assembly 
complex.  Many of the protesters wore black shrouds and masks 
depicting President Bush, Costa Rican President-elect Oscar 
Arias, and several key CAFTA-DR negotiators.  Upon arrival at 
the Legislative Assembly, the group staged a mock burial, 
symbolizing, in the words of an organizer, how CAFTA-DR 
should be "buried in Congress." 
 
3. Comment:  Though their pre-event manipulation of the media 
was skillful, the organizers' success at drawing media 
attention may end up backfiring.  While the organizers did 
not, to our knowledge, call for widespread participation in 
the event, the blanket media coverage showing such a small 
turnout could indicate to observers that the demonstration 
was a failure.  For the past year, the success of a 
demonstration has been defined by its attendance; using that 
standard, yesterday's event is unlikely to be placed in the 
"Win" column for the anti-CAFTA-DR movement. 
LANGDALE