Cultural life is mainly of modern and
predominantly Western style. Traditional crafts do not
exist to any great extent, possibly with the exception
of the colorfully painted ox cart that has become
something of a national symbol. However, tourism has
contributed to a boost for a modern craft with wood and
At the museums in the capital San José, gold and jade
objects are preserved from the period before the arrival
of the Europeans in the 16th century.
From the late 1920s a special Costa Rican tradition
of landscape painting developed. A typical motif is
white houses in sleepy mountain villages with volcanoes
in the background, preferably in clear colors. A leading
representative of this genre was Teodorico Quirós
(1897–1977) who had been inspired by the French
Latest population statistics of Costa Rica, including religious profiles and major languages spoken as well as population growth rates in next three decades.
At the end of the 19th century, national literature
emerged in Costa Rica. In the second half of the
century, a so-called realistic-regional direction
emerged, whose chief representative was Manuel Gonzáles
Zeledon (pseudonym Magón, 1864-1936). Magón depicted
life in San José. Aquileo Echeverría (1866-1909) is
considered the national poet of the country.
The music is mainly Spanish, but also has African
elements. European instruments such as guitar, mandolin
and accordion dominate, but in folk music, marimba
(xylophone) is also used, just as in neighboring
countries north. Young people mostly listen to rock, but
dancing makes Costa Rican people of all ages happy to
typical Latin and Caribbean rhythms such as salsa,
cumbia and merengue.
Protest against tax reform and cuts
The trade union organization organizes a
demonstration against planned tax reforms, increased
electricity prices and austerity in welfare. President
Chinchilla calls the demonstration "unfair and
The electoral movement is starting
The electoral movement before the February 2014
elections begins formally. The PLN candidate for the
ruling party is Johnny Araya Monge, the nephew of former
President Luís Alberto Monge. PAC has appointed Luis
Guillermo Solís as his candidate (he is not related to
the party's founder Ottón Solís who is not running for
the first time). ML's candidate is Otto Guevara, who is
running for the fourth time. Pusc has appointed the
popular pediatrician Rodolfo Hernández Gómez as his
candidate, but he will be resigning shortly after the
electoral movement started, citing corruption and
fragmentation within the country. Pusc's candidate will
be Rodolfo Piza instead.
New suspicions against ex-president
A new criminal investigation is being launched
against former President Miguel Ángel Rodríguez on
suspicion of fraud during his tenure as president in
1998–2002 (see also December 2012).
Suspicions are also directed at high-ranking persons
within the state insurance company INS.
State visit from China
Chinese President Xi Jinping visits Costa Rica.
Criticism of threats from the president
President Laura Chinchilla pulls off a criticism
storm on Twitter and other social media when she
threatens to sue the person who slanders her on Facebook.
State visit from the United States
US President Barack Obama visits Costa Rica.
Security scandal leads to departures
A scandal involving the safety of President Laura
Chinchilla leads to the resignation of three people: the
country's intelligence and security chief, a
presidential adviser, and the Minister of
Communications. The background is that Chinchilla twice
traveled abroad with an airplane that turned out to be a
Colombian with suspected links to the drug trade. Both
the plane and the owner were under the watch of the
intelligence service when the president used it.
Prohibition of pleasure hunting
Parliament unanimously adopts a law that prohibits
hunting as a sport. Exceptions are made for research,
traditional hunting for indigenous people and the
shooting of excess animals. Costa Rica becomes the first
country in Latin America with such a law. Fishing is not
affected by the ban.
Ex-President is freed
Former President Miguel Ángel Rodríguez sentenced to
five years in prison (see April 2011)
is being released by an appeals court citing misconduct
in the first trial. A former head of the French
telecommunications giant Alcatel is also freed, as is a
lawyer and two high-ranking people within the Costa
Rican electricity company ICE.
More ministers are allowed to go
Justice Minister Hernando París and Minister of
Communications Francisco Jiménez resign - the latter
because of a corruption scandal. As a result, nearly
half of President Chinchilla's ministers have been
allowed to resign since she took office two years
earlier. Her popularity figures are at the bottom and
the tax reform seems to have slipped (see also
Reversal for tax reform
The Constitutional Court states that the government's
tax reform contravenes the Constitution as presented.
Chinchilla calls it a disaster for the country. The week
before, Chinchilla was hit by another setback in
attempts to push through tax reform, when Finance
Minister Fernando Herrero was forced to step down due to
media attention that he was paying too little in
property taxes. It is not a lot of money, but Herrero's
situation became unsustainable as he has been a driving
force in trying to push through tax reform. The head of
the tax authority was also forced to resign for the same