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A Happy Election in Latin America

For a change.

Feb 22, 2010, Vol. 15, No. 22 • By MICHAEL GOLDFARB
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Guevara’s steep decline in the polls coincided with a series of articles in the country’s leading newspaper raising question about the sources of his campaign funding, but few voters I talked to were aware of any of that. Perhaps it was his campaign colors—red and white—that led voters to believe he was a Communist. Or maybe it was his plan to eliminate taxes on the poor (an attempt to make his flat tax more progressive) or his promise to provide every primary student in Costa Rica with a free laptop.

When I asked a Solis supporter who was volunteering at a polling place amid the carnival-like atmosphere of Election Day why people thought Guevara was a Communist, he shrugged. “I studied medicine in the Soviet Union, I know what a Communist is—Otto is not a Communist,” he said. “People confuse Communism and fascism.” Whatever the explanation, the penchant working class Costa Ricans have for labeling their opponents Communists is perhaps the best evidence that Costa Rica is set to remain a haven for capitalism, democracy, and freedom in an otherwise troubled region.

Michael Goldfarb is a contributing editor to The Weekly Standard.

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