When most people think of Costa Rica, they don’t imagine oil rigs stationed off the pristine beaches. Nor do they envision pit mines cutting into the cloud-forested mountains. But, despite the country’s noteworthy conservation efforts, its scenic vistas and extraordinary biodiversity face ongoing threats from extractive industries — and from international trade deals.
Nearly two years ago, Costa Rican nationals and admirers thought they’d been given reason to rest easy. In May 2002, responding to a large-scale mobilization of the country’s environmentalists, President Abel Pacheco announced a moratorium on oil exploration and open-pit mining in Costa Rica. Legislators are currently working to give congressional backing to the executive order and repeal laws that expose the country to extractive industries.
At least one multinational interest isn’t happy about the developments, however, and its model of corporate discontent may soon end the prospects of an activist siesta.
Harken Energy, a Texas-based oil company with close ties to U.S. President George W. Bush, had pre... Read more