LatinNews Daily - 22 June 2023

In brief: Costa Rica’s Chaves dismisses education budget demands

* Costa Rica’s President Rodrigo Chaves has downplayed protests which took place on 20 June by thousands of people in the capital San José demanding that the government increase the national fund for higher education (FEES) by 1%. Organised by leading teachers’ unions like Asociación Nacional de Educadores y Educadoras (ANDE), student organisations such as Federación de Estudiantes de la Universidad Nacional (FEUNA), Costa Rica’s national council of public university rectors (Conare), and Mesa de Diálogo Multisectorial por una Costa Rica, which groups various unions and social organisations from different sectors, protesters were also calling for the government to comply with its constitutional mandate to allocate 8% of GDP to the public education system at all levels. Currently, only 5.8% of GDP is allocated to education, according to the Universidad de Costa Rica. Yesterday Chaves acknowledged turnout of some 6,000 which he said was “a lot of people” although went on to say that “in the grand scheme of things” this was “weak”. The protesters were bolstered by a motion approved on 20 June by the opposition-controlled 57-member unicameral legislature declaring support for them, which was approved with 30 votes in favour. The government maintains it lacks the funds to comply with the demands.

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