Friday, January 25, 2008

Give me a break!

This morning in my inbox, I read that our president, Oscar Arias, was the one millionth person to sign the Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare. While this sounds good on paper, at this point in time it means absolutely nothing. There has been no word of it in the national media here, no campaigns to improve the welfare of the animals in this country whatsoever lately, and, basically, animals live in as much neglect and suffering as they ever have. What is really improving their lives are the small groups, associations, and individuals throughout the country working hard every day to educate people and save animals. Not Oscar Arias putting on some kind of show for the international media, as if this country is a haven for animals. Hardly. Nor is it the eco-paradise that tourism companies and real estate developers want you to think, especially in the past few years with real estate developments going crazy and practically unchecked, removing hundreds of thousands of acres of lands that were previously wild -- and home to countless wild animals. What were once sleepy beach communities are now unrecognizable; when I first moved here just 7 years ago, "Lindora" in Santa Ana was nothing more than a country road with one bar (Bikers) on it. Did you know the monkey population of Costa Rica is half of what it was just a decade ago? This country has a lot of serious, interrelated problems it needs to face in order to move forward if any semblance of sustainability is to be achieved, otherwise I'm afraid it will be overrun with development, and soon. So Arias, how about you put your money where your mouth is, and actually do something for the animals of this country? Because here in Costa Rica, we aren't exactly buying it; that Nobel Peace Prize you won oh-so-many years ago can be trumped around all you like in the international scene, but what people who live here care about is what you're doing for this country now. Because so far, the jury's still out.

Have you signed yet?

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