.- In a document released September 20, the bishops of Costa Rica urged citizens to vote ethically and responsibly on the referendum on the Free Trade Agreement on October 7.
The bishops encouraged all Costa Ricans to vote on the referendum and said the Free Trade Agreement must be something that “benefits not just the few, but all citizens.” The proposal should be judged by whether or not it “contributes to the common good of society,’ they said.
“In this concept of development, which is the one the Church has proposed through her social teaching, not only are the principles of efficiency, competitiveness and productivity fundamental, but also, as a priority, are the principles of justice, equality, solidarity, the preferential option for the poor, freedom, autonomy, participation, dialogue and respect for the environment,” the bishops stressed.
They said voters should ask themselves whether or not the proposal would bring together the breach between rich and poor in the country, eliminate the roots of poverty, strengthen the country’s autonomy to decide about its own development, fortify Costa Rican industry, and respect human life as stipulated in Costa Rican law.
The bishops said it was not up to them “to say whether to vote yes or no on the referendum,” but they urged everyone to accept the results no matter how the vote turns out, “in order to avoid anything that might threaten the social peace.”
“We put this referendum that will be held in our beloved Costa Rica for the first time in the hands of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Prince of Peace, and under the protection of our Lady of the Angeles, Patroness and Mother of all Costa Ricans,” they said in conclusion.