The General Attorney of Costa Rica Critiques Gentrification as “Neo-Colonization”

Costa Rica’s gentrification phenomena has been harshly attacked by Camilo Flores, Osa’s general attorney, who has called it a type of “neo-colonization.” Foreigners are displacing entire villages and purchasing land that is inaccessible to Costa Ricans, as Flores pointed out.

Living in a seaside location of Quepos gives me intimate knowledge with it. Flores told the local news outlet Nuestra Voz that developers are displacing entire communities by purchasing land at low costs that are out of reach for Costa Ricans.

The country is rife with instances, says the Prosecutor. The influx of rich foreigners has forced “an entire community” to leave Nosara, Guanacaste, and settle in more isolated areas, making it more difficult for them to obtain amenities and increasing the risk of flooding and landslides.

There are major ecological issues that arise as a result of this social and economic development. People in Tamarindo, Guanacaste, for instance, have a serious problem with water scarcity. But the city hall keeps handing out building licenses for mega-projects.

Flores voiced her disapproval of the situation, saying that although some people are helping themselves, others are hurting middle-class and lower-class neighborhoods. Companies are starting to sell at prices that ordinary Costa Ricans can’t afford. “The country should be concerned about this,” the prosecutor stated.

The proponents of this kind of development typically state that it boosts the economy, creates more jobs, and brings other benefits like tourism. Foreign investment boosts the economy overall, but not every industry feels the effects equally, as Camilo Flores made clear.

A very small number of people stand to gain from this kind of progress. The Attorney General of Osa made the point that while it is being framed as development, the reality is that it has the unfortunate consequence of reducing the wealth of the communities involved.

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