by Kenneth Justice
~ “Basically, all these people from the United States that you see are all here illegally…stealing jobs from the poor” she said
For the last five days of my trip to the Caribbean in Costa Rica I stayed at the house of a French woman. She is in her early 50’s, and in 1998 she moved to Costa Rica after selling everything she owned back in France…….a few years ago she received a permit from the Costa Rican government to turn her 6 bedroom house into a Bed & Breakfast (it’s really just the ‘bed’ part because she doesn’t make breakfast for the guests)
We were talking one morning about all of the people from the United States that I see working at restaurants, hotels, and other businesses all across the Caribbean; a lot of young 20ish U.S. men and women are employed all across Costa Rica.
“foreigners can’t get work visa’s unless they are scientists or have some special skill, so all of these kids from the U.S. that you see working here are illegals……if the Policia’ catch them they will be deported and banned from the country for 10 years” she said
I looked it up and sure enough the French woman is correct; although foreigners are allowed to own businesses in Costa Rica, they must employ local’s or else they are guilty of breaking the law.
I guess the whole thing smells of hypocrisy because don’t a lot of people from the United States complain about illegal immigrants working back in the States and ‘stealing’ jobs from Americans? Yet here in Costa Rica the very thing that people back home in the States complain about……is what they are doing to the Costa Rican people!
I guess what seemed a bit annoying to me is that its not like the average Costa Rican is very rich….in fact, by U.S. standards the average Costa Rican is living below the poverty level.
While I only have my own experiences as a guide; I hardly ever saw older people from the U.S. working illegally here…..it was almost always young men and women in their late teens to early 30’s who were working at gift shops, restaurants, coffee shops, hotels, and other similar places. Is it just me; or these U.S. kids taking advantage of poor people?
Although there is not massive waves of homelessness in Costa Rica; it does exist. And almost anywhere you drive in Costa Rica you will have people come up to your automobile with bags of fruits they picked earlier in the day that they try to sell to you…….the locals are merely hoping to make a few dollars each day to pay for the necessities of life.
I met an older couple from Texas who was staying at a really nice hotel and one of the first questions they asked me had to do with white employees, “Have you noticed how many people from the States are working at the hotels? At our hotel, of the 30 employees they have, more than 20 of them are white kids from the U.S.” they said
As a Christian, I am very sensitive about the poor being taken advantage of; read the Psalms, Proverbs, or just about anywhere in the books of the Prophets and you will find thousands of verses about injustice against the poor. The Jewish people lived in an era where the poor were constantly being despised, mistreated, devalued, and in many ways robbed of their humanity. And thus, in the early days of Christianity reaching out to the poor in a spirit of love and equality was a major emphasis of the church,
—) “I, the Lord, command you to do what is just and right. Protect the person who is being cheated from the one who is cheating him. Do not ill-treat or oppress foreigners, orphans, or widows; and do not kill innocent people in this holy place”
—) “Rich people who see a brother or sister in need, yet close their hearts against them, cannot claim that they love God”
Of course, now-a-days the average Christian Church isn’t really known for their great service to the poor……and that is a sad indictment against the church and what she originally stood for so many thousands of years ago.
—-) I got lost one day and a local Tico drove in front of me for 45 minutes to get me back on the right road; and he wouldn’t accept any gas money for his troubles
—-) I hit a pot hole and tore off part of the right bumper of my rental car and a local gas station got me right in and didn’t even charge me for fixing it…..(at least the attendant accepted a few dollars tip that I gave him as a thank you!)
—-) My friend wasn’t paying attention and gave too much money to a taxi driver and after my friend got out of the car the taxi driver called him back to give him the difference……the taxi driver didn’t want to take advantage of a tourist
At every turn the Costa Rican people demonstrated a tremendous amount of warmth and decency to me……..so should people from the States really be stealing jobs from them?
Does the United States have problems? Sure….there are a ton of problems here with the economy, the government, the job situation……yet does that justify our young people moving to Central America and stealing jobs from the poor?
I really need another coffee this morning,
If you haven’t heard I’m on a national tour of coffee houses all over the United States and other countries….check my site for dates and locations – My next stop will be in Atlanta, Georgia the first weekend of March!
Categories: Drinking in the Culture