A social media campaign produced by a group of students at the University of Costa Rica is creating controversy while stealing the thunder from national debates on television. Although it is less than two weeks old, the Facebook page has generated 37,266 subscribers.
A video published on December 27th is highly critical of mainstream political parties, and was produced by a group of supporters for the Frente Amplio (Broad Front). The party is a left of center on the political spectrum and is seen as an alternative to the liberal ruling PLN (National Liberation Party).
The video criticizes the government for failed projects and decisions, which seem to put the country behind in social progress. For example, with a 0.50 Gini coefficient economists can classify Costa Rica as one of the most inequitable countries in the world. References are made to the closure of the national rail system in 1995, putting Costa Rica behind other Latin American countries with modern transit systems. The video makes a strong statement that high-end tourism projects, golf courses and luxury developments are pointless because they don’t improve society as a whole.
Politicians are worried about the Internet campaign because they believe that voters, aged 18 to 39 will be the dominant force in the election. Turn out among older voters in the age 40 to 65 demographic tends to be low. Also, younger voters are ignoring the traditional media and televised debates in favor of information presented in social media and on the Internet.
A court case has been filed against the video as it was released during the holiday period when campaign activity is supposed to be put on hold for the Christmas holiday. The complaint also alleges that the video used state-funded resources in violation of electoral law.