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Thousands Rally in Costa Rica to Support Free Trade


Thousands of Costa Ricans have rallied in San Jose in a show of support for the Central American Free Trade Agreement, known as CAFTA.

The demonstrators, representing different sectors of Costa Rican society, wore white t-shirts Thursday as they massed in the capital to urge Congress to approve the accord.

The pro-CAFTA rally took place exactly one week after thousands of union members and farmers staged a protest against the trade agreement, saying it would increase poverty.

CAFTA is designed to cut or eliminate tariffs between the United States and Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua as well as the Dominican Republic.

Costa Rica is the only country whose legislature has not yet ratified CAFTA.

Supporters say CAFTA will open new markets for U.S. goods and services, and foster foreign investment and jobs in Central America. Critics say it will hurt local businesses and farms by allowing unrestrained, unequal competition.

Some information for this story provided by AP.

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