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A return to Traditional Values – Fabricio Alvarado Muñoz wins the first round of elections by opposing same-sex marriage

Saarim Damani

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Fortythree-year-old Fabricio Alvarado Muñoz, a Conservative Christian evangelical singer, topped the ballots and won the first round during Costa Rica’s Sunday presidential election after raising his voice against same sex marriage.

Muñoz’s opponent, Carlos Alvarado, came into close competition by receiving 21.7 % of the votes compared to Muñoz who won with 24.8 % of the votes. Both the candidates are poised to participate in a runoff, which will be held two months from now on April 1.

Muñoz believes that the sovereignty of the family is the fundamental basis of society. He is strictly against gay marriage, but claims that he supports and recognizes certain rights of gay couples. Calling out the ruling of the American Court of Human Rights to support same sex marriage became the immediate reason for his success in the polls.

On the other hand, Alvarado was the only candidate that supported same sex marriages, which helped him win the votes of liberal Costa Ricans. Alvarado claims “The Costa Rica of the 21st century requires a government that knows how to move forward with vigor, love, happiness [and] the agenda of equality.” In order to win the runoff round, Alvarado might face the pressure to change his stance because, often, when politicians are in an electoral position, they have to make a stance which appeals to the masses.

Conservatism has unique historical roots embedded in Costa Rica and there is an increasing evangelical population who identify themselves as conservative. Hence, a majority of the population still has a traditional mindset as opposed to a liberal mindset.

It is not just Costa Rica. There are many countries who are now raising voices to restore traditional values in society. With societies progressing, the debate between liberalism and conservatism is becoming more heated. Even though we can see a switch from conservatism to liberalism in places such as Uruguay, which has begun protecting abortion rights and accepting same sex marriages, many places still see liberalism as a practice which has no boundaries and where we have inserted ourselves in God’s place.

The rise of liberalism has led to a rise in fear; an encircling fear regarding the protection of traditional roots and this, I believe, can be one of the reasons why people are trying to ensure that there is a return to traditional values.

Every community has their own set of cultural and societal norms that are deeply embedded with conservative outlooks, which they will feel the need to protect and secure. These traditional values and thought systems have been passed down through our ancestors and, even if most people project liberalization, their idea of liberalism is a far-fetched and idealistic one that they will never practice.

Conclusively, a disruption between the colonial ties until the late 1800s has significantly led to the formation of nation-states in Latin America. Although there was much influence from the U.S. and the French Revolution in trying to establish liberalism, Latin America adopted a rather authoritarian style of governance under the domination of the liberal constitution in other nearby regions. Latin America believes in maintaining mercantilism and rejoicing absolutism. The conservative element has certainly dwelled within the culture and this has led to the return of traditional values in the Latin American world.

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A return to Traditional Values – Fabricio Alvarado Muñoz wins the first round of elections by opposing same-sex marriage