Quebrada Honda: The Roots that Anchor Voter Turnout

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Three flags wave over the entrance to Norma Mata’s house in Copal de Nicoya.

The first flag has the red, white and blue colors of Costa Rica, the second flag has the colors of Guanacaste and the third those of the Social Christian Unity Party.

“I don’t like politics but I always go vote. It’s a responsibility,” explains the 58-year-old Mata, who says that voting is important for her and her family because you must evaluate each candidate’s proposals and party and select the best.

Quebrada Honda de Nicoya, is the district in Guanacaste with the highest turnout during the first round of voting, with more than 68 percent: some 1,473 people went to the voting booth

What pushed the residents of the fourth district of Nicoya to go out and vote? The response, according to residents, is the depth of the tradition and custom that families have to get out and vote.

“Many vote because they were taught to vote by their mom or dad,” said Laura Bolaños, 50, a resident of Caballito, a community that is part of Quebrada Honda.

“They are traditions that people have had since the old days. I have always voted,” said Manuel Fonseca, 63, who lives one kilometer from the center of Quebrada Honda.

But there are also residents in this Nicoyan district that went to vote because, according to them, they want a change in government.

Santos Suárez, lives in Puerto Moreno where he is a fisherman. He says that, contrary to four years ago, he went out to vote in this election. 

“People are tired of the same,” said Donald Carrillo, 50, a fisherman from the Puerto Moreno community, which also belongs to Quebrada Honda. “I voted for Fabricio (Alvarado from the PRN) because we are all evangelicals here.”

Santos Suárez, 49, is also a fisherman from Puerto Moreno and said that in the 2014 presidential elections he decided not to vote. He says that today he regrets that decision, which is why he went out to vote this past February 4.

“Four years ago I didn’t vote, but that’s enough. My mom and dad instilled it (voting) in me,” he said.