Too Much of the Mañana Spirit Still Prevails
To get something done from a worker who is not too keen on doing the job at any given time, you'll have to call his attention because he'll likely use the word después (later). Most likely he'll say, I'll write después, I'll pay después, I'll go después. I'll fix it después and so on. Procrastination is still well ingrained in many Ticos, something which is still very prevalent in the rest of Latin America where it could be worse. In October, 1821, when word came from Guatemala that Spain had granted on September 15th 1821, independence to the region, the colonists in Cartago said, "let's wait and see": or "lets think about it", and a month later took the decision to accept independence. Eventually, the declaration was signed in November but Independence Day is always celebrated on September 15th.
Maybe because of that spirit of procrastination is why it took 20 years of studies and deliberations before the first cement factory was established in the country, or why it takes 4, 5 or 6 different 4-year government administrations to build a highway such as has been the case with the one which is to go from Ciudad Colón to Orotina. Other examples are the highway that is to go from Naranjo to Florencia in the San Carlos region and the bridge to cross the Tempisque River in Guancaste. The latter was finally completed because the Government of Taiwan decided to finance and build it as a friendly gesture to Costa Rica.
Not all delays in building large projects are due to a shortage of funds. A big reason is lack of continuity of effort and leaving things for tomorrow. Government action generally moves at a very slow pace. Procrastination is also visible in the Legislative Assembly when it comes to passing laws to achieve necessary economic and social reforms. A different story, though, is private enterprise and the entrepreneurship of the Ticos where the custom of procrastination is gradually wearing away. These now recognize more readily new business opportunities when they arise and usually are quick to capitalize on them.
As a good Tico, I myself have been guilty of procrastination. In 1968, I bought a piano from a Cuban family that wanted to go to live in Miami. My idea was to learn how to play it but it was not until 33 years later that I bought a course to learn to play by ear. I still haven't seen the video or heard the cassette to start lesson No. 1. Minnesota-bom Mavis Biesanz was correct when she said that Ticos were different and procrastinators.