Thousands of motorcycle riders are protesting in the streets of Costa Rica due to the announcement of a significant increase to the 2012 marchamo.
The marchamo, which means circulation permit, is a type of mandatory year-end vehicle insurance. The drivers must pay their marchamo before its due date on December 31 every year. This year, motorcyclists have been participating in weekly protests, the most recent of which occurred on Tuesday, November 29, 2011, starting at the San José statue of Leon Corte in La Sabana park.
Alvaro Valverde, one of the organizers of the protest, said that he expected as many as 10,000 motorcycle riders to participate. They started in the park, but then made their way to the Barrio Amon offices of the Instituto Nacional de Seguros(INS), the Costa Rican insurance institution, and will move on from there to the Casa Presidecial located in Zapote.
Albino Vagras, the head of Asociación Nacional de Empleados Públicos y Privados (ANEP) – the Association of Public and Private Employees, one of the biggest workers’ unions in the country – stated that he intends to bring the demands of the motorcyclists to presidenta Laura Chinchilla.
The portion of the 2012 marchamo that involves obligatory insurance has risen by 43 percent when compared to that of 2011 for motorcycle drivers, according to the Insurance Superintendency.
The INS provides motorists with their mandatory insurance and is also responsible for the collection of the marchamo. It has officially announced that it supports the raise in the 2012 rates, explaining that they are justified since when motorcyclists are involved in collisions, their injuries are typically more serious and cause them to require medical services that are much more costly.