Costa Rica votes today on a free-trade deal, and the outcome will either give the nation stronger ties to the US or put it in Latin America's growing anti-US camp, the Christian Science Monitor reports. Polls show a race too close to call, though anti-pact voters had a slight edge. "It's more about ideology than free trade," one expert said.
Costa Rica has historically been pro-business and pro-democracy, but leftist sentiments are on the rise, led by Venezuela's Hugo Chavez. Supporters say the Central American Free Trade Act, already ratified by the region's other nations, is necessary for Costa Rica's prosperity. Opponents worry it will destroy small farmers and businesses.