Updated 08:02 AM EDT, Wed, Jun 23, 2021

Why Uber Considered Illegal by the Costa Rican Government

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Uber remains in a legal limbo in Costa Rica as the Central American country has yet to accept the ride-hailing service since it entered the country last year.

Contrary to common notion, the country was not very happy when the company revealed its plans on opening a new support services center for the Latin American region and would provide about 300 bilingual Costa Ricans a decent job, a report from Tico Times stated.

"Any activity connected to the operation of Uber, even if it is technically legal, will be exhaustively investigated to make sure that it does not support the operation of a business that is illegal in the eyes of the country's current laws," says a statement from the Public Works and Transport Ministry released on Tuesday.

Uber has also received no patronage from Costa Rica President Luis Guillermo Solis Rivera, who has been a long-time strong supporter of foreign investors. He warned the company of a more vigilant Transit Police on the lookout for vehicles linked to the mobile ride-hailing service.

Apparently, the Central American country has not shown any love for the taxi-hailing service because it has been considered notorious for side-stepping licensing, which resulted in unrest and several lawsuits against the company.

"As a business, Uber is a wildly successful company that seems to have not limits in relation to its commercial ambitions; however, its freewheeling plans for expansion have resulted in a number of private lawsuits, protests, licensing issues, as well as allegations of sabotage and interfering with press freedom," the Costa Rica Star News explained in a report back in February.

Citing La Republica Spanish-language writer Johnny Castro, the state news agency also explained how Uber is facing with strong opposition considering the more legal as well as informal "porteadores" it will be competing against.

In fact, many of these competitors took the law into their own hands, showcased in harassment incidents involving cab drivers who attacked an Uber driver in August, as reported by Reuters.

Despite this, Uber remains positive that the Central American country will welcome their business with open arms.

"What better place than Costa Rica to establish our first Center for Excellence in Latin America. We're very excited to be here and launch operations in this city that has a tradition of receiving innovative companies," Umberto Pacheco, Uber Costa Rica's General Manager, said in a statement.

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