By Gillian Gillers
Tico Times Staff
Tico leaders from across the political spectrum cheered Democratic candidate Barack Obama’s victory this week as he became the first black president-elect of the United States. Winning a large majority of Latino voters, Obama captured 349 electoral votes, compared to 162 for Republican candidate John McCain, excluding North Carolina and Missouri, which were still to close to call at press time. “Barack Obama’s election is huge – huge for the United States and also for the world,” said President Oscar Arias, who represents the social democratic National Liberation Party (PLN). “He is new blood. He has some of the idealism of John F. Kennedy. He will no doubt do a great job directing U.S. policy, above all its foreign policy.” On Wednesday, Obama’s face plastered the covers of every major Spanish-language newspaper in Costa Rica, and his name was on the lips of Ticos and expats alike. Many cheered his election as a welcome change after eight years of Republican President George W. Bush, whose popularity has plummeted.