The first casualty of the “Chorizo Plane” scandal was Communications Minister Francisco Chacón who tendered his resignation on Tuesday.
Yesterday, Presidenta Laura Chinchilla’s personal assistant, Irene Pacheco and the vice-minister of the Presidency and Director of the Dirección de Inteligencia y Seguridad Nacional (DIS), Mauricio Boraschi, stepped down from their posh government post.
The DIS is the country’s intelligence gathering service, akin to the CIA in the U.S. or the CSIS in Canada and is under the direct control of Casa Presidencial. The DIS is also the security unit of the president.
All three, according to the Presidenta in a televised address, were responsible for setting up the deal with the private plane used by her, her husband and her staff to travel to Peru on May 11, a plane that we now know is owned by THX Energy, with ties to Gabriel Ricardo Morales Fallon, who is alleged to have links to Colombia’s drug cartel.
In the television address, Chinchilla said that her near and loyal collaborators let down their guard and “this I cannot accept”.
The Presidenta admitted that in the management of the use of the aircraft there were “serious omissions and a dereliction of duty”.
Now that Chacón and Pacheco are officially out of a job they are talking to the press. And their stories are conflicting.
Chacón said on Tuesday that the arrangements for the THX plane were last minute and he was duped by Morales, who used a fake name. He has since filed charges with the Attorney General.
Pacheco, however, says that the use of the THX plane goes back to March, first used by Presidenta Chinchilla to attend the funeral of Hugo Chavez in Venezuela.
At the centre of this scandal is one Morales.
THX Energy on Thursday, by way of a press statement, said that they have no ties to Morales. In Colombia, according to officials in that country, Morales has a clean record though has been or is the subject of numerous investigations, including alleged ties to a Cali drug cartel kingpin. In Costa Rica, where now Morales lives in a secluded community, he has not spoken to the press and there is no indication that he involved in any illicit activity. Morales is a Colombian national and a naturalized Costa Rican by way of marriage (now divorced).
As the days roll and heads fall, the Attorney General has confirmed they looking into the case to determine whether the trip violated the Illicit Enrichment Law.
In her television address, Doña Chinchilla said she “will not” be using any private jet during the balance of her term.
The following is the message of Presidenta Laura Chinchilla: