Carlos Alvarado, Costa Rica’s new president, in his first presidential speech following the swearing-in ceremony Tuesday morning, vowed to turn Costa Rica into a global example of how to abolish fossil fuels.

“We have before us the titanic and beautiful task of abolishing the use of fossil fuels in our economy, to open the way for the use of clean and renewable energy,” said Alvarado, at 38, the youngest President of the Second Republic and the youngest in Latin America.

To make his point, Alvarado and members of his cabinet arrived at the ceremony aboard the hydrogen-fueled bus, name N’YU’TI, developed by Costa Rica’s Ad Astra Rocket Company led by former Costa Rican astronaut Franklin Chang.

The bus left the Sabana park, making its way along Paseo Colon and Avenida Segunda escorted by tens of cyclists in support of Costa Rica’s president of the Legislative Assembly, Carolina Hidalgo, who rode her bicycle from her home in Heredia to join the bus ride.

“Costa Rica must be among the first countries in the world, if not the first, to fully end the use of fossil fuels,” Alvarado said.

The event was attended by 2,000 citizens, filling the Plaza de la Democracia, under the hot morning sun, and 109 international delegations, seven of them at the level of presidents: Panama (Juan Carlos Varela), Guatemala (Jimmy Morales), El Salvador (Salvador Sánchez Cerén), Ecuador (Lenín Moreno), Bolivia (Evo Morales), the Dominican Republic (Danilo Medina) and the Prime Minister of Aruba (Evelyn Wever-Croes).

The US delegation was led by Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta; Colombia was represented by Vice-president, Oscar Adolfo Naranjo Trujillo; representing Nicaragua President Daniel Ortega and Vice-president Rosario Murillo, was special nominee, retired general and former head of the Nicaragua military, Moisés Omar Hallesleven Acevedo.

The Alvarado cabinet is composed of 14 women and 11 men from several parties, including the Partido Unidad Social Cristiana (PUSC), the Partido Liberacion Nacional (PLN) and his own party, the Partido Accion Cuidadana (PAC).

The new president is calling his government a “national unity government” aimed at obtaining the support of the 57 member Legislative Assembly, of which the PAC is the third largest grouping with 10 members, behind the Partido Restuaracion Nacional (PRN) with and the PLN, with the singled largest group, 17 members.

President Carlos Alvarado with his vice-presidents, Epsy Campbell and Marvin Rodríguez

Among the promises made by President Carlos Alvarado is to tackle the fiscal deficit through the passage of the tax reform package proposed by the previous government, with the aim at reducing the deficit that has grown to 6.2% of the gross domestic product.

The president also promised to reduce poverty, boost employment and improve the country’s infrastructure.

Another priority of the Alvarado administration is to reduce crime. Costa Rica recorded 603 murders in 2017, the highest rate in the country’s history.

President Carlos Alvarado also used social media to broadcast part of the morning’s events, such as the bus ride to downtown and the swearing in of his cabinet on Facebook Live.

Near the Plaza de la Democracia several groups protested.

 


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