Corruption And Promotion of Chaos in Government by Costa Rica’s Ruling Class


COSTA RICA BLOG – I read with interest the 100 days in office report of President Solis. In my opinion he has “hit the nail on the head”. Corruption and the promotion of chaos in the Government are the biggest challenges to Costa Rica going forward.

Let there be no doubt, Costa Rica is a class-driven Society, with a well connected group of power brokers who form the ruling class. This is a “closed club”, with membership open only to Ticos, primarily possessing old family wealth and allegiances.

Although there exists a system of laws and regulations which on their face would purport to dictate how the Government and Country functions according to the “Rule of Law”, the true functioning of the Country is undertaken by the direct and indirect connections and communications which exist between the members of this ruling class, outside of the purported formal Government structure.

This ruling class promotes chaos in the Government and the lack of the Government’s ability to follow the purported structured format according to law and/or regulation. This is done in order for this same ruling class to benefit from the informal decision making and corruption of Government which actually prevails.

They do not want change, or a solution to these problems. They do as they please for their own benefit; the Country be damned. I believe that President Solis is stating this, using different words, to be the case in his report. Previous President Oscar Arias has made the comment that Costa Rica is ungovernable, which I believe, also alludes to these same problems.

Personally, I view President Solis as having the changed vision for Costa Rica that Costa Ricans were looking for when they elected him. He has identified correctly the most significant problems of corruption and chaos in the Government that need to be dealt with. However, rule by Presidential Decree, compromising some basic democratic principles, may be the only way to achieve a just result. The power brokers of the ruling class must yield to the hand of a strong President in order for the Country to be put on the correct track moving forward. I alluded to adopting this course of action in some of my previous blogs. Good luck Mr. President!

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Richard Philps
Attorney Richard (Rick) Philps is a Canadian citizen, naturalized as a citizen of Costa Rica. Rick practiced law in Victoria, B.C., Canada as a member of the Law Society of British Columbia, for fourteen years, prior to moving to Costa Rica in 1998. Rick then earned his Bachelor of Laws and Licensing Degrees (Civil Law), with Honours, and a Post-Graduate Degree in Notary and Registry Law, from the Metropolitana Castro Carazo and Escuela Libre de Derecho Universities, in San Jose. Rick is a member of the Costa Rica College of Lawyers, and practices law in Costa Rica in the areas of real estate and development, corporate, commercial, contract, immigration, and banking with the Law Firm of Petersen & Philps, located in Escazu, a western suburb of San Jose. To contact Attorney Rick Philps about hiring him as your Costa Rican Attorney, please use the following information: Lic. Rick Philps - Attorney at Law, Petersen & Philps, San Jose, Costa Rica Tel: 506-2288-4381, Ext. 102; Email: Website: