COSTA RICA EXTRA – Former President of Costa Rica, Laura Chinchilla Miranda (2010-2014), looks relaxed and recovered from four years in office, in this latest photo published by her on her Facebook page.
Chinchilla (Doña Laura as she is affectionally referred to) took office at noon on May 8, 2010, receiving the presidential sash from Oscar Arias. At noon on May 8, 2014, she handed the sash over to Luis Guillermo Solís.
Doña Laura makes her home in Santa Ana, west side of San José, in the posh community of Villa Real.
Chinchilla was born in Carmen Central, San José in 1959. Her father was Rafael Ángel Chinchilla Fallas (a former comptroller of Costa Rica) and her mother was Emilce Miranda Castillo. She married Mario Alberto Madrigal Díaz on 23 January 1982 and divorced on 22 May 1985. She had a son, José María Rico Chinchilla, in 1996 with José María Rico Cueto, a Spanish lawyer who also holds Canadian citizenship; Chinchilla married him on 26 March 2000.
Chinchilla graduated from the University of Costa Rica and received her master’s degree in public policy from Georgetown University. Prior to entering politics, Chinchilla worked as an NGO consultant in Latin America and Africa, specializing in judicial reform and public security issues. She went on to serve in the José María Figueres Olsen administration as vice-minister for public security (1994–1996) and minister of public security (1996–1998). From 2002 to 2006, she served in the National Assembly as a deputy for the province of San José.
Chinchilla was one of two vice-presidents elected under the second Arias administration (2006–2010). She resigned the vice-presidency in 2008 in order to prepare her run for the presidency in 2010. On 7 June 2009 she won the Partido Liberación Nacional (PLN) primary with a 15% margin over her nearest rival, and was thus endorsed as the party’s presidential candidate.
Views on society
Chinchilla opposes any amendment of the constitution aimed at separation of church and state in Costa Rica. The constitution currently defines the Republic of Costa Rica as a Roman Catholic nation. Her position contrasts with that of former President Óscar Arias Sánchez, who supports establishing a secular state.
She is against legalizing the morning after pill, which is banned in Costa Rica. Many pro-life supporters in Latin American countries oppose the morning after pill because they believe it to be an abortifacient if implantation of the fertilized ovum has not yet occurred. This position contradicts the World Health Organization’s (WHO) statement that emergency contraception cannot be an abortifacient, because it will not work in cases when the woman is already pregnant.
Chinchilla has stated that while she supports gay rights and opposes discrimination based on sexual orientation, she believes that marriage should be between a man and a woman, and because of that she supports a different legal framework for same-sex couples. She signed into law on 4 July 2013 a new legislation supporting civil partnerships that can be extended to same-sex unions. She also stated that she would not oppose same-sex marriage if it was legalized by the country’s courts.
Environmental protection and sustainability is very important for the President, and she continues Costa Rica’s level of leadership in these areas, for example, in May 2011 she declared Odyssey 2050 The Movie of ‘Public and Cultural Interest’.