Vice President Epsy Campbell resigned on Tuesday as Chancellor, sowing doubts about the controversial appointments that led her to make the decision.
Campbell appeared before the Legislative Assembly, at 3:26 pm on Tuesday, to announce her departure as Foreign Minister and that she will continue as the first vice president in the administration of Carlos Alvarado.
Campbell justified her resignation by saying that whoever wants to do “good for the country” must understand that first there is governability. “We must return to the real issues, to the substantive debates,” she told legislators.
The VP and now former Chancellor defended the controversial appointments saying she did not know the appointees before naming them to key positions within the ministry she oversaw but refused to say who recommended them.
According to her account, the appointments were planned before her taking office, that is before the transfer of powers on May 8.
When asked if the appointees were persons of her trust, she replied: “I met them, they are people who had been working in the context of the party’s foreign policy (PAC), I do not know what else to say about how I met them … I know them from their work in the Foreign Ministry, that’s true, I did not know them before their work in the Foreign Ministry, I know them from that work. They are not people who have worked with me in the past, if that is the question, or whom I had some kind of relationship with.”
The appointees were Adriana Murillo Ruin and Carolina Fernández Álvarez to the positions of director and alternate director of Foreign Policy, despite the fact that they did not fulfill the requirement of having the rank of ambassadors.
Right to the end, Campbell maintains that she always “acted in good faith”. In the last few weeks that position did not calm the spirits of legislators of the opposition, who had demanded her resignation.
Carolina Fernández was appointed on May 16, 8 days after Campbell was sworn in as Vice President and names Foreign Minister. Fernández, in effect, became the deputy Foreign Minister despite the fact that she had on her record a suspension due to the abandonment of her job in 2010 when she was in charge of business at the Ethiopian Embassy in Brazil.
Fernández resigned her post the day following her appointment.
But, what led to Campbell’s resignation was the appointment, on July 16, of Adriana Murillo as director and Fernandez as alternate director of Foreign Policy. On July 29 President Carlos Alvarado gave Campbell the first vote of confidence and assured that everything was under the law.
Complaints, however, were made to the Attorney General’s Office – the Procuraduría General de la República (PGR).
But it wasn’t just the case of the Murillo and Fernandez appointments. Campbell, before PGR resolution also appointed Adriana Solano as Director of International Cooperation. Similarly, the former foreign minister was criticized after approving a naming of 33 positions in the Foreign Service, which is said to have “hindered” other officials from participating.
Campbell was also questioned about her intention to name her close friend, Jeanneth Cooper, to the position as an internal ambassador, despite not meeting the requirements. Cooper would transfer from her job at Presidencia (Government House) to the Foreign Ministry, with an increase in her monthly salary of ¢421,950 colones.
Other alleged irregularities include Campbell’s intention to appoint presidential adviser, Allan Solís Fonseca, in an ambassador’s post, but without the required public post notification and receipt of applications.
The list of controversies includes the naming of the godmother of her granddaughter to a position within her ministry and hiding information about trips in which her husband, Berni Venegas, accompanied her. Nor was it known what his role was on the 8 of the 11 officials trips. Opposition legislators maintain to this day that Campbell hid the way in which her spouse financed his trips.