QCOSTARICA (iNews.co.cr) Although politicians are quick to laud freedom of the press, especially when campaigning, they are often not fans when they are elected.
Case in point: As President Luis Guillermo Solis, ministro de la Presidencia (Chief of Staff) Melvin Jimenez and former deputy ministro de la Presidencia Daniel Soley, prepare to testify before congress, one legislator blamed the whole mess on the press.
Jorge Rodriguez, of the Partiddo Social Christian Unity (PUSC), went into orbit in anger against the press Tuesday, blaming the media for the scandal surrounding the alleged offer to Procuradora (Attorney General) Ana Lorena Brenes to give her an ambassadorship and ship her off abroad.
In venting his anger, he called journalists “irresponsible, lazy and ill-behaved.” His thesis is that Soley’s problems leading up to his resignation were caused by the media not doing their homework, despite the offering of the diplomatic post to Brenes being condemned by nearly every legislator.
“Functionaries of one medium have already condemned (him),” he said of Soley, “but they haven’t listened. That medium wants to raise and eliminate president, wants to raise up minsters and dump them — but they are mistaken, they haven’t the moral authority to do it.” he charged angrily.
He then threatened the press, saying that although “he did not have a medium (of communication) he had a microphone to denounce them.” He cautioned the press to “take care what they write.” But what touched off Rodriguez’s keg of dynamite seems to have nothing to do with Soley.
He blasted a female journalist who overheard and reported a joke Rodriguez made to Mario Redondo of the Democratic Christian Aliance and Otto Guevara, the Libertarian floor leader. The lawmaker joked that he should grow a beard to appear “like a Taliban.”
But here, the angry legislator stepped over the line into a cultural minefield. The lady reporter who writes an electronic blog is pregnant and in Costa Rica’s courtly, diplomatic and indirect parlance, this just isn’t done. verbally attacking a prospective mother
Rafael Ortiz, Rodriguez’s colleague and PUSC floor leader took him to task with, “I don’t agree with his form of expression because it goes beyond differences with journalists about political issues. Forms of respect can’t be set aside. I apologize for the party.”
This, in Costa Rican traditional gentlespeak, is the equivalent of a stinging rebuke. Legislators Gerardo Vargas and Rosibel Ramos of his PUSCparty agreed. Partido Liberacion Nacional (PLN) party legislator Maureen Clarke also blasted Legislative President Henry Mora for not having gavelled Rodriguez into silence.
We at this blog are constantly amazed that the press gets blamed for what indiscreet comments are made on social media by politicians and that, like Rodriguez, they get too close to an open microphone with incautious jokes. The lawmaker is a public figure, after all. Besides, we think he’d look silly with a Taliban beard…
President Solis stated in a press conference Wednesday that he supports his Minister (Jimenez), who serves as his right hand, among other official duties. Tuesday, Minister Melvin Jimenez left a press conference in frustration after having been asked repeatedly about Soley.
He refrained from answering the repeated questions about the Brenes incident. In today’s press conference he was silent, allowing his boss to field all the questions. But both men seemed to want to field lawmakers’ questions instead of giving the press a preview.
With editing by QCostarica