(qCOSTARICA) After waiting almost to two years (from his nomination) to take charge at the U.S. Embassy in Costa Rica, Stafford Fitzgerald Haney, the second black ambassador in the history of United States-Costa Rica relations, says “there is need to assist in teaching English.’
In an interview with La Nacion, while the children wandered the residence in San Rafael de Escazu, Haney said he still looking for a futbol (soccer) team to support and has already located the synagogue he will attend on Saturdays to practice his Jewish religion.
Haney, coming to Costa Rica following living in Israel, working as a marketing manager for a New York based investment firm, says he already, in his first two weeks in the country, settled in and concluded that in his list of intentions, he should prioritize cooperation programs teaching English.
“There is a need to help in teaching English for the whole country (…). There are many people who do speak it, but the is room for improvement, no doubt, and so we want to work with allies in the government and other organizations,” he said in his diplomatic tone.
During the presentation of his credentials on June 30, Haney had the opportunity to meet the new Cuab ambassador to Costa Rica, Danilo Sanchez.
Asked if and how the warning between the U.S. and Cuba will affect Costa Rica, Haney, said “we hope our friends and allies will help the people of Cuba with his historic opening”.
Asked if the U.S. sees China’s presence in Costa Rica and the region as competition and if the U.S. will compete with the Chinese, Haney’s answer was very diplomatic, “if any country wants to join the group of nations and respects the rules, they are more than welcome. China’s entry can be positive and has been, provided they comply with local and international trade laws”. On the competing, Haney said the U.S. government doesn’t see it at such. “We see opportunity for all,” he said.
Asked about Russia as a “destabilizing factor” in Central America, Haney responded by saying “what we see is a relationship with problems with the northern neighbour (Nicaragua) … what we see it that they (Russians) have relationships with many countries in the region and we expect it to be positive (…)”.
Asked he is was satisfied with America’s image in Costa Rica, Haney said, “We can always do more, I am very encouraged to know more Ticos (Costa Ricans) and listen to them”.
On the question of pro gay rights, Haney said the U.S. is always willing to contribute to any country their experience on the issue. It has been quite a long way to reach the Supreme Court decision (of June 26). Personally, I see it as civil rights; each society must go their own way, as we did before and as other countries in Latin America.