At  2 years and 11 months in office, Chinchilla has consumed 95% of the amount spent by her  predecessor’s  travel over a four year term.

Laura Chinchilla

Of the 1075 days, President Laura Chinchilla to April 18 this year, 117of them were spent abroad. That is, the president has traveled for 10.8% of her total time in office.

Chinchilla’s presidential tours have cost the country until March 21, more than ¢ 65 million, only in tickets and travel expenses of the president. However, when considering the total cost of these tours, adding retinues, amounted to ¢ 265 million.

In the first instance the office referred to this medium to look for in the Official Gazette information on the cost-benefit of the presidential tours, citing lack of time and resources to collect the data.

However, Communications Minister Francisco Chacón said that information on Chinchilla travel itself is properly arranged.

However, the count provided by Zapote on the cost of the tours is limited to expenses exclusive of the President.

Taking into account the total budgeted by the Ministry of the Presidency in the transportation and subsistence items abroad, the amount spent since May 2010, grew nearly 300%. Chacon said that these items cover the expenses of all officials accompanying the President on her tours.

The total to date represents 95% of what was done during the four years of the government of Oscar Arias,

Chacón stressed that it is usual for the presidential delegation in international forums is always the smallest. “Inquire how much is the budget of the other countries of Latin America. I’m sure that ours is the smallest for travel expenses, “he said.

In 2010, in constant colones March 2013, Zapote spent almost ¢ 52 million on travel. That grew in real terms at ¢ 87 million in 2011.

For 2012, the budget was ¢ 114 million in constant colones. In total, an increase of 119% so far this period.

For the current year, these items of transportation and travel expenses abroad a total of ¢ 137 million..

The first quarter of this year has been rich in journeys for Chinchilla.

From 21 to 28 January visited Switzerland and Chile. A week later, on February 6, attended Panama where she participated in the playoff game the national football team heading to the World Cup Brazil 2014.

The March 7 travel was to Venezuela to attend the state funeral of President Hugo Chavez. On the 14th of that month she returned to Panama for a day to attend the “International Fair of David”.

Four days later Chinchilla traveled to Rome in the company of the Minister of Economy, Industry and Commerce (MEIC), Mayi Antillon, and President of the Legislative Assembly, Victor Granados, to attend the opening Mass of the papacy of Francis.

Only in the first quarter of 2013, the state spent ¢ 10,750,112 to defray the cost of travel of Chinchilla.

Zapote defends her travels.

Despite the figures, Chacon comes to pass and defends Laura Chinchilla trips. “They are not a luxury, they are a necessity because the President should be in the international forefront to facilitate the attraction of foreign direct investment and promote the country in other areas,” he said.

For the Minister, presidential trips should be looked in the context of what represents Costa Rica in the global community, which aspires to join groups like the Pacific Alliance and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), to name two examples.

“Let’s open our eyes, we being a small country,” he said. With this justification in the suitcase, traveling of the President will continue during her  senior year.

The Presidential House reported that this week Laura Chinchilla will leave for a tour of Haiti. Also are planned visits to Davos, Switzerland, where she will attend the World Economic Forum and New York, USA. to take part in the UN General Assembly.

And the list goes on.

Source: El Financiero

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