Carlos Arturo Espinosa, presidente de THX Energy
Carlos Arturo Espinosa, presidente de THX Energy / Photo: El Espectador

With the resignations of three close associates of President Laura Chinchilla, one might think the July 3 trip to Peru of the Presidenta in a corporate jet owned by the THX Energy company was a dead issue. But it was revived this week by an interview with THX president Carlos Arturo Espinoza in the Colombian newspaper El Espectador.

In the article titles “Laura Chinchilla actuó vanidosamente“, the corporate president depicted his company as an innocent victim of the bad press, unflatteringly characterized Chinchilla as “vain” and charged that she herself had asked for loan of the plane for the ill advised trip.

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This latter statement most certainly contradicts the official Casa Presidencial version of the trip in the plane linked with Colombian Gabriel Morales who is under investigation for possible narco-traffic figures in South America. The official word is that it was a snafu on the part of the President’s staff in not checking into the source of the lease on the jet which Morales offered.

The country has never had a private jet for its President to use. Past presidents have used private aircraft lent to them before without stirring up the hornet’s nest that the Peru trip did. Ironically, few have even mentioned a March Presidential excursion to Venezuela to attend the funeral of that country’s President Hugo Chavez, in the same THX jet.

The airplane at the centre of the political storm.
The airplane at the centre of the political storm.

The Peru excursion cost the resignations of Communications Minister Francisco Chacon, presidential aide Irene Pacheco and National Intelligence and Security director Mauricio Boraschi. The wife of Chacon, Foreign Trade Minister Anabel Gonzalez, was also on the Peru trip but avoided the axe.

Public Ethics prosecutor Gilberth Calderon says his agency issued a strong criticism of the trip which, he says, Vice President Alfio Piva filed away in a drawer after publicly criticizing it. At any rate, the three resignations should cover the main points of the condemnation.

Chacon’s replacement at the communications post, Carlos Roverssi, told La Nacion that the President would not trade “insults” with the THX president. Espinoza had charged that Chinchilla had claimed to be fooled by the THX company but Roverssi denied the President had said any such thing.

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