Johnny Araya presenting is plan to feed the poor, with Jorge Pattoni and Silvia Lara. | MARIO ROJAS PARA LN
Johnny Araya presenting is plan to feed the poor, with  vice-presidential candidates, Jorge Pattoni and Silvia Lara. | Photo:  MARIO ROJAS PARA LN

If Costa Rica votes for Johnny Araya, the country’s poor can be assured of three square meals daily. The Partido Liberacion Nacional (PLN) candidate promised Friday a “bono” (voucher) program for the 339.772 people in the country who live in extreme poverty.

Another promise by Araya is the construction and improvement of housing for some 125.000 families, part of a plan to eradicate the scourge of poverty in Costa Rica. The Araya construction plan includes new homes for 40.000 people.

In Costa Rica there is an estimated 285.000 houselds in poverty or 20.7% of the population. In addition, 6.4% are classified as living in extreme poverty, ie. not enough income to cover the cost of three meals a day or “a diario”, as it is termed in Spanish.

The Araya handout, if elected president, would be in cash and food directly, from ¢19.530 to ¢79.169 colones monthly, depending if in rural or urban areas. The handout would also taken into account the inflation rate.

The program would be implemented in stages, explained Araya.

The funding for the program would come, for the first two years from the Fondo de Desarrollo Social y Asignaciones Familiares (Fodesaf) and the Instituto Mixto de Ayuda Social (IMAS) and the last two  from government’s budget.  The estimated cost of the program is ¢164 billion colones.

Araya explained that the law permits the government some flexibility to allocate resources.

Supporting Araya’s plan is Siliva Lara, in charge of the social agenda as Araya’s vice-president. “This is not about redericting resources from other programs, but the reallocation of surpluses”, said Lara.

Economist Victor Hugo Cespedes, told La Nacion, although these programs are effective in combating extreme poverty, in this group (the poor) there are people who can generate some income, if they are trained.

Source:  La Nacion