QCOSTARICA – In two weeks, Costa Ricans will once again go to the polls to, finally, elect their president. On April 3, the choice is between Rodrigo Chaves of the Partido Progreso Social Democrático (PPSD) and former president, José María Figueres Olsen, of the Partido Liberación Nacional PLN).
So far, the run-off campaign has been pretty boring, a little mudslinging from both sides and opinion polls forecasting a winner, depending on which you follow, it could be Chaves or Figueres.
While Figueres has visibility, is known to Costa Ricans, for the most part, Chaves, is not.
Analysts point the finger at the well-known communicator, Pilar Cisneros, for Chaves’ popularity.
“Before Pilar got involved in the campaign, 80% of Ticos did not know Rodrigo Chaves. Pilar was a key to open doors, since people didn’t know Rodrigo. Let’s remember that he spent about 30 years outside of Costa Rica, he was a very technical person and he had barely returned to the country, so Pilar helped him to achieve great accessibility among more popular sectors, which would have cost him a lot of time and money to reach them,” said Iván Barrantes, strategist and consultant on electoral campaigns.
In that sense, Barrantes considers that Pilar’s mission has already been accomplished, since at this moment Chaves shines with his own light.
Pilar, who accepted a legislator position for the province of San José, was the key to success for Chaves in the first round, since it gave him visibility in an important sector of the electorate, while now serving as a spokesperson of high relief.
Who is Pilar Cisneros?
Pilar is a renowned journalist with more than 40 years of experience, in which she worked for El Semanario, La Nación and Telenoticas, where she was co-director between 1998 and 2013, and the face of the news channel for most of those years, among other positions.
Pilar’s presence in the Progreso campaign was so important that her strategists chose to include her in regional ads, even though she was a legislative candidate for San José.
“All the propaganda has revolved around that binomial. The Progreso campaign continues to sell Pilar’s image because she is credible, because she is an important asset for the Chaves campaign. Progreso has campaigned as if she were the First Lady,” said Vladimir de la Cruz, analyst and columnist for La Republica.
Pilar Cisneros Gallo, better known as Pilar Cisneros, born in Lima, Peru on June 27, 1954, is a Costa Rican journalist whose professional life has been linked for a long time, although not exclusively, to local television station channel 7.
She announced her desire to be a legislator in August 2021, after years of denying that she would participate in politics.
PLN lacks a figure with a similar role
On the other hand, the PLN has lacked a counterweight figure to Pilar in José María Figueres’ campaign, analysts agree, despite the fact that there are very valuable figures in the PLN ranks.