Saturday 24 July 2021

[BLOG] Is Democracy The Right Form of Government for Costa Rica?

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As we approach the next Presidential Elections in Costa Rica in the month of February, 2014, I believe that it is time to reflect on the type and style of government that is being offered to the people.

Yes, democratic principles are laudable, but when you see one Government Administration after another, supposedly employing such principles in its governance, fail to advance the Country in any meaningful way, being relegated to a position of what has been described as somewhat “managed chaos”, it may be time to reflect on the options available moving forward.

From an economic standpoint, the most effective way to control government and particularly government spending of public funds, would be the “Benevolent Dictator” model.  The success of this form of government was borne-out by the success of the Chilean economy under the years of rule of General Augusto Pinochet.

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It is true, that General Pinochet was ruthless in the treatment of his opposition, but over-all, ordinary Chileans benefited from his rule, both economically and in the democratic freedoms that they enjoy.  I’m not advocating for an “Augusto Pinochet-style” Dictator to head the Government in Costa Rica, but for Constitutional Reform providing for a President with a strong- hand, to  be able to govern in certain specified circumstances,  by Presidential Decree, thereby  avoiding the over-whelming regulations and restrictions associated with the current so-called “democratic process”.

I believe this would allow for a level of efficiency in government which has not existed in the recent past. Costa Rica is currently drowning in its own red-tape and such a change in the ability to govern could move the Country forward at a more acceptable rate of progress.

The problem with instituting such a change is that there currently exists an element of Costa Rican Society, namely the wealthy and influential element which generally holds the “reigns of power”, who benefit personally by maintaining the current state of chaos and corruption.

As I’ve mentioned in some other Articles I’ve written in this forum, the pecking-order of benefiting from public funds in Costa Rican Society, as it is in Latin Society as a whole, by those in positions of power and authority, is firstly their family, secondly their friends, and thirdly, their country; hence corruption.

“La Trocha” is a prime example of this way thinking in action. Until there is a dramatic shift in this manner of thinking within Costa Rican Society, it is unlikely that there will be movement in the direction of governance suggested.


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To contact Attorney Rick Philps about hiring him as your Costa Rican Attorney, please use the following information: Lic. Rick Philps – Attorney at Law, Petersen & Philps, San Jose, Costa Rica Tel: 506-2288-4381, Ext. 102; Email: Website:

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Richard Philps
Attorney Richard (Rick) Philps is a Canadian citizen, naturalized as a citizen of Costa Rica. Rick practiced law in Victoria, B.C., Canada as a member of the Law Society of British Columbia, for fourteen years, prior to moving to Costa Rica in 1998. Rick then earned his Bachelor of Laws and Licensing Degrees (Civil Law), with Honours, and a Post-Graduate Degree in Notary and Registry Law, from the Metropolitana Castro Carazo and Escuela Libre de Derecho Universities, in San Jose. Rick is a member of the Costa Rica College of Lawyers, and practices law in Costa Rica in the areas of real estate and development, corporate, commercial, contract, immigration, and banking. To contact Attorney Rick Philps about hiring him as your Costa Rican Attorney; Email:, Website:

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