QCOSTARICA – With a “feminist, green and modern” stance, in her own words, is what Carolina Hidalgo intends to win with the internal election Partido Accion Cuidadana (PAC) presidential nomination this Sunday.
The presidential candidate does not see herself as the continuity of the current government, but as an evolution of the administrations of Luis Guillermo Solís and Carlos Alvarado, where women will have a special focus.
Hidalgo’s political experience includes being a legislator (current) and president of the Legislative Assembly (2018-2019). She holds a Law Degree from the University of Costa Rica (UCR) and M.Sc. Universidad de Sevilla
If she is nominated and the PAC wins the 2022 elections, she will be the second woman to hold the presidency of Costa Rica (the first was Laura Chinchilla – 2010 to 2014) and the third consecutive government for the Partido Acción Ciudadana.
In an interview with La Republica, Hidalgo told Esteban Arrieta she emphasized that she is not a continuation of Carlos Alvarado (2018-2022) or Luis Guillermo Solís (2014-2018), rather she proposes an agenda of women and young people that represents all party visions and the generational meeting.
Q: When you decided to run, you spoke to the leadership about a “green, feminist and modern” proposal, but the unemployment figures in this PAC government tend to be double for women, what will you do?
A: I am convinced that women require greater support and therefore we propose to expand the care network, so that it not only cares for children, but also older adults and people with disabilities.
This national care system would allow women to train and enter the labor market, while their relatives are being cared for.
On the other hand, we would enable a greater reduction in social charges if it is a question of hiring a woman.
Q: Would you promote with affirmative actions a greater hiring of women in the State?
A: In the public sector, a specific quota of women does not, but the importance of guaranteeing the incorporation of women in decision-making spaces, such as unions, cooperatives, boards of directors and government, is important, since today there is still a significant debt.
A feminine conscience has awakened in Costa Rica, while women have taken a greater role in the public debate and are today more than half of the electoral roll, is it an advantage to be a woman in the next election?
I think it is a differentiating element; however, I am not sure if it is an advantage in the electoral process, since the gaps are very strong.
I even have no doubt that in the coming campaign there will be a series of indications typical of a society that is transforming and that in 200 years, it has only had one president, in addition to four leaders of Congress and only one woman at the head of the Cut.
I would hope that people incorporate this element in their reflections.
My candidacy is inspired by that fight. If we take a step forward, if we do not offer the country that opportunity, it is difficult for transformations to take place.
Q: The issue of unemployment is the main concern of Costa Ricans, what will you do to solve it?
A: We are clear that up to 90% of our business parks is made up of SMEs and therefore, we will focus our proposals there.
We are talking here about reducing, for example, social security charges for SMEs for a period of five years by 5.5 percentage points, without this implying a decrease in income for the Savings Bank, as this will motivate formalization.
The other idea is to set up a venture capital fund, so that people who do not have access to financing, due to requirements or bureaucracy in the banks, can meet their objectives.
In the medium term, we are betting on English so that massive training is given, in this area and other areas in the management of computer programs, so that citizens can fill the positions required by foreign companies.
On the other hand, it is essential that young people finish high school, since today, 60% of students do not finish studying and this implies fewer job opportunities.
Costa Rica registers a historical fiscal deficit, which would imply an increase in interest rates for loans and cards. Do you consider the approval of new taxes necessary to solve this problem?
I don’t think it’s necessary. The tax reform cost us too much in 2018.
What I think is that a better application of the current law is lacking, digitizing the Treasury and carrying out cross-sectional controls.
Of course, I clarify that the agenda related to the IMF, which is the adjustment of various taxes, is essential.
However, beyond that agenda, the country has to focus on containing spending, improving collection and prioritizing reactivation.
Q: Are you willing to open the Recope hydrocarbon market?
Recope has to transform itself, migrating to the generation of new clean energies. However, we have to remember that the increase in gasoline is not only the fault of the institution, but of a series of elements, such as the international cost and the tax burden on fuels.
If we want to lower the price, we must review all the elements that influence its cost.
Q: Should Costa Rica set a date to ban the use of fossil fuel cars as is happening in some European countries?
A: Society does not work on the logic of prohibiting, but on the logic of incentives to transform itself.
I want to convince people to get out of the car and choose a more environmentally friendly way and if not, to use collective means with less impact.
Before banning the use of fuel carts, we must give people the opportunity to have tools that allow them to travel faster, more efficiently and cheaper.
Q: How to defend a proposal for the US$1.55 billion train at a time when Costa Rica is going through fiscal problems and when the daily demand of 200 thousand passengers estimated before the pandemic is in question due to the advance of teleworking?
It is proven in all countries that time is the best incentive and that is where we bet. The train will allow faster and cheaper transportation than the use of a vehicle.
As for the demand, I have no doubt that it will increase.