Sunday 1 August 2021

OP-ED: President Who?

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We who live in Costa Rica are not able to escape the up coming elections for the office of president. Ignored, except by political aficionados is the election of the Deputies (Legislator) to the National Assembly (Asemblea Legislsativa) and they hold the keys to the Magic Kingdom.

legislative-assembly-3915Far more important, powerful and the organization that has historically either kept Costa Rica from advancing or has ignited total chaos making the country unmanageable is the Assembly itself.

This time around, 2014, whoever is elected to the presidency may well be rendered impotent from the moment he has taken the oath of office. The Assembly will see to that. It has during the entire Chinchilla administration and one is hard pressed to see why it will be any different if Araya, Villalta or Quevara would be anointed by the electorate May 4, 2014.

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Warning after warning from all sides has clearly said that the land of PuraVida is in big trouble. Just a few examples is the national deficit, lack of national income, lost tax money, corruption on just about every level, massive and costly government involvement in all business be it opening a burger joint or constructing an office center; to name a few.

Technically, we are on the cliff of bankruptcy and while still borrowing money of which better than 35% of it is spent only to pay interest on previous loans, the government still has its hands out for more. It is sort of a legalized Ponzi scheme. When the loans stop rolling in, the house-of-cards will collapse.

Armando Mayorga of La Nación took a close look, not at the Unimer polls indicating who would win the presidency, but rather what we can expect from the newly elected Deputies to the National Assembly.

Despite the undisputed dire need for the Assembly to work in concert with the next president and most, if not all man-up to the macro-crisis in Costa Rica, and be in the same boat, headed in the same direction and rowing at the same time, if Mayorga’s interpretation of the Unimer poll is correct; we are in for another four years of a quagmire no matter who becomes president of Paradise.

Accordingly, 40% of the Assembly candidates have already declared that they will vote one way for president and then take a different direction in the Assembly.

One obvious stonewall will be Deputies representing the far-left Frente Amplio party of Jose Maria Villalta that is expected to win a surprising10.8% of the seats. Johnny Araya’s Partido Liberación Nacional, left of center, will receive 16% of the votes while arch conservative, Otto Guevara’s party, Movimiento Libertario will end up with 7.1% representation.

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Leading the country and forging policy will be a little bit of this and a little bit of that but almost nothing substantive. Another four full years of scrambled eggs and little to address the pressing, indeed dramatic, needs of Costa Rica.

As usual, special interest groups and powerful individuals will prevail.

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Juan Sebastian Campos
An expat from the U.S., educator and writer in English and Spanish since 1978 with a doctorate in business administrations (DBA) from the United States and Germany. A feature writer for ABC News, Copley Press and the Tribune Group with emphasis on Central America.

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