Friday 30 July 2021

[OP-ED] SO FAR….???

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Paying the bills


OP-ED – In 2010 I wrote a strong defense of the newly elected president, Laura Chinchilla and in that discourse I said that she was sort of hoodwinked by the Oscar Arias administration who handed the then president a “red herring”, so to speak. I was wrong.

The Arias brothers did not ride in on white horses and save the day and Doña Laura came away looking inept because…she was. As the country’s vice president under Arias she should have known the true economic condition of Costa Rica and done something about it from the start.

Me dumb!

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Now, within the first six weeks of the Solis administration I have not a clue what he plans, what he knows, if he is an efficient manager nor have we elected him for no other reason than to dump Liberación and Johnny Araya.

He hit the pavement running; right to an airplane to pick up where Doña Laura left off. (In Washington, you cannot tell the presidents without buying a program.)

I sincerely felt good that the new President was willing to improve my living standards by reducing the retail cost of electricity, lower cellular bills, make water prices stable, keep salaries inline and put his priorities into improving, even minimally, our disintegrating infrastructure.

But no! He went off to the land of plenty, the U.S., then he plans to go off to Brazil and yet another trip to China to renegotiate what he first said, “No!” All business of course and for the good of our country.

I was getting suspicious when President, Solís’ first acts were to raise the LGBT flag at the same level of our national “bandera”. (Nothing should be at the same height) After that, a little coffee and chat with the surrounding neighbors of Zapote who live and work close to the presidential offices, then a trip to view the shame of shame, la Trocha, on the northern coast, and an off-the-cuff statement that we need to further devalue the colon.

I concede to devalue it would truly assist exports and increase the attractiveness of Costa Rica to tourism. However, surprisingly Costa Rica is really a net importer of bean, rice and even poultry. Moreover, the largest provider is Nicaragua, who charges in USD which would be even more costly to the consumer.

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How is that possible? With an appropriately devalued colon and appreciated dollar, the staples of Paradise now cost more to each and every one of us?

Meanwhile, the infrastructure literally rots and while the cost of living is exponentially going up simply because we import far more finished products than export.

“So muchos, I exported my beans because the USD exchange rate is favorable, but I need to import more beans to feed Costa Ricans with a weaker, much weaker currency.” This does not make even elementary economic sense.

A deep sigh of relief comes from the institutions such as the health care system, water, electricity and education because so far this Administration has done nothing to curb the hyper costs inflated of living, improved conditions on such seemingly but far less romantic issues such as roads and bridges not to mention the health care system which is still raping, pilfering and plundering the public.

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We must pray, along with the minster of the presidency, (A Protestant Bishop) that don Solís comes home and attends to the critical domestic needs at hand which is why he was elected in the first place.

I am hopeful, but that is fading quickly.

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Paying the bills
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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