It was 7:52pm Monday night when Presidenta Laura Chinchilla took to the airwaves, appearing on national television, to announce that the San José – San Ramón concession contract had been “terminated”. The Presidenta told her audience that the decision was by mutual agreement with the Brazilian company, OAS.
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In the message that lasted 10 minutes and 5 seconds, the Presidenta did not provide details during the television network announcement, but reconfirmed her government’s policy of continuing the concession model as a way of building public works.
The growing popular unrest and lacking support from different sectors, like business, technical and political, the Chinchilla administration had their back against the wall, promoting a public works project nobody wanted. At least not in the way it was negotiated.
With the cancellation of the contract, the Government seeks to end the growing controversy and the conflicts that could escalate to legal battles and possibly violence on the streets.
Although the Presidenta and her Transport Minister, Pedro Castro, told the public during the past few weeks that there was room renegotiate the contract and including the announcement of a commission to analyze the project, it did not appease opposition groups.
The strategies of the last weeks by the government to reduce social unrest and opposition to the project failed.
Chinchilla said the decision was based on “my repsonsibiliy to ensure social peace and seek a prompt settlement to the project”.
In her television address, the Presidenta said she regretted that the opposition to the project never accepted the invitation to dialogue, to reach an agreement.