Sunday 24 September 2023

Protesters planned a coup, reveals Eduardo Cruickshank

Legislator and former president of the Assembly Eduardo Cruickshank reveals in his book that "Costa Ricans proposed that I assume the presidency if Carlos Alvarado was overthrown", which he refused :

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QCOSTARICA – Different groups of protesters during the blockades organized by the Rescate Nacional (National Rescue) in 2020, planned “a coup” to remove President Carlos Alvarado, revealed on Wednesday, legislator and then president of the Legislative Assembly between May 2020 and April 2021, Eduardo Cruickshank.

 “Historia de una presidencia” book cover

The legislator for the Restauración Nacional (PNR) – National Restoration and currently one of the 25 presidential hopefuls in the February 6, 2022, elections, revealed in his book “Historia de una presidencia” published on Wednesday, January 18, 2022.

Cruickshank writes that in midst of the negotiations regarding structural adjustment with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the clashes between the demonstrators and the police in front of the Casa Presidencial, a group of Costa Ricans suggested he be ready to assume power in case Carlos Alvarado was overthrown.

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Read more: Trouble in Paradise: Violence at protests threaten to unhinge IMF agreement in Costa Rica

The president of the Legislative Assembly is the third in the line of succession, in the Carlos Alvarado (2018-2022) administration after vice Presidents Epsy Campbell and Marvin Rodríguez.

“People called me, who told me that I should start thinking of names to occupy positions of ministers and that it would be convenient for me to prepare myself to occupy that other function (the presidency of the Republic).

“My answer was always a resounding ‘no’. I told them that, in those circumstances, I would not want to be the successor, because I was born, educated, and trained in democracy and I believe in the institutions of this country. It would also be embarrassing for me if, at the dawn of the bicentennial of independence, the country had a setback in the system of (democratic) government”, Cruickshank narrated in the 200-page book describing the positions that surrounded the issues in parliamentary discussion during his term at the head of Congress.

“The slogan of a sector of the protesters was to break the constitutional order and remove President Carlos Alvarado and, completely, his government team, so that the leadership of the country would fall, in accordance with the Political Constitution, to the president of the Legislative Assembly”, says Cruickshank.

The legislator did not report the appointment to the Fiscalia (Prosecutor’s Office).

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“I didn’t file a complaint because, for me, that was unacceptable; So, I did not consider it necessary to make any kind of complaint about it. I cannot say the level of seriousness or not, I cannot assess that; Simply, different protesters made that proposal to me,” explains Cruickshank, who added that the contact came from “the different groups of protesters”.

The politician recounts in his book that, when they made him the proposal, the self-styled Rescate Nacional was responsible for the numerous roads blocked across the country and the violence at Casa Presidencial.

One of the key figures leading the protests was former legislator and presidential candidate, José Miguel Corrales, who separated himself from the protestors that kept numerous roads blocked, pointing out the infiltration of drug trafficking groups in them.

In addition, a protest in front of the Casa Presidencial had generated chaos. Although Corrales left the movement and apologized to the country, former legislator Célimo Guido continued to encourage the demonstrators and held the government responsible, Cruickshank recalled.

Violence broke out in front of Casa Presidencial in the midst of the protests organized by the self-styled Rescate Nacional
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In this context, President Alvarado called him to make a joint call for a multisectoral dialogue, but “many” recommended that he not attend, “that he not save the president”.

Cruickshank did meet with Carlos Alvarado and both made a joint call for a national dialogue.

Written in the first person, Cruickshank “candidly describes the sentiments and positions” that surrounded the most critical issues in parliamentary discussion during the year that Cruickshank was president of Congress.

“If I had to define how this year was in the Presidency of the Legislative Assembly, I would have to say that it was extremely complex. There was not a single month in which Congress did not have to decide on some difficult and controversial issue”, Cruickshank concludes, after commenting on some of the 136 laws approved and the main issues that made news in that period.

The book also includes a prologue written by the historian Vladimir de la Cruz who assures that Cruickshank was a president “at the height of the times in which he lived”.

“In my perspective, Eduardo Cruickshank Smith was a great legislative president for the moment in which he lived and directed the Legislative Power. He did it with wisdom, equanimity, transparency and decorum, and he knew how to assess the legislative forces that he had in the Plenary”, wrote de la Cruz.

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