Wednesday 22 March 2023

Rodrigo Chaves: Archaeological wealth does not justify delaying the Osa airport

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22 March 2023 - At The Banks - BCCR

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QCOSTARICA – The possible archaeological wealth located on some land in the Osa does not justify delaying the project to build an international airport for the southern zone, according to President Rodrigo Chaves.

Image for illustrative purposes

During his tour of the Brunca region this past weekend, the president expressed his desire to move forward with the airport project, with the aim of bringing tourism to the area, while generating more wealth and jobs.

The air terminal would be located on State land close to areas declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco.

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“Those who say, tell tales that it is about protecting our archaeological wealth or building development? (…) The simple fact that there may be something there is no justification for delaying progress in this area,” Chaves said.

The project to build an international airport similar to that in Guanacaste started in 2010, when then-president Laura Chinchilla Miranda (2010-2014) designated the project one “of national importance.

To date, no progress has been made.

“We are going to do an X-ray and, if something is found that honors our past, we are going to protect it, we are going to rescue it. What is not possible is inaction, competition between the Museo Nacional (National Museum), the Ministerio de Cultura (Ministry of Culture), and the MOPT,” he concluded.

In 2019, Natalia Diaz, the current Minister of the Presidency, wrote an op-ed in La Republca on the subject of an airport for the southern zone.

It is well known that the Brunca region is the poorest in the country. Their educational conditions, both in the school and collegiate infrastructure, and the teaching programs that are not adapted to the labor demand of that extensive territory, are the cause of high unemployment; and therefore, high indicators of the level of social backwardness,” wrote Diaz.

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The 2022 presidential candidate continued, It is a region with enormous tourist potential in all its 5 cantons; from the jungle areas of Corcovado, to the beautiful beaches of Osa and Golfito; the landscaped heights of Coto Brus and Buenos Aires; as well as the rich coastal areas of Corredores, are still virgin as destinations for recreation and investment for nationals and foreigners.”

“The southern zone urgently needs an excellent air terminal, as a third alternative airport that alleviates the flow of the Juan Santamaría, and allows international tourism to visit forested beaches in a humid tropic, with enormous biodiversity and generate large investments that mitigate the scarce labor supply currently existing.

“We must create dreams, expectations of progress, have a vision of the future; And if it is not in this four-year period, we must ensure that in a future presidential term, this project is positioned with the determination and force that it requires,” wrote Diaz back in 2019.

According to the Minister, Costa Rica’s goal of 5 million tourists yearly can be made possible with the Osa airport.

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