President Luis Guillermo Solis promised bureaucrats in Zapote an “ecumenical” presidency his first day (Friday) in the offices he will work in for the next four years. He was speaking of the members of other parties who remain, leftovers of past Administrations and their political parties.
But the President had already given the country a taste of what he meant at his inaugural Thursday. La Nacion noted that although he took the oath of office with a Bible in his hand, there were no prayers. And one of his ministers, a gay, strode along the carpet with his male companion of 19 years at his side.
It apparently took a Citizen Action Party (PAC) President to demonstrate a tolerance and understanding of modern society to allow, with the cabinet minister in question, the political statement implied by that short walk with the nation looking on. Politically cowardly, the Chief Executive most certainly is not!
The minister is, of course, the new tourism head, Wilhelm von Breymann and his companion is Mauricio Alfaro. Even at that, few onlookers saw the two together in person than on TV because the turnout in the National Stadium stands was fewer then expected.
But the TV channels used a pool system, although their commentaries were separate. Probably the ratings for TV coverage was the best of any so far this year, at least for daytime programming.
Solis did ask of his Casa Presidencial staff to be loyal, whatever their party affiliation. That was when he evoked the “ecumenical” word. It is unlikely that this will be the last time we hear him use it during his term.
La Nacion seemed to feel that ex-President Laura Chinchilla left early because she feared jeers from her detractors. This left Miguel Angel Rodriguez as the only former president to remain seated. The two were the only ones of the now six living ex-presidents who attended.
But, then, only five of the presidents of Latin America attended in person: from Guatemala, Honduras, Ecuador, Bolivia and the Dominacan Republic. Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega sent his vice president, Gen. Omar Halleslevans, to the ceremony.
The paper also noted that Venezuelan Vice President Jorge Arreaza was announced but noted that few in the stadium knew that his wife on his arm, Rosa Virginia, is the daughter of the late Jorge Chavez.
Alfaro, at the side of his minister/companion, noted that, “Yes, I thought about what it would mean to march at his side and I felt that it’s my life. But it’s also part of what is changing.” He noted that he has has “shared work, home and future” with von Breymann.
That wasn’t the only change, however. For the first time in living memory, the Archbishop of San Jose did not lead a prayer for the country and its future. Archbishop Jose Rafael Quiros sounded a trifle wistful when he observed to a newspaper reporter the the Church had always before participated in the ceremony.
In a symbolic act, the new President announced on his Facebook page the trimming of the shrubs in front of the Casa Presidencial, so that “people can see the President’s Residence from the street”. (Photo above)
Comments on the page ranged from highly optimistic “The first of many changes, from the president who will change history!” — to the resentful “If Chinchilla had done the same, environmentalists would have protested” — to the scientific: “the shrubs are Indian Laurels, which leach nutrients from the soil and are not native to Costa Rica, they should be eliminated”. One shrewd observer asked “Casa Presidencial has 240 workers, when will the president trim that?”
Article by iNews.co.cr
In general, most commentators seemed hopeful that this is the first of many good changes, and liked the general idea of the president wanting to be open and transparent.