Friday 20 May 2022

The Current Economic Crisis iN Costa Rica; How Did It Arise?

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20 May 2022 - At The Banks - BCCR

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QCOSTARICA BLOG – Possibly it is my overly active analytical legal mind, coupled with a keen desire to see Costa Rica, as my adopted Country, progress in some orderly fashion, that inspires me to write and post these blogs. There are probably other factors as well, but I will stay with these two as my main driving force.

At this moment, I see the rhetoric heating-up with respect to the current economic crisis being experienced in Costa Rica, to the extent that violent acts may not be far off. The threats against the media issued by ICE Union boss Fabio Chaves earlier this week are a case in point.

Certainly, the Public Sector wages and benefits currently paid under various Collective Agreements are the main cause of the problem. Former President Oscar Arias and his brother, Rodrigo Arias, who occupied the position of Minister of the Presidency during the Arias Administration, have stated publicly, that the root cause of these excessive wages and benefits being paid in the Public Sector was a mistake made by their Administration in 2008.

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Apparently, a decision was made by the Arias Administration, during this time of world economic downturn, to increase the wages and benefits for a certain number of upper echelon employees then in the Civil Service, without taking into account how this would affect the wages and benefits paid to members of the Civil Service as a whole over time, under the terms of the various Collective Agreements in effect.

Although I consider Oscar Arias to be one of the true Statesmen and Presidents of Costa Rica, I can’t help but wonder if this was indeed a mistake that was made by his Administration, or was it a part of a larger plan to develop an issue with the Costa Rican Economy, which would eventually lead to the Economy having to be managed externally by way of an intervention by the International Monetary Fund, much as we are now seeing as being the case in Greece.

Ultimately, foreign funds would have to come to the rescue in Costa Rica, which, in my opinion, would probably never have to be re-paid in full, or at all, much in the same manner that I don’t expect the Greeks to re-pay the IMF bailout funds advanced to them either. Being forced to sell, or concession public infrastructure, as the Greeks have been made to do as a condition of receiving the bailout monies, is, in my opinion, a virtually meaningless gesture of offering security for their repayment.

It will be interesting to see how the Greek situation plays-out in the future and I wouldn’t expect the scenario to be any different in Costa Rica, if it comes to an IMF intervention.

In any event, I believe that in the circumstances of what I consider to be of the nature of a national emergency and in the Public Interest, it behooves Oscar Arias to take to the air waves and other media outlets in Costa Rica, to offer a full explanation to the citizens of Costa Rica, as to how, what has been referred to by him as a mistake of his Administration, has led to this current economic crisis.

In the least, it would have the effect of “quieting the masses” and possibly give rise to some patriotic fervor amongst members of the Public Sector, that would lead to an opportunity for a more toned-down, but effective resolution of the economic problem being implemented.

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Richard Philps
Attorney Richard (Rick) Philps is a Canadian citizen, naturalized as a citizen of Costa Rica. Rick practiced law in Victoria, B.C., Canada as a member of the Law Society of British Columbia, for fourteen years, prior to moving to Costa Rica in 1998. Rick then earned his Bachelor of Laws and Licensing Degrees (Civil Law), with Honours, and a Post-Graduate Degree in Notary and Registry Law, from the Metropolitana Castro Carazo and Escuela Libre de Derecho Universities, in San Jose. Rick is a member of the Costa Rica College of Lawyers, and practices law in Costa Rica in the areas of real estate and development, corporate, commercial, contract, immigration, and banking. To contact Attorney Rick Philps about hiring him as your Costa Rican Attorney; Email:, Website:

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