Monday 20 September 2021

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The choir from the Conservatorio Castella rehearses at the National Stadium, the scene for today's traspaso de poderes.
The choir from the Conservatorio Castella rehearses at the National Stadium, the scene for today’s traspaso de poderes.

Today is the day, the day Costa Rica heads of a change as promised by incoming president Luis Guillermo Solís.

Costa Ricans take their Presidential Inaugurals seriously. And, besides picking his cabinet and setting the scene for political struggles in the Legislative Assembly, President-elect Luis Guillermo Solis has put thought into the ceremony.

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Early arrivals at the National Stadium will note the soccer pitch covered with grey tarpolins and ranks of folding chairs drawn up on them like soldiers arrayed at a review. These are for everyone considered a functionary or persons of worth. The less famous of us can watch from the stands. Bring your binoculars.

The ceremony starts at 10 a.m. and those occupying those chairs will hope the young rainy season will follow its normal pattern of dry, clear mornings and wet afternoons, because those folding seats are under open sky. And the ceremony will be over by a little after noon. Cross fingers.

Yesterday, Solis made a flying visit to the Stadium. “I just came to ‘chepear’ (snoop) not to supervise–that’s the truth,” he said “I have confidence in my team. I appreciate the work of hundreds of persons who put in many hours. It looks easy but it’s the product of the dedication of many.”

“I told Mercedes (Peña, his longtime companion) that I wanted to see how it was shaping up,” he said. Once more, related La Nacion, he patiently posed for photos and selfies with admirers, many workers preparing the ceremony and the poetry chorus of the Castella Conservatory.

(They’ll be reciting Jorge Debravo’s poem “Nocturno sin Patria.” They gave the incoming President a rehearsal yesterday and he agreed that it was a good selection.)

For the first time in some years, the President being inaugurated has minor children and dear to Costa Ricans’ hearts is the appearance of 87 classmates of the Chief Executive’s youngest daughter, Inez, who came in three buses. She is a first year high school student at Liceo Franco Costarricense.

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They will arrive early in three chartered buses. Also attending will be a delegation of students from Solis’s old high school, Colegio Metodista. In charge of all this protocol is Silvia Escalante who promised that the ceremony will be “very solemn.”

After the ceremony, the new President will have his first cabinet meeting with a swearing in of his ministers. But even before signing his first decree, Solis has sent an environmental message–at his express invitation, the bicycle group Chepe Cletas will pedal to the inauguration.

And finally, Solis may take his oath of office with the warning of soon to be ex-President Laura Chinchilla ringing in his ears: “There will always be surprises, not because anyone wants to keep something from you (but because) the Administration is so big–we’re talking about 300,000 persons here.”

Chinchilla had more than her share of nasty surprises–even in flying to South America on a peaceful jaunt.

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With files from

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Q Costa Rica
Reports by QCR staff

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