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Economist Rodrigo Chaves assumes presidency of Costa Rica

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Economist Rodrigo Chaves became Costa Rica’s 49th president for the period 2022-2026 on Sunday, May 8, with the primary task of saving the economy of one of the countries with the most stable democracies in Latin America.

The ceremony took place in San José on May 8 inside the Congress, unlike in previous years when it was at the National Stadium.

The rightist Chaves, 60 years old and with a three-decade career at the World Bank, comes to power to try to solve the country’s economic crisis, with 23% of its population living in poverty (6.30% in extreme poverty) and 13.6% unemployment, according to the National Institute of Statistics and Censuses (INEC).

Economist Rodrigo Chaves became Costa Rica's 49th president for the period 2022-2026.
Economist Rodrigo Chaves became Costa Rica’s 49th president for the period 2022-2026. (Photo: internet reproduction)

Costa Rica was hit hard by the covid-19 pandemic with an economy driven primarily by tourism. “It is essential for the country that Chaves improve its economy. This new government has the opportunity to do something different,” said Adrián Aguiluz, 35, a communicator and resident of the capital.

Chaves recently stressed that he hopes to “improve” the terms of a US$1.7 billion loan with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), vital, according to Carlos Alvarado’s outgoing government, to keep the country’s finances afloat.

“This, it seems, will be a management focused on the economic part, the strong point of the president-elect. It is also a concern at the national level in all sectors. It looks like we will see a proposal for restructuring and reorganizing public finances,” said political analyst Gina Sibaja.


According to experts, the population favored Chaves’ experience in the economy, even though he was accused of sexual harassment inside the World Bank against two female subordinates.

After his election, the new president apologized for these events. In addition, he advanced his opposition to environmental policies in a country with recognized global leadership on the subject and which has given up gas and oil exploration.

Chaves said he would not ratify the Escazú Agreement, an important regional pact to protect the environment.

The new president is a surprising figure in politics, as his only experience in public office was for 180 days as finance minister between 2019 and 2020.

He left office over disagreements with Alvarado. A few months later, he presented himself as a presidential candidate with a proposal based on the economic recovery of this country of 5.2 million inhabitants.

With information from AFP

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