San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Legislators Suggest Breaking Ties with Taiwan

OFFICIALS of two political partiesin opposition to the ruling SocialChristian Unity Party (PUSC) demandedexplanations from Taiwan and evenspoke of breaking diplomatic ties afterthe media reported the government ofTaiwan transferred $1.4 million toMiguel Angel Rodríguez while he wasPresident of Costa Rica.On Tuesday night, Costa Rica’sChannel 7 TV News reported the fundswere transferred between 1999 to 2002to a business in Panama owned byRodríguez, who has announced he willstep down from his post as SecretaryGeneral of the Organization ofAmerican States (OAS) because of corruptionallegations related to a governmenttelecommunications contract.Ottón Solís, head of the CitizenAction Party, said, “Costa Rica mustcontact its ambassador in Taiwanimmediately and suspend diplomaticrelations until this situation becomesclear.”José Miguel Villalobos, formerJustice Minister for Abel Pacheco’sgovernment, who now directs theNational Democratic Action Party, pronouncedhimself in favor of an “energeticprotest against Taiwan; because ifanything remains for Costa Ricans, it isour dignity.”Taiwanese businesses also reportedlyhad donated half a million dollars toPresident Pacheco’s electoral campaignin 2002.THE new accusation againstTaiwan rises amidst of a wave of indignationfor alleged acts of corruptioninvolving Rodríguez, as well as formerCosta Rican president Rafael AngelCalderón, who has been linked to a corruptionscandal in the Social SecuritySystem (Caja).Pacheco and the two formerPresidents are all from the SocialChristian Unity Party.“No one asked me for anything inexchange for that money. They wantedme to be President,” Pacheco said onWednesday. He insisted he would notbreak ties with Taiwan.Ecological organizations haveaccused Pacheco’s government of“shutting its eyes” to the exploitation ofCosta Rica’s marine fauna (mainly tunaand sharks) by Taiwanese ships, inexchange for the money and assistance.The Taiwanese ambassador to CostaRica, Tzu Dan Wu, said he did notknow about the deposits and declinedto comment further, according to thedaily La Nación.

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