San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Ex-Presidents to Spend Christmas in Jail

TWO ex-Presidents, Rafael ÁngelCalderón Jr. (1990-1994) and MiguelÁngel Rodríguez (1998-2002) – nowsometimes referred to as “los ángeles,”an ironic reference to their shared middlename and alleged acts of corruption– will spend Christmas behind bars thisyear, since a last-minute ruling blockedCalderón’s scheduled release from LaReforma penitentiary Dec. 22.The Financial Crimes Court ruledTuesday afternoon to add six months toCalderón’s preventive detention order,overturning a Nov. 10 ruling thatreduced his original nine-month order totwo months.An appeal presented Dec. 17 by theEconomic Crimes Division of theProsecutor’s Office prompted the ruling,according to an e-mail from JudicialBranch spokeswoman María IsabelHernández. The former head of state’srelease date is now scheduled for June22, 2005.Calderón is accused of mastermindingthe distribution of a $9.2 million“commission” linked to a $39 millionmedical equipment purchase by theSocial Security System (Caja).Rodríguez allegedly received morethan $1 million from global telecommunicationsfirm Alcatel, which had a contractfrom the Costa Rican ElectricityInstitute (ICE).Rodríguez’ wife, Lorena Clare, returnedto Costa Rica Dec. 16 from the UnitedStates, where she and Rodríguez livedwhen he was General Secretary of theOrganization of American States (OAS).He left the post in October after only amonth on the job to address the corruptionallegations against him (TT, Oct. 15).Clare visited Rodríguez at LaReforma, where he is serving a nine-monthorder, on Dec. 18, according tothe daily La Nación.

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