President Says He Will Continue Corruption Fight

May 13, 2005

PRESIDENT Abel Pacheco highlightedthe fight against corruption as oneof the continuing goals of his administration,and, in an interview with the wireservice EFE last week, said death threatswill not deter him from that end.He added that although those whoaccuse him of accepting illegal campaigndonations are “liars,” he is open to investigation,since “what’s good for the gooseis good for the gander.”“It is essential to pursue our struggleagainst corruption. Although we havedealt it severe blows, corruption endures,and we must eradicate it, down to theroots,” Pacheco said.Two explosive alleged corruptioncases have been revealed duringPacheco’s administration, resulting in theplacement in jail, then house arrest, offormer Costa Rican Presidents chargedwith accepting kickbacks – Miguel AngelRodríguez (1998-2002) and Rafael AngelCalderón, Jr. (1990-1994) – both members,like Pacheco, of the Social ChristianUnity Party (PUSC).According to Pacheco, 71, the corruptelements of Costa Rican society “are verywell organized” because “based on thedeath threats I get, they must be veryscared that I am going to persist in mystruggle. But they don’t frighten me. I’mgoing to press on.”Regarding the two former Presidentsunder investigation, Pacheco said, “theywere both very close to me, and what happenedgrieves me tremendously.”Nevertheless, “fondness, emotions andaffections should not influence the administrationof justice. We are going to keepadministering it in their case,” he added.His vociferous avowals of a commitmentto fight corruption have not shieldedPacheco from allegations that he himselfwas involved in shady campaign financing.In December, the Chief Prosecutor’sOffice reopened an investigation of himand five former aides in connection withirregular donations into his presidentialcampaign fund (TT, Jan. 7).The Justice Ministry reopened thecase at the behest of the Supreme Court,which ordered it to further investigatecharges the six accepted campaign donationsfrom abroad, which is banned byelection law.

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