President Returns Club Memberships

May 27, 2005

PRESIDENT Abel Pacheco thisweek announced that he has returned twofree lifetime memberships he and hiswife, Leila Rodríguez, received during atrip to a luxury resort in the DominicanRepublic earlier this month.The announcement followed a flurryof accusations and criticism in the localpress, leading to an examination ofPacheco’s May 13-14 trip by CasaPresidencial auditors. Pacheco read fromthe auditors’ report during the press conferencefollowing his weekly Cabinetmeeting Tuesday.According to the auditors, Pacheco’sacceptance of free air transportation to theCap Cana resort in the DominicanRepublic – he was invited by the Hazouryfamily, which co-owns the club – was notconsistent with a transparent government.“It was definitely not good,” Pachecosaid. “I recognize that and ask for forgiveness.”He also read aloud from a letter to theHazoury family in which he explained hisdecision to return the free lifetime membershipsthey had given him during thetrip. The auditors’ report said Pachecoshould do so because the membershipsare non-transferable and of no value tothe state.Because the Hazoury family, and notthe Costa Rican government, paid for theair tickets, there is no reason to reimbursethe state for those funds, the auditors’report said.At last week’s press conference, thePresident dismissed claims that his visitwas imprudent, given the Hazoury family’sinterest in investing here, particularlyin railroad infrastructure. Pacheco said hehas no investments or other personalinterests involving the Hazoury family(TT, May 20).Pacheco attended the May 14 inaugurationof one section of the exclusive residentialCap Cana complex, located east ofSanto Domingo, along with LeonelFernández, President of the DominicanRepublic.On Tuesday, Pacheco also spoke atlength about a small box he had receivedas a gift from U.S. President George W.Bush during his recent visit to the WhiteHouse. Pacheco was in the United Statesto discuss the Central American Free-Trade Agreement with the United States(CAFTA). He met with Bush and thePresidents of the rest of the signatorycountries at the White House May 12(TT, May 13).Following their meeting, Bush presentedPacheco and the other leaders withsmall keepsake boxes bearing the imageof the White House on its cover. Auditorsdetermined the value of the box is notsufficient to require that it be turned overto the government.“It’s a very beautiful little box,”Pacheco said before having a CasaPresidencial staff member fetch the itemso Pacheco could show it to reporters andread from the plaque inside. He plans tokeep it, he said.

You may be interested

Jean Marc Calvet, part III: Leaving Marco behind
Artists
206 views
Artists
206 views

Jean Marc Calvet, part III: Leaving Marco behind

Elizabeth Lang - May 18, 2018

This is the story of Nicaraguan-based French artist Jean Marc Calvet: a man whose complex life, obscurities and misfortunes overwhelmed…

Traditional masks
Tico Times Pic of the Day
215 views
Tico Times Pic of the Day
215 views

Traditional masks

The Tico Times - May 18, 2018

Creating masks out of balsa wood, carved by their own hands and based on the their community's traditions, the Brunca…

Through adaptive surfing, disabled athletes conquer Costa Rica’s waves
Changemakers
281 views
Changemakers
281 views

Through adaptive surfing, disabled athletes conquer Costa Rica’s waves

Ellen Zoe Golden - May 18, 2018

Part I of III. Costa Rica already maintains a stellar reputation as a surfing destination. According to Carlos Brenes of…