San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Finance Minister Makes Surprise Exit

FINANCE Minister Federico Carrillo announced yesterday that he is resigning, effective today. Vice-Minister David Fuentes will succeed him – becoming the fourth Finance Minister since President Abel Pacheco’s term began in 2002.Carrillo, the 18th member of Pacheco’s Cabinet to resign during the term, said he is leaving the Finance Ministry to take the position of Executive Vice-President at the Central American Economic Integration Bank (CABEI).He has come under fire from social movements and legislators for his insistence on fiscal austerity since he took office in September 2004 (TT, Sept. 17, 2004), after his predecessor, Alberto Dent, stepped down amid similar pressures. In late August, Legislative Assembly President Geraldo González said that he would halt any work on the Permanent Fiscal Reform Package – the tax plan Pacheco has been insisting on for more than three years – if Carrillo did not resign.Carrillo was also shouted down as he presented the proposed 2006 budget Sept. 1, by a mob of assembly workers angry about his assertion that new buildings for the assembly are not a priority for this administration (TT, Sept. 2).However, Carrillo denied yesterday that his resignation had anything to do with disagreements or was due to political pressure, saying that a “cycle” had come to a close with his submission of the budget and recent trips abroad on behalf of the government, and he was now moving on to a new position.“The position at BCIE will not wait. The train is leaving, and I’m not on it. I want to be there,” Carrillo said, adding that he also wants to spend more time with his wife and children.

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